The Pleasure Beholden to Cayenne Pepper

9 03 2010

For many years as I learned to cook seasoning and spice held no real power in what I prepared. Most specifically, this spice only made home in black beans as I heated them or spice rubs for tender meats. That spice is dry ground Cayenne pepper.

Capsicum annuum

My relationship with this red friend has been flirtatiously innocent for most of my life. December we found love. In a fine attempt to surprise my friends and kin on Christmas I brewed up a batch of Cashew brittle.

It was quirky and interesting with a simple switch of a nut, but it was missing something. At the behest of the all-mighty wizard Alton Brown I thought to add in a whisper of Cayenne pepper. At the first experimental bite my pupils dilated in a hot happy surprise. The buttery chewy concoction left a massaging tingle on the tongue and I was hungry for more curiosity. My family howled and gasped at the lusty punches that caught them off guard from inside the cute candy boxes.

My torrid escapades with Cayenne pepper raced. I thought back to old social studies class about the alien idea of chili pepper in hot chocolate. So of course darling Cayenne made an appearance in several hot ganaches that winter. I also received many questions from friends concerning my curiously delicious whipped cream. Cayenne even danced with that!

My secret chocolate-chip-cookie recipe contains an eighth of a teaspoon of Cayenne pepper. Shh. Don’t tell. I bake regularly and enjoy sprinkling the hotness into my angel food cake batter before grating in fine Callebaut chocolate.

Guacamole loves it. Grilled steaks crave it. I am going to have to start buying it in bulk on ebay before you know it. Cayenne pepper perpetuates the proverbial Pagan alter that is my spice cupboard. It gives me a sultry wink whenever I think of something new to concoct. Somehow, someway it will find a path into all of our waiting mouths.

I love you, Cayenne pepper. Never leave me for a younger prettier cook.





Nobody else is Hitler and Stalin Killed people.

4 03 2010

A while back on Sproul Plaza at Cal I had an encounter with some Larouche Underlings and a couple members of the defunct Communist party. Somehow they both managed to horrify me to my deepest core.

The Larouches sported posters of Obama with a Hitler ‘stache and attempted to explain to me that because of his supposed “imperialism” in expanding the war (don’t mistake me for a warhawk, I’m not) Obama is Hitler. Somehow this president who has been accused of socialist anti-Americanism with his stimulus package and attempts (maybe hopeless) at healthcare reform is JUST LIKE OMG Adolph Motherfucking Hitler.

This is not a new tactic. But I would like to say Obama is not like Hitler. Obama is not an insane sadistic genocidal maniac. It is offensive and horrifying to compare any little old politician to one of the worst people to have ever lived; whether it be Obama, Bush, or anybody else of any party affiliation.

In conjunction with this encounter some young woman from the communist party with the face of a leather sack approached us and began to explain to me how the Larouches were right. Ok…So the commies are on board with that one. When they commented that it’s okay to draw historical comparisons between figures I agreed. I said that, indeed, when you have an incredibly mean personality and force such as Hitler it’s only intellectual to draw comparisons with equally (or maybe worse) people like Stalin, but that Obama really hadn’t done enough or been around long enough to warrant such a comparison.

That’s when the borscht hit the fan. Miss Leathercommie asserted that Stalin should not be compared to Hitler. Say what? She asserted that the claims of the mass murders across the USSR were indeed fabrications.

Holy Shit

I was standing in front of an honest-to-Trotsky Stalinist in 2009.  I asked her if she’d like to take a trip into the history books at the Library or if I should bust out my computer to find some sources to the contrary. She then asserted that all the sources are lies. So she believes in Stalin’s innocence despite all evidence to the contrary.

Sound like a Holocaust denier?

Basically, to me, if a person believes that any modern politician (or Obama) is just like Hitler or that Stalin didn’t kill anybody they either need to hit the books or be hit with a brick. Preferably the latter by me.

In reaction to this I had a conversation with my father. Out of that I made this film:








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