Thursday, October 07, 2004

I bought a vanilla bean.

That's right. I bought one whole vanilla bean; an organic Bourbon vanilla bean to be exact (incidentally, it has nothing to do with the liquor - it comes from the Bourbon Islands.) It came in your standard spice jar. You know, the kind that holds oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper and what not. The only difference is, this jar was conspicuously empty. The only other spice that comes in a jar this empty is saffron. And here's the kicker: I paid $6.99 for it!! That's right; you didn't misread. I am truly a moron. I admit that freely - so there's no need to point and laugh at me. I know that I'm not a smart man.

So, you might be wondering what would possess me to buy an organic Bourbon vanilla bean (and then again you may have already switched over to The Spice House to find out if I'm telling the truth about the Bourbon.) Well, I'll tell you. I'll tell you exactly why I decided to plop down seven of my hard-earned clams for one tiny vanilla bean. I am a cooking nut. I love to cook. I admit that freely. Given the choice between cleaning house and cooking, I will choose the blessed act of cooking every time. Heck, I'd even choose cooking over driving to work! That's right, you heard me! I like it. I like it a lot. Anyway, on this particular occasion I was following a recipe for fruit compote - a simple concoction made of fresh fruit, sugar, lemon juice and said vanilla bean. Having never used an actual vanilla bean before I was a little hesitant to part with so much moolah (pronounced moo-lah) for one little turd-looking item. But in addition to being a cooking nut I'm also OCD. So I had to follow the recipe to the letter. So buy it I did. I start sauteeing the apples (use apples, pears or peaches) in butter and began preparing the bean. So, I just spent 7 samolees (prounounced cash-ish) on this thing and I'm pretty much expecting it to sing to me or clean up after itself or something. At the very least I expected it to smell like paradise warmed over, but as I was scooping the goodness out of the bean it was suspiciously lacking in seven-dollar-smell'um. But I pressed on. I plopped it in the simmering apple pieces, added the lemon juice and sugar and pulled up a chair. I began expecting greatness. And you know what? That old saying, "Greatness comes to those who pull up a chair and drink wine while waiting for it" is actually true! The room started filling with the aroma of the Bourbon Islands. Sweet, nectary, naked Bourbonese vanilla. Okay, it was really more of a subtle smell, but very nice. So the concoction was finally ready and I dipped a spoon into the buttery sweetness. Again, I expected resounding trumpets and angels singing - but instead was greeted with a merely pleasant flavor/smell sensation. But you know what? I would do it again. I would and will. You see, its sort of like wine. Sure, you can spend $6 for a gallon of box wine, or you can spend $8 for a bottle of decent wine. You make the choice. Is it worth $2 to you to not rot your innards with chemically infused purple water? Then take it even further. You can spend $20 for a darn nice bottle of wine; but the differential is not as great as the difference between sludge and $8 wine. True connoisseurs, however, will gladly pay the $20 even for that subtle difference. Well, its the same with vanilla. Do you want the "homemade" vanilla that the weird Russian lady down the hall keeps trying to pawn off on you, or some decent vanilla extract from the store? Or, is what you really want the finest that Vanilla-dom has to offer - the Bourbon vanilla bean for $6?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Something important

If I have nothing to say, is it still prudent for me to make a post? Let’s say I haven’t posted for two weeks; and I still have nothing “important” to say. Do I just post some random mumblings? Or do I let another week pass? If I just keep posting nothingness, will it eventually turn into somethingful? Let’s watch.

I’ve decided that I need to be much more aggressive in paying off student loans and car, etc. So aggressive that I’ve decided I probably need to get a part-time job to supplement my income. My daytime role is as a marketing analyst. But I love cooking; so I’m thinking that maybe I could get a part-time gig as a prep cook or something in one of the local restaurants. Does anyone have any better ideas for part-time, evening/weekend work to help erase the student loan deficit? (And when I say “anyone”, I mean all of you faithful who visit the blog regularly.) (And when I say “regularly”, I mean at least once in the past few months.) So what do you think? Am I not being ambitious enough? Is there some other more “professional” part-time work that I could get with my MBA in Marketing? Or is a satisfying career in the service industry the way to go?


Friday, September 17, 2004

Believers' litmus test

So, I’m wondering if anyone else watched the Freud/Lewis special on PBS Wednesday. And did anyone else realize that they didn’t completely agree with a single one of the panelists? I had the hardest time figuring out who were the “Freud backers” and who where the “Lewis backers”. Just as soon as I found myself thinking, “Yeah, this dude is a Christian”, then they would say something that I consider completely contrary to that. C’mon! Just tell me – who’s thumping their Bible, and who isn’t?

There are parts of me that really like the fact that I couldn’t pinpoint any of the panelists’ beliefs. I mean, faith is not black and white; and there isn’t one concrete mold to be filled in order to be a Christian. Over my more than a decade of following Christ I have certainly taken many different paths and held various different beliefs. But I’m fairly certain there was never any block of time that I ceased being a Christian. I have never found anyone that I completely agree with on every issue of faith; but I’m also fairly certain that I’m not the only Christian in the world – just me and God, the only ones who’ve figured it out. So, there must be many different manifestations of deciding to model your life after Christ.

There are also parts of me that are very uncomfortable with not being able to pinpoint which panelists had it all figured out. Shouldn’t I be able to tell, from listening to someone talk about faith, who is a true believer? Does it mean that I haven’t pinpointed my own beliefs? Everything would be so much easier if there were some sort of litmus test I could apply to every potential person-for-me-to-agree-with. I could apply the test, if they pass, then I agree with everything they say. It would be so easy. Why the heck do I have to listen and think, and all that garbage?

Well, I’m looking forward to part 2 of the special (even though I already went to and read through all the transcripts). I applaud PBS for airing this well-done special. And it has inspired me to spend more time thinking about serious issu……hey, look, there’s another story about hurricanes…..

Monday, August 30, 2004

New and improved streaking...

Streaking With a Purpose has relocated. Of course, in the process I have lost all of the valuable, witty posts from my previous location. But let's face it - they weren't that good. You know, I know it, and the general blogging community knows it. But hey, let's all work together to make this new, improved blog the best darn blog with streaking in the name but has nothing to do with streaking that the world has ever seen! WooHoo!!