I used to be an angry eater.
When I auditioned for the lead in my high school musical, a rival used all the mind games at her disposal to rattle me. When I got the part, she used all the mind games at her disposal to rattle me.
I was pissed. So I took my aggression out on some Girl Scout cookies. My mother looked on in dismay as I ate my way through an entire box of Shortbread/Trefoils, rattling on and on about the injustice of insecure supporting players.
Some tendencies linger.
I used a whopping number of credit card reward points early this month to buy some new dishes. Our old plates and saucers will soon celebrate their 20th birthday and are a little worse for wear. The reward points let me get eight place settings for free.
The dishes arrived earlier this week. They were broken.
I called customer service:
“Customer service, how may I help you?”
“Yes, I ordered dishes from you Aug. 4, and they arrived broken. I’d like to return them.”
“We don’t accept the return of dishes.”
“But they’re broken.”
“Let me put you on hold.”
“You ordered these Aug. 4. The return window has closed.”
“But I just received them.”
“When did you open them?”
“Five minutes ago.”
“And what is the problem?”
“Dishes are very delicate. You should have purchased them at a store. Let me put you on hold.”
The conversation went on like this for awhile. I was finally told I could return the dishes in their original packaging (which meant I had to stuff shards of pottery back into corrugated containers). I was also told to use a return shipping label that would be emailed to me in … wait for it … three to 20 days.
Three to TWENTY days?
I got off the phone, pulled out my knife and attacked a pound of squash. Coated it in batter and deep-fried it. Then the boys and I shoved it down our throats.
Some habits never die.
Angry Eater Squash
- 1-2 pounds summer squash
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2/3 cup seltzer water, San Pellegrino or beer
- Vegetable oil
Slice the squash into 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick slices and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and generous amounts of salt and pepper.
Slowly add the liquid to the flour mixture. Whisk until all lumps have dissolved and the batter is silky smooth. Add the squash and mix with your hands to coat all the pieces.
Heat an inch of vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet until very hot. (To make sure it’s the right temperature, stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil. When bubbles form around the spoon, the oil is ready.)
Working in batches, slowly slide the squash into the oil, making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry until golden on one side, then turn and repeat on the other side. (This takes 5-6 minutes.)
Remove the squash from the oil and drain on paper towels. Season with salt, and repeat with the remaining squash.
This serves four peaceful people.