Sunday, February 4 – Saturday, February 11
The Week in Working for a Corporation: Over the course of my long-ish work career, I’m always fascinated by the Human Relations part of the job. Not the department of HR, but the actual relationship between the humans who work for a company and the actual entity known as “The Company” that attempts to project itself as human. In the relationship, workers don’t always do well holding up their portion and the Company doesn’t always do well in its portion. This week I watched someone quietly get up from their desk and not return. Bad employee behavior. I also watched the way the Company terminated a couple of employees. Bad corporate behavior. Like any relationship, I have to take the good with the bad. This week’s lesson is that there’s not much a worker bee can do about this stuff but it is a bit distressing and emotionally taxing to ride out. The HR department isn’t designed for work’s toll on the actual humans.
The Week in Inland Seafood: Eating and drinking my sorrows away, I stopped in the Court Street Lobster Bar for dinner. When I eat seafood in Cincinnati, I always adjust my expectations down. I’ve eaten seafood in beach towns and have been blown away. That doesn’t happen here in the middle of the country. That being said, the Court Street Lobster Bar is a decent substitute. I had the clam chowder and the crab cakes. The chowder, New England style, was thick with plenty of clams and big hunks of potatoes. It was so thick, it almost tasted cheese sauce based more than a simple cream sauce. The crab cakes were small, but tasty. The texture was smooth, more like a traditional salmon croquette, and the remoulade was outstanding. I’ve stopped in the Lobster Bar before and like it better every time I go. It’s relatively new (like maybe in it’s first year, or just into it’s second) and it’s starting to get a groove. Good stuff.
The Week in New Recipes: Over the weekend I had some friends over for dinner and I made a batch of new-to-me recipes. Every single How-to Guide on hosting a dinner party says not to experiment with recipes in front of guests. I’m not one to follow rules, my friends are good eaters, and, I always think: “If all else fails, we can order pizza.”
Well, we didn’t order pizza.
Using Asian flavors as my theme, I made spring rolls (with a hoisin peanut sauce) and wasabi deviled eggs for our appetizers. The deviled eggs, though time-consuming, are a keeper. For the main course, I made NY Times food writer Melissa Clark’s Asian-style pulled bbq pork. I made it the day before in an Instant Pot and removed the fat before serving to save my friends’ arteries. And, because the Instant Pot is such a phenom/fad in the kitchen right now, I cooked Sriracha Brussels sprouts while the skeptical guests watched (and then turned into IP believers).
For dinner, we ate the pork and sprouts assembled as rice bowls with pickled cucumbers on the side. The next day, the pork appeared at lunch in a Mid-Western-Bastardized version of a traditional Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich. Fearless Cooking = Good Eats!
The Week in Liquor Consumption Bragging Rights: From the pyramid of bottles and cans in the the dorm room comes the tradition of physically visualizing how much liquor has been consumed. Social media is just a cleaner way of documentation. I know I’m not supposed to be proud of 6 old people’s liquor consumption…but I am.
The Week in Blue Plate Specials: My parents always threw around the term blue plate special, and for them it meant an unusual assortment of food assembled as a meal when you couldn’t put a proper meal together. Actually, Blue Plate specials are traditional Diner food, essentially a low-cost daily special that was well-known, according to Wikipedia, from the 1920’s to the 1950’s. My retro chic neighborhood bar runs a blue plate special that includes a tall boy of beer. For months, the blue plate beer was Olde English. This week they switched to a Polish beer which they described as a “serviceable lager.” That is the truth.
The Week in Bear Stares: Finally, this week I was mostly scared and scarred by this bear on a kids toy at TJ Maxx. I’ve been uncomfortable all week and this bear is not helping.