Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit

The sort of secret blog of Beans, a.k.a. Jules, a.k.a. "Legs for Miles" a.k.a. "Rackie the Boob Queen." Fine, ok, not the last two. Starting July 2006, sometimes "Mike," aka "fagadoccio," is a co-poster on the blog. The co-poster child, really.

Monday, October 31, 2005

What went wrong???? : The Squash Disaster

Last night, as happens not infrequently, a bunch of people ended up at my house, and I fed them.

"Come over for Chinese food! I'm making Szechuan pork!" OK, fine, I actually texted "You want chinee foo? I make stir fly!" Because I'm a jerk. Moving on.

This was to be based on a delicious dish I had at Grand Sichuan the other night-- sliced golden butternut squash, strips of juicy pork, and a spicey glaze. I julienned the meat of a whole butternut squash (and bear the calluses to prove it, chopped up some Garlic, and because the only pork at Pathmark was "self basting" ("Meat Injected with 15% Basting Fluids!") I opted for some skirt steak, which was actually OK (i.e. didn't smell like a shit-eating donkey's sportsbra, like almost everything there.)

I threw in some sesame oil, the butternut squash strips, the beef, garlic, red pepper flakes, and then-- no soy sauce. I forgot that my Godsend of a boyfriend had cleaned out our condiment graveyard just recently. GREAT. No oyster sauce, no soy, HOW WAS I GOING TO MAKE THIS SHIT TASTE ASIATIC??? All my suburban-mom stir-fry elements were gone. So I dumped balsamic vinegar and rice wine vinegar. AS IF that would make soy sauce. THe whole thing turned into a brown, sloppy, vinegary mess.

Jules makes a delicate szechuan specialty!

I apologize to my diners for that disgusting crap. It reminds me of the time I invited over for dinner my lengthily-eyelashed friend Mike, whom regular readers of "Beans Beans" will remember fondly from our Bryant Park lunches and his near-death from being a heavily sinning Jew. I "braised" turkey legs by systematically extracting every iota of flavor, juice, or succulence from the flesh and ending up with what tasted like, in Mike's words, "a stack of notecards." (He can be a real charmer.) I still don't understand how I did that.

Well, I guess Karma got me backhand-style for thinking I could whip up a sophisticated szechuan dish with no preparation, no research, and not a single proper ingredient. Or, as Confucius would say, "You cook like a dickhead, your food taste like pee pee."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Julie/Julia/Jules Project

Last night I went to Barnes & Noble to see Julie Powell read from her blog-incited book, The Julie/Julia Project: 365 Days, Blah Blah Blah Some Retardedly Long and Ill-Advised Sub-Title That Seriously Contains a Math Problem and 3 Clauses. But the idea for the project is as sharp and concise as the title is bloated: to cook every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in the space of a year. I mean, insano, arbitrarily outlined projects like that are right up my alley.

Obsessed as I am with Caitlin Flanagan, who writes about domestic issues in the New Yorker and formerly in the Atlantic Monthly, I had hoped that Powell's project would have her coping hilariously with 1960's expectations not only for pantry munitions but for hostessing and mothering, that it would bring to light all sorts of chasms and ironies and failed prescriptions for women and housewives. But the Times review I read, and a few others, have noted Powell's bloggery emphasis on herself, her "gal pals," engagements and hardships and whatever quotidian scurvy-catching or deck-swabbing that happened to make it into her captain's log that day.

But at the reading yesterday, where I expected to be put off by the personal, I was actually very touched. Powell constantly emphasized how stuck she was before this project began, how unhappy she was being a broke, expendable secretary. She credits Julia Child-- or, funnily enough, "JC" as she calls her--with having saved her from drowning in her own self-doubt (she had drawers full of 3/4 finished fiction manuscripts) in a world of accomplishment and status that seemed to have no entry point for her. Someone inevitably asked at the reading "What's next for you?" and she responded, "Books...anything that keeps me from being a secretary." Powell was super traumatised by her years of being tethered to a phone in a cubicle, and is still bitter towards people in power or people who have it easy.

I was really almost on the verge of tears when she concluded the reading with the passage she had written about Child's death, which occurred near the end of her project. There was nothing sad in a wonderfully well-lived woman dying peacefully at age 92; it was Powell's expression of sheer gratitude to the woman who inspired her to create her own silly blog adventure. Child herself, Powell noted, took her first cooking class at age 27, also in a somewhat stuck situation.

Although less bitter than Powell, I understand feeling cornered by financial and professional realities, unable to plug talents you know you have into this concrete matrix of publishing or performance outlets.

When Powell says that Julia Child "saved" her, I understand completely. When someone asked her if she ever felt like quitting, she said that the project eventually became her spine, that it became so central to her identity that it would have been impossible to quit.

I've always kept a distance with the Bruni Digest, my blog project, also undertaken out of the blue, with nothing to lose. Like Powell, I created my own structured challenge course around one individual. But I've always written with myself as a fictional persona-- a scrappy, starving fool, and I made a character out of Frank, too. Where I talk about my life, it's usually an exaggerated tale of behavioral idiocy intended to excuse an extended absence: It's not a personal blog.

But in other ways, I feel akin to Powell. I'm grateful for whatever circumstances put someone with such a silly voice as Frank in such a serious position. I try to correct Bruni critics who cite me as a fellow detractor: it's an affectionate blog. I have had fun creating the blog's voice, part pest and part acolyte, and like Powell, I feel centered by the existence of an expectant audience. Powell's other writing projects loomed too large and never seemed terminable; the blog format allowed her to publish in little bites, at a human scale. The novel I write in my head when I stroll around midtown on lunch break never seems to get done, but reliably, every week, Frank will publish something exuberant, read by many thousands of people and I will publish something obnoxious read by a couple thousand people, and the whole silent process will at least be what these things are meant to be-- fun. And whereas my project hasn't yanked me out of my little fiscal pothole yet, it has allowed me to taper slightly the many-headed totum of potential careers that I'd like to pursue. I really only want to write.

P.S. with this post, I truthfully meant to go "Saw Julie Powell! Loved It! Keep It Real, My Blog Peeps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" but ended up writing a huge Farty McGasbag personal essay, but hey, J.Po, if you're reading this, let it be known, you really moved me. ****

**** disclaimer: I also cried hysterically at Elf, Ice Princess, and Chasing Liberty.

Someone tell all those Mexicans to stop freaking out!!! It's not an apparition; it's only JULES watching FIELD OF DREAMS!!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

"I'd like 10 lbs of air and a bucket for my tears..."

Sometimes I listen to this anorexic girl accross the hallway order lunch. It is, in short, incredibly sad.

"One chop salad and can you make that with no dressing?....uh huh...aaaaaaaaaand do you have any fruit??....NO, I TAKE IT BACK, NO FRUIT!!! I dont want any fruit. Aaaaaaaaaand let's seeeee, how about a chocolate walnut brownie NONO NO BROWNIE NO BROWNIE no brownie.... Yeah, totally, thats it, thanks. No wait also a large coffee with six equals and a pack of extra spearmint chewing gum, a pack of newports and an empty suitcase and a billy club and a catheter. Yeah. thats it. [insert wearily articulated address]. Uh huh. Extension 34--"[deli guy hears pause, loud thump, dialtone]

Evening News: Starving Tiny Hebraic Fag Loses Gourd on Last Day as Temp

My "lunch buddy" from an earlier post is a Jew, in case you hadn't inferred as much from the description of his lush, heavily pigmented eyelashes. Anyway, since today is Yom Kippur, he's fasting as a way of "atoning," although if he gets anymore atoned, his abs are going to pop off and build a railroad on their own (more on that below).

Anyway, I told him to keep a fasting "fever journal" for Beansbeans. He complied.

So: Tiny, ripped, fag. Starvestodeath. Part I.


11:08 am
hi, i just tried to call you. i'm ok, the first wave of fast-induced quasi-euporhia is hitting me now, and i've been remarkably free of hunger pains. also, i can note, not without a *hint* (read: crushing tsunami) of delight, that the lack of water has sucked my semitic-hued skin around my abdominal muscles, creating a 32-pack as lovely as the coldest box of nattie at a memorial day bbq.
can you tell me what happened to the fat kid on that documentary last night? i vaguely remember seeing his deflated giant abdomen right before we shut the tv off...


1:17 pm
wow, i just left the office for the first time today, and i went through a veritable gauntlet of anti-atonement activities: platters of sbarro goodies piled higher than the 17-year-old stoner who made them in the store, people taking luxuriously long drags on their marlboros, as if there couldn't possibly be a SINGLE FUCKING PERSON who maybe thinks its a SIN TO FUCKING SMOKE ON YOM KIPPUR but nontheless IS REALLY ADDICTED TO SMOKING and wants one RIGHT NOW near them as they smoke. also, there seem to be a lot of people ingesting fluids, which would be nice right now, although i must say: it's nice not to have to get up and pee every hour or so! that said, my skin is roughly the color and consistency of one of those tissue paper shine-reducing wipes those cunty girls in our french revolution class used to use. god, i hated those fucking nerds, and that professor can literally chew my balls, because he didn't know robespierre from ross perot! good one, right julia? oh just fuck off you crazy blog-obsessed dyke.


3:39 pm
i think i just passed out at my desk, although i don't remember falling asleep. i distinctly remember my boss asking me to make an urgent someone because the server had exploded and the backup server was on fire...somewhere but that's all. when i came to, the office was empty, there was a lot of smoke and water sprinklers going off, and there was a pink slip safety pinned to my breast bone. whatevs, they all probably went out for coffee or something. i hope they got me some! ps--how weird is it that all these unicorns keep delivering me strip-o-grams? somebody out there must really love me! i have got to find a gun, and soon.


5:16 pm
snnset in E minuts..........mebby not hannellling this vell, i thnik i et 2litl....

Rodin's "The Tempjew"

cold stone cold stone please deliver

It's not warm out.

It's not warm in my office.

It's not "that time of the month."

I didn't "excercise a lot yesterday or recently at all"

and frankly, my favorite dessert is Pickled Whitefish on Sauerkraut with Salty Pig Dick Tapenade. Of my teeth that remain after the erosion caused by Crest Whitestrips, not one is sweet.

But literally, if someone doesn't put a DISGUSTING COLD STONE SNOTDROOL CHOPPED GUMMY CHOCO GOOBERFECTION on my desk in 5, I might have to throw a stapler.

"Chop the oxycontin up smaller, Trainee, and make sure your smile says 'this rubbery tasteless crap is your manna, fatty'"

Friday, October 07, 2005

Ode to an Island Shakes Hamburger

I'm gonna have a freakout
If I dont get a burger soon.
I ate my lunch at 10 am
and I like my dinner half past noon.

If you don't like disgusting scenes
you should not let a beef cow pass,
because I will drop my clipboard stat
and bite it in its big raw ass.

If the cow says "please dont eat me"
and then a spud says "please dont fry me!"
Fuck them! and I will fuck with bacon
so little piggy, do not try me.

you think you're getting off that quick?
I'ma spank you upside my burg'
with a big ass swiss cheese dick.

Now just shut up and be delicious
While I stuff you in my mug.

THAT'S IT! I'm outta here!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Lunch Buddies Public Service Announcement

First, you get a phone call.

"Hey Buddy! Guess what? I'm temping near your office! Let's meet in Bryant Park for lunch!"

You couldn't be more thrilled. After all, it's your handsome, witty, strapping gay wingman and frankly, you love his company.

Pretty soon it's "Bryant Park Lunch?"
"Totes," You reply.

Next week it's "Bry Par Lu?"
"Mmmmm hmm."

Pretty soon it's just a ring of the telephone-- you pick up-- "Braple?

Your afternoons are cozy-- you laugh and laugh, he eats elaborate compose-your-own salads and talks about his BMs, you do stupid pet tricks with water bottles and cottage cheese and inhale deep, deep draughts of his second hand smoke.

But then-- maybe it's a Wednesday, a Thursday-- a day when suddenly the shit hits the fan and you have work to do. Meetings to meet, letters to draft, a blog to keep up with, 3-4 hours' worth of news to read.

"I'm sorry, Mike," you say. I don't think I can make it today."
He spazzes.
"Relax!" You say.

His response, via email:

"relax!" she purred. "i was in a meeting all morning!" mike squirmed in his ass groove. he felt...cuckolded. what self-respecting government agency would schedule a meeting, let alone a long one? dewy drops of tears burst forth from his reddened eyes. his long, naturally thick lashes glommed together and shone with the salty weight of their owner's fear and sadness. but, just as suddenly as his emotions oberwhelmed him, he was buoyed. he had remembered his adventures of the previous sunday eve, which at the time seemed foolish--the result of finding a dusty xanax under his bed and a bottle of malibu in his toilet tank--but now seemed appropriate. indeed, mike couldn't help but dash to the bathroom and lift up his shirt in front of the mirror. pausing briefly to admire his well-honed iliac crest, mike scanned upward, to the true subject of this bathroom sojourn: body art, the fashionistas called it. his mother would call it a disgrace. to mike, it was nothing short of blacked-out inspiration: ringing his nipples, in letters of fiery gold, bore the anthem:

when women and fags make you want to kick the bucket
just remember: you're vital! throw up your hands and say "fuck it!"
and he did.

This is obviously how one responds to such a preposterous epistle:

"what self-respecting government agency would schedule a meeting, let alone a long one..."

Mike's words echoed in the capacious chamber of Julia's mind, guilt suddenly bumping fiscal anxiety and hunger for leafy greens out of their usual places. It was true, her frail lie had shattered in the glare of Mike's keen perception, his Alexandria, VA upringing having soaked him in an incidental knowledge of the permadormant ways of government. But was his vision keen enough to know what she had really been up to? She consciously straightened her posture, pumping her tough, round breasts further out into the stale office air... "How could he know know know know know" she whispered, at first silently and then out loud, to mask the sound of a turnip green's carbon gasses wheezing from her ass. Could he have intuited that she had been lovemaking with a robot in the basement of the MoMA, roiling in piles of tempera paint willy-nilly? Could he know that she had run out to times square pretending to be a statue for the tossed pennies of foreign children who had no idea they were looking at a bush about T minus 45 minutes before it was to get a terrible, terrible toxic shock infection. The robot, meanwhile, was dead from exhaustion and needed to be cranked-- but alas, she had banged the crank straight off his body like Keisha Castle-Hughes with a badger for a muff, riding a honey-baked ham.

Did I get my reading done? Did I draft those letters? Did even get to the salt cod and spaghetti squash I had brought in for lunch? No, friends. I wrote 350 more emails to Mike, all more or less in tone and subject like the above.

Lunch Buddies: it's for real.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Listen, I wanted this site to be FUNNY and FOOD RELATED but also CLASSY. Nevertheless, you will, reader, forgive the following story which takes for subject none other than a simulated odor of flatulence.

Due to the impecunious state my retarded money management lands me in, I have been bringing my lunch to work in big nasty tupperwares instead of ordering the compose-your-own salads that, Christ on High, I love so dearly.

The other day I brought BROCCOLI to work, grilled Broccoli. I opened the tupperware and as the plastic lid burped open, my tiny windowless office instantaneously smelled like a thousand rotten "ghost poops" aka farts had been taken all up in it. I mean. I closed the lid but there was no stopping the thick poopy air from filling up the office.

I suddenly had a flashback to my childhood. My mother, in her viking accent and characteristic impatience with people who think things are gross ("ISSS ONLY MOLD!!! EAT IT!"), was holding up leftover broccoli from the night before: "IT SMELLS LIKE GAS BUT IT TASTES GOOOOOD!"


I personally don't care about fart odor. I'll say it right now. When people fart in a car or something, I usually just laugh. One time my friend who was dieting put all the cheese from her hot pizza into my half-full chai spice latte, and after the cup had sat through a 2-hour lecture, I held on to it because I thought it smelled so FUNNY. "SMELL THIS SHIT" I would say, and stab it out under people's noses. THen I would smell it for the 300th time and laugh til I had tears in my eyes.

But it would have been foolhardy to assume that my GOVERNMENT office was full of stink-embracing idiots like me. In fact, most of the people I work with are pretty straight-laced, smart, and classy. It was 150% certain that as they whooshed by my office in their striped suits on their way to a board meeting, they would silently register in their minds that Jules had literally made a huge diahhrea fart in her office. And that's just embarrassing. I mean, it just is.

So what to do? The shit-smell was parked like a truck, no fan was going to change that. I just had to clear my name.

So I sat at my desk and everytime someone passed by my door I would holler, "WHAT DELICIOUS BROCCOLI!!" "MMMM BROCCOLI SO GOOD HMNAHMNAHMNAHMAHA" "BROC-O-LI! BROC-O-LI!" etc. I picked up my phone and pretended to be schmoozing with someone: "ooooooooh NOTHING, just EATING SOME BROCCOLI IT'S DELICIOUS BUT SMELLS LIKE FARTS BUT ISN'T FARTS, IT'S JUST BROCCOLI what are you up to?"

Stinky, stinky dame. Must be all the iron?

Lesson learned: 'tis apparently better for your office mates to think you are a vegetable-worshipping turrets-riddled loser than believe that you make crazy air-dumps in your office.