Bad Ideas

Well, I strongly suspect that this shouldn’t have worked, but there you go. When you run the numbers against the development of our planet to its current life supporting state you start to think that about a lot of things.

There are times that I get an image in my head, and an occasionally alarming compulsion to make those things real. As I am a pretty useless visual artist, I will almost inevitably default to a medium in which I am competent. Which means either prose, roleplaying game design, or…

Food.

I don’t think that my teenage self would approve if they realised that I now considered this a means of self expression. But seriously, fusk ’em, I don’t give a fusk what my fourth dimensional selves think and they’re all fusked in the head.

Anyway, I’m in a Blade Runner kind of mood, so I’m making…

Curry Gyoza Noodles

Yeah, bit of a funny revelation, but Pythagoras got triangles, I get carbs. Here’s how you do it. 20161121_134536.jpg

First, you need some Gyoza. And if you think these little dumplings aren’t cyberpunk as fusk, then take one look at the ingredients and you’ll realise that they almost entirely epitomise the kind of shenanigans I’ve been trying to embody throughout this blog.

I don’t know if there’s a thing in there that isn’t a thing-substitute.

Anyway, you fry the gyoza then steam them. The trick here is not to use too much oil, because if you do it’ll attempt your murder when you pour the water in for steaming.

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Action shot!

Anyway, that’s pretty easy stuff. Take the now cooked gyoza out of the pan and set them aside somewhere. I mean you could use a new pan if you’re some fancy-pants multiple pan owning type, but I did it with one because that’s what I’ve got.

Next stage, sauce. I could have made something with vitamins and minerals and such, but that isn’t what I did.

Dice up an onion and a couple of small potatoes very finely. Using the (same) pan, fry these things, and once they have that tasty fried coating sprinkle them liberally with curry powder. VERY liberally, or you will be cast from this blog in shame!

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Anyway, from there its the simple addition of this blood substituting, incredibly cheap cleanskin, which is also our drop of the night. Day. Time has gotten slippery for me lately.

Add a bit of water to the sauce to keep it fairly thin, as its going to need to soak through both dumplings and noodles.

And now we get to those noodles! I personally use the very cheapest ramen on the market, not the instant variety but the serious bulk packs from Jinmailing. Though they usually require a second round of boiling to extract the unusually high amount of starch, but once you get over that little hurdle you’re away.

So cook the noodles. Please don’t ask me to teach you how to do that.

With that done, so are we. Place the dumplings on the noodles, pour the sauce on, and garnish with a little Japanese style pickled ginger and sliced raw spring onions.

Somehow, imaginary readers, it worked.

Keep on rockin.

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Stolen Dreams of the Ocean

It has raised comment that I referred to my most recent foray into soup as an attempt to steal the dreams of the ocean and turn them in to broth. Well, not raise comment as much as have people confused as to what I was saying until they tried it.

I have been making noodles again, no doubt to a general lack of surprise. In this case I’ve been working off a white miso base, heavily augmented with elements of my substantial cache of dried seaweed, which the hipster label tells me is called sea vegetable. I refuse to address it as such.

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Here is a picture of these things  bubbling happily away in a pot.

And I am fully aware that miso does not come from the sea. I just use it to cultivate the kind of murky, salty solution that the sea carries in my memories, which I could probably equally achieve with actual seawater were I to find some way to reliably extract the sand.

As some way of explaining my current turns of phrase, I have also recently been playing a frankly improbable amount of Sunless Sea. Damn the replay value on that. Join me in this haunted, zzoup eating place.

 

 

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There were also several mushrooms involved. Here are some in their natural habitat, my chopping board. I am aware that neither shitake mushrooms nor the amazing black and white fungus – I had no idea how to prepare the latter until I discovered some in a dish at my favourite ramen shop – grow in the ocean, but I think that at this stage the metaphor is flagging. Needed some protein in the soup, and when you spend as long vegetarian as I have you learn to love fungus.

Now, all of this presents a taste that is very rich, but lacking in much in the way of definition. The noodles will add admirably to the body – even if they are the cheapest noodles available – but we need something to give it some punch. Or… tentacle whip, I guess, if were sticking with this.

So I shred some leeks, as they will give the soup a bit of zazz to bite down on, and I throw in some tiny flakes of a dried chili of ill starred origin. With the happily boiled black fungus on top, we have a hearty soup that reminds me of the crashing waves in which I spent my youth.

Stay fed folks.

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Fish, Chips and the Nongery of Heston

The Spiritual Home of Fish and Chips.

I don’t think this would grate quite so much in my memories if I hadn’t been eating so many chips lately.

Part of this has been a new found appreciation of local chain Lord of the Fries. Turns out everything on their menu is either vegetarian or vegan, including their dangerously convincing soy nuggets. The other part is that for whatever reason, at this end of the scramble for rent scale, chips are omnipresent.

Anyway.

The Spiritual Home of Fish and Chips.

This is what Heston Blumenthal dubbed Brighton.

You know. Arguably the vegan capital of the UK.

Hm.

I think what has always offended me most about Heston is that he always seems to think he’s a lot smarter than he is.

Like when he thought it was the height of humour to feed Germaine Greer ox testicles. I still remember the look on her face. Her smile was the sort of expression that is the last thing a prey animal sees. I’m no huge fan of Greer herself, but the guffaws of the clueless white guy spoke of a confidence that was utterly at odds with any sane response to the reality of the situation.

So naturally, such a man would dub Brighton the Spiritual Home of Fish and Chips. Because a place could have a rich and widely celebrated culture. And Heston will believe whole heartedly believe he has cut to the heart of it with something as inspired and revolutionary as an Oasis album.

It imbues my palm with a terrible sense of gravity in its quest for my face.

But I think that Heston, henceforth King of the Nongs, is really just a symptom of a wider trend.

We’re post scarcity, and it has interacted with our scarcity to conditioned brains and rather fusked everything up.

Every really enduring trend in traditional food has been born out of scarcity. Beans pretending to be meat in Mexico. Thailand’s fiery sources to transform low grade ingredients. Hell, Haggis is a lauded symbol of making the best of a really grim situation.

But now we have plenty of food. Its no cheaper to eat plant food than it is to eat piles of dead animal muscle, and even poorer folks manage that most days.

And our culinary culture is defined by a bunch of nongs pouring liquid nitrogen on perfectly good food. Or in the case of the King Nong himself, by making wild declarations about food that are blatantly out of step with reality.

And the part of the world that is not post scarcity watches on. After all, we let the Nongs on TV.

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The Simple Things

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I currently have broccoli and garlic in a pot.

It will shortly be joined by pasta. That’s what I’m having for dinner.

Now, this isn’t another rant about my being poor. Its got a bit more to do with how sometimes really simple things are perfect, and for all that could be added to them, it won’t really be improved.

This was originally one of my partner’s recipes, and I suppose its that which connects it in my mind to a particular character in an anime that she watched almost religiously for a time.

For those of you who have watched Rurouni Kenshin, I’m referring to Saito. For those who have not, the Rurouni Kenshin series follows Kenshin, a warrior in the early years of the Meiji Restoration after he has sworn never to kill again. It toys with ideas around the end of an armed society, corruption blooming in times of rapid change, and the obsolescence of revolutionaries once all the fighting is done.

Saito, a later arc foil of Kenshin, is a nasty piece of work. Though he shows a degree of adaptation lacking in the serial’s previous villains, his obsession with violence takes on a more insidious quality. Rather than a warrior stuck in the past, he simply redirects his violent streak into acts of highly creative police brutality and ritualised duels in the name of martial virtue; and naturally this being shonen anime he has to battle the hero to prove he’s mightiest no matter how nonsensical that may appear to outsiders. He’s something of an echo of the Japan that would be; the ferocious Empire that tore forth into the twentieth century.

But what always struck me was that he would always eat his noodles unseasoned. I think I’m beginning to understand why.

My sense of taste has deteriorated further. What little is left is beginning to give vague hints as to what food contains that is of value. And I find myself drawn further to only lightly seasoned goods, be it soba and sesame seeds, salted baked potato or pasta and broccoli. Maybe I’m just digging the carbohydrate hit. Its lighter than anything deep fried.

But anyway. You put your finely dismantled broccoli in a pot with a touch of oil and a thin layer of water, so that it steams rather than fries. The garlic, crushed and chopped, dives in with it. Cook your pasta in salt water, drain i and mix the two when their ready.

Its a simple little thing.

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Something on Toast

I suppose I’ve always been a bit of a scavenger.

But this was a morning where my tendency to pick up odds and ends of cheap jewelry from between cobblestones or to arrive at an event advertising free wine and arrange for there to be free wine no longer just wasn’t going to cut it.

There was nothing for breakfast.

Well, not nothing. Nothing easy. I can’t remember the last time we bought cereal, and the English Muffin supply has run its natural course. Again. I suggest pancakes, but Ghorb isn’t really sold given the soporific effect Canadian food seems to have on these kinds of mornings. Rainy Melbourne mornings. Queenie emerges, and the prospect is discussed.

I suggest some kind of tofu spread, and they look at me like I’m crazy. This latter is not an uncommon occurrence.

Then I suggest that I can’t think of anything beyond pancakes, and after a brief brainstorm a sort of tofu tomato toast is proposed.

Here’s how it went down.

wpid-20150712_094636.jpgI hacked the silken tofu out of its industrial sized tub, and hoiked it into the pan. Yes I’ve been buying it by the kilogram now. The lady at the Chinese Grocery around the corner has been very obliging.

Fry with soy sauce and pepper for flavour. Throw in a finely chopped onion and garlic, cook for a little bit.

Add a can of diced tomatoes, or your own chopped fresh tomatoes if your feeling very fancy and far more motivated than I was at this point. Add Sriracha chili sauce, because you can’t go wrong with Sriracha and given it looked like we were all coming down with colds deploying some demolitions on our sinuses seems like a good plan.

Basil and oregano, because I always put some of those in with tomatoes. Feels weird not to.

Next, dig small holes in this mixture, and throw in some eggs. Let them fry a little, wpid-20150712_095645.jpgbefore stirring them through the mixture. For any of my vegan imaginary readers, I’d probably use chunky chopped mushrooms. Because hell yeah chunky chopped mushrooms, that’s a fusking brilliant idea. You can also probably sub the cheese that’s upcoming for delicious salty bean paste (see the Refried Bean Secret for reference).

Ah right, yeah. Cheese. Toast some bread, spread the mix on, and put a slice of cheese on top. Put it in the oven or grill to melt the cheese. Sprinkle with oregano and black pepper. Because you’re worth it.

So that was my brilliant idea. Feel free to leave any of your delicious scrounged meals in the comments, my dear imaginary readers.

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Frying the Trickster

It was a thought that startled a friend of ours when we stayed with her in the UK.

I said that I had never seen a fox alive. I know they’re a massive pest here in Australia, but the only time that I had ever seen one before this point was as a mangled shape on the side of the highway. Usually the Hume Highway, between Sydney and Canberra. I don’t know if that’s significant.

So our host put out some chicken offcuts in her backyard, leaving a low light on and keeping a firm hand on her little West Highlands Terrier. Soon enough, to the Westy’s unhappy growls, we watched through the glass door as a trio of foxes, barely more than pups, hopped over the rear shed and dropped into the back yard. They warily snatched up the chicken before departing again, and I couldn’t help but feel like these strange animals were more like possums than dogs, leaping and clambering over fences and knocking over bins. Maybe I’m just more used to having possums near the house. For any imaginary readers who haven’t been to Australia or New Zealand, consider it a mercy to have not heard a possum’s voice at night. Scary shite right there.

Anyway, I was talking about foxes. I had met them in another context, in which they were neither flesh and blood creatures or flesh and blood road markers. Fox Shrines dot Japan, often in wild and partially forgotten places, or clinging quietly to unseen corners in the grounds of larger shrine complexes. There is a beautiful one to the side of Kamakura’s Hachimangu whose approach seems little more than a narrow forest path, leading to a flight of weathered stairs and, for me at least, a haunting sensation of being watched.

What all this fox related jabbering is leading to is the noodle recipe that follows.

Now there’s a leap of logic for you.

To explain: not long ago I attempted to make some Kitsune Udon for my partner and Ghorb, who is currently living with us. A rough translation would be Fox Noodles. I’ve never understood what appeal fried tofu has to foxes, but then I’ve never really felt much of an urge to delve into it either. Just sort of took it as given that the folkloric tricksters of Japan’s unforgiving ecosphere would , like me, be really into soy products.

So here’s how I did it.

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First, I chopped up a whole bunch of Shitake Mushrooms for broth. Because mushrooms are great.

Arrayed behind said mushrooms are my other ingredients; red miso paste, sesame seeds and firm tofu. You’ll be able to tell from these that I’m not making a traditional broth… this is really more an homage to a memory than a real recreation.

Because I’ve tried to arrange for silken tofu to hold its shape through the frying process before, and we all remember how that went.

Well, you guys don’t I suppose… it didn’t end well. Silken tofu just kind of disintegrates when you try to fry it, and this little blogger had to walk all the way back to the supermarket, which is… admittedly, right across the road, to get firm tofu.

So remember: Firm Tofu.

Here’s what you do with it.

You slice it into little steaks. I made triangles, but you could equally make rectangles or any other shape your knife skill wpid-20150629_183335.jpglevels allow.

Give them a quick skin mixed from flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Fry in oil until crispy.

Fry the mushrooms, then drown them in hot water and add a goodly dollop of miso paste to make a tasty broth. Sprinkle in some finely chopped spring onions, and your golden. Throw in noodles for your audience and… hey presto.

Get those noodles and that broth into a bowl, place the nice little tofu guys on top, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Much more attractive than most of the foxes I’ve encountered, to be sure.

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Bean Burger

I’ve had a little dream.

I suspect that it finds its source in Shadowrun: Dragonfall, a cool little turn based strategy game with rpg elements that I finished around Christmas time while I was back in Scotland.

Anyway, for whatever reason I’ve had this urge to build myself a little garden, possibly on a flat rooftop somewhere, and kit it out with a vegetable patch and a clutch of solar panels. I think this sentiment grew out of the game, as that is very much the aesthetic of the Kreusbazaar, the game’s central environment, a tough little anarchist state holding its own in the sea of violence and exploitation that surfaced in the wake of Berlin’s Dracopocalypse.

Around the same time I was eating a lot of bean burgers. There was a stand at the Edinburgh’s Christmas Market, just down the strip from the waffle stand run by a gang of South German accountants and lawyers, that sold a wide selection of burgers, and we learned to get along well with them selling vegetarian food and my rarely having time to make my own lunch.

So if I had a rooftop garden I feel like, climate permitting, I’d probably grow beans.

And I made a bean burger for myself, which is tangentially connected to all this babble and rather more so to the title of this article. Why it is I seem to feel the need to misdirect so aggressively in my opening statements is a facet of myself I am yet to understand.

So there was a bean burger. The bean mix functioned a bit more like a spread than a burger, but it turned out pretty well.

Instructions!

Fry your beans in oil, and then mash them to a paste with a fork in the pan. Throw in some finely chopped onion.

Spread the mix onto an English Muffin, or whatever bread product you have handy.

Fry a strip of firm tofu in oil, and put this on the bean mix like a cute little soy steak (omg! so cute!)

Add sweet chilli sauce.

Eat.

Use glucose extracted by your digestive system to collapse Australia’s monstrous government and attend celebratory drinks in quorganism’s solar bean garden.

Enjoy your week, imaginary readers.

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A General Update, and the Refried Bean Secret

Hi again imaginary readers.

Given your loyal following, I figured I should fill you in on how things are going in my little corner of the world, and perhaps give some explanation for recent behavioural trends.

You’ll probably have noticed I’ve mostly been smashing out a lot of roleplay related stuff and most recently a little zeitgeist article; basically, stuff that I can write easily without having to leave my chair. You’ll also notice a fairly substantial decline in my recent foodie posts. The reason for that is that I’ve largely been eating lentils and jack all else, which I figure doesn’t make great reading.

Now, these are just symptoms in honesty.

The reason for the shut in lifestyle is that, with my partner and I having just moved to Melbourne and lacking jobs, we are poor and things like tram travel and interesting ingredients are expensive. So you get the musings I can make without leaving the house.

But! Fear not. That looks set to change fairly soon, and I shall keep you updated on our various adventures when we have a workable budget to go places and do things again.

Why? Because I’ve been reading the Necronomicon. Coincidence? No longer my call. Ask Yog Sothoth.

Anyway… Here’s another photo to whet your appetiteswpid-20150521_173945.jpg

This place is so damn neo-Gothic. I look up at night and see the city from Gargoyles.

Anyway, on to the second part of the post that I promised you in the title, with the attention grabbing sub-heading of…

My BEANZZZ!

Thanks for the intro, LSP.

Photo "Lumpy Space Princess", courtesy of The Convention Fans Blog on Flickr.
Photo “Lumpy Space Princess”, courtesy of The Convention Fans Blog on Flickr.

Anyway, having worked out what was missing in my chilli, but being unable to locate the canned refried beans my pal in the UK uses in my new environs, I had to make my own.

Instructions:

1 – Get red kidney beans. Canned are good, but if you get dried you’ll probably have to soak them.

2- Fry the beans. Then mash them to a beany paste.

The instructions are on the can, if we’re being totally fuskin honest with ourselves.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with my recipe for tasty vegetarian bean chilli.

The Recipe Aforementioned

Refry your beans!

Annihilate one onion and one capsicum into pieces, tiny parodies of their original form!

Put them in the pan of frying with the once-beans!

Add tomatoes similarly destroyed! Leave no portion upon portion!

Add red lentils for bulk as you desire, but remember that once the lentils have arrived, they cannot be escaped…

Pour hence water, boiling in fury!

Add the mystic powder! (Now, I know its kind of cheating to use the store bought stuff, but fusked if i can nut out what’s in it… the closest approximation I can manage so far is a combo of cumin, paprika, pepper, lime juice and Cajun style roux…)

Stir with an instrument hewn from the flesh of a tree!

Serve upon an altar of rice or crunchy corn chips! With cheese…

And, there you have it. A feed fit for Azathoth himself. Well, I guess that puts it in league with everything else in the material universe, but hey. Its good vego chilli.

I begin to fear that I’ve been shut in too long.

Photo "Red Beans", courtesy of Guy Hatton on Flickr.
Photo “Red Beans”, courtesy of Guy Hatton on Flickr.

Once again, photos have been used under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike Non-Commercial agreement, so as I’ve said many times I ain’t making money out of this blog, and you can butcher it and use it however you like as long as the relevant folks are credited, you stay unpaid and LSP ain’t altered.

And Azathoth won’t make you any money either. Though props to the first person to send me some Lovecraftian Romantic Comedy fan fiction. I will send possibly interesting comments in exchange.

Soy For Science!!! First Attempt…

Nutrisoy. Oh boy. You folks have listened to me ramble about cyberpunk, about Shadowrun, and about the weird culinary world they inhabit. So today, we get my first attempt at nutrisoy. Nutrisoy surfaces several times in Shadowrun fiction, though its exact composition is never discussed as far as I’ve read. I know that its something that you eat if your at the lower end of the economic spectrum, and functions as a sort of “all food”, used to replace meat and most other nutrient intake. Certainly designed for survival rather than taste. They don’t give a recipe, but the vague implication is that the product is produced by immense corporate entities, probably using all manner of synthetic nutrient supplements to keep costs down. Being neither a megacorp employee nor a lab tech, I’ve had to improvise. So, now you can meet my ingredients.

wpid-20150325_153333.jpgApocalypse lentils! Tasty and easy to wpid-20150325_153529.jpgprepare, and designed to survive anything up to nuclear fallout. I’ve been gathering a lot of food cans on my zombie runs (see here) so this felt pretty appropriate.

Cryo-spinach! Because if you can’t get hold of synthetic iron and fiber then you may as well dig it outta the freezer where no living thing has any right to grow. After all, we have to keep this in genre.

wpid-20150325_154444.jpg wpid-20150325_153739.jpgA capsicum! Or a pepper, depending on where in the world you’re reading from… In honesty I couldn’t think of a way to make this any more genre appropriate… So I settled for mangling it beyond all recognition…

And finally, of course. My Soy. Industrial sized tofu. wpid-20150325_160059.jpgNow that’s done, we can get into the methodology at play here. Get a handle on that cryo-spinach and toss it into a frypan with some oil and the lentils. If you want to be real road warrior use engine oil. If you want to be alive by the end of this use canola. It will take a bit for the ice to melt. If you are using non-cryo spinach, you will probably need to throw some water in at this point as well. wpid-20150325_155208.jpgAdd brutalised capsicum. Stir and simmer. Regret nothing. Chop the tofu into smaller chunks and dig shallow graves for it in the mixture so it will fry most effectively. wpid-20150325_160242.jpgGive the interred tofu a bit of a singe so that it can soak up a bit of taste. I will admit that by this point our taste is hovering somewhere between “wilting forest” and “overgrown (ghoul infested?) cemetery”, so I throw in some ground green chilli. Sriracha will do equally well, but you may have noticed I’m angling towards a particular colour scheme for this one. Once its had a chance to cook for a bit, smash the tofu into more manageable chunks. Its at this point that we get industrial on this sorry fusker. wpid-20150325_165528.jpgBlend it down to a paste, and then return it to a mould of your choice. Since I do not have a corporation issue blender I had to do it in a few batches. wpid-20150325_170238.jpgwpid-20150325_173259.jpg So there you have it. As for taste… well, that’s not really what it was designed for. Served over rice it tasted a bit like a barely seasoned salad, though I suppose the “flavour nozzles” we encounter in the fiction are the proposed remedy for that. So; Lessons! First thing I’ll probably do next time is add some colour. Food dye is simple enough, and we get a nice nod to the Paranoia franchise with its colour coded society. As you could probably guess this attempt was meant to be green, but the light brown of the lentils and white of the tofu kind of brought it around to a kind of dull mud. Second, if I’m going to serve this to anybody it will probably need a bit more flavour. Not exactly in line with genre, but if I can get these things tasting better and elegantly packaged then it might have some appeal. Maybe in vending machines. Probably tied to the colour code… yellow would be curry. Green… maybe another kind of curry. Maybe introducing some fried bread products into the mix would allow a richer taste without compromising the basic idea of it… And finally, I think I need some sort of setting agent, but wouldn’t really want to use eggs, try and keep it as non-animal product as possible. This would let it sit happier in a block, and allow us to minimize packaging. Though single use packages are certainly more cyberpunk, I tend to have environmental concerns… I’ll tell you how that pans out. Maybe we can come up with some kind of alternative. So that’s my new cyberpunk recipe for you all. Not perfect, but it’s got potential. wpid-20150327_172548.jpg

Pumpkins, Pagans and Penises in your Faith

I’ve been watching the seasons.

It’s been a bit weird, coming back to inverted seasons, but the Australian Autumn has proven rather warmer and sunnier than even the Scottish Summer. Even then, it’s nearly Samhain, and that means…

Pumpkins!

It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve given y’all, my dear imaginary readers, one of my recipes/snuff pieces, so here’s one that’s kind of about a pumpkin pasta dish, a little bit about religion, with a dash of Renaissance art thrown in for good measure.

Anyway.

Seeds.wpid-20150120_160026.jpg

I know that we’re at the opposite end of the agricultural cycle to be really thinking about planting, but seeds are handy in vegetarian-land because we all need iron and chewing rusty nails gets some funny looks. But once again, Samhain approacheth, and hollowing out pumpkins sort of sits well with that, so we’ve got these little fellas out of that process.

I’m using a Butternut for this. I think the British call them Squash, but they’ve always been pumpkins to me.

I’ve got some mixed seeds too, Just for variety.wpid-20150120_160127.jpg

For my northern hemisphere imaginary readers, it may be weird that I’m talking about Samhain in March, and indeed the calendars do read Easter. Hell, for you guys Halloween isn’t til October. Just gotta remember I’m on the topsy turvy arse end of the globe now, out by the “here be dragons” label. And this is part of the problem I have with gods with dicks.

So you fry the seeds first. Otherwise they’ll be chewy.wpid-20150120_160220.jpg

You see I’ve had two Autumns this year. Two dying seasons, two harvest times. Last Autumn I was lucky enough to see Titian’s Diana and Actaeon series in the Scottish National Gallery, who had secured their loan for a few months. Beautiful pictures, but it kind of shocked me that he’d painted her as blonde. To my mind Diana was pale and raven haired, in line with the moon in the night sky.

Once you’ve chopped the pumpkin, put it in the pan with the seed mix. wpid-20150120_160430.jpgFry it up a bit, gives it more flavour. You can add some chopped onion at this point if you want, I do sometimes. It adds more bulk than taste, so it’s handy if you’re short on pumpkin.

Which we shouldn’t be at this time of year, despite the crazy Catholic Calendar telling us its the Festival of Eoster, telling us its spring time. Not sure whose bright idea that was, but its a damn fine way to foster ill considered farming practices.

Not that it matters so much in a modern context but seriously. Gods and their penises.

So I usually add a bit of water at this point, otherwise you’ll burn the mix.Throw in a touch of nutmeg, cinnamon and cumin at this point, though you probably don’t want more than half a teaspoon of each. Dash of salt and pepper.

A young cousin of my partner, while we were all temple hopping in Paestum, asked if I had a favourite Greek god, his being Ares, and I answered Artemis (Diana to the Romans and for that reason Titian) because she was crazy. She’s a brilliant character because she has absolutely no space in her heart for mercy or compromise. I suppose if I were to pick an actual role model from the Greek pantheon I’d probably be more inclined towards Athena, and even she did some pretty dark stuff (Gorgons, for example) but what I always liked about the Greek gods was I don’t think they ever felt the need to be role models. I tend to think that they were more like fables, stories about the kind of stuff that people get up to when they have too much power. The kind of gods that lead people’s most common prayer to be “oh great and glorious god, please find it into your benevolence to not kill us today.”

Give the sauce a fistful of spinach. A generous fistful. Remember that spinach is wpid-20150120_162009.jpgalways going to cook right down, add a little more water if you need to cover the leaves, but that will mean it will take longer to simmer. I’ll leave it to your discretion.

An I suppose we come to the crux of my problem with wanger deities. In the upper floor of the Scottish National Gallery, right above the frame of Diana arranging for Actaeon’s hounds to eat him after she had the temerity to show up without knocking, there’s the Medieval section. You run into a lot of pictures of Jaysus in the Medieval section, as well as a number of Madonna and child pictures that show a blatant disregard for how breasts work. I’ve got nothing against Jesus specifically. I mean, I’ve tended to view him and his Ma as fairly piss poor imitations of Attis and Cybele, and it amuses me greatly to think of the Madonna chowing down on a Christ sandwich come Winter. That was all intentional in the attempt to convert pagans, so… well, the ones that cheesed me off were the images of Jesus crowning his mother, as if he could somehow bestow divinity on Mary.

Here’s a fun fact Abrahamic fundy types. God didn’t give you life. Your mother did.

Put the pasta on to boil. You’ll want a little salt in the water.

I’ve been thinking about Cybele, the Mesopotamian fertility goddess who the Greeks called the Magna Mater, lately. Like Eoster, she’s had a rough time with the Christians trying to erase her. I think I like her because she’s understands that there are seasons for all things. She is the birth, life and death of her children, consuming them like the earth so that life can continue. Your dick gods tend to favour a top down, absolutist control structure that leads to things like absurd, impractical calendars, non-existent months named after dead crazy people, and violent fundamentalists murdering those weaker than them in attempt to block out the pathetic futility of their own existence in the face of the infinite.wpid-20150120_162255.jpg

Grate up some cheese, because cheese is great. Strain off the pasta, and your ready to dish up!

I suppose the real problem I have with gods that have penises is that they always seem to assume that they have to be alone. The only one. Maybe they looked down past their gut one day and counted. But having that as a core conceit means there’s not any room for change, for evolution or for variety. All it has is control, and the myriad abuses of that.

So I like the Magna Mater. I admit in my mind she’s a vicious, snapping thing, tough as Diana and twice as crazy, a goddess who doesn’t speak in words because she’s older than language and has never seen a need for them. But she recognizes that things change. That anything can die, because change is a necessity in the face of a changing world, to the seasons or the bigger changes we’re facing today. Because trying to massage your sad little ego in the face of a hostile universe doesn’t fix your problems. The universe is hostile either way.

I like to think she’s still waiting. Watching Jehovah. Watching the state of Abrahamic stagnation, waiting to begin the cycle again. She’ll still be there. Still hungry.

Sure is lucky that we made this delicious pumpkin pasta then isn’t it? Happy early Samhain everybody!

wpid-20150120_164637.jpgAstute readers may have realized that this recipe, or indeed this entire article, is not very Cyberpunk at all. Fr those of you worried by this, fear not! I have something lined up for you that I think you’ll appreciate… and photos supplied by me dangit, so this article’s mine! You can’t have it!