Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My other hand is holding an hors d'oeurve

Any Silicon Valley mid-level employee can tell you that in today's fast-paced world, having at least 8 entertainment devices is absolutely essential. But let's face it, having more than one remote control for these devices is not only annoying, it's a waste of plastic, and of course, your precious time and human energy reserves.

That's why it is a basic human right that we are able to purchase entertainment devices like televisions, DVD players, gaming consoles, amplifiers, CD players, ipod docking stations, stereos, model cars, and suspiciously small personal massagers which all have built in IR ports, so that their functions can be programmed into a single, universal remote.

Ah the universal remote. Its name conveys the totalizing consistency and adherence to one easy-to-learn pattern of behavior that is the hallmark of all well-organized entertainment systems and National Socialist parties.

Thus, it is with dismay and disapproval that elitegripes notes that we have heard from one purchaser of a particular gaming console who discovered his new machine LACKED an IR port. Instead of infra-red, our dear friend was left ultra-blue (Geddit? Geddit? Oh, I've still got the magic touch)

Elitegripes calls for the U.S. to draft and encourage all nations to sign and ratify an International Covenant On the Provision of IR Ports On Electronic Devices. There may be holdouts from visible spectrum extremists and even fringe anti-remote-control elements (REALITY CHECK FOR THESE WINGNUTS: if man were meant to get up from the couch, God would have given us pneumatic butts!), but we must not falter. Such international measures are the only way to prevent another young man, like our friend, from having to store and remember how to use multiple remote controls or, worse, to avoid purchasing this electronic device altogether (causing a ripple effect through the economy which will hyperinflate and the demand curve, consumer confidence, job creation, the bear of the markets and such as).

photo credit: remotly controlled by Elsie esq.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Putting the "mire" in "mirepoix"

Today we are going to touch on a sensitive and difficult topic. It's something that nobody talks about, because nobody dares admit it's a problem.

This is about leftover celery.

Elitegripes is here to let you know: leftover celery is a common problem. It affects MANY men and women of your age and social class. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

The following scenario probably sounds familiar. It's based on a story told to us by a young man we'll call "Joey."

It always starts with you making mirepoix which is that crucial ingredient in just about every French (or New-French, French-Cal, or French-anything) main course. You've faithfully chopped up vegetables in the correct 2:1:1 ratio of onions:carrots:celery. You've got just enough mirepoix for the dish you're making. The problem is that while you bought just enough onion and carrot, because you found them individually on your daily shopping trip to your local farmers market or organic highly-priced-produce supermarket (or somewhat reasonably-priced vegan grocery cooperative, though you don't go there so much any more because you feel ashamed that you go to the butcher afterwards for rabbit, which seems like the most innocent of meats because, well, BUNNIES), you have WAY too much celery, because that fucking vegetable only comes in bunches and never single ribs.

From experience, you know that 2:1:1 by volume usually translates into 1 large, 2 medium carrots, and 3 or 4 ribs of celery.

WHICH MEANS then you have about 2/3 of a bunch of celery left. You can't just put 2/3 of a huge bunch of celery in the compost (extravagantly wasteful, won't fit in the countertop compost bucket, neighbors may see you carrying it out to the green bin). You haven't quite gotten that backyard rabbit cage project off the ground yet, so there's no animal to feed it to (though you'll get to it some day, right?). So it sits in the vegetable drawer, wilting, turning yellow, and dehydrating until you give up and put it in the compost anyway (though at least in its wilted form you can sneak it out hidden in the compost bucket).

Every time this happens, your mind spins. You're full of self doubt. WHY can't you solve this problem? WHY does this happen every time? SHOULD you just swear off French food completely, since Spanish is the new French? BUT DOESN'T Spanish food actually have celery in it as part of that soffrito thing? HOW do you break the CYCLE OF CELERY ABUSE?


For years now, farmers markets have sold celery in large bunches and carrots and onions singly. Actually, sometimes they sell carrots only in large bunches as well, but you can use carrots in other dishes. What else does one use celery in besides a mirepoix? YOU CAN ONLY CONVINCE YOUR GUESTS TO ACCEPT A CELERY-BASED "RUSTIC" CENTERPIECE ONCE BEFORE IT GETS REALLY REALLY OLD.

Sure, some places sell celery ribs singly, but those places are usually big chains that you'd never be caught dead shopping in (though if your friends did encounter you there and challenge your purchase of non-organic celery in that passive aggressive tone of "oh, I didn't know that you were still getting produce here, since the farmers market is so close to you" you could notice that they were probably there for some nefarious purchase of their own, and maybe they shouldn't be judging you because this is really society's problem, and they probably have this problem too, meaning they either waste food or shop at this chain store for non-organic celery, and is that Kraft mayonnaise and bleached flour in their basket?).

Please write your senators to alert them to this problem. Remember, you will be speaking for thousands more who dare not speak. We must first conquer our shame, then only can we conquer the produce aisle.

BONUS Related elite mini-gripe: My favorite upper middle class blog has had two posts in a row on food. Why can't they update more frequently and on a wider variety of topics.

picture credit: "11 celery" by apium.

It's 2pm. Do you know where your cast iron cookware is?


Maybe you inherited it from your grandmother (or stole it when you went to visit her in Long Island), or maybe you bought it from Sur La Table after watching that Alton Brown episode about the Maillard reaction. Wherever you got it, your cast iron pan is the most used thing in your kitchen other than the microwave.

A faithful friend like this deserves your love and respect.

NEVER, I repeat, NEVER leave it out on the stove when your housecleaner is coming. She (and it's always a woman, isn't it?) WILL put it in the dishwasher because, frankly, cast iron pans always look gross and dirty (and maybe they are, and maybe you don't care, because hello! Maillard reaction!).

Dishwasher soap isn't like normal soap. Sure, you've gotten careless and wiped down your cast iron with a sponge that isn't totally soap free. Maybe you took off like a week's worth of seasoning with that. The dishwasher. Will. Take off. ALL. Of the seasoning. ALL OF IT. EVERY MOMENT YOU PUT INTO SEASONING THAT GODDAMN PAN IS GONE. It's like losing a pet. Or killing a sourdough starter.

So please, please, please. Write a note to your housecleaner. Have a friend from college translate it into Spanish if you need to. Or heck, learn Spanish. It's not that hard. You learned German in college so you could take that advanced philosophy seminar. You can learn Spanish now.

And then, just to be double sure, HIDE YOUR CAST IRON WHEN IT'S CLEANING DAY.

If you have a daily maid service, god help you. Just go back to Teflon and resign yourself to eating rubbery, pale duck breasts.