Imagine my surprise when I found this little gem at the end of a cookbook:
That's right. Elephant Stew!
Surely this recipe is a joke! You can't have stew without onions and some root vegetables like carrots and potatoes!
I figured, if a little chicken soup can make me heal from the cold, imagine how much faster I'll heal with a large elephant stew! Of course, the recipe doesn't specify whether I'll need an African or Asian elephant. I'm assuming with the Asian variety, I'll just be hungry for more in an hour.
Not that I could find any elephants at the local supermarket. Live lobsters? Yes. Hog's head? Yes. Kimchi? Yes. Elephant? No. Not even the local butcher shops carried any elephant. The only other place where I'm pretty sure they have elephants is the zoo. And the closest one is about 2 and half hours up in San Antonio. I wonder if they sell them by the pound? I don't have a fridge big enough to store an entire elephant. I may have to call the Houston Zoo just to compare prices. I can't help but ponder, do the baby elephants taste soft and tender like veal?
And what kind of side dishes does one have with elephant stew? I suppose a roasted rhinoceros and a garden salad would go great with the African variety. As for the Asian elephant, I'd definitely go with some rice and panda pot pie. But seeing as I've recovered from the cold now, I won't be making any long drives to acquire an elephant to make a stew.
And since I have recovered from the cold, I had no excuse to stay home, and I found myself being dragged to the mall to go shopping with a friend. I admit, I am not a mall person. Though, when I was younger, I was thrilled to go to the mall.
Back home where I grew up in a rural town on the remote coast, we didn't have a mall--we still don't have one to this day. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing. But I do remember the excitement of the first time I went to a mall--and that was in San Francisco the summer I was visiting my cousins. I was a small town teen in the big city, and I had a blast hanging out with my cousins, making new friends, and learning all about life in the big city!
For a decade or so after, I loved going to the mall to hang out with friends--watch a movie, eat at the food court, do some browsing and shopping. And sometimes, just people watching and cruising from one end of the mall to the other. All those people, many different faces, the lights, the sounds, the colors were somehow enough to make going to the mall a pleasant experience that begged to be repeated every weekend. It seemed like that's how we'd spent our days off--going to the mall in the daytime, and going clubbing at night.
But somewhere along the line, I lost the excitement of going to the mall. Somehow, the people turned into a faceless crowd, the sounds became noise, and the place just felt too much and too little at the same time. Gone were the lively colors and sparkle that once seemed so vibrant along the paths that led from one end of the mall to the other. Now all seemed grimy, dirty, and somehow, crowded and empty at the same time. Somewhere, somehow, I just lost the excitement of going to the mall every weekend. What was once an anticipated activity is now more of a chore, something done out of necessity, not for fun.
I suppose it could be because I've grown up--I'd never confess to growing old. Maybe it's because what was once new and exciting has become old and predictable. Have I become jaded? Or maybe I've changed and no longer need the mall to enjoy my days off. Or it could also be that I've found much better deals at other stores and online. But whatever the reasons, I've found myself shopping less and less at the mall, going only during the holidays for a few times a year. And I'm fine with that.
So it was with a weary, resigned sigh that I found myself being dragged by my friend from store to store in her search for the perfect dress. The joy of laughing with my friend and the promise of lunch at the food court were the only things that made the experience go from tolerable to enjoyable.
Somehow, we found ourselves in one of those youth obsessed stores, where the expensive, shiny clothes were for anorexic, skinny people; the young staff was clueless and too busy looking bored to help anyone, practicing their mannequin poses, trying too hard to look cool and nonchalant; and the music was just a tad too loud, making the place seem more like a club than a hip clothing store.
Ordinarily, I avoid places like this. But it just so happened that right after we walked in and started browsing, the dance music started and it was a song that I liked. It was a Calvin Harris song featuring Florence Welch, called Sweet Nothing. I couldn't resist bopping to the song, and pretty soon my friend and I started singing along to the song. We were having a good time, grooving and singing right up until the chorus, when my friend suddenly stopped singing and dancing and gave me a puzzled look on her face.
She asked me to repeat the lines that I had just sung. And I complied, "Sweet elephant, sweet elephant, you're giving me sexy elephants."
To which she incredulously replied, "She is not singing about elephants!"
And I argued, "I'm pretty sure she's singing about sexy elephants."
And back and forth we debated until the song was almost over and my friend countered, "Why the hell would she sing about sexy elephants?"
"Why not?", I asked her.
"Because it doesn't make any sense," she replied, "The song is called Sweet Nothing, and she's not singing: you're giving me sexy elephants!"
And I answered, "I'm pretty sure that she's singing about a sexy elephant. And given a choice between getting sweet nothing or a sexy elephant, I'll take a sexy elephant any day!"