ex-pat to plain ol’ patriot: the american south as a foreign land.

pmklogo3

oh my, there has been a lot in transition.

its hard to believe i’ve been away from pmk for a little over a year now.  i don’t want to bore you with the details, so i’ll just rattle them all off as fast as i can.

moved back to america.  adopted a dog that looks like a pokemon.  got a job at a corporate market firm on a complete whim.  moved to nashville tennessee with the company four months later.  became a whiz at getting people to buy things they didn’t need or want.  made some fat stacks, but felt bad.  quit like a boss.  got engaged to the love of my life after 8.5 years of dating.  decided to come on back to the poor man’s kitchen.  almost everything about my life has changed in some regard, but the pmk is still my home on the internet.

it is worth noting at this point that, although i haven’t been posting, i have been cooking up a storm since i left the far east.  i’ve departed the fish-laden shores of japan and come to a land far more bizarre than i ever could have imagined.

the south.  or maybe souf.  i’m not sure how its pronounced, that seems to be the way the locals say it.

the food here is magical in its own way, and over the past eight months i’ve learned to embrace it.  the “meat and three” concept makes up for its unimaginative name by being pretty darn delicious.  soul food restaurants and tiny tex-mex joints litter the culinary landscape.  hot chicken rubbed with enough spices it is dangerous to put your hands near your eyes, which is inevitable because of the tears streaming down your face.  collard greens, whatever those are.

people down here talk about things like deep-fried beer and aren’t sure whether or not it is a travesty.  you can’t buy liquor on sundays and grocery stores don’t carry wine.  every road is a highway and nobody can drive.  there is a festival in memphis next week in which 84 tons of pork will be consumed over the course of three days.

i’m scared.  but excited.

pmk is going through a drastic change and i’m dragging you guys along for the ride.  goodbye fresh fish straight out of the ocean, hello whole roast chickens.  less teriyaki, more barbecue.  the return of cheese.  and believe it or not, i even have an oven (note the conspicuous lack of the word “toaster”).

more to come,

the poor man

 

my life as a high-fat hipster.

lately, it seems like fat has become all the rage.

paleo dietitians and fitness enthusiasts have been flooding the interwebs with all sorts of articles and scientific studies which sing the praises of blubber.  in its stead, this year’s dietary scarlet letter has been sewn to the frock of carbohydrates, specifically gluten.  dozens of first hand accounts seem to indicate that a fat-rich diet high in animal proteins and low in sugars can make us healthier human beings.  shaky nutritional data is being tossed around like gluten-free hot cakes.

and honestly, i couldn’t care less about any of it.

Continue reading

kimchi fried rice: waste not, want not.

how do those iron chefs do it?

super chefs have some sort of sixth sense that allows them to recognize the exact weight of each ingredient required to prepare a single portion of their dish.  when they pull the curtain off the secret ingredient in kitchen stadium, i like to think the iron chefs are thinking “ok, i’ve got this licked.  i’m going to need one scallop, two figs, 3 grams of cheese, 5 ml of wine, and a 20cm strip of phyllo dough per plate.”  i think maybe it is a gland or extrasensory organ we normal humans just don’t have.

regardless, the portions come out perfect every time.  nobody has leftovers on iron chef.  the members of the celebrity scoring panel never take home extra black truffle and snow crab terrine to microwave the next day.

or do they?

Continue reading

pasta con broccoli: the end justifies the greens.

as the greatest song writer, performer, poet, actor, philosopher, and sage of my childhood once said, “it’s not easy being green.”

although kermit the frog was of course referring to himself and the hard road he followed to the tippy-top of muppet stardom, the old adage rings true in a variety of other walks of life.  frogs aren’t the only delectable morsels who get a bad wrap for their color.

Continue reading

the poor man and the sea: tokyo’s human ocean.

IMG_0972

since she arrived in japan, my girlfriend has been asking me if i could find some time to take her to tokyo.  she is new to japan, and her enthusiasm is admirable.  which is to say, i totally understand her reasoning for wanting to go.  when she returns home, her friends and family are more than likely going to ask her the usual battery of ridiculous questions, and to be unable to answer them would be embarassing.

  • did anyone try to grope you on the train?
  • how did you use chopsticks for so long?
  • did you see any ninjas?
  • how was the sushi?
  • are you radioactive now?
  • what was tokyo like?

when your family expects an impressive story about the capital of japan and you respond with “i didn’t go to tokyo because my boyfriend was busy,” you end up looking the fool.  how did you go to japan and not end up in tokyo one time?

Continue reading

it’s self-improvement month on pmk!

guess who is really awesome at taking food photos.

i’ll give you a hint: if you guessed me, you are absolutely wrong.

lately, i’ve been perusing all kinds of awesome food blogs in all reaches of the blogosphere, and quite a few have left an impression on me.  some of the huge ones that have really inspired me are one man’s meat, cottage grove house, and simple provisions.  every time i read those blogs, i think “jeez, look at these pictures.  there is no way in heck i could take food photos that look that good.”

but today, i finally thought, “maybe it is time to try to take some food photos that do look that good.”

Continue reading

ketchup rice, television, and the usa.

the conversations we have while we eat are pretty amazing sometimes.

while i was at school the other day, i decided to eat my school lunch in one of my first grade classes.  i love eating with my first graders, and for the most part they love eating with me, too.  i always get bombarded with all kinds of awesome questions, and i am always more than happy to answer them.  “misha-sensei, what is your favorite color?”  “misha-sensei, are you married?  do you have kids?”  “misha-sensei, do you like mini-tomatoes?”  the list goes on.

a few days ago, however, i was shocked and a little saddened by a question a little girl sitting next to me asked.  about halfway through the meal (during which i was making faces and goofy jokes and thumbwrestling kids), she turned to me all of the sudden and asked, “misha-sensei, are you really from america?”  i was a little confused and taken aback, but i said yes.

what she said next threw me for a loop.  “but you aren’t scary.  americans are scary, right?”

as an american in japan, what do you say to something like that?  what can you say?

Continue reading