November 22nd, 2009

Barlow's crypt and my first kiss

I was about nine years old and totally terrified by the vampire Barlow as depicted in Tobe Hooper's film adaptation of Stephen King's novel Salem's Lot. Holy hell, did that ever scare me. During the summer between school years of whatever that year was, I spent much of the day with some kids who were my friends. One day, I was in the basement of a house with the boy I liked and trusted the most. He was about two years older than me and he shared my fascination and fear about Barlow and the undead in general. The basement of his house was full of wonders, such as a lightless room for the storage of canned goods--makes sense since his mom did a lot of that sort of thing. We were all relatively poor people in that town, but she knew how to make food out of the ground and store it for the winter, even in Wisconsin.

I don't remember who started it, but somehow that can room became Barlow's crypt. It seemed totally reasonable that the vampire could have been using it as his daytime resting place. My friend pulled me inside that room and shut us into total darkness, knowing that I'd be scared. He hugged me against his chest so tightly that even thirty years later it seems like I can feel now how it felt then. He swore that he'd protect me from Barlow and proceeded to kiss me at great length.

Oddly, we didn't do it again after that and we didn't ever speak of it to each other either. I probably would have continued to keep our secret even now, except for the fact that the boy who kissed me in Barlow's crypt died of a disease several years ago. I just learned about that recently and decided that I could share the secret now.

[The image is of the poster for the Spanish release of the film, for some reason called Phantasma II there; maybe it was packaged as a sequel to the Coscarelli film Phantasm?]

Brussels sprouts

Typical Americans tend to believe that they "don't like Brussels sprouts." Typical Americans also tend to be factually incorrect about nearly everything that has to do with taste, aesthetics and how to incorporate eating into proper living. It's partly because being uninformed is cool nowadays. People my age (at the very youngest) and older will remember an episode of the TV series Leave it to Beaver in which Beaver Cleaver (yeah, that's what they called him) was willing to do anything--literally anything--even missing out on accompanying his family to a football game, just to avoid eating one single goddamned fucking Brussels sprout.

Screw the Beaver. Here's how you make them, recipe can be scaled up as needed:

Buy a pound or so of fresh Brussels sprouts, the ones in the produce section and NOT ever, ever evAR!! the ones from the frozen section.

Have on hand bacon, onion, garlic, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Some chicken broth, too.

Cut those Brussels sprouts into quarters.

Cut up that bacon into little bits, and dice that onion and chop that garlic.

Get a pan good and hot and render that bacon. The grease stays. You will not drain it. When the bacon is looking about done, add the onion and garlic and Brussels sprouts.

Stir all that around with lust. Not love, but lust. Throw kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on it (to taste).

Pour over it enough broth to cover the pan's contents to about halfway. Get it to a simmer and and keep the heat low so it stays at a bare simmer. Splash in a tablespoon or two or three of balsamic vinegar.

Cook until sprouts are tender.

Serve with other Thanksgiving dishes. Love it. Join me in looking down with elitist despair and world-weariness on those who still hate Brussels sprouts.