I’ve lost control of my garbanzo beans. They resist being boiled, leaping out of the pot and scrambling to other parts of the house. I hunt them down with flashlights and stun guns. Even half conscious, they engage in spurious rationale explaining why they deserve better than consumption. I’ve been through this before with artichoke hearts, who act like they’re the center of the universe.
The howling of saltine crackers when broken up and tossed into steaming chili haunts me. And it’s my own recipe. Those who assume all chili is the same are foolish. All Chinese dragon dances are the same, but not chili. I’m not saying my chili is better than yours. I use black beans, which are more dependable-no surprises.
Red kidney beans, conversely, split right open for no apparent reason except sheer insolence. They surrender their insides like Italy giving up to Allied forces. You can’t trust them. Pink kidney beans aren’t much better. My backup chili bean is actually a pitted black olive. Small and sturdy, like actress Linda Hunt. Not as tasty as baked beans, nor as protein rich as the rogue kidney, but always ready to accentuate my chili.
I’m a bit of a sadist with fries. I mix in tiny, rectangular hash browns with long shoestrings, standing over the pan like a God, drenching everything in canola oil, flipping them with my spatula, ducking hot sparks. You can sense stark fear in the vulnerable hash browns as they scramble to hide behind braver shoestrings, who accept their fate.
But I react quickly, uncovering the cowards. Sometimes I’ll simultaneously toss red kidney beans in the micro and challenge myself to time their removal before they split open, while hunting hash browns. I love these search and destroy missions.
Ketchup and I have a history of friction. I pride myself on extracting the final drop from each bottle, battling its penchant for clinging to the side and bottom like a burglar pinned against the ledge of a high rise.
I occasionally burn my fries on one side and leave the other untouched. I’ve come to accept my deficiencies. In fact, I admit I’m stumped by yams. Tasty, but formless and lacking character, yams are too trusting for my mind. They seem to take it for granted they will always be part of our diet, but we know from tragic asparagus that is not necessarily the case.
Garlic has become a poorly drawn pencil sketch by your second grader you hang up out of parental pride and ignore. No one bothers with garlic either. The waffle fry is the only food safe from extinction. If you have to ask why, I pity you the way others pity me for never visiting the Greek Islands. Waffle fries are proof of God’s existence.
I’ll say this about the Greeks—they know how to control their garbanzo beans.
You do not fool with Hot Pockets. What’s listed on the package isn’t necessarily what is in those babies. Be sensible. Leave your Hot Pockets in the yard and wait until birds and rabbits consume them safely. Some sicko in a Third World factory could’ve stuffed them with hummus or Spam or sushi. It’s been documented.
Joe Del Priore is the author of Twilight People and a book reviewer for IndieReader