Do you have trouble making friends? Do you occasionally entertain silly fantasies where you accidentally wow your literary hero with your one talent—you wow him such that he can’t help but befriend you? I was thinking how hard it is to make REAL friends as a grownup. We’re busy, all the good friends are taken, some people are serial killers. We need a system.
My current system goes like this: If I like someone, I pepper our interactions with small tests—friend vetting. There are deal breakers to sort for, like people who floss their pet’s teeth. By the skin of my teeth I manage my own dental routines. Throw in another mouth—one regularly filled with rotting rodents—and this house of cards collapses. Plus, the effort is wasted on dogs. It’s obvious to anyone, they don’t even like the feeling of flossed teeth!
Pets, through no fault of their own, are hogging up our charitable energies. Long before I tend to my dog’s teeth, I’ll stumble down the side of the underpass and floss the teeth of PEOPLE. Surprise, you guys! I’m like a dentist! Now, one at a time, sit still. Do what you will with your Labradoodle but my little mutt is not getting braces, chiropractic care, or acupuncture before my homeless human brothers and sisters.
(Dog pictured doesn’t floss.)
We’d like to say we want engaging friends who bring new ideas and impulses into our lives–but do we? I’m not that picky. I just hope my new friend is not a jackass dummy. We need to share at least some cultural parity in order to bond. Below I list some of my VET-A-NEW-FRIEND queries. Check to see if we’re already friends and don’t know it. 5/8 means we’ve got chemistry!
*Have you read any David Sedaris? Not even Naked? Holidays On Ice? When You Are Engulfed In Flames? No? Hm.
*What’s your position on Butter? I’m Pro, but I’m not against a triple cream brie or a mascarpone understudy stepping in from time to time.
*How do you feel about attending Sports? Me neither. I can get sun damage and hemorrhoids a hundred better ways.
*I worry about my carbon footprint. Did you know eating meat is a contributor to climate change? I cut back 100 percent on bathing in order to cancel out the impact of the number of steaks I barbecue per day.
*How ’bout Space huh? . . . and NASA? Right? Pretty amazing we’re gonna colonize Mars? Space is last—after surgery, prison, and Redding—on my Places To Go list.
*Have you tried making that delicious avocado-free “guacamole” made from mashed peas? Why are there mashed peas?
*Have you read The Grain Drain? It’s about how carbs kill. (asks while slow-eating a donut)
*Not even Me Talk Pretty One Day (another book by David Sedaris)? I think this is my bus (get in any vehicle).
Back to fantasizing about your heroes liking you. David Sedaris is speaking and signing books at my local bookstore soon. I’m going of course. I’ve never been to one of his events. I’m re-reading his old books while I read the new one, Theft By Finding. He’s a comedic genius. This morning while postponing cleaning my kitchen I had a little daydream about Mr. Sedaris.
In my “dream,” David finds himself in a pickle on a Monday morning in my town—the good breakfast places are closed on Monday. Next, the fantasy gets complicated because I have to orchestrate an elaborate power outage where all OTHER restaurants and stores are also closed. Then David’s phone dies.
Poor David Sedaris is famished. Honestly, he’s a wreck. He can’t charge his phone to call Hugh (his boyfriend). He throws up his hands, shakes his head. Defeated. The only remedy is for David Sedaris to consult his National List of Bookstore Volunteers (not a thing) for help. Of course all the volunteers are tied up—what with the power being out. All but one.
Since I live on the south side of town with its independent Electrical Kheinghenger (not a thing), I have the usual amount of electricity, flowing unhindered, into my home. I head downtown to get some bacon for breakfast but I notice the whole place is shut down—the electricity’s out?!
My first thought—is David Sedaris OK? Skip to the end of the daydream and I’ve got David at my breakfast table.
David runs a few ideas for his evening talk by me. Great stuff. I cobble together—from leftovers and this and that—a delicious dish of ramekin-baked eggs over macaroni. It’s nothing really. The best I can do, considering the stores are all closed. David loves it—convinces me to write a cookbook, maybe even a play, around the recipe.
Ramekin Eggs David
- 1 cup dry macaroni or 2 cups leftover pasta like Macaroni and Cheese.
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoon shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 Tablespoons crushed potato chips (I used BBQ seasoned)
- 4 teaspoons butter divided (2 teaspoons for pasta, 2 teaspoons to grease ramekins)
- 1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese
- 2 teaspoons stone ground prepared mustard.
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 1 small shallot, sliced thin
- 1/4 roma tomato sliced
- 2-3 fresh sage leaves or other fresh herbs
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon piment d' Espelete or paprika
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Boil water for pasta if you don't have 2 cups of leftover macaroni and cheese.
Butter 2 individual serving size ramekin dishes. I used 8 oz ramekins.
Cook 1 cup dry macaroni until not quite done, very al dente. The pasta will bake in the oven. Drain pasta.
Immediately mix into drained pasta: 2 teaspoons butter, 1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese, 2 teaspoons stone ground prepared mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon white pepper and 1/4 teaspoon ground piment d' Espelette
Cut 2-4 slices of tomato.
Divide the seasoned macaroni in half to fill each ramekin.
Crack 1 egg over the pasta in each ramekin
Place tomato slice over the top of the pasta. I leave the yolk of uncovered except for a bit of cheese, salt and pepper.
Sprinkle about a tablespoon of parmesan or other hard cheese over the top.
Mince or ribbon 1 sage leaf to sprinkle over dish. lay a whole leaf over the top as well.
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon capers over each dish.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon crushed potato chips over each dish.
Crack black pepper and a sprinkle of salt over the dish to taste.
Place ramekins in the preheated 375 degree oven. I set mine on a baking sheet. Bake for 11-14 minutes or to your preferred doneness. I took my first batch out at about 13 minutes and the yolk was a bit cooked, a bit runny. The next time I made the dish I removed it at 11 minutes and the yolk was perfectly cooked--for me. No uncooked white but still a runny yolk.
*A little prosciutto wouldn't hurt this recipe one bit.
*It's not necessary to place ramekins in a water bath or on top of a towel, like so many other baked egg enthusiasts suggest. You could place the ramekins right on the oven rack. However, it's easier to check on them if they're on a baking sheet.