Dec 11 2010

Because you can’t blame on an empty stomach

When a spinster aunt is laid up with a bum knee, three consequences are inevitable.

— Slouching in the lime green recliner, watching “Snapped!” and the Cooking Channel, eating sour cream and onion potato chips and stewing about how fucked up it is to have a bum knee: these activities will become the Useful Toil she’ll not let Ambition mock.

— She will read cookbooks, yearning for the day she can stand up long enough to cook something besides peanut butter toast.

— Out of desperate ennui, she’ll start adding plugins and widgets to the sidebar of her patriarchy-blaming blog.

A neurotic behavior, the plugin-uploading nearly always obtains an imperfect, or crappy, result. The veteran blamer will have lost count of the number of times my brilliant upgrades have broken the blog. But this time it’s a plugin that fixes it so that comment excerpts appear right there on the front page. How can this can fail to delight? What possible outcome except that it will spur commenters to begin their posts with zippy opening lines rather than with dilute drabbulations involving the first person singular? This improvement should not only entice the non-comment-reader to check out your shit, it will also elevate the human species as a whole.

You need not point out that, in order for comments — zippy in nature or otherwise — to get written, it is traditional for the blogger to first post a post. I’m way ahead of you.

I give you a recipe for French lentils that I stole from Food Channel personality Ina Garten’s book How Easy Is That. The book title is dumb, but the lentils are vegan and real effin delicious, and you can take that to the bank because I am an award-nominated lentiloisseur of the first water.

Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the lentils, but here is a picture of the peanut butter toast I had for breakfast instead, which, I can say without fear of contradiction, is extremely riveting.

Peanut butter toast

Anyway, for the lentils you need:

1 onion, whole
1 turnip, quartered
2 cloves
1 leek, chopped up (white part only)
2 carrots, chopped up (orange part only)
1 cup green French lentils
olive oil
red wine vinegar
Dijon mustard

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

salt and pepper

You stick an onion with a couple of cloves (Ina says 6 cloves, but that’s just too damn many cloves) and throw it into a pot with your lentils and turnip chunks. Cover with filtered water. Simmer til done.

Meanwhile, jump the leeks, carrots, and garlic, in olive oil, in a different pan.

Meanwhile, make a mustard vinaigrette with pretty good olive oil and red wine vinegar. Drain the lentils, throw the clovey onion and turnip on the compost pile, add the leeks et al, and mix in the vinaigrette. Ina puts a pat of butter in there, too, but TV cooks are contractually obligated to put too much butter on stuff. Dazed by a romantic nostalgia for the Paris bistro where she wolfs down this dish with her beloved Nigel, Ina also lets the lentils cool to lukewarm before serving, but I was all like, “Phil! Are you mad? Stick these cold-ass lentils back in the microwave!”

It’s true that the flavors improve when the dish sits for a while, though. Ooo baybah baaay-bah, bah baybah baaay-bah.


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  1. Pinko Punko

    How bum is the knee? A few weeks bum, or surgerically rearrangeroo bum?

  2. Jill

    Fairly bum, I’d say. MRI scheduled for Monday will confirm torn ACL or I’ll eat my hat. I keep an orthopedic surgeon on retainer, you know. She’s sharpening her scalpel as we speak.

    Pinko Punko
    December 11, 2010 at 11:10 am

    How bum is the knee? A few weeks bum, or surgerically rearrangeroo bum?

  3. mercurialsunshine

    A dab of honey greatly improves peanut butter toast. It might sweeten up the hat as well, if it comes to that.

  4. Yardshark

    Did you know that cookbooks also have a blameworthy feature?

    It has been observed (and promptly ignored by the industry) that male cooks are presented as white-coated professionals with an emphasis on prowess and such, while female professional chefs are just about ALWAYS disguised as thoroughly domestic, homey, casually dressed, non-threatening mommy-nurtury types. (There’s also now the sexy female chef subtype…WHAT a SURPRISE that is huh!! And a few of the domestic ones get photoed with cleavage too, bonus.)

    Just look at the covers for patriarchy-compliant examples everywhere. YECCH.

  5. Comrade PhysioProf

    What the fucke kind of shitte-asse beer is that fucken coconut water shitte you’re washing down your toast with?

  6. Jill

    “Nature’s sports drink.” It says so right on the can. Lying around on her ass with a torn ACL, an aunt can work up a powerful sporty thirst. My coconut levels could easily become dangerously depleted if I don’t take steps.

  7. yttik

    French lentils? Oh la la! I had no idea there were different kinds of lentils. Lentil chili is one of my favorites, lots of tomatoes and spices, and six cloves of garlic is not nearly enough. You then completely destroy the health benefits of the lentils by topping them with sour cream.

  8. tinfoil hattie

    Mmmmm. Lentils!

    By the by, the 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook has helpful hints for homemakers, among them a gem that suggests lying on your back on the kitchen floor with your legs raised slightly, feet braced on the wall so you can get some “rest” for a few minutes.

    Does that sum up patriarchy right there, or what?

  9. headbang8

    The stanza from Thomas Gray, which you reference in your first paragraph, kind of sums up the whole of the last two decades in America, doesn’t it?

  10. speedbudget

    When I’m in estrus, I prefer to cook in my Sexy Cook outfit, and I put my feet on the wall cause that’s where they’re supposed to go, silly.

  11. sargassosea

    Every recipe is embiggened with a generous dash of Salt-N-Pepa.

  12. Ron Sullivan

    When I’m in estrus I have an irrepressible urge to make hard-boiled eggs.

    OK, back when I used to do that estrus thing.

  13. ew_nc

    I hope you modified Ina Garten’s suggested salt quantity. She tends to way over-salt things.

    Yeah, I too have a Cooking/Food channel habit.

  14. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Pickle juice! None a that fancy-Francey vinaigrette stuff! Lentils (be they green, red, plain’ ol’ brown, or a mix) need to be sprinkled with dill pickle juice, straight outta the bottle. Never salt lentils while they’re cooking, unless you like them tough as paving stones.

    For those who partake, a 1 lb. package of teenie weenies or some sliced smoked sausage is also tasty. The meatless kind will do fine, if you insist. Toss it into the boiling bucket of muck about 10 minutes prior to serving.

  15. nails

    wtf Ina UNDER salts things, if anything.

    Also, why is everyone on tv prejudiced against MSG? It rules. Its a molecule found naturally in various seaweeds and in meats (like chicken).

    I am pretty sure french lentils just means the black ones.

  16. Laughingrat

    Nah, French lentils are green. Antoinette, I too had heard about the not salting legumes during cooking rule, but apparently it’s been debunked by Science. (Can I find the link to the article in which I read this? Naturally, of course I cannot.) Of course, since we feminists hate Science so much, I should probably continue to avoid salting my beans while cooking if I want to keep the anti-feminist crowd happy. Then again, if I want to keep the anti-feminist crowd happy, I shouldn’t eat at all. Gotta get my dainty, feminine waist back so that I can signal to all the gents that I’m in estrus.

  17. Bushfire

    By the by, the 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook has helpful hints for homemakers, among them a gem that suggests lying on your back on the kitchen floor with your legs raised slightly, feet braced on the wall so you can get some “rest” for a few minutes

    A child of the eighties, I was unaware that the mattress was not yet invented in the 1950s. How difficult it must have been for people back then, having to rest on hard floors. Were chairs also a post-1950s invention?

    Anyhoo, if anyone likes lentils but is too lazy to make a real recipe, here’s what ya do:

    1. Fry some onions in your lipid of choice: olive oil, butter, etc
    2. Add a can of lentils (drained, de-canned) and a few dashes of ground cumin, salt and pepper
    3. When heated, add cooked rice and stir.

  18. tinfoil hattie

    Bushfire, housewives did not lie down in bed during the day. How dare they! Housewives worked for the benefit of others, from sunup ’til sundown. Then moved to the couch when unable to block out the sound of the Master’s snoring.

  19. dillene

    How do you over-salt something? There’s no such thing as too much salt.

  20. Sewist

    The simmering of turnip purely for the sake of turnip flavour is a deal breaker, and I loves me some dupui lentils. Unless turnips magically improve lentils, I think I’ll skip them.

  21. Kelsey B.

    I totally was going to make a Salt’N’Pepa joke, but sargassosea beat me to it. Curses!

  22. julybirthday

    I’m going back to disbelief at what yer drinkin’ — coconut water tastes like human sweat!

  23. Mare_Island

    Oh, I like the commentary preview box. I can tell, without having yet read the comments of your previous post, that somewhere along the line it gets derailed by a Chad named Jeff. This oughta be good…

  24. Mare_Island

    Oh crap! Sorry about the ellipsis. I forgot.

  25. nails

    The word nazi lands a post in moderation que- I wonder why ellipsis do not?

  26. Jill

    One of my life’s great tragedies is that ellipses appear to be interpreted by my crude moderation-bot as individual periods, therefore making it impossible to filter them out.

  27. SKM

    coconut water tastes like human sweat!

    Perhaps the sweat of a human who has eaten a hell of a lot of coconuts.

    Sounds OK by me. But then, all things coconut do.

    Now, I must return to my brown recluse spider infestation debacle, which I think is managed in the bedrooms at least. *unfurls vacuum and glue traps*

  28. Daisy Deadhead

    SNAPPED might be the greatest TV show of all time! Glad to see it’s also a regular stop of yours. I particularly love the ones who keep on sobbing and proclaiming their innocence to the very end, all while never messing up their makeup.

    My feet, your knee. Trade? (I think an early end to the nightmarish Christmas retail season might actually cure mine, so it’s really a pretty good bargain.)

  29. chicago dyke

    torn ACL

    oh, goodness, i hope that’s not it. may i recommend glucosamine tablets, if it turns out to be true? please don’t be offended, but i had a pet that tore her ACL once, and it was so tragic. she went from a happy, bounding frisbee chaser, to a slow moving and obviously pained pup after just a little exercise walk. the glucosamine tablets helped in the after times, tremendously. she was almost her old self again, so long as she had them before exercise. they are fairly cheap and over the counter today, and i remember the science, vaguely, that explained why they help in some cases, greatly. it didn’t sound like big pharma bs to me, and my vet at the time bought into it, completely.

    french lentils rock.

  30. wiggles

    Whole Foods was giving away this bulk foods guide book which asserts that French lentils are really immature kidney beans.

  31. Laughingrat

    @ Wiggles–what, seriously? They say information wants to be free, but apparently disinformation really, really wants to be free.

    The recipe Jill supplied, crossed with a variant from another site, turned out extremely fabulous, and the protein from the French lentils gave me lots of energy for blaming.

  32. nails

    Whole Foods used to have internet guides about what homeopathic medicines (see: WATER) to give for various medical conditions. I guess the lawyers spotted that shit and took it down. There will probably have to be a lentil council or something before the fake lentil information is purged from Whole Foods.

  33. Laughingrat

    The idea of a Lentil Council appeals deeply to me, but only if they are actually an evil international conspiracy of some kind, or perhaps a league of supervillains.

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