Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Witz Pickz: In the Land of Women, Polish Dinner, and The Accomodating Spirit of Caramel!

In the Land of Women:

Having recently worked in event planning and at a non-profit, I thought maybe In the Land of Women starring Adam Brody had to do with donor relations or perhaps a book group who read nothing but The Notebook over and over again. I will say these two things for the record: First, In the Land of Women was NOT about either of those things and secondly, while I didn't read The Notebook, I DID see the movie, and I LIKED IT. There. Ryan Gosling is the man, Rachel McAdams is perfect for the role, and Eric from Entourage is in it. What's not to like? Back to In the Land of Women. As I said, it stars Adam Brody, who plays a softcore porn screenwriter. The film starts with him breaking up with his girlfriend (shockingly not because of his job), and moving to live with his grandma to get away for a while. It's mildly unclear why he would move in with his crazy grandma as opposed to like, getting an apartment or living with his Mom, but whatever. The answer becomes obvious when he meets Meg Ryan and Kristen Stewart who live across the street. Meg Ryan is the mother, who he immediately clicks with, and Kristen Stewart is the seventeen-ish daughter. Now, this very easily could have made the movie terrible. If the film devolved into which one was he going to sleep with and be happy with, I would have hated it. The mother was married to a man who had an affair and the daughter is "bad, but not really and too cool for school...but probably gets good grades-- oh and she paints." So they are both viable love interests.

As I waited for the shoe to drop, however, I realized that I was 90 minutes into the movie and all of a sudden it was the credits, and all of a sudden I realized that it hadn't. That's when I realized that I not only liked the movie, I totally respected it and found it interesting. You see, Adam Brody's character is at an age right in between the two women. He is too young to honestly get into a relationship with Meg Ryan (who has not been in a movie I've seen in so long that it's possible to forget she's Meg Ryan and enjoy her acting), and is too old (logically AND especially legally) to start dating the jailbait daughter. He actually ends up developing relationships with both women, but while romance is just below the surface, it is friendship, shared knowledge, and life experience that bind them together. You aren't rooting for him to hookup with one of them (alright, maybe the daughter a little, I don't think she'd press charges), and you know you won't be disappointed if he doesn't. Instead, the film focuses on each person as a PERSON, not as a romantic possibility, and as people, they are able to help each other become better people. I definitely wasn't expecting such an interesting dynamic, but I was sure glad to finally get it. (one final note-- I was shocked to find out that the daughter who looks like a 21 year old playing a teenager, is, in fact, a teenager. I give credit to the film for that, but also, a) nobody looked like that in high school and b) oh dear god, I'm getting older-- like Adam Brody's character's the movie....crap)

Polish Dinner:

I hinted a few posts ago about a polish dinner I had recently at some friends' house. Well, now I have to tell you about it, because I found myself trying to recreate it last night. I don't know enough of the details, so I will stick to the two main hitters: pierogis and kielbasa. Pierogis are terrific-- they pack delectable filling into hearty pasta and always fill you up. We had two kinds-- Cheddar and Potato and Sauerkraut and Mushroom. The cheddar potato is the obvious kind, and was absolutely delicios. Who doesn't like cheese and potato? Perhaps the answer is The Nazis. Because we also had sauerkraut and mushroom pierogis. Now, while I have very little knowledge about German customs other than beer, unfortunate historical facts, and the Autobahn, I was under the impression that sauerkraut was German. Didn't we call them "the 'krauts" during the war? I watched Band of Brothers, and I'm pretty sure that's the case. So even if I'm mistaken, such as people calling french fries Freedom Fries even though they were Belgian, are Sauerkraut Pierogis really Occupation Era Pierogis? It seems logical. In fact, one of my hosts was half Polish and half German. Now, I'm not suggesting that she was an Occupation Era Baby, but the fact that the two cultures came together and had apparently similar cuisines, makes me think that I could be right. And what am I if not occasionally, shockingly correct?

Next, we had kielbasa. Two kinds again-- one pinker and lighter and the other browner. The difference was apparently NOT just because one was undercooked, but the type of kielbasa. I tried not to worry about the difference and ate both, and they were both tasty. But then again, I'm a sucker for intestinal tubed meats. Regardless, with a little garlicky mustardy sauce, they hit the spot. I tried to recreate the meal last night with some frozen pierogis (from a Polish Deli, mind you) and with some Hilshire Farms kielbasa (I was mostly into having the pierogis again), but it didn't live up to the first meal.

The Accomodating Spirit of Caramel:

I never really thought about caramel as so flexible and user-friendly until I had to clean off a big melty-hardened pot of caramel (which frankly is just awesome to have in the house). But as I was sitting there, watching the hot water liquify and erase the sticky mess from the pot, I realized how accomodating caramel is. It comes in solid form, sure, and that's tasty. But then, you can easily melt it down and make, say, caramel apples. It grips right to the apple and forms the perfect spherical treat (don't even talk to me about gobstoppers, jawbreakers, or sour balls). Then, it can be liquified and put on top of things like Chai, Coffee, or Frappuchinos. AND THAT'S DELICIOUS TOO! But ultimately, it knows its role and doesn't get cocky or arrogant. The time came when it had to go down the drain, and it abided. I thought I was in for a horrible long battle, but simply by letting the hot water fill the pot, it slowly liquified the caramel and washed it down the drain-- and the best part-- THE WHOLE APARTMENT SMELLED LIKE CARAMEL! That made it worth it, even if it took a little while. Plus, it allowed me to walk out into the hallway and declare loudly:

Who can take tomorrow,
Dip it in a dream?
Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream,
The candyman? The Candyman can, the candyman can…
The candyman can 'cause he mixes it with loveand makes the world taste good…
And the world tastes good 'cause the candyman thinks it should…

Then, I was able to walk out onto the balcony and say, "I'm some sort of caramel chef WIZARD!" and make my neighbors question their assumptions about my lack of a daily job....or clothes....

Here's one more note: What the fuck is carmel? I've heard of caramel, and I've heard people say carmel. But I don't know what the difference is or if people are just awful. I mean, if someone heard my grandma talk, they'd ask what a "begel" was? Or an "idear?" When listening to a Jerry Remy broadcast, someone might question who "Hideki Okerjemer" is or "Dustin Pedroiaer". So is "carmel" just lazy speak for "caramel?" Are people walking around thinking they're eating "Carmello" bars? Do they think they're supporting the Denver Nuggets? Does anyone even eat Caramello bars anymore anywhere anyway? Did they ever??? At Halloween I found out that little kids STILL EAT MILK DUDS! Who knew? Anyway, please someone let me know, because I can't imagine I'll ever take the 30 seconds to look it up on google/wikipedia/jdate.

The Day After Veteran's Day Is Always Such A Let Down,

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