Furiously sorting through the myriad of lies behind “one-pan meals”

**Disclaimer: I’m going to curse a lot in the post, because I don’t know how to talk about this topic without cursing, and because when I took the expletives out it was far less fun to read.

The year is 2018. A young food enthusiast, a hungry young woman, a hearty girl is scrolling through her favorite blogs to pass the livelong workday.

She happens upon a one pan meal post and is bit with debilitating ire.

She wonders who the hell coined the phrase “one pan meal” and its cousin “one pot meal” in the first place? It’s too difficult to pin down, she cannot pin it down after 20 minutes of googling! This causes her to discover that Betty Crocker was never a real woman, but a phantasm created by a bunch of shithead businessmen at General Mills trying to identify with middle class women across the country who resembled their wives, sisters and daughters whom they probably made less of an effort to understand.betty crocker, epicurious,

The phrase “one-pan meal” is a frustrating euphemism for casserole, and searching for the origin of the casserole is a futile endeavor. She might search for the origin of the cassoulet, lasagna, or moussaka. She asserts that americans stole the traditional dishes of other cultures and fused them into an easier and shittier concept devoid of custom or nutritional benefit (that’s the American way!). (She admits that moussaka requires making a sauce and cooking ground lamb prior to assembly, and a cassoulet involves pre-cooking beans and the euphoric mess of duck confit).

Reading the Wikipedia page for casseroles, she is struck dumb by one sentence: “Cooking in earthenware containers has always been common in most nations, but the idea of casserole cooking as a one-dish meal became popular in America in the twentieth century, especially in the 1950s when new forms of lightweight metal and glass cookware appeared on the market.”

“One pan meal” is a fucking marketing ploy for selling cookery!

She feels delicious validation for her initial sense of fury at the usage of “one pan meal.” Those continually producing, or reading “one pan meal” content are cucks buying into a 70 year old sales scheme!

She thinks about the book she once bought as a child, Cooking with Foil. The blatant Reynolds Wrap advertising and obtuse understanding of gastronomy made her laugh repeatedly, yet she felt unable to convey the joke to anyone else.

But back to the tangent at hand.

A broader frustration roots itself… misguided language, perpetuating this beguiling notion that feeding oneself is a complicated and inaccessible activity. She thinks this bullshit is the reason most Americans don’t cook and our national cuisine consists of a variety of processed foods and sandwiches. The continued use of “one pan meal” suggests that all other meals require a collection of pots, bowls, soup spoons, ladles, grills, and fry pans.

Nearly everything can be a one pan meal with a bit of ingenuity. She would turn any skeptic to the Martha Stewart-cooking-pasta-in-a-frying-pan recipe.

martha stewart living, one pan pasta, In a final sad whisper she asks herself if she will ever live in an apartment with a dishwasher and be able to afford to use multiple pans and utensils to cook a meal.

I’m in the mood…

…to be a consumer!

I don’t enjoy shopping, and it isn’t my hobby, like some bizarre stereotype perpetuated by hollywood and women’s magazines.  

But sometimes I get the itch for the bright lights and shiny newness of stores, malls, movie theaters, and places where I can spend a little money on something that will make me feel brand new.

But I must fight the feeling for two main reasons:

  1. Epic waste of money, which I’m not jumping into piles of like a child into leaves on an autumn day
  2. I feel like a dirtbag supporting stores that I know take advantage of their employees and get their stock from sweatshops, and these are mostly the stores I can afford to shop at.


Andy Warhol said that, not me. I actually like thinking! How does a thoughtful person feed the hunger to buy? Ideas:

  1. Grocery shop and buy something indulgent (fancy salt, the more expensive cabbage?!) 
  2. Go to the movies!
  3. Watch an episode of Sex and the City. Those women live with a disregard for financial security so preposterous and extreme you can feel it vicariously.
  4. Buy something from a thrift shop.
  5. Buy someone a present. This is a great secret. I Christmas shop year round! And I’m usually done by November.

Patrick Henry said give me liberty OR give me death, not both: A self realization involving ice cream bars

This is the Pinterest page for MYO ice cream sandwiches. I felt douchey calling out one Instagram account because I don’t approve of their excessive gluttonous bars.

I saw an Instagram video of someone pouring rich brown ice cream over a sheet pan filled with fudge and hazelnuts. They put the sheet pan in the freezer, solidifying the ice cream and fudge layers and then cut it into slices and poured melted chocolate over each one. A hazelnut fudge ice cream bar… a thing of beauty… a thing that I don’t want?

It’s overwhelming.

I just want one of those things, either the fudge and nuts or the ice cream. I can’t imagine making something so gratuitous. I’d never get to the part of the recipe when I pour the not yet frozen ice cream over the fudge because I would be out of my mind excited about having a sheet pan of homemade fudge in front of me that’d I’d just settle for that. I also feel this way about cake pops, ice cream sandwiches, and burgers that have eggs and bacon and onion rings on them.

What a waste of cake! (photo courtesy of Melissa D’Arabian on foodnetwork.com. Sorry Food Network you were where I found recipes when I was a little kid who’d only heard about chefs if they were on TV).

What the hell Rachel Ray! Spumoni is indulgent enough, why pair that with not one but TWO cookies?! Are you trying to murder me?
Taken from 2015 July/August issue of Food Network Mag.

Patrick Henry said give me liberty OR give me death, not both! Gratuitous desserts and sandwiches are not this American’s way!

The internet likes…

Pretty women


Videos of dogs

Pictures of girls with round faces at landmarks

Birds-eye views of dinner tables


Jokes about brunch

Jokes about people who like brunch

Women who think enjoying wine is fundamental to their personality

Jokes about women who think enjoying wine is fundamental to their personality

Cutesy elderly couples

People who’ve had cancer but are still alive

People missing limbs and running marathons

Sick children

Sick children being pushed in carriages over marathon courses by people missing limbs

Children acting like adults

Dogs acting like people

tacos, cancer, inspirational, taco tour
tacos, people liking tacos too much, people who’ve had cancer but are still alive, sick people running marathons

People loving dogs like they are children

Women who apply makeup well

Men who apply makeup better than women


Pictures of hot women not wearing makeup but still looking hot

Videos where food is made quickly by phantom hands

Recipe videos that are impossibly easy and impossibly clean

Colorful food


Traveling to places where water is a nice shade of blue

A subjective camera view of a woman’s back as she’s holding the hand of the person who has the camera and leads him toward water that is a nice shade of blue

Apple-esque modern design

Teens who like pizza

Adults acting like teens and liking pizza

Misplaced priorities

Gains when they mean making butts rounder

Women getting stronger when it means they are thinner and rounder

People who seem one age but are another

Cats being bastards

Unlikely animal pairings

You not getting your work done.*


**Will add more later.

PSA: The Paris Review has a podcast and it’s pruh good!

The Paris Review recently launched a podcast, and it’s not an interview show! It’s mostly authors and actors reading work published in the review.

paris review, paris podcast, paris review podcast

So far I have listened to the first episode which dropped on November 8th and included Wallace Shawn reading Denis Johnson’s “Car-Crash while Hitchhiking,” a stark and surreal story reminiscent of Cortázar’s “La Noche Boca Arriba” but with an American wasteland feel. There were also lovely bits of interviews — one with Maya Angelou when she talks about reading the bible aloud to herself while she writes to remind herself of the sonics of the English language, the commanding, broad, and timeless English common to biblical translations. Maya Angelou wrote while lying in bed and drinking sherry. Isn’t that fun? I too write in bed. Perhaps I ought to add a few nips of sherry to this scenario. Mmm, perhaps I ought to learn to like sherry.

this is my lunch, I could make it look better but what’s the point?

Alternative title: I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.

tilapia, desk lunch,
desk lunch

Tilapia pan fried (breaded to make me forget it’s tilapia and think it’s something better), I buy this at Aldi because it’s insanely cheap, and they sell some with a sustainably caught crest, and this is my compromise for not being a vegetarian even though I know that I ought to be.

The olives are really nice because they’re so fatty and salty they keep me grounded. I have low blood pressure/ feel half alive when I’m at work so I think the salt helps. They were part of a Spanish medley at Mariano’s (Chicago-area grocery stores that are like Publix or Stop & Shop but much better). And sun-dried tomatoes make everything taste more interesting. I feel I am more interesting and mature eating sun-dried tomatoes.

What do you eat for lunch? One of my dear friends swears by a tub of this hummus with a bag of baby carrots. I often do a similar thing when I’m too lazy or busy to cook, though I don’t have the brand loyalty she has, and I usually buy baba ganoush because I prefer it to hummus.

Public Masturbation

I have won a rare open seat on a crowded rush hour train ride downtown!

Reading my book with relish, I am distracted by the jostling and odd movements of the man sitting next to me. I glance to the side, and realize he is masturbating.


Do I stand in these high-heeled shoes for thirty minutes and accept my feet hurting before I even enter my office building with eight hours staring me down.


Do I pretend I am unaware of what’s happening next to me?

Typing this post I realize a third option which I will likely never choose unless I am to witness the same scene as a bystander: confront him and he stops, and hopefully moves away in embarrassment.

Feminist Chicago Spring

I wrote a post on Third Coast Review about a book and lectures I recently attended. Read the full post here, and/or the summary of it below (or read the summary and then if you’re curious read the full post?).

  1. (Talking about Why I Am Not a Feminist) I don’t know why Jessa Crispin wrote this bloated coffee table book without any pictures. The entirety of the book is grand unspecific criticisms. In 200+ pages, I can count on one hand the number of concrete examples that she employs to help make her argument. This format of vague, broad statements might’ve actually made a good manifesto if she’d limited herself to a few pages.

Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 8.16.46 PM

2. Though her book is crappy, I found some parts insightful including her discussion of something she calls “empowerment feminism.” Being a #GirlBoss is not an accomplishment for the feminist cause, it merely benefits your own interests. This t-shirt that says “Strong Like Mom” was probably sewn by someone’s mother in her 12th hour of labor. It supports Target and your ego. Screen Shot 2017-06-24 at 5.33.03 PM

3. I went to hear Camille Paglia speak in March at the Chicago Public Library (damn I love the library!). I feel like I shouldn’t attempt to summarize Camille Paglia in a few sentences, so I won’t. But I will say that if you aren’t familiar with her, go read her stuff. She’s wild! Her arguments are terribly interesting, and I mean “terribly” because the conclusions she comes to can be pretty whacky and uncomfortable and not PC, but the way she gets there is based in fairly logical (not always sound) premises.

Courtesy of CHF and Ben Gonzales. Damn, Roxane’s a hardo, look at her tats!

4. Roxane Gay read at a Chicago Humanities Festival event and it was very stimulating. For the most part, she tells stories about herself or writes fiction, but then she also has this social media personality. She’s an influencer offering rhetoric to mainstream liberals (here I am using mainstream as the group which determines what political correctness is…I guess). The bits of her book that she read aloud were lovely, as were her comments and insight into the body acceptance movement. Two things seemed shady to me:

A. She offhandedly mentioned the court of public opinion like it was a good thing. An audience member asked her whether she stands by her shaming of Nate Parker and whether black women ought to stand by him as a black artist or if as feminists they should shame him. Gay stood by her denouncement of Parker saying that where the court system failed, the court of public opinion has ruled decisively and he will likely never work again. She said she wished the same treatment were applied to Casey Affleck. I cringed in my seat, not because I consider either man respectable, but because of Gay’s reliance and even pride in the court of public opinion. Sometimes, the actual courts get it wrong and often public opinion does too… Denouncing Affleck and Parker are probably safe bets, but Gay seems quick to decide the fate of others.

B. An older white woman who seemed to be a big fan of Gay (she mentioned she’d attended the writer’s last speaking event in Chicago) asked about how to be a good ally to minorities. Roxane Gay seemed annoyed by the question. She essentially shut the woman down telling her to start by not asking that question. I was reminded of Jessa Crispin’s confusing contradictory statements about being less critical of men while also vitriolically denying that there’s a place for men in the feminist movement. Gay seemed to contradict the very notion of an intersectional feminist movement, suggesting there’s no space for non-minority women, and especially those who ask questions.

real housewives Bravo TV.jpg
Took this pic from Bravo TV website

5. Both Camille Paglia and Roxane Gay watch The Real Housewives series. Isn’t that funny? Two smart, incredibly different ladies both watch the same garbage TV series. Supports my theory about being shameless with what you like. Shame is boring, and who’s got the time for it?




Life Lesson: You can’t eat ice cream for every meal.

I know what you’re thinking, oh yeah, bet I can! But no you can’t because I learned this the hard way: going to the doctor when I was 16 and him saying Emma I’m sorry to tell you this, but in the past year your cholesterol has skyrocketed! I’d just gotten my first job and with a sense of newfound freedom and a little change in my pocket, I was eating ice cream for dinner 5 nights a week. And sometimes for lunch on Sunday too! So believe me when I tell you, you can’t eat ice cream for every meal. You’ll probably die.

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 11.16.50 PM
I try to keep it down to 3-4 times per week now.