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Food for Stopping Thought

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

Food for Stopping Thought

Andrew Ryan

Most of my day today was spent contending with a bout of existential depression, an occurrence that has been all too regular since childhood. Over the years I’ve developed all kinds of ways to distract myself from that choleric cognitive dissonance, but all the drawing and reading and hot baths and booze and sex in the world cannot compare to the purest, simplest thing one can do to remind oneself of why it’s okay to be alive, despite the painfully perceptible meaninglessness of it all- you’ve just got to make a big fuck-off meal to feed yourself and a few people you really enjoy being around. As I am unable to do that tonight, I am going to write all about how I plan on doing it in the coming days; so for your reading (and tummy?) pleasure, and my continued sanity (fingers crossed!) here is my as yet untested recipe for Tahlia’s Possibly Boring but Still Good for You and Very Comforting Too Nachos and Guacamole- a mix of other’s people’s recipes and my own common sense.

First, we make the guacamole. I’ve never been a huge fan of avocado, which has perplexed all familiar with my palette, because my tastes buds notoriously prefer bland everything, simple food with not too many flavours (hence, the name of the dish). Avocado could surely be at the top of this list, but I don’t know where the attraction fails. Maybe it’s a too interesting kind of bland. However, I do enjoy a good guacamole, but only if it has no onion. Yep, I despise onion. So this guac creation of mine will have NONE OF THAT. NEITHER WILL THE SALSA. Take that, onion loving freaks.

Guac Ingredients:
2 avocados
1 lime
2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped (I am very hesitant with spice; the addition of even 1 chilli is a massive deal for me)
6 table spoons of chopped coriander
salt for sprinkling

Place the minced garlic, coriander and chilli in a mortar, add salt and squeeze that whole lime’s juice in with it, crush them all together with a pestle. I think I will really enjoy this step. I once made a Pad Thai from scratch, and it required the use of a mortar and pestle to crush up some of the ingredients, but I didn’t have one, so I used the back of a spoon in a tea cup. It felt more futile and more bullshit than anything I have thought about today, but eventually I got those damned flavours to mix, and the dish turned out EXCELLENTLY. The satisfaction of grinding garlic and chilli would be immense, cathartic even. The love I already feel for this coupling of tools will no doubt be evident in the taste of this guacamole. Oh man I can’t wait to make it.

Cut open the avocados, dispose of the seed (or dry it out and draw on it), scoop out the flesh, put flesh in a bowl. Mix the ground up garlic, chilli and coriander in the with avocado, mix it well, mix it good, try whisking it, or whatever the bigger, slower version of whisking is for thicker foods. This one is not a chunky guac. This is a gooey, easy to eat guac. Cover with something environmentally friendly and put that baby in the fridge. It’s time for salsa.

I love chicken, love love love love eating that ugly little bird, so for my ultimate comfort meal, why not substitute the traditional beef for my favourite poultry? Yes. Yes please. I do it with tacos all the time. Heh heh heh.

Chicken Salsa Ingredients:
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 chicken thighs
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 fresh tomatoes, diced
1 corn cob’s kernels, cut off the cob
1 green chilli, finely chopped (another chilli, this is so unlike me… residual self destruction from my earlier miniature break down maybe?)
2 teaspoons ground coriander

Heat the oil in a pan for about 5 mins. Throw in the garlic, throw in the chicken. Fry that chicken like your life depends on it, let it cook all the way through, do a little dance with your favourite person in the house for a while, keeping an eye on the stove. When it’s done, take the chicken out of the pan, quickly shred it with a fork (let out some aggression), then throw the shreds back into the pan to fry a little, even out any pink left in the flesh. Shredding the chicken is essential to making the perfect chicken nachos, you want easy chewing. Easy chewing makes an easier life; fact. Lower the heat on the pan, add the tomatoes, kidney beans, chilli, corn and coriander, mix and smash them all up. Let it simmer for a bit. However long you feel like waiting, or however long it takes your heart to stop racing after the CRAZYINESS of frying the chicken. When it looks right to you, but making sure it’s not burnt or nothing, scoop it all into a bowl and wait, waiiiiiit for the corn chips.

You should have put those in the oven at some point, to toast them a little. Get yourself a big old glass dish or similar, put the toasted corn chips all up in there, cover in salsa, grate HEAPS of cheddar cheese over the top, then back in the oven until the cheese is a little golden. That smell alone is sure to lighten the deepest of dark moods. Take it out of the dish, spoon the refrigerated guacamole all over the salsa, do the same with some sour cream and BAM, you got yourself a dish that even Nietzsche would take great delight in eating. All that’s left to do is to get anything with Stephen Fry in it on the screen in front of you, and chow down on that bad boy (the nachos I mean… what were you thinking…?) until you feel the knots in your brain smooth themselves out and succumb to the crunching and slurping of your mouth, the simple flavours caressing your taste buds, easing your troubled mind…

Speaking of which, put this song on as you clean up.  Dance some more. Kick some stuff. Nachos are great!

This recipe deserves a follow up. Perhaps I will do a photo essay about the night I decide to make it. Or maybe write about the Stephen Fry film/tv show I decide to watch while I eat it. Maybe I’ll write about the conversations/dances had while cooking. One thing is for sure though, I don’t feel like cutting my own head off anymore, not when I’ve got an untested recipe like this waiting to be created in my kitchen. You should let me know if you try it out and if you think it’s any good, keeping in mind that YES I know it should have onion and YES I know it should have more chillies. I’m boring, you’re not, I think too much, you’re probably pretty good at life, whatever, but we all love corn chips, and that’s the bit that counts.