Do you know what makes me feel really alienated from the lesbian community? My inability to be domestic. Dykes, by nature, are wildly domestic entities.
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Anytime I twirl into a lesbian friend’s apartment, her floorboards are shining like the top of the Chrysler building. The closets are color-coordinated (don’t worry I’m not going to make one of those jokes). Her wife is dutifully whipping up a batch of homemade Kombucha. Handmade, gluten-free, pesticide-free granola glares at me from a giant glass mason jar. Fresh apples, shiny and red like Christmas morning, taunt me. “Look how untogether you are.” They cackle. “Bad lesbian.”
Normally I eat out (again, I refuse to make one of those jokes). Or I order in. Which is evident by the perpetually low balance in my bank account. (Another thing I royally suck at? Finances. Please don’t all line up to date me at once! I know that being a reckless spender with a messy closet and a bowl full of spoiled apples in her kitchen is sexy, but still. Get ahold of yourselves, girls).
However, this New Year I made a drunken vow to my mother. “Thith is the year I learrn to COOK!” I slurred to her whilst swishing champagne around my glass with such clumsy ferocity sparkling liquid was spilling all over the floor, unbeknownst to me. My mother darling’s reaction? An eye-roll. She would’ve made a fantastic millennial.
But that’s neither here nor there. Because in all seriousness, I have mastered a few little cooking hacks perfect for those of us who aren’t “the barefoot in the kitchen, making a chicken from scratch” types.
And now that we’re trapped indoors for foreseeable future, I’m going to generously share these tips with you. You’re welcome.
1. Master the art of the soft-boiled egg.
Do you know what’s more chic than chicness herself? Soft-boiled eggs. Purr.
A soft-boiled egg is NEVER to be confused with her low-brow cousin, the hard-boiled egg. Hard-boiled eggs conjure up dark memories of pungent school lunch boxes and bleak low-carb diets.
And guess what, I’ve completely mastered the art of the soft-boiled egg so perfectly well, a pretentious, classically trained French chef once complimented me on “my work.”
Lucky for us, it’s easy to make the perfect soft-boiled egg. Just fill a pot with water from the sink. Plop that pot down on the stove, like you’d plop your ass on the couch after a long day! Dutifully wait for the water boil. If you don’t know what boiling is, let me explain: It’s when the water gets all bubbly and pretty and almost spills over the sides because it can’t contain its bubbly joy.
Set a timer (you have a phone, and all phones have timers, darling. Look in the “clock” section) for precisely seven minutes and twenty seconds. When the timer sounds off, carefully walk the pot of eggs over to the sink. Blast those bitches with cold water!
Then kindly peel.
You don’t want to eat a soft-boiled egg on its own, so feel free to slice up an avocado and few pieces of cheese. If you’re feeling really adventurous add a cracker or maybe even some bread. Display it on a nice plate, so looks pretty (the prettier the arrangement, the better it tastes. Hard, journalistic fact). Then go to town! Slice those eggs open, put a bit of cheese unto your trusty fork and stick that glorious bite into your beautiful mouth.
Feel free to throw the soft-boiled eggs over anything too. Pasta. Bagels. Sandwiches. Salads. Kraft Mac & Cheese right out of the box! You can take a knife and cut them down the middle, so the perfect yolk gets the fair opportunity to show itself off.
Nothing elevates a meal like a soft-boiled egg. You might even fool people into believing you’re actually domestic.
2. Stop fearing carbs. Pasta won’t kill you. A bleak life without it could.
I have a confession to make. Once upon a time when I was instructed to lose ten pounds by my hideously nasty, creepy talent agent, I gave up carbs. In fact, I began to vehemently fear the wrath of carbs. I thought if I had but a mere bite of pasta I would blow up like Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and have to be rolled out of the room. Until one day I began to eye-sex my friend’s plate of penne alla vodka. When my darling friend asked me if I wanted a bite, the great divine intervened. I said yes.
I didn’t suddenly balloon out. Nothing happened except I had a glorious experience with pasta and promised to never, ever fear her beauty again.
So I’m asking you to try and get over your carb issues. Message me if you need to, I’ll help you get through your first bite. I’m like a doula for former carb-avoiders.
Pasta is a great way to feed yourself, especially when you’re a novice in the kitchen, like me (and you). Personally, I’m into bowties. Maybe it’s because I’m gay as fuck and bowtie pasta makes me think of charming, dapper, butch lesbians. I don’t know. Who cares?
The way to make pasta is to boil water, just like you did with the eggs (look how good you’re getting!). Once the water reaches the boiling point, dump the box into the scorching water.
Unlike the eggs, pasta doesn’t have a set time to reach perfection. I find that the sweet spot for a nicely textured pasta, is usually around six to eight minutes, but it’s best to check on your pasta babies at least four minutes in. Different brands take different amounts of time. Don’t rely on the instructions of the package, they’re wildly unpredictable and often completely off. Tip: It’s better to be on the hard side, than the soft side. In pasta and in life.
Now that you know how to make pasta, let’s get to the good part. The sauce. Meow!
3. If you don’t have pasta sauce in your pantry, try this hack!
Look: there are some pretty stellar jars of pre-made pasta sauces on the market, for those of us who aren’t quite ready to tackle making our own sauces (we’ll get there!).
But if you don’t have sauce sitting pretty in your pantry, have no fear. Your lesbian big sister has got your back. Err, stomach.
Grab some butter. It doesn’t matter if it’s vegan butter or salted butter or super bougie truffle butter from William Sonoma. Butter and pasta go together like lesbians and U-hauls. Take a few giant spoonfuls of butter and mix them into your pasta. If you don’t have a mixing spoon, don’t worry. I was you once. Any spoon will do. Splash a little olive oil into the party. Thrown in a little bit of ye ole salt (if you don’t have pink Himalayan salt yet, order it now). Sprinkle parmesan into the pot if have it. (Nutritional yeast works if you’re a vegan). Add lots of black pepper. Throw your soft boiled egg on the top of the whole thing. Enjoy.
Feel free to improvise and add things to your pasta! Get creative! Food is art and I know you’re an artist.
4. Make a stylish cheeseboard.
There is nothing more fabulous and delicious than a nuanced, beautifully displayed cheeseboard. Now, honestly, I’ve been talented at the art of the cheeseboard since the day I was born. My mom is one of the top cheeseboard artists in the country, so I learned by observing a master at work.
Now, let me tell you, a lot more goes into a cheeseboard than cheese. It needs to be creative! And visually pleasing! And unexpected!
Let’s start with the cheeses. You need a nice chunk of manchego cheese for a little Spanish flair. It’s a sheep’s milk cheese and I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love manchego cheese, whether they know it’s sheep’s milk or not. For a little French glam, go for something creamy and gluttonous, because that’s what the French do best. Brie is a great place to start, but I prefer camembert. Either will do. Next, you must add a goat’s milk cheese. I prefer to go hard with my goat’s milk cheeses but soft and crumbly also work. So long as goats are represented on your cheese board, you’re golden. My favorite is called “the drunken goat” cheese. It boasts a pleasing purple rind, which comes from being bathed in red wine (So. Glam). Those are (what I believe) to be cheeseboard essentials. You’ve got your cow’s milk cheese (brie), your sheep’s milk (manchego) and your goat’s milk (drunken goat).
You must add in one more cheese, but let it be a wild card! Maybe some sexy sliced mozzarella? Or a nice hearty hunk of good old fashioned Wisconsin cheddar? If you’re feeling British you can add a stichelton cheese, which is an unapologetically stinky blue cheese. It has a lot of big dyke energy, that cheese.
Now that you’ve got the cheese under control, you need the cheese accessories. Grapes are my favorite. They look beautiful and expensive and very Roman on the plate, and they complement all types of cheeses. Serve them in luscious chunks, don’t pick them apart or take them off the vine. It’s more boho to keep them on the vine, just so you know.
Jam is a must. If you don’t have a fancy jar of homemade jam made by a lesbian chef who lives in Adirondacks, don’t fret. Just take your cheap shit jam and put in a tiny little porcelain bowl and no one will know. Just don’t let anyone see that Smucker’s jar! Slice up some apples. Grab a handful of almonds. Some table water crackers always work. And get creative! Make sure very little board is showing. Fill the empty spaces with chunky grapes and almonds. Stick a shiny knife right in the middle of everything, like a knife through the heart.
Oh, and totally throw in the soft boiled eggs. Nothing is more chic than a cheese plate with soft boiled eggs.
Devour with a glass of wine and feel like the most culinary bitch alive.
5. Dress up your boxed Mac & Cheese!
I have a secret to tell you. One time my ex and I went to a really bougie “cheese” themed party. Weeks before we gabbed to everyone that we were going to bring a gourmet, home-made macaroni and cheese to the soiree. But the day of the party we got wasted at the beach instead, as one does. By the time we got home, we realized we only had two hours to get ready and make our “gourmet” mac and cheese.
Thus, the best, sneakiest recipe was born.
Get whatever boxed mac & cheese you own. I believe we mixed Annie’s mac & cheese with Kraft mac & cheese, which actually worked out gorgeously. Make it extra buttery and don’t add too much milk! If the sauce is too loose, you’ll be found out. Make it thicker than usual so it seems really cheesy and fancy. Grate all the cheeses you have in your fridge and throw em into the pot! Add some olive oil (or better yet — truffle oil). Throw in a bit of cayenne pepper if you have it! Put it in a fancy dish and add a soft boiled egg.
If you want to get really fancy, fish some boxed bread crumbs out of your pantry and put your mac & cheese into a giant casserole dish. Bake that shit for about 30 minutes. The top layer will be all crispy and the bottom layer will be all gooey. Sort of like you. Hard on the outside, soft on the inside! Purr.