Tuesday, February 7, 2006

A measure of pig fat

Kiss my big black ass, Doctor Crosby.

"You'll never improve unless you change your habits, Professor Trout," he scolded during my last visit. To compound my shame and anger, my daughter Ella stormed out of the apartment after fixing me a ridiculous concoction known as a "fruit smoothie" for my lunch.

"Christ Ella, you're supposed to be a goddamned chef!"

"I'm trying to save your life, you miserable old fuck!"

I was sure she'd return before long. We all know I can be a bastard. Maybe that explains my three divorces.

While Ella was out, I waddled across the street to the Snappy Mart and bought three packages of wretched bacon and a sack of mealy potatoes. Fortunately pommes de vendangeurs is a forgiving recipe that can be saved by imported Gruyere cheese, which I had on hand. I trimmed the fat from the bacon best I could and then clarified some butter. I buttered a round casserole and laid the bacon strips in spiral fashion, ends hanging out of the dish. I layered potato slices (gratin-thin) and then the finely grated cheese, repeated thrice and then folded the bacon over the top. I baked for forty minutes at 410 and then cooled on a rack. I ate most of it, saving one small wedge for Ella. When she returned she screamed at the amount of cholesterol I had ingested, though she devoured her slice and we then fixed a leafy spinach salad with chopped pecans and a dressing of sherry vinegar, ground pepper and XXV olive oil. Then came my one-glass ration of red wine, a Tuscan primitivo known as A Mano, which is brilliant at eight bucks a bottle. Fuck the Mondavi brothers.

Oddly, after this meal I feel better than I have at any point since the quad bypass. Perhaps I'm on the mend. I've written another ten pages on the new novel, and also revised the ending of one of my completed drafts. I'm heartened. Dare I think comeback? After all, I was once in print in thirteen different languages, though that was before some of my current students were born. Ach...I dread the thought of my return to teaching. Perhaps if I were to publish...

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