SOUP, GOTH METAL, AND THE TRUE BEGINNING OF AUTUMN/ CANTO #12

SOUP, GOTH METAL, AND THE TRUE BEGINNING OF AUTUMN/ CANTO #12

Until I met my wife, my favorite foods were things I remembered from my childhood. My mother was an excellent cook, and we didn’t have much to work with in those days but she would always make sure we ate well. In another life, before I was born, my father was a jeweler and a gem trader who traveled frequently so my mother taught herself how to cook so she could prepare these elaborate meals for him when he got home. We’ll skip the part about this being like a fucking decade or three behind women’s lib and power through, for the sake of the narrative at hand.

Once my father fucked off there was little to no money to throw around for lavish dinners but every once in a while she’d work her magic. The stroganoff steak sandwich was the showpiece, this thing was fucking delicious and no matter how many times I’ve tried to do it myself it will NEVER taste like it did when she made it. She’d marinate flank steak overnight in a can of Budweiser and spices, to be broiled to a perfect medium, and served on top of crusty French bread with carmelized onions and horseradish sour cream on top.

I just fucking ate and I want it NOW. Shit is legendary in my memories, and there was so much more where that came from. She made this Italian meatball with spinach pasta, a spinach salad with hot bacon vinaigrette, and breaded chicken with those multi-colored rotini noodles that kids could eat by the truckload. There was a lot of dark shit swimming around in the undercurrents of our life back then, but she always made sure we were nourished like kings. I can taste it all now, like no time has passed, and it reminds me of how much that woman loved me, still loves me, and has been one of the two people who have ever TRULY supported me in my entire life.

The other one is, you guessed it, that wonderful wife I’m always talking about. Until she showed up, mom’s cooking was the end-all-be-all and not to pat myself on the back too much, but I know my way around a kitchen pretty damn well too. Before we had the kiddos we would spend absolutely bonkers amounts of time in the kitchen, watching the Food Network, and just cooking our asses off and it was awesome. Homemade pizzas on a Tuesday night? Why the fuck not?! Duck in raspberry ragout with linguine? God damned right! Cakes, desserts, you name it- we fuckin’ did it. Probably wasn’t real kind to our waistlines but who gives a shit, happy people in love are pretty much the leading cause of weight gain in the entire world so FUCK IT.

Then, kids happened and the amount of time, or will to care if we’re keeping it real, we had to cook like that dwindled to a fraction. It’s fine, we knew that going in, and as they get older it’s enabling us to start getting back to it so that’s getting to be pretty rad actually. Two things though, have remained a constant in our culinary existence (no matter HOW busy we are) and they are the very two things that have placed my wife’s food into the top spot of my soul’s leaderboard. They are specific and they are seasonal, and they are awesome.

Prepare yourself for the cliche bus you’re about to be flattened by- fall is my favorite season, and yes probably for most of the same stupid reasons as everyone else. I like the leaves, I like the foggy mornings, I like the fucking smell of those god damned brooms in the grocery store, and I like the general feeling of quiet contemplation that comes with the season. Fuck me I sound like a knob and a half, but it’s true so you’ll just have to mock me later. Plus, hoodies. Do I really need to say anything else? If I could wear hoodies 365 days a year you bet your ass I would, and I’d love every second of it too.

There are some non-weather related things that usher in my favorite season and I’m kinda stoked to share them with you because I have a feeling at least SOME of you guys will be weird like me and maybe even have some of the same ones. First of all, like I said above- the second I can justifiably walk around in a hoodie without sweating to death is the first horseman. Then, you have the “fall smell” and if you don’t get what that is I’ll never be able to explain it to you. Another is the slow increase in week-long stretches of cloudy days, where it’s just cool and a little gloomy, and the drying leaves rustle in the wind- see, it’s good shit. I’m giddy even typing about it. I know I’m a dork, but you’re still reading so you must be too!

Then, we get to the music. There are some VERY specific things I instinctively begin listening to when fall arrives that really signal the start of it all for me. The first? At some point after my birthday (September 19th) and before Halloween, I will begin listening to Type O Negative’s “October Rust” on a semi-daily basis. Nearly nothing in the universe signals the arrival of the autumnal for me like those opening notes of “Love You To Death” and it’ll be that way til the day I fucking die. Same goes for “Above” by Mad Season, and if you don’t know about Mad Season I’m gonna need you to IMMEDIATELY go learn about them here. Thank me later in the comments. That album holds an incredibly special place in my heart because A) it’s fucking amazing and Layne Staley’s absolute best work, not to mention Mike McCready’s too and B) it is associated with a very “burned into my psyche” memory of beginning an LSD trip with my bandmates, being picked up on the side of the road by some older dudes in bigger bands we looked up to at the time, who were ALSO on psychedelic chemicals like us, and hearing “River of Deceit” for the first time whilst tripping and driving down an old tree-lined road in my hometown. Dappled sunlight shining through the leaves, hearing this amazing shit for the first time- it’s hesher transcendence of the highest order and I’ll never fucking forget it. So yeah, Mad Season for the win.

Then, there’s “Little Earthquakes”, Tori Amos’s masterwork debut album and one of the most influential works of art I’ve ever encountered in my life. From the first note of “Crucify”, to the emotional sledgehammer of “Me And a Gun”, nothing outside of Prince, Tool, or The Velvet Underground has had such a profound and soul-altering effect on this guy. ‘Winter” will forever be my favorite and it will always symbolize the changing of seasons and reckoning with abandonment to me- so yeah, it resonates to say the least. That album still slays me every time I hear it, and I do my best to save it for fall just for dramatic impact. It’s ok, I want to slap me too.

Some others of major seasonal significance are pretty much anything by Radical Face, but especially the song “Welcome Home, Son”, my gloomy Gus group of British awesomeness in Portishead’s “Dummy”, Massive Attack’s “Mezzanine”, and My Bloody Valentine’s “Loveless” (with honorable mentions in sad-sackiness to Colplay’s “A Rush of Blood to the Head” and pretty much all of Adele’s catalog), and the holy triumvirate of emotional Midwestern punk genius in Off with Their Heads “In Desolation”, Banner Pilot’s “Heart Beats Pacific”, and every single Alkaline Trio song in existence. Add in my yearly spins of The Get Up Kids’ “Something to Write Home About”, and the randomness of my seasonal obsession with the song “All is Numb” by 32 Leaves for some reason and you have the whole picture.

I fucking love fall, anyone reading this should be able to see that very clearly by now, but it’s not ALL about the music. And the music is something that filters it’s way through over the entirety of the season- the food though, THAT’S the stuff that triggers the TRUE beginning and it involves two dishes in my book. My wife’s world-class butternut squash soup, and her soul-obliteratingly perfect spaghetti bolognese. If I was going to be put to death by the state, and given one last meal, it would be my wife’s spaghetti bolognese. Both of these dishes are my favorites of all time, but if I’m gallows-bound it’s ALL about the spaghetti bolognese. Seriously, I don’t know how I lived 32 years of life without it before we met, and I’m lucky that I don’t have to be without it ever again. I’m convinced she’s some kind of hot lady wizard because she takes two dishes that in less-capable hands would be fairly standard issue and imbues them with a rapturous magic that engulfs my entire spirit with every forkful. Fuck Mother Nature, it ain’t fuckin’ fall without this stuff-period. Your calendar is wrong, the almanac is a dickhead, my wife’s motherfucking cooking is the real harbinger of the autumnal and it is wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

It’s pretty rad to be able to say that my two favorite foods in the entire world are made by the person who also happens to be hanging out for the rest of my life. That’s probably a big part of why it’s so special to me too. Every culture shares the same kinds of legends, stories, whatever you want to call it. Food is one of the doorways to the heart and soul of each other, it is a way to transmit and receive love directly and it is one of the few things we all manage to share in some capacity as human beings. You gotta eat after all, and even the most vile of individuals probably has a favorite fucking food or two. Even assholes eat cake. So food made by the people we love is automatically going to carry a certain effect but to attribute too much of the credit to the cultural or mystical would detract from the singular fact that is- my wife is just fuckin’ amazing in the kitchen, and every damn thing else she does, so it’s ability as much as it is emotion. Skill + love = FUCK YEAH.

No offense to my mother’s cooking either, none whatsoever, it’s just that it had it’s time in the spotlight and now that light gets to shine on the love of my life, my best friend, and the mother of my children. This is the time of year for all this wonderful stuff, and in the interest of full disclosure I’m very happy to report that we had the soup yesterday and tonight’s dinner shall be none other than that earth-shattering spaghetti bolognese so I’m legit smiling RIGHT NOW cause I know what’s ahead in the next few hours.

Fall fucking rules, food fucking rules, and Type O Negative fuckin’ rules too. I’m gonna go now, and chill in my hoodie whilst playing some Switch on the couch. Everyone else is napping and it’s quiet, and I can faintly hear the leaves rustling outside, and I know my favorite death row meal is coming later. Happy Fucking Sunday to me. Awesome.

AJH

A brand new blog/website where this happily married, 30-something father of 2 little minions rants, raves, and reviews video games. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together!http://theghostgeneration.com

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