“It’s the sadism that makes it funny.”
I had to laugh when I heard Anthony Bourdain say that. He’s one of the few “foodies” that I can stomach, so to speak, and it’s really more for his attitude than anything else. Rakish, smart, and always real, Bourdain manages to bring a challenging wit to culinary adventure without losing any sense of wonder or appreciation.
He’s about as close to a hero in my world as anyone will ever get, and he fits right in alongside my other sources of inspiration. Bourdain, Bukowski, Sedaris… a curious lot to be sure; one that I appreciate most for their strength of words.
Bukowski did have something of an advantage by being a bit of a drunk, of course. And now being dead and all, he really doesn’t have to stand behind his words when a well intentioned family member says something like, “I enjoyed your book, but really didn’t need to know about your masturbation habits.”
That comment is still jabbed somewhere in between my nerves and albeit small sense of propriety, and I suddenly question just how brilliant an idea it was to publish my book. I’ve already blacked out half the pages in the copy my dad bought, and my mother on request read her copy without her glasses. I don’t know if that made the content any more worse or better – she’s had that involuntary shudder since I was 16.
Every author cracks wise about the fear that no one will buy their book, or that no one will turn up at their signings. But my fear is: what if they do?
My book sales are rising, which means people are actually reading what I wrote. Certain chapters darken my excitement at the prospect and I wonder just how much ‘splaining I’m going to have to do when the inevitable questions and assumptions crop up.
I certainly can’t black out select passages for the world at large, and in the end I really don’t want to anyway. Part of the fun in being an author is sharing stories that make people react. And let’s face it, the harshest reactions are usually from people who relate all-too-well. And for all my words and adventures, I’m not that much different than anyone else. I just talk about it.
Case in point: I set fire to my kitchen last night. It wasn’t intentional by any means, which I feel the need to point out only because I suspect some may feel I have a penchant for destructive behavior.
And I admit, this isn’t my first kitchen fire. I tend to not count the other one though, seeing as how it was a result of my accidentally sliding a Rachel Ray cookbook into the flames of a gas burner. The book was a gift, one that left me more than a little annoyed, and as I watched the flames lick at the smug bitch’s face, I couldn’t help but think, “You’re not quacking ‘Yum-o’ now, are you?”
It’s no secret that I thoroughly hate Rachel Ray, and that stems partly from the fact that I likely have more technical culinary training than she does. Of course, my training is in pastry, which may explain why I miscalculated the ratio of breading, meat, heat and oil in the dish I attempted to make last night.
Why is it that fires always seem to crop up when you’re not looking? I turned my back on my pot for one minute to deal with the pasta, and the next thing I know there’s a billow of smoke, a whoosh, and I’m scrambling around like I Love Lucy.
I knew enough to not dump a kettle of water over my pot, but that was about as far as my brain went before breaking out in a deranged rendition of the “Stop, Drop and Roll” fire safety song I learned when I was a Brownie.
That’s probably not what they intended back in fist grade when they taught us that song; then again, they probably didn’t figure any of us would grow up to be so distracted by a pot of boiling water that they start a grease fire one burner over.
In the end my instincts kicked in and I managed to slam the lid on the pot before my kitchen turned into a towering inferno. And on the upside, my prized Le Creuset braiser survived without so much as a scorch. My ego, not so much.
It didn’t help that my guy came home from band rehearsal to a bowl of buttered noodles and a vague, charred sort of smell to the house. As far as I’m concerned, if he didn’t see it, it didn’t happen… but I’m guessing my explanation of fighting off alien invaders and using the pork tenderloin to deflect their laser beams didn’t carry much validity.
Sigh. My respect goes out to Bourdain, but it’s not entirely the sadism that makes something funny. It’s the stupidity behind it. And if that’s the case, I’m guessing I’ve got a best seller on my hands.