discontent #1. Winter 1996





The Bachelor's Kitchen

Episode 1


This is the script from the first episode of "The Bachelor's Kitchen," which is my cooking show.

Unfortunately, the only place it is ever likely to air is on my TV when I play it back from the video camera. What better way to disseminate it than to transcribe it for you here in the prestigious pages of "Discontent"? I'll leave in the introductory speech which explains the thing. [Steady shot of host wearing long, sleeveless, blue velvet evening dress with rhinestone décolletage. There is no zooming or panning because there is no crew. Hopefully the auto-focus works. Host addresses camera.]

Host: Hi. "The Bachelor's Kitchen" is an educational series of my own devising. It originated as a cooking show, but I'd like to turn it into much more. The premise of the cooking segments is to concoct delicious and nutritious meals and snacks from the meagre fare usually found in the cupboards and refrigerators of the average bachelor. I want people who tend to eat and kiosks and stands to appreciate their own preparatory skills: to get back into their kitchens and to eat well and economically using what appear to be a completely unrelated assortment of ingredients. The kitchen of a bachelor typically includes things like tabasco sauce, champagne, withered parsley, and antedeluvian eggs, but I assure you we can make perfectly palatable dishes from the motley selection of items in your kitchen. As the series progresses, I'd like to expand into other areas of bachelor life; perhaps some programs on art, sexy origami, literature, philately, bartending, interviews, even how to make a messy room presentable in under two minutes. These segments will evolve as the show goes on, and we'll figure them out together--but now, let's go into my bachelor's kitchen and see what could possibly be cooking. [Host gestures toward the next room. Cut.]

[Scene 2. Host is in kitchen, standing at counter/stove. Trips to refrigerator and sink take place off-camera as host continues narration.]

Host: You'll find that my inventions assume a few basic ingredients...I'm wagering that you have things like salt or bulk rice or celery-left-over-from-bloody-caesars somewhere around the house. Besides these, I know a bachelor's kitchen tends to include more eclectic things that were either impulse purchases (taramosalata, apricot nectar, cashews) or left over from a planned dinner--like you wanted to impress someone and now you're saddled with a quarter pound of ground veal, or you devided to experiment with eggplants and never got around to it: so the contents of the bachelor's kitchen are difficult to gauge. With my system you'll probably have to buy maybe two things, if any. And my number one rule, I cannot emphasize this enough, is that substitutions are _always_ allowed. I have substitute fish-sauce for vinegar, no big whoop. Tonight's recipe assumes that you are in possession of some squash (I'm using zucchini), peanut butter, and curry pweder. Everything else is merely a fortunate addition, so use it or lose it depending on your stock.

I've pre-sliced my ingredients because I think it looks neat and really "cooking show," but I doubt this will become a habit. I'm starting out with an electric skillet and I'm heating some olive oil. I prefer olive oil because I went to Italy and I like to brag about it. This is extra virgin olive oil, which is the greenest and the most pungent. Add some sliced onion and put two cloves of garlic through a garlic press. Or just chop them, that's an option. Fry these--excuse me, sauté these until they're slightly translucent, then add a stalk of celery, diced. At this point add about a teaspoon of curry powder. This is probably a little conservative, and I find that I curry for colour and not really for taste. So add more whenever possible. Now these are tender, and I'll add the main ingredient. I've got about three zucchini, which I've lovingly clised. I'm going to follow KFC's lead and take the "fried" out of my food [laughs nervously] with this trick: just pour in some water and cover and you've converted to steam. Leave them to cook.

This next part I got from a former room-mate who was a vegetarian and said she could make excellent curry just out of fruit. I think any fruit you've got would be suitable--bananas, apples, dates, what I've got is an orange which I've peeled and sliced, and I'm also going to add about half a cup of raisins. The flavour of this dish needs improving since so far its only characteristic is that of watery, curry-tainted squash. I happened to have some Thai curry paste in the fridge from something I did with fish about two years ago. [Shows bottle to camera] Take a big spoonful of that, and mix in about two tablespoons of peanut butter (almond butter, cashew butter, whatever) and moisten it with water to make a paste. Sprinkle in some corn starch so the finished reulst will look glossy and won't be runny. At this point, the squash is pribably ready for dressing. I'm going to put in some cubed tofu, whichs erves double duty since it provides protein as well as really absorbing the flavour of the sauce. Put in the orange and raisins, and some coriander and ginger if you have any: fresh or dried, either is fine.

At this point, one could add any number of other ingredients that need using up. For example, I think some sliced chicken, chiles, shredded coconut and lime juice would bring out the Thai in the Thai curry paste. Or you could put in pineapple chunks, leftover Chinese food, vermicelli noodles, beaten egg, sesame seeds, chopped breakfast links, it's up to you. Whatever is on the shelf and might fit in can go in, although I would avoid corn because it's banal and gives any dish a diner quality. At the very end, mix in the prepared sauce and let 'er fry for a few minutes so the flavours can meld. [Host makes "meld"-ing gesture over pan] So, I recommend you serve this over rice, or couscous--I'm using couscous which I've flavoured with cinnamon and chicken bouillion, and I've got left-over slivered almonds from a coffee-cake, which make a nice garnish--Hey, how's that look? [Plate shot. Cut.]