September 21, 2018

My Secrets, Revealed!

It’s been damn cold here lately, and I just checked with CNN, and it appears that this icy cold front isn’t going to be leaving any time soon, so…

One of my favorite fantasy-level-but-actually-real circumstances that I am able to realize almost every year about this time is the wholly contrived situation of being “trapped” inside my home as “horrible,” wooly Winter conditions rage outside my door.  I treasure the feeling of isolation (even if it is a bit artificial) from the rest of humanity, and the sense of disconnection from the routine.  I love the affectionate warmth that comes from being cosseted in layers of my most cozy garments as I peer down through the window at the frigid scenes outside below.  But, most of all, I simply adore the distinct food aromas and feelings and outright hedonistic pleasures I have come to associate with being voluntarily quarantined in Winter.  In the evening there is nothing that can compare with the perfume, enjoyed over time as darkness gathers, wafting from a simple French-style roasted chicken.  On mornings, hickory smoked bacon sizzling in the pan, and French toast browning crisp on the edges on the griddle (and releasing a bitter orange fragrance from the Cointreau-based batter I use), provides a symphony of sensations that make me feel like a concert master as I pour just the right amount of pure maple syrup over them both as the butter melts on the toast.  On afternoons, there is nothing as gratifying or more “homey” than a beef stew simmering on the stove or warming the house as it cooks in the oven.

But, for me at least, the Monarch of Winter Sensations is not a dish you would, ordinarily, associate with Winter at all.  For me, the epitome of pleasure (and extravagance ) at Wintertime comes from a bowl-full of sunny Italian gratification indulgently enjoyed on an icy Winter afternoon that can completely obliterate any negative associations arising from low readings on the thermometer.  I am talking, my friends, about a sinister-serious, blood-red, deeply sumptuous, creamy but still slurpy and slightly oily Bolognaise sauce dripping from slippery, garlicy-fragranted pasta.  I am not talking about the kind of Bolognaise you are used to, or get in a restaurant.  What I mean is my recipe for Bolognaise, a recipe I have been refining over twenty years of experiment, a recipe in which I have stolen the best bits and pieces of master formulas developed by master chefs.  Because of the very low outside temperatures we are experiencing, I stand here today willing to share my warm, inside secrets of this very secret sauce with you (well, I am not, exactly standing – but you know what I mean).  I should tell you in advance that this way of making my Bolognaise takes time.  Lots of time.  This is, definitely, not fast food (in fact it is the exact antithesis of fast food).  But, I should also promise that the genuine, guaranteed, childish joy you will experience will be well worth the, otherwise, sensible, adult, and serious, time you are forgoing.  Furthermore, as you will see, I highly recommend that you make this recipe on the weekend because it takes a lot of time and because you can make it take even more time.  Yes, you read that right.  You can stretch it out because you are going to soon realize this:  it is fun, and deeply gratifying, to make this dish and, particularly, to make this dish on a Winter’s day.

(Author’s Note:  Okay.  Okay, okay, okay!  God knows (and I more than Him) that I have faults as a writer.  And, I hope, chief among them is that it takes me a long time to get to the point.  AND, I also know that I failed, last time, when I promised that “tomorrow” I would get to that point.  But this time I won’t.  I really, really won’t.  Tune in tomorrow and no more chickens roasting in the oven, French toast, stews, aromas, feelings – none of that stuff.  Tomorrow, for those who are interested, I lead off, directly, with the “secrets” of a very special Bolognaise, right away, plain and simple, and as the first thing I do.  Trust me.)  And always be looking for ways to make learning meaningful – make it editing essays online stick


  1. p bloom says:

    Get out more.. go to the gym.. enjoy Herestrau… then come home and eat..

  2. Peter says:

    Michael- You really are such a good writer. Looking forward to the recipe. I can’t cook for shit but this one I will attempt. Cheers.

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