Heartbroke, homeless, heatwaved and how? Here is a handy recipe:
In a Fourth of July morning bowl, mix the following fresh ingredients:
Sous-chef’ing green-and-red bell peppers, kabobs and corn
A spin around the linoleum with one loca señora to Spanish melodies while a lurking polyglot frau tries to debate the radio off
Practicing foreign-language phrases in such a way as to have a foot in two countries at the same time, thereby provoking giggles, to wit: “I’m trying to remember ‘I forget.’ ” (Me olvido)
Add in an afternoon of work:
research, writing and filing
Don’t go out to the picnic area—even when pungent coal-lighting fluid wafts through the perspiring air-conditioner vents—until your stomach growls.
Marinade in tri-color sauces:
hip-hop radio, homemade Chimole, dogs and burgers.
Stir in ripe dripping watermelon, steak tips and ribs, chicken kebabs, salsa and a rainbow array of chips, red-hot dot cupcakes, bottled cactus juice, and corn. The corn should be plump and colored in hues ranging from buttercup to lemonade; when you bite into it juice should squirt your glasses, your table neighbor’s keys and right up your nose. Someone, after mowing a cob, should discover kernels dotting their wrist . . . and leave them there. For g.p. (general purposes). Another someone might tell a story about a guy with a beard they know who—when people would point out crumbs of his meals lingering within it—would state that he was “saving it for later.”
Combine in a pressure cooker scorcher. (Meet heat with equal answering heat; in the esoteric intricate mathematical cooling formula known as “Damnitshot.”) Flavor with a thick curvaceous plume coiling off the grill. Add dashes of conversational spices. One local variety that works well: “I am so full.” “Well, yeah.” “I want someone to blame for it.” “A culprit for your fullness?” “Sure.” “Blame the revolutionaries.” And, after someone was trying to find a taker for another plate: “No, no, no—in the name of all that is holy, No.” A package of organic love can be brought out and passed around, particularly for staff that agreed to work the holiday.
Test to see if done: if bodies are able to continue playing the requisite musical chairs of fine outdoor dining—as initiated when aforementioned plume changes direction, or with the realization you’re absent a fork, or people need napkins.
Observe rule that if someone burps twice, they are allowed another rib.
Dish serves to make all sticky salty smoky and beyond sated. Ssssizzling in the steamy, pulsing sun. A true, hot barbecue mess.
Fireworks desert, for serving after sundown, is best made in advance by others (although local chefs will invariably share homespun concoctions in staccato bursts that make the raccoons pop their mugs up out of dented cans). This aprés dining sweet, even enjoyed from a second-floor window, with a view that, if ticketed, would read “obstructed,” will be surprisingly filling. Red bow ties, in particular, will appear as a massive heart beating and swelling through the leaves. Lovely garnishes include: all floras pressed to a subsequently leaning fence, as if to see better, while they do their “thirsty dance” in a moisture-promising breeze; background sirens and motorcycle hums; drones and helicopters criss crossing the sky like monster-sized, mechanical versions of the lone moth flying a hypnotized haunt about the scattered window light. Night made day, with a plume to trump any earthbound grill, hung low.
Especially nice would be a train hurtling through and eating up the tracks the way they do, but this ingredient may be difficult to procure on a holiday schedule. Making up for this lack and then some: a smattering of women standing at random intervals, throwing long shadows behind them, and gazing upwards for the show, creating a tableau found in movies where aliens are invading. (Fascination can present a complicated face.) A kitchen mystery that this cook has pondered before still applies: What is it about throwing things at the sky that the human creature finds so tasty?
At late night move the entire meal into a frying pan. Add eye of newt, some “freedom of speech” morsels, and a few trills and beep beeps. Sauté liberally—until, in fact, the mixture carbonizes thoroughly. Scrape out onto pre-greased baking sheet, roll into one hairy ball. Store uncovered in the back of the refrigerator for one week. Take out when crusty, and remove as many shavings as you have ears; rub behind all of them, and in six months you will make your fortune. Or have completely organized all your paperwork. (Either of which is very satisfying.)
This recipe is not a cure currently approved by the American Medical Association, but I does meet the requirements of delicious distraction.