bits and pieces

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Who's a Chicken? Me. Spicy All Dressed 2-Cheese Chicken Nachos: An Obscure Philisophical Tribute to a Songstress-Pal, or, How I'm Considering Getting my Groove/Nacho Back

Spicy chicken nachos with lime and habanero chicken, guacamole, chevre, cheddar, tomatoes, beans, corn, cilantro,
green onions, and tomatoes. 

Trying new things can be scary. 

I try to force myself to do new things, whether that's something as pedantic as eating meat for the first time in a decade (eep), or deciding to run for public office (double eep).

Last night I tried to make some epic nachos. Not so scary you'd think, right? 

I was inspired and encouraged by local artist-of-all and general babe-nerd Eden Rohatensky. Eden just launched her first solo album, which was written in a week, used GarageBand, and her podcast mic. After making to to #1 on Bandcamp (which is a thing) she revealed, like the vamp that she is, that the whole album was secretly about nachos. Which are obviously the inspiration for all great artistes. 

Mona Lisa? Contemplating some damn fine queso. Sistine Chapel? Those clouds are made of queso fresco. 

And you know what I discovered? Making amazing nachos is actually way harder than you'd think.

Why is it so hard to make amazing nachos? Everything has to sing on its own, and stand alone, but work in textural, cheesey, flavourful harmony. The timing has to be perfect - make them too early and you've got gross, soggy nachos. Leave them in the oven too long and they're burnt. Take them out too soon and that cheese is nowhere near melty. Kind of like life. 

Nachos = metaphor for my life. 

And much like life, everyone wants a piece of your nachos, wants to criticize your nachos, and then tries to take all the best parts for themselves.

But nachos are for sharing and for learning. Much like Amateur, much like this wee little blog, every time you get to make or order nachos you get to try something new. Before making these nachos I surveyed my friends,

"What bedecks your favouritest nachos in the whole wide world? Even better - what bedazzles your fantasy nachos?".

 The results poured in "Pho Nachos! Braised beef brisket, bean sprouts, mozzarella, lime, cilantro, green onions, Hoisin and Sirracha its unreal!" (definitely trying this), "Refried beans and guacamole!", "Corn for reals!" and "mango!". 

I was overwhelmed. I went to the grocery store and tried to please everyone, when secretly all I wanted to do was make coconut shrimp wonton nachos with mango slaw and homemade sriracha. Or buffalo chicken on cool ranch doritos with gorgonzola and shredded celery and carrots. But chicken nachos with lots of cheese and various bean/corn/pepper toppings seemed to be mostly likely to please a crowd. I went for it. I pleased other people instead of me. This seems to be an example of how I've been living my life recently. Who knew that nachos would lead me down a path of self-discovery. Is this awesome? Horrifically depressing? Darkly comical? 

Heck I don't know. But you know what I did discover? 

I made nachos for others, and barely ate any nachos. They were good! They were nicey, and spicey, and covered in guac, and fresh herbs and tomatoes and peppers from my garden. There was goat cheese and cheddar and beans and some corn, and some lime and habanero chicken. But as nice as it was, it wasn't what I was feeling. I couldn't even finish the guacamole!!!!! What is wrong with me? 

Mayhap I'm a bit burnt out. I'm a chronic overcommitter, and have 3 jobs, this blog, astonishingly family obligations, friends, a partner, 2 cats, 1.5 mortgages, a car, a cookbook I want to write, and 21,000 students who depend on me being competent. Maybe the candle has been burnt at both ends. Right to a nub. Maybe I'm just grumpy. Maybe your late 20s are actually a bit harder than your early 20s would lead you believe. Maybe you just shouldn't eat nachos for dinner. 

But trust your instincts nacho lovers. In life and in snack food. Because there's something wrong when you're not into your nachos.  And Ms. Eden knows her nachos. She wrote, recorded and put out a solo album, because she wanted to, decided to, and then just did it. So give it a listen: her personal, audible nacho

Next time I make nachos, I'll be making nachos for me. 

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