Here it is May already and summer is knocking hard at the door like the determined home exteriors salesman I just had trouble shaking. For many of us there’s summer vacation; time off of work and school. In the meantime, there’s your stunningly crafted Bucket List that you want to complete. Here’s the perfect opportunity to hammer at it.
Instead of catching up on multiple seasons of cancelled Joss Whedon TV shows while lounging in your neighbors’ pool, challenge yourself to to work on your Bucket List this summer. Pick 3 or 4 or more items from your list and do them. If you don’t already have a bucket list, make a list of your hopes and dreams, the things you’d like to do before you die (if you want ideas, here’s mine- My Bucket List: 100 Things To Do Before I Die). Maybe you want to take a road trip across the US in a rusted Pinto or visit all the National Parks and take pictures while only leaving fingernail clippings. Maybe synchronized swimming with the dolphins is your thing or walking the Great Wall of China in a dirndl as you grow your beard. Read the rest of this entry »
by Jonathan Butterchurn Perry
(This is an excerpt from my forthcoming eBook which might have a title something like The DB Presents: Tacos in the Night Exchanging Cheeses (probably not that at all). Maybe closer to The DB Presents: Cooking at Gunpoint (ok, I kind of like that.). Also, Behold! Here’s an awesome animated video I made for the subject at hand.)
You’ve seen it happen before: at the Super Bowl party some regular schlub makes a really great chunky salsa and all the lovely fresh-faced Betties keep fawning and asking in strange English accents, “Who made this delicious salsa? It’s Brilliant! I really do love it so!”, and some observant freak impersonating James Cagney says, “Why, old George made it in his cellah using his Civil War buttah churn while singing to those old classic yodeling records.”, to which a random hot chick says, “Wow! That’s specific. Well, I’ll just have to get his recipe! Oh, and …Brilliant!”, whereupon Civil War butter churning re-enactor and budding yodeler, George, emerges from the mist, ignores the annoying British overuse of the word ’brilliant’, and produces his sacred and secret salsa recipe to great female adulation. Phone numbers are exchanged and private butter churning yodeling lessons a-go-go are scheduled for the 147th anniversary of the battle of Antietam and a hot time on the old town tonight is set in motion all because George spent some quality time learning to make a tasty, but easy, chunky salsa (‘Tasty, but Easy’ is also what we call George‘s sister. Also ‘Chunky‘.). Why he used a butter churn to make salsa, I do not know, but it hardly matters. Brother, that could be you giving private butter churning salsa lessons to an eager young lass in a dirndl and making her yodel! Yodelay-HE-HOO!
I was going somewhere with this…oh, yeah! I don’t have the saucy salsa recipe at this particular moment (that‘s in a secret prison in Spain awaiting extradition), but I do have a delicious Guacamole recipe you can totally rip off and pass off as your own. You’re welcome! You think you’re lucky now with the guac, but I also have a crazy awesome cheese ball recipe that not only tastes, but looks, fantastic! (I’ll withhold that now for a bit, but you can totally find it my upcoming eBook. Wink 😉 Wink Nudge Nudge). I know, you’re counting your lucky stars, green clovers and purple horseshoes and don’t know whether to thank me with butterfly kisses or to transfer $10 million to my offshore bank account quickly now before your bank notices, but just knowing I’ve helped some sad single wretch such as yourself with a series of mild chemical imbalances is all the thanks I need (really, though, get on with the account transfer or there‘s a bullet with the name Vincent on it).
So, without further ado, let the dip-making begin!
Gringo Guacamole a la Sherry
(This serves 2 people. Learn multiplication.)
½ tsp lemon juice
Mayo (approximately equal to the amount of avocado. Add to taste…)
½ tsp soy sauce (adjust to taste)
Garlic powder (a little)
Chopped Onion (some)
Salt (taste for amount)
I know, you saw Sherry in the title of the recipe and became disturbingly excited thinking there was cooking and/or drinking Sherry included in the list of ingredients, but that’s just not the case. Sicko. Sherry just happens to be my mom’s name (some observant person might remember that my last name is Perry, thus believing my mom’s name to be Sherry Perry, and it is. Way to go. You cracked the code. Yeah, laugh it up, buddy.).
When I got this recipe from my mom, it was odd because some of the ingredient amounts were pretty vague, like ‘a dash of this’ or ‘a heaping spoonful of that’, and everything usually ended in ‘add to taste’, so that was useful (note the sarcasm). It’s like being thrown into the deep end of the pool, but the pool is filled with Jello…that you made! And you made it slightly wrong! I kept asking “Really? Really?” after each unnatural measurement was given. Was I being taunted by an unkind mother who was really mocking my feeble attempt to make a completely unnecessary food? No, motherly mockery is reserved for other things, like my attempts at songwriting. It seems this tendency to not use proper measurements is a kooky device cooks use sometimes. Apparently, they get so used to making a recipe that they can kind of ‘eye it’, knowing just how much to put in by sight and by taste. Also, they may be lazy or cocky. Every so often these daredevil cooks decide to pay attention to how much of an item is used and write it down, so that next time they won’t have to guess or keep tasting (hint hint).
Anyway, the recipe is fairly straight forward, once you get the hang of all the adjusting to taste. For those unfamiliar with the evils of avocados, know this: The avocado has a hard outer peel and an even harder pit in the middle. Do NOT eat these! Also, when selecting your weird green fruit thing at the farmers market it’s important to get to 2nd base with it first. Squeeze it gently and if it gives a little, it’s about ripe. Also, the skin should be a little darker, kind of a purplish-blackish-greenish mix. Like a Martian’s bruise. Buy a couple so you can feed more than 2 people.
Once you’ve gotten your avocado(s) home and rinsed and peeled and pitted it(them), mash up that green fruit, then mix in the other ingredients with an eye to tasting it a bunch to get it right. Go forth and serve your special guac with corn chips at a Super Bowl party at someone else’s house and be awesome.
The Secret Word is Brilliant.
More Consumable Goodness
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Do you have a bucket list? What do you want to do before you die?
I usually have a small list of life goals banging around my head & bits written down, but I challenged myself to write it all out & was surprised. Some of the list is comprised of half-crazed dreams that seem like a stretch, but would be swell to accomplish. Sure, I’ve just created more identifiable ways to fail. Good stuff.
I’ve divided my list into 5 groups: Learning, Creative, Travel, Adventure, Domestic. If I’d made the list 10 years ago, it would’ve included things I’ve done since like seeing castle Neuschwanstein, lurking about Stonehenge, buying a house, visiting Asia (Taiwan), etc, & I’d have more of a sense of completion to this point & the existing list would be shorter. Maybe in 5 years I’ll have knocked off a dozen more & will have replaced them (If I can survive a 5k race without dying from asthma, then maybe a 10k would be in order. Junk like that.).
By the way, a few items I don’t think I’ll add are bungee jumping and skydiving, since I don’t want to die trying to check something off my death list. Am I an incredible chicken? Yes. Yes, I am. But accomplishing most of these things requires me to get off my lazy chicken butt and get with it. So, the gauntlet has been dropped.
1. Learn a new brass instrument
2. Learn a new stringed instrument
3. Learn to play the accordion so I can annoy friends and loved ones (in a different way)
4. Take the IQ test before the mind starts going.
5. Learn to play decently at cards/poker (I’ll have to work on my P-P-P-Poker face)
6. Learn to play golf properly/get my own left-handed clubs
7. Learn to play piano by ear/Be the Piano Man!
8. Learn conversational Spanish (my 8th grade Spanish didn’t stick well)
9. Study another language like German or French or Mandarin
10. Learn to surf
11. Learn to sail
12. Study a martial art (Karate, Tai Chi, etc)
13. Take an art class where I learn how to draw, paint, create visual junk
14. Learn to juggle
16. Record oral histories of my family (I’ve done 3 now. Need more details, though.)
17. Travel the country/world to see gravestones of ancestors/relatives
18. Attend family reunions for @ least 2 branches of my family (eg Hinkles & Gottschalls)
19. Learn super debating techniques
20. Give a speech to a large group (while awake and wearing more than underwear)-> Sort of Done.
21. Be able to identify more constellations (beyond Orion & the Dippers)
23. Read all the books on a snobby list of classics
24. Be able to identify 10+ birdcalls
25. Learn the main arguments for creationism
27. Write at least once for a national/int’l magazine
28. Make a scripted home movie with a story line
29. Finish writing my Christmas Cantata (for a choir) & have it performed & recorded
30. Finish Writing my rock musical: music, lyrics, story
31. Write a screenplay for a movie (possibly for that rock musical)
32. Publish at least one book
33. Design and landscape my backyard (possibly with help)
34. Start a magazine
35. Build a proper treehouse (not like that awesome bit of childhood @my grandparents’)
36. Record a semi-pro album
37. Perform a full set of my own music (+some covers)
38. Write a stand-up comedy act, even if I don’t perform publicly
39. Write several comedy sketches, enough to match an episode of SNL (or In Living Color or Kids in the Hall or Monty Python or Mad TV)
40. Perform the aforementioned sketches with friends in an improvised version of SNL. Videotape it. My band could be the featured music(could be just the sort of thing to organize over an extended Christmas holiday)
41. Write a script for a tv show
42. Design a family crest/coat of arms
43. Invent something & take out a patent
44. Become handy with some new dangerous tools (probably something that ends in -saw)
45. Build some fairly simple furniture without help from former felons or summer camp dudes
46. Build an instrument from a kit
47. Write a Christmas story
48. Write a non-Christmas hymn (another one, but one that doesn’t suck so much)
49. Design a Lord of the Rings amusement park for fun
50. Design a Christmas-themed amusement park for fun
51. Visit all 7 continents. Yes, this includes Antarctica.
52. Visit all US national parks
53. Visit every US state
54. See the pyramids & the Sphynx (Egypt, not Vegas)
55. Walk the Great Wall
56. Visit the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xian and buy tacky souvenirs
57. Visit Beijing, China
58. See New England in full leaf-peeper season
59. Visit Machu Picchu, Peru
60. Visit the Taj Mahal, India
61. Visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia (carefully stepping around the landmines)
62. See the 7 Wonders of the world
Visit France- -> DONE!
Visit Switzerland -> Officially done! Do longer.
Go back to Austria, but for longer than 2 hrs this time. DONE!
66. Sleep in a castle
67. Take a Euro-trip just to visit castles & cathedrals (the 2 previous trips nearly qualify)
See Italy -> DONE!
69. Visit the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera
70. Visit Japan (see more than just the airport next time)
71. See the Acropolis in Greece
72. Visit Russia
73. See the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (not Constantinople), Turkey (yeah, I called you a turkey)
74. Big heads on Easter Island, Baby!
75. Visit the Holy Land between bombings
76. Run in a 5k race without stopping partway through to get a rock out my shoe
77. Ride in a Hot Air balloon and/or a Zeppelin (possibly while singing “Stairway to Heaven” or “Immigrant Song” or saying stuff like “Oh, the humanity!”)
78. Walk longish segments of the Appalachian Trail
79. Take a cruise (I’m probably going to sign up for one in the next week)-> DONE!
80. Travel the Trans-Canada Hwy from coast to coast
81. Canoe the boundary waters or a waterway (but book woods with showers & toilets)
82. Travel by train across the US
83. Take a US roadtrip from coast to coast
84. Get SCUBA certified (if asthma allows)
85. Take flight Lessons
86. See the northern lights
87. Take a helicopter ride
88. Go whitewater rafting
89. Live in or travel around another country for a few months at a time
90. Take a proper cabin/lodge/ski vacation
Domestic Bliss Goals
91. Marry someone swell
93. Become self-employed (make a living off my creative work for at least 1 year, but preferably always)
94. Get back under 200 pounds (and stay there)
95. Build my own house (by which I mean have someone else build it to my specs)
96. Regain my 6-pack
97. Develop a unique recipe that’s pretty darn good
98. Grow a decent backyard garden by myself that survives
99. Learn to make at least 5 dishes from memory
100. Help plant an orchard (preferably mine on a large acreage)
What’s on your bucket list?
The Secret word is Falafel
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