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On Tuesday night, I had occasion to say, in chat, "I have a Mexican…

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On Tuesday night, I had occasion to say, in chat, "I have a Mexican napping on my loveseat." Then I got to confirm that that was not some kind of euphemism.

About three weeks ago, my Hispanic coworker Art and I went out for lunch even though he'd brought one. At the end of the day, he was trying to figure out what to do with the seasoned steak and beans his mom had made for him (I hadn't considered that mom-made lunches could be a perk of moving somewhere close by, rather than far away as we did), and I took it home to share with nekouken. It was very tasty, and I hadn't ever had homemade beans like those before. nekouken asked, "So this is some kind of Mexican gravy?" and my coworker was extremely tickled by that, as was his mom. I also told my coworker I wanted the recipe, and he told me it was super-simple, and he'd just show me one day.

We'd arranged for him to come do just that last week, but he had to cancel, so when we were leaving on Tuesday, I asked him what he was doing, and he said he was free.

He was not kidding, it was really simple, but sometimes I just kind of feel the need to have someone show me a thing before I go do it, and this was one. He minced about a quarter of an onion, carmelized it in olive oil, then poured in canned beans and let them simmer for about 20 minutes before mashing them partially. That is honestly nothing that would ever have occurred to me to do. He wanted to use the bottom of a plastic cup, but I didn't have anything he liked the look of, so we tried my stick blender, which worked fine. The only problem was that the skillet lip was low enought that the blender was able to send 360 degrees of tiny bean flecks over the top; it was far from a disaster, but next time I will transfer it to a bowl before blending. It was way less of a nightmare than the food processor would have been.

We ate those beans with a couple of hot dogs made in a frying pan, which I had also never done - I have had them boiled, grilled and microwaved, but not pan-seared. It makes for a pretty interesting hot dog, though it's harder to ensure that it's heated evenly. Then we were talking food and I showed him my family cookbook from 1987. One of the kids' recipes in there was grilled cheese, and he marvelled at how simple it was, saying he'd never had a grilled cheese sandwich made at home, even though he buys them at restaurants routinely. He told me, "Mexicans don't make grilled cheese." It sort of made me wonder what it would feel like to have a cultural identity more meaningful than "midwestern."

So, a grilled cheese for me is on the exact same level of cooking that the beans are for him, as in, "a kid can make it, but it may be mystifying to those who did not grow up doing it." So, nothing would do for me after that but that we go right out to Jewel and buy some 12 grain bread and a couple of cheese varieties. I made three sandwiches and gave him half of each - one with Kraft american, one with pre-sliced provolone, and one with block mild cheddar. He was as impressed by the sandwiches as I had been over the beans. *chuckle*

After that, I put in the Rifftrax of Independence Day (which is still a horrible movie, by the way, but it's much more palatable when being mocked). While we were watching, though, his eye started feeling pressure, like it was being squeezed, and he was sitting with it closed for a while on the edge of falling asleep, so I told him to take a nap before he drove back to the city (He told me, "White people are so adaptable!") and asked him to text me when he got in safe, which he did.

Yesterday was only notable because it was my first of three months of Wednesdays off, and I changed my plans for it - instead of surfing the web in my underwear, I read books in my bed. And napped. And then slept in this morning. Probably good on the whole sleep thing for a while now.
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