Wednesday, July 29, 2015

When is a Beer Not a Beer?

"Glass of the Berlinerweisse, please," he says.
"You drink that stuff?" asks the hanger-on, curling a hand protectively around his Coke. "Man, you don't want to do that! It's full of alcohol!"
Manfred grins at him toothily. "Ya gotta keep your yeast intake up: There are lots of neurotransmitter precursors in this shit, phenylalanine and glutamate."
"But I thought that was a beer you were ordering ..."
 - Charles Stross, Accelerando

I once thought the most difficult decision I ever made was when I decided whether to try harder or to walk away.

Some days – like today -  a beer is not just a beer. The hardest decision I made today was whether to wake up when my kitty slid off my side and kissed me good morning with her whiskers or to roll over and take another hour or so.

No wait. It got harder. I went grocery shopping. One thing always on my list is “dinner”. The original concept for using this ambiguous word was to find something inspiring and fresh in produce and get creative. Lately, it has been trying to find the latest trend in pre-made dinners: fully cooked but fresh dinners. You could take them home and freeze them, or you could take them home and put them on a plate and feel like you were slightly more righteous than eating microwaved organic pencil shavings labeled non-GMO and/or gluten-free. Eventually, it’s Mrs. Paul’s Fish Cakes with that mutant condiment son of mayonnaise and chopped pickles: tartar sauce. Just as long to nuke as a handful of frozen Tater Tots on the same plate.

Today I was in the middle of those extremes for the simple reason that the store closest to me doesn’t have those fresh prepared meals in a cooler next to the golden rotating kiosk of small lemon- and barbequed chickens. I decided to find my holy grail of steak: prime (not choice) rib. Which is just a metaphor for how my life is an ongoing circus of disappointment. You can only get choice cuts in generic grocery chains. Why do I keep forgetting that and going through the pain over and over?

I ended up with some Bread & Cie seedy whole grain bread, and almost got some quinoa crackers with walnuts and cranberries but came to my senses. Also, and totally offsetting the fact that I forgot cream cheese, I did score a memorable picture. It was not a hard decision to continue my search for inspiration. I chose to pass on deciding whether to unravel the mystery of meat. As Dr. Who said, humanity is just nature’s way of keeping meat fresh.

Sometimes meat is just meat. Instead of buying the strangely-coloured (sic) mystery meat I decided instead to have a beer for dinner with my grilled cheese and tomato sandwich, side of home made dill pickles.

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