Monday, April 23, 2012

Cooking with Gods (The Cocotte)

I'm devastated, she was a member of our family. She was close to 60-years-old and a part of every meal, its been hard on the whole family. Its been a very sad week indeed. She always wore teal, she was strong, but nothin' last forever. My Le Creuset 5qt, round french oven has died, broke, in fact.. She split, from the handle to the bottom, her enamel's chipped and I got a piece of it stuck in my finger (this happened while I was caressing her back to life). But life must go on, I have to cook... I must start a new family of cookware. My search for "LBN's official cookware" starts now.


Dear Staub,

I’ve come to a crossroad in my culinary adventures. Do I sell one of my kidneys and use the money to replace my 5 quart Le Creuset Dutch oven that unfortunately exploded and had to be put to rest, or do I give Staub a reputable company with a long standing tradition of excellence a chance to become my “go-to” vessel for meal time cooking?

At first the answer was simple. Pick neither, go to Target, and buy an off the wall brand that will inevitably make my dinners taste like old Tab Cola cans and Mississippi swamp water. But then, in what seemed to be the pinnacle moment in a series of completely unrelated events involving a potato, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and gently used scuba mask, my neighbor suggested I borrow his Staub cocotte.

Oh my god! I had no idea that once you closed that beautifully handcrafted lid, tiny little culinary cherubs would baste my pot roast with the savory nectars of Heaven. It was amazing! I’ll be honest, either you have the greatest enamel cast iron cocotte in the world, or Julia Childs and I had a Freaky Friday switch-a-roo and she decided to create a meal I’ll never be able to live up to. It was unreal. But just as quickly as it appeared, it was gone. My neighbor, whom I had borrowed it from, was planning to roast a chicken or platypus - - I can’t remember, but I’m sure it turned out delicious.

As hard as it was to see her (the cocotte) go, it was even harder for me to fathom a time when Staub, would be affordable member of my kitchen. Your wonderful cocotte is now my curse. My little girls want to be a pot roast for Halloween and my wife still talks about the time she fainted into the arms of an imaginary Patrick Swayze after eating that legendary meal. At this point I am unprepared to cook another hunk of meat, or stir another sauce without your help. I’ll never be able to replicate a meal like that again with the kitchen tools I have. I’m in a pickle, a bind, a quandary, but I have a solution. I would like you (Staub) to be the official cookware of me, and my blog, “Life Between Naps.”

Is this crazy? Yes. Is there a hitch? Yes. Is it worth asking? You bet. Will it work? I’m hopeful. Here we go… No hard feelings, no ill-will, just one of two answers - - “yes” or “no.” Will you (Staub) please send a determined father a 5qt cocotte, large enough for a pot roast, pork shoulder or a bunch of tiny birds for free?

Catch your breath; shake off the dizziness and take it all in. My part was easy; you actually have to determine how hard the word “free” is to digest. I fully understand the burden I have bestowed upon you and I’m sure you’re thinking that this is not the way to do business. Well let me tell you something, my 92-year-old grandma once said, “You can’t skin a cat with shoelaces,” and “you’ll never know unless you ask.” I have no idea what the cat line is in reference to and I'm to terrified to ask, but the asking part I get. I’m a full-time, unemployed stay-at-home dad trying to do whatever I can to prevent a dinnertime disaster. Without financial backing all I can do is ask a great company to do something extraordinary for a man who is about to make bologna meatloaf.

Thank you so much for any consideration you may have given to my ridiculous request.

Jim Noonan

Monday, April 9, 2012

Awesome Puma Man (A "free" for me letter)

Since joining the gym it's been hard to feel the burn when my clothes don't have an attitude. Target brand shirt, Umbros I've had since 1993, black socks and whatever pair of shoes that have the least amount of dog poo on them. I need a gym look, an awesome gym look, so I wrote to one of my favorite companies... Puma.

Dear Puma,

The other day I was at the gym whaling on my quads and attempting to work off three-quarters of an ice-cream cake. The onslaught of chocolate syrup burps and sudden mouths sweats let me know that my body was working furiously to purge itself of the unnecessary, but delicious sugars. Everything seemed to be in order; it was just another Saturday, until I started to run.

I was moving at a pretty nice clip. Not too fast, not too slow, I was in my wheelhouse! My heart rate was holding at a steady 162 and I could hear the toxins screaming as they left my vessel. After a mile, the track was filled and I was in a position to showcase my agility. Left then right, across my body and into a spin without ever losing cadence. I imagined I looked like a slightly older, less attractive more robust version of Justin Bieber, dancing to a remix of Billy Ocean’s classic “Caribbean Queen.” I was marvelous, or so I thought. A few steps later it happened. I tripped, or was tripped. Either way I believe it was destiny, because as I tumbled across the hard rubber-ish surface I saw him. The shoes, the pants, the precision of his ensemble, it was an assassination on my senses. Like an old family friend calling me back to the neighborhood of my youth, I watched from ground level as he sidestepped my face and continued running past me in all his glory. He was magnificent! After getting back to my feet I sought out the gym’s coolest guy. Next to the water fountain he stood, pulling off the look I wish I had. The classic running shoes, the classic track suit, it was a harmony of awesomeness. I looked down at my feet and grimaced. From head to toe I was a mismatched mess of big-box brand clothing. I was the opposite of Awesome Puma Man. I stared and wondered how much would it cost to look this put-together. My head knew, but my heart refused to let go of this vision, it was hard… reality is hard. I’m nothing more than a stay-at-home-dad with little to no income, who has suddenly found himself living vicariously through a man who's dressed like the lethal combination of a young Lee Majors and an old Italian hit-man (pinky ring not included). This is a look out of my price range, I’ve accepted that. Then minutes later I had an outrageous idea…

What if I was to write you a letter (the one you are currently reading) post it to my blog (can you say 300 followers?) and allow Puma to be the official shoe/athletic gear of me and my blog: Life Between Naps? This would of course be EPIC! The problem is the money-dough-cash, I have none. This leaves me with only one option... Ask the most outrageous question you are likely to hear all day. Here it goes… Will you Puma, send me a classic track star look for… (crossing my toes) Free? I understand how unorthodox this might seem and you have every right to say no, but what if? What if sometimes, all you have to do is ask? In that case, “Yes” is a very real possibility. This is a very confusing letter. Don't think too much, don't ask, "Who is this guy?" The better question is, "Why us?" The answer is simple, Puma is awesome and I believe in Puma. Puma! Puma! Puma! With a very small gesture you can directly affect change (in look and attitude). It say’s that sometimes it about heart and creativity. My shoe size is 11. Anyway, that’s my pitch. I hope this letter find you well and having an extraordinary spring.

Thank you in advance for any consideration you’ve given to this outlandish request,

Jim Noonan