Sometimes I climb up and cook a storm
Sometimes I get high is a series about the activities you do or the things you think about when you are in high detail for fun. Things like playing Barack Obama one on one, watching Snoop Dogg’s sketch comedy show, and having a fascinating night in the kitchen.
The sky had turned blue at night when I opened a malbec and took a drag on my wrist. I hadn’t rolled or smoked for a long time, but it was the first warm spring day and I wanted to go up high and spend the next three hours in the kitchen, chopping tomatoes and basil and tossing them with salt and pepper, toasting an old grain baguette, Prepare the ham and vino rosso for coating and drizzle the baklouti olive oil with green chili pepper. I wanted a sandwich and a salad: that cross between old-school New York deli and chic Italian cafe. And I wanted to eat my end product in the kitchen, where I am notorious for standing by the food.
More than usual, I felt like a serial taste tester. I knew immediately how the salt emphasized the crispness of my tomatoes, how ideal a combination of basil was, and how Malbec would quench a weed-induced thirst in ways that water couldn’t. I could feel it when Keith Jarrett’s Treasure Island stayed in a place far closer than the background. Earlier that day I had put in a Jarrett CD while driving: Window down, sunset. I would be on the road the next day too – driving my sister through the mountains west for two weeks before ending up at my uncle’s ranch in Oracle, an unincorporated town outside of Tucson, Arizona.
“It’s more fun to eat when you’re hungry,” Jim Harrison told us on The Raw and the Cooked. He trained for six to eight hours in the mountains to induce such a hunger drive. I appreciate the idea of challenging myself before indulging myself, but that night I couldn’t resist what was ahead of me.
I inhaled, time slowed, and I imagined the future of my food. These rich flavors chilled my palate for a while, but the green chilli olive oil stayed lovely on my lips the rest of the night. I initially thought it was too spicy for my open sandwich, but realized like a would-be top chef how well it would go with my other, simpler ingredients.
All of my senses were alive, so I put two beautiful green tomatoes in my mouth as if they were strawberries. I did the same thing with a big, great looking basil leaf. I sat in the romance of basil even when I tasted its overripeness; The basil later appeared in my bowl like a note of my earthy gelato variety.
The bud was remarkably fresh and aromatic. I found myself in a delicious campfire before inhaling, before noticing a fruity aftertaste that I thought would inspire my possible – but unlikely – dessert plans. A wrong blood orange cake? Candied pistachios? Next time.
“You have to come in here and try,” I yelled at my parents, sounding evangelical, as I often do when I eat. “This wine is otherworldly. And, oh man, this cheese is the best you can buy in the supermarket. “They settled down with me and tried a few things before turning their attention back to The Crown.
I used to be a bad person. I didn’t know my limits and I smoked shitty weed. But I still had a strong desire to share it with friends and I was thrilled with its creative and therapeutic potential. With a few more years and the legalization movement that extended to New Jersey, that changed. At the time, I also didn’t know where to be or what to do to stay cool. This is also the case with cooking. Cooking keeps me from falling into a sleepy, thoughtless state. Here I can channel my energy, convey it and create something, often a complex meal that I try for the first time. But on that warm spring day, I made a familiar favorite.
I’m not in anyone’s kitchen, I’m in my own; When I was a chef at a falafel restaurant in New Jersey for a short time, I dared not show up stoned. It was illegal, yes, but it would have maddened me. I wasn’t the master there. I was a confused mortal in a scorching kitchen giving arbitrary rapid fire orders.
That was a job I took on on a whim. Less than a year away from college, living at home in the suburbs, traveling and doing odd jobs. I’ve been a writer of various films and a home cook since I was a teenager. I did the sports beat, politics, and cultural coverage. Now, I want to be very involved in the world of food and journalism. Maybe in the future I will have dinner parties and pop-up events where I can combine bud stems with different courses. I’m a lot more excited about working this way than adding weeds to the plate itself.
My dog was on standby and I mostly tossed him leftover bread, but I tried to give him a taste of each stage of the cooking process. I think the olive oil was too hot for his taste but he refused to offer culinary advice or criticism. I’m grateful for that, but in the middle of the night when I checked into my oven, I think I needed that type of input. In Simple French Food, author Richard Olney writes about developing a relationship with one’s own oven. You don’t need a fancy thermometer, he says, if you cook enough for yourself. I guess I’m not there yet.
The baguette was unnecessarily crispy on the outside and too soft on the inside; The smell of fresh bread stayed with me more than anything. I thought a burned disaster could turn into a charred beauty, and it did, although it was difficult to cut and serve. I didn’t take my mistake to heart. The night was too good.
Should i smoke a little more? I pondered this question as I finally tossed up my salad with rocket, roasted watermelon, radishes and beets that I picked up from the organic farm on the street, sunflower seeds and balsamic vinegar. No, no, I concluded. I think I found my sweet spot.
I poured myself another glass of wine and took a sizable bite of my sandwich. What I missed in one sip, I made up for with finger food tomatoes and basil or leftover ham. I took another bite, put my salad in the fridge, and stepped outside to look at the night sky. It was pitch black, not a shade of transcendent blue in sight.
Featured image by Gina Coleman / Weedmaps