Friday, July 15, 2011
Once upon an era in Los Angeles, there was a restauranteur named Vic Comer whose cooking my mother adored. This was in the late 1940's and to mid-1950's, a place where Dad often took her to dinner when they were young and cute. Mom raved about the place and possessed three recipes by one of Vic's cooks, a Chinese woman named Mabel Tinloy. It isn't easy to ask a chef for their recipe. In fact, it is downright rude. But Dad was a well known jazz musician and Mom was movie star gorgeous, so they were excused from the formalities of territorial borders and what is normally not acceptible. They were, um,....special.
I know nothing else about this wonderful cook named Mabel Tinloy. Chances are that she is gone,now. If she's still with us and happens upon this mention, I thank her, wherever she may be.For I have used her recipes many times, much to the joy of my dinner guests and spouse.
Mabel Tinloy's recipe uses white rice, green onions, bacon and its drippings, eggs, a few dashes of salt and pepper, and just a few shakes of Worcestershire.
One afternoon, Mother felt like she needed "a little something" and she was determined to have fried rice.She did not have white rice.She did not use brown rice, ever. But she did have a box of chicken-flavored Rice-A-Roni. And she didn't have green onions. But she did have yellow onions, and eggs, and plenty of bacon. No need for the Worcestershire with a seasoning packet. Mind you, such activity initiated by her was rare and unpredictable. And I enjoyed watching her in the kitchen. It was an amusing little circus where a mime shows up instead of a clown. A mime with Tourette's Syndrome. Even the cat would make herself scarce.
What Mother turned out here was quite yummy. But from then on, she continued to use chopped yellow onions, not enough eggs or bacon, and not a shake of salt and pepper. And she couldn't figure out why mine was so much better. Oh, I explained it as sweetly as I could, but she was a creature of habit and it was her habit to fluff me off and refuse to listen. Don't get me wrong. I love all onions, but green onions in fried rice is a marriage meant to be.
Usually Mother would make fried rice only to go with Parmesan Chicken or Pineapple Pork Ribs.She didn't make Asian food. But she loved eating it. Every Mother's Day I would bring Chinese takeout, a nibbler's selection she thought of as food paradise. And it would last her for a week. Such a deal!...
What is it about her generation and those before hers, that everything nice, such as a pair of shoes or a pretty dress, or 'the good chinaware' had to be saved "for special occasions"? Where were these "special" occasions, what were they, and why did they never happen? And so the shoes never came out of the box, and the dress waxed stale in the plastic cover, lost between hangers of other plastic covers with special clothes for "just in case". We were to be content with the everyday clothes which made us feel weary and cheap. But they were "perfectly fine" and there were starving children in Biafra who had no clothes...
Tell me, readers,..if you've never tasted a candy bar, would you feel bad about not having one? And if you never wore clothes, would you miss the fucking candy bar? Yeah, I didn't see the connection, either.
Sweet n' sour shrimp and pork, and egg rolls get soggy overnight, so why not eat it when it's made fresh instead of "saving it for later"? After a couple of days the food will taste like crap and you have ruined Mother's Day for your need to guilt-trip your daughter for not being frugal. And so now you can phone your cousins and church friends and complain that the food was soggy and tasteless. Asshole.
So, how many boxes of shoes do you have in your closet? Do you use the stained tablecloth all the time and save the good ones for only when company comes? Are all of your possessions indexed for some chimera you concoct when company comes? Do you stretch out your meals for a week or two so you can squeeze the poop out of a buffalo nickel? Are there fuzzy little creatures not of this world taking over your refrigerator because throwing it away would be wasting food? If so, here's a little tip from your Uncle Erle: it IS wasted because you didn't eat it! The spiritual school of thought about leftover food is that it is non-nourishing and vibrationally worthless.It is like putting dirty gasoline in your car. No optimum performance is possible with sullied fuel. I would rather eat deep fried goo than stale food...And those fuzzy alien life forms in your fridge? Either, give them names and pet them daily, or else throw them out and sanitize your refrigerator. That stuff is toxic and often lethal.
Mr. P grows frantic with me when there are too many containers in the fridge. Dutifully, he makes it a point to check every little thing for fuzzy space freeloaders. He feels that the refrigerator should be spacious enough to actually see what's in there. Imagine! The food therein should be easily accessible. What a concept! I experiment with recipes, so there are always many small containers of egg yolks, and egg whites,...ginger syrup, jams, jellies, cheeses, crumbly toppings, nuts, granola, yogurts, bread dough, coffees, Kahlua-and-coffee, ganache, cookie dough,...you know the drill. These are what take up all the space while Mr. P has a Donald Duck fit trying to find actual food. And yet, mysteriously enough, I find all of "my" stuff way in the back while the food is front and forward. But, hey, I've got a man who can actually make his own sandwich, so, I'm not going to rag on his ass. Honestly, he gives me very little to complain about. I think I'll keep him.
AN AMERICAN TAKE ON MABEL TINLOY'S FRIED RICE
Pink Elephants coffee Cafe
Adapted from an inspired adaption by Linda's mom
1 box chicken flavor Rice-A-Roni
4-6 strips bacon
6-8 green onions, thinly sliced up to 1/8"
4 medium-to-large eggs, moderately beaten with a fork
1. Using a large non-reactive fry pan, follow instructions on the box to make the rice.
2. While rice is cooking, fry the bacon in a large, non-stick fry pan. Drain done bacon on paper towels. Do not discard the bacon drippings. You should have a good amount of drippings, but some bacon is a dud for that, so add a couple of Tbsp. from your bacon drippings jar in the fridge.If you aren't a saver of bacon drippings, add vegetable oil as a last resort.
3. Slice the green onions thin, to 1/8".
4. When rice is done, stir it up to make sure it's not soppy with liquid. If it is, stir it all up over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent rice from sticking to pan.Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Add sliced green onions to bacon drippings and cook for about 2 minutes over medium-high heat.Turn off the heat before onions can turn brown.
6. Put the eggs in a small bowl and quickly beat them with a fork. It needn't be totally mixed to yellow. It is desirable not to mix it too much.
7. Add the rice to the bacon drippings/green onion mixture and stir it up to coat all of the rice. Cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes to prevent sticking to pan. You want the rice fried well until all of the drippings are absorbed.
8. Using your hands, break up and crumble bacon onto rice. Stir to distribute evenly.
9. When rice is about done, pour the beaten eggs all over the top. Reduce heat to low and fold the rice every 2 minutes so that all of the egg gets its turn touching the bottom of the pan.
10. When the egg matter is thoroughly cooked, turn off the heat and stir it up.
Posted by Linda at 6:16 AM