Le Plat Principal et Vin

Let’s talk food, let’s talk wine, let’s talk Food and Wine and also hot Australians, inappropriately named pastries, and equally inappropriately vibrating theme park joysticks. The Wonderfully Expensive World of Disney inspires these things. More than any of its Florida parks, Disney tends to kind of shove EPCOT aside with its foot, this astoundingly futuristic attraction that reeks 1985 like smell waves coming off my perm. If you lean your head very very close into Spaceship Earth, you can actually hear nobody drinking New Coke. THE EPCOT FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL CAST -ANDY: Admirable treasure trove of Disneyobilia and blogging knowledge. Good for engaging in screaming arguments about federal transportation policy while in ride lines. Must keep on good side, as he will from time to time lift heavy things for me and help with the more technical aspects of writing only, such as pointing out that it really helps if I fill out such fields as “post” before attempting to publish the page. -G-FORCE: Fellow Catholic. Fellow wine snob. Fellow friend of Australia. G-FORCE. -OOGIE: Fellow wine snob. Owns many cats. Shares apartment space with small child. Likes to get away from small child. With her on this one. -FLIPPER: She of rollerblading fame. Also a wine snob. Drives a Camaro. Must also keep on good side, because of the Camaro.

and -Me. I need no introduction. I shall accept no introduction. I am me, only drunker. NOTES FROM BENEATH THE GIANT SCARY GOLF BALL -I am just plain upset by how often peanut sauce follows me around causing trouble. Lookit: I like peanuts, alone or with friends. I like peanut butter. I do not like peanut sauce. A hard thing like a peanut simply should not be putting in appearances as a liquid thing like a sauce. It defies physics, common law, and all that is decent in the world. I do not blame the peanut for this. The peanut is but an innocent bystander. It is the fault of people who create such scenarios as the following: I’m in grad school. I’m starving. I go to the cafeteria, which has not served actual red meat since the Truman administration. I load up on a dish labeled “Chicken a la King.” I sit. I fork up. I take a huge mouthful of: Tofu in peanut sauce. In and of themselves, these things are not “food” but “semi-food,” or “spackle,” which separately taste like “ass.” Together, they taste like UtterAss. Those sitting across from me said they had never seen a human being process so many emotions in such little time: Shock, followed by dismay, followed by horror, followed by betrayal, followed by furor, followed by nausea, all in a one-second interval. So when the girls converged on a Japanese food vender selling pork on a stick dipped in peanut sauce, I indicated that I’d rather not partake as only a classy lady such as myself could (this involved taking a swig of Gatorade and feigning a nice long vomit upon nearby bushes.) I sat nearby and opened a package of crackers, ingesting peanuts in a peanut butter form, as God intended. -We went to a cooking demonstration where I learned many things, among them the fact that a “scallion” is not a piece of Canadian sporting equipment, but a type of onion. Who knew. The recipe involved slapping chicken breasts in a bowl of cocoa powder, pouring wine over everything, and using some sort of malicious-looking liquid identified as a “demi-glace,” which until yesterday I assumed was the chef’s stripper name. We all had a taste. Everyone nodded and burst into applause, which I couldn’t join, as I was too busy on Personal Hurl Patrol, because: Chocolate and chicken. Are we running out of food combinations now? Am I supposed to mix tuna with blueberry Icees for Lent? Also: What an utter waste of perfectly good dark chocolate, which the recipe says you’re supposed to shave and grind up and all. If the preservation of Gary Stevens’ life depends upon me making this recipe I’m hitting the drink-mix aisle and I’m rolling that sumbitch in some Nestle’s Quick. The demonstration was narrated by a highly annoying woman who skipped right over all the hard-to-understand chefy things the chef guy was doing, like how to peel a tomato, (he peeled a tomato!) what the whole deal was with this demi-glace business, and how the chef guy managed to not cleaver this woman’s face off.

But the Idiotically Obvious Stuff, the kind of crap even I can pull off, oh, we got a play by play of that. “And so,” she said as Chef Guy rolled the chicken breasts in the chocolate, “you’re just rolling the chicken breasts in the chocolate. You’re picking up the chicken fillets, placing them in the bowl, and you’re coating them with the chocolate, and then you’re putting them in the skillet. You’re just taking that chicken there, and kind of dipping it in the bowl. The chocolate is covering the chicken. And then—“ Because a huge mirror was suspended over the cooking area so that food plebes such as myself could marvel at the chickenization of the chocolate, we could see that Chef Guy’s white paper chef hat had four holes cut out of the top of it, which I found highly disturbing. Why? Was this a kindergarten snowflake project gone horribly wrong? Was it a fashion statement? But I never heard anything about it, certainly not from Annoying Woman, because this was interesting and immediately recipe-related. Favorite part of the cooking demonstration: Guy wandering by the pavilion and hollering, “Come on, Emeril!” -I was forced to be amused by sort of animatronics show called "Food Rocks” in which a dancing milk carton and a singing peach told me, here at the Food and Wine Festival, not to eat rich and fatty foods. The attraction also featured a pineapple with a pimp stache that played the piano. This made me sad. “Food Rocks” will shut down over the winter. I can’t imagine why. More later. I have to get in my car and drive now due to the fact that I work in an extremely sick and twisted office where, on birthdays, we give the birthday-ee an individual birthday gift AND take them out to lunch AND pay for our own meals. That's OK, I didn't need that extra twenty dollars to, like, pay my electric bill or anything. It's my boss' birthday tomorrow. It is times like this when it's extremely handy that I don't care about my job, because she’s getting a card from Wal-Mart and a Bic pen and you're liking it.

November 10, 2003

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