Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hello World

Hello World,

Thus begins yet another blog. This is for me and maybe a few friends if they're ever interested in dropping by. Or not. I've always had a feeling that first and foremost, writing is for the writer. Who knows? I might even want to read this in a few years.

So, here are a few topics that I hope to explore. First off, I'm a home cook. I used to do a little cooking growing up. I went through a crepe phase as a teenager, though I have no idea why. The most memorable experience was my spiked crepes suzette. Turns out, you need to warm the liquor to get it to flame. I remember that my first, halting attempts after college were some chopped up chicken thighs cooked with chili oil and garlic and served with rice. Sadly, cooking for one makes it difficult to be too enthusiastic. Brewing for one on the other hand, that I got into. My move to Sheffield, England, introduced me to the wonders of Indian food. Especiallygood takeout. The bus from the university where I lectured dropped me off across the street from a terrific takeout that happened to be two doors down from a good pub. So, my modus operandi was to order a takeout meal (chicken jalfrezi and lamb passanda were favorites), retire to the pub for a couple pints while it was cooked, and then walk home with dinner in my hands. I'm shocked that I have (a) a working liver and (b) open arteries. I didn't do much cooking in those days, though I invented English eggs benedict. And now for my first recipe:

Toast two crumpets (they're lovely, trust me). English muffins if crumpets aren't around. Top them with slices of Irish bacon (it's thick cut stuff). Place on top of them two eggs, easy side up. (For the perfect egg, melt some butter, crack an egg on top and cover after a bit.) Now here's the brilliant part. Top with baked beans, instead of hollandaise. I got the inspiration from footballers and it's terrific. Preferably to be eaten while listening to The Archers on BBC3 on a Sunday morning.

I got serious about cooking when I moved back to the U.S. I was under the mistaken assumption that getting good Indian would be tough in the States. Boston turned out to be a jackpot for semi-expat Yanks. I picked up a terrific Indian cookbook and also met a wonderful lady (the future Mrs. Blade). In the past 8 years, I have built up a few go-to recipes. I plan to post these on a regular basis. I was never one for spinach dishes, but Mrs. Blade is a big fan of saag paneer. [start bragging] So, I found the closest thing to saag paneer in my cookbook and varied a bit. I would put it up against anything in a restaurant. [end of bragging] I've got a few good dishes in my rotation and hope to share them.

I also want to write about the experiences of a secretary. I'm the secretary of a bowling league. I've also been the secretary of a few scientific conferences. Ironically, the duties aren't that different. Except that bowlers tend to yell at you. They also buy you drinks, so it's not that bad of a trade-off. Through no credit of my own, I've managed to run one of the hottest conferences around in organic solar cells. Turns out that doing grunt work while others do good science can be good for your career.

No starting post would be complete without mentioning my two boys. Primo and Secondo are 4 1/2 years old. Twin boys, nicknamed after the brothers in Big Night. They're also special needs. Secondo has autism. We figured something wasn't quite right when Primo's language took off at age 2 and Secondo was mostly concerned with moving cars back and forth. I've since learned a little about stimming. Primo's a brilliant kid. Taught himself to read at 3 and obsessed with numbers. Turns out he's also developmentally delayed. We would have had no clue except that we sent him to the neighborhood preschool when Secondo started the special needs program.

So, they both saved each other. We wouldn't have realized Secondo's delays if we didn't see how Primo was taking off. And we never would have realized that Primo was delayed if Secondo wasn't going to another school. Dealing with autism has lots of controversies. I wouldn't change Secondo for the world, but I hope that his autism will not define or limit him. He's a quirky kid, but that's not a bad thing. He's got a quirky dad.

Oh yeah. Fairlington Blade. I live in an area of No. Virginia known as Fairlington. It's a contraction of Fairfax and Arlington. Mostly, it was housing built for military families after WWII. I live in Fairlington Towne, which is a complete rip-off of the name as we live in Alexandria and the development was originally Bradlee Heights. I figure that Fairlington had more caché and so they renamed it.

As for Blade, that one's pretty simple. Sheffield United. The Blades.