Satisfying the Craving: Midnight Garlic Shrimp
12 o’clock in the morning…
It’s almost 1 am on a week-night. I’ve had a long work-day, yet I’m wide awake, in total awe of myself,thoroughly amused, sitting around my dining table, about to have a meal. The strange thing is neither that I’m up at that time nor that I am eating at that time. Nocturnal creature that I am, at 1 am it is not unusual for me to be leaving my house, to be in some fast food drive thru line or cussing the Jerk Pork or Chicken man to hurry up with my food. The amusing thing is that I had willingly and happily gone to the supermarket to pick up shrimp at 9:45 pm, gone home, watched some SportsCenter then spent an hour in the kitchen de-veining a thousand little shrimps (I thought all packaged shrimp came de-veined, silly me), then preparing my meal. At 1 am, I was now sitting at my dining table just as if I was at my favourite restaurant having a meal.
Have Craving, Will Satisfy
When I have cravings, I satisfy them. Simple. The urge of the day was garlic shrimp. From 3pm I had garlic shrimp on my mind. Played some badminton, the urge was still there. Played some pool, the urge persisted… after the trip to the barber, hunger got involved, serving only to intensify the craving from a want to a pressing necessity. The natural, sensible thing would have been to find a nice seafood joint to satisfy that craving, but not this month…
Chef by Chance, Necessity and Choice
I had come across some Teriyaki sauce in the supermarket recently and thought, “hmmm, maybe I should try this thing at home” so I bought some chicken too, vowing that there will be none of the usual expiration or spoilage. One day while working at home I ran out of leftovers, snacks and corned beef. I couldn’t leave the house so out of necessity I made some sweet & spicy Teriyaki chicken… Clemmz style. This meant pretty much I had the Teriyaki sauce, ketchup, soy sauce from my fried rice excursions, seasoning for corned beef and eggs to work with. Notwithstanding, the taste was pretty much what I had in mind. It did take some time, because I’m the meticulous type, but I realized it wasn’t as stressful as I had found the experience as a teenager. Over the next couple weeks I did some more cooking, mainly chicken and pork, but kept refining the technique to shorten the process and improve the results (that’s what I do, I sell efficiency for a living). Now, it seems I’ve gotten to a point where I’d rather prepare something than go buy it. Strange. If my mother heard this, she would probably faint. I can see her now in church testifying to the wonders of prayer… even if it took a while in my case. It seem persistence is key with this prayer thing.
Strange how some things come full circle. My mother made sure I could ‘help myself’ way before I became a teenager. That, however, didn’t mean I was a willing student. I remember the few summers I was home as a teenager, my mother would come home from a long hard day of stress at work to only more stress at home. Every day. Religiously. Only child + male + teenager usually equate to stress for single mothers; true to form I never quite developed the love or appreciation of housework she would have hoped for. I knew what to do and could cook and take care of the house and yard if I needed to, but that was no fun compared to playing football, dominoes, lyming, doing some tricks and stunts on my BMX with my biker friends and chasing girls. By the time I got back home most days it was time for the evening football game. I was not going to miss that (unless moms was home early) so I went to play an just braced myself for the cussing and whatever else came with it. The worse that could happen was getting kicked out, no? If that happened, I had lots of aunts to take me in until things blew over… That was the theory. Thank God I never had to test it.
Masterpieces Don’t Just Happen – You Have To Put The Work In
I remember watching this movie where a chef kidnapped a critic to torture and/or kill him because he felt the critic’s bad review had ruined his career as a tv food show host and restaurant manager. Forgive the digression, but there is a point. Somewhere. I think. Follow me. What I got from that movie was how the chef made the process of preparing a meal look like an exquisite work of art. It was as if, in his mind, each meal was as significant as a Michangelo painting, a Da Vinci design, an Einstein invention or a Mozart composition. It was as the meal was prepared with the deliberate intent of bringing each and every taste bud a pleasure of to orgasmic proportions. I had assumed the shrimp I bought was already deveined. Not so. Several times during the process of pulling out the little strings in the million little shrimp I was going to cook (I didn’t find any uncooked jumbo shrimp), I thought… “Who cares about these little strings, just cook the damn thing as is… it’s 12 o’clock damnit!” Under normal circumstances, I would have done just that, but that just didn’t feel right, as if the cooking gods were watching my every move and I would be committing some abominable sin, punishable by revocation of my promising, but still fledgling culinary skills. That’s when I remembered the movie I just told you about (it all comes together now, right? Well maybe not… remind me of the title if you happened to watch it). Anyway, I simply continued preparing the future masterpiece, undeterred. Put on the pot for the potatoes, ripe plantain and pumpkin, then went back to the task at hand. Craving. Hunger. Shrimp. Eternity ended eventually, and the shrimp was ready. For cooking that is. Man, was I hungry.
Were you ever a virgin? (If no, continue to the next section)
Think back to your first time… Maybe you googled “sex for the first time”, maybe you asked friends, maybe you read a book. Well, for my first foray in to shrimp-cooking territory I cheated a little bit. Couldn’t leave something like this to chance. Not when I am this hungry. Play games with your taste buds and they might never forgive you. Anyway, I looked up this recipe online as a guide and put my own culinary spin on it.
Creating the Masterpiece
First off, I didn’t have the parsley and lemons so I substituted escallions and lime (still worked fine). Trust me, the keys to doing Garlic Shrimp are (a) Garlic and (b) Shrimp. Use about 6 cloves per pound of shrimp and add sweet pepper. Chop ingredients very fine and sautee in a nicely-flavoured butter or margarine of choice for about 4 minutes. Add the shrimp, apply salt to taste and lime (lemon) juice then stir for about 7 minutes. Prepare the mash potatoes or whatever the side order is, add your veggies to make it a complete meal, select your favourite wine, put on the nice tablecloth, add the candles, dinner music and… voila! Restaurant at home. All that’s left is good company… there’s no point in cooking a great meal and eating it by yourself, is there? Well, maybe if you’re like that sadist chef mentioned above or you’re the self sufficient type (if you get what I mean). This is my version, see the video at the end of this post for Chef John’s version.
Ok, I just realized I’ve typed a lot so let me break this up with some token pictures. In my hunger, I didn’t take any… Extrapolate from below or send your pictures, my new disciples.
…Is There a Point to all this?
you may ask… Oh sure. Errm. Several. Especially for the men. I will list a few, just to prove it, although item 1 should be sufficient.
- Women throw themselves at men who cook (or so the theory goes, so I’ll keep cooking and prepare for the onslaught). Learn to cook one good meal (even if it’s just corned beef and rice) and you’ll spend less time pleasuring your self… with yourself… by yourself… At this point most men will stop, think for a while, email me for my bank account number so they can thank me properly, then start googling recipes. Being the good guy I am, I will add some more for good measure. Keep going my disciples…
- In today’s economy, a habit of eating out whenever hunger or a particular craving strikes could be an expensive one. Some can afford it, but chances are you are not that lucky. Chances are the costs are adding up. Chances are you have some lean spells where you go from KFC and BK to your patty shop of choice, as payday approaches… do I have a witness?
- When you were younger, you didn’t have to contend with 2. above, neighbours, family and friends were more than happy to welcome you for dinner. You will find its not the same when you’re a grown-ass man. Especially when it is a daily or weekly occurrence.
- If you’re married or in a relationship, cooking every once in a while will make for a happier woman (and therefore a happier home). You get all kinds of perks… she stops beating you, you get to watch sports and go out with the boys. Who knows, if you cook lobster, you might just get that Ménage à trois you’ve been begging for all these years.
- You get a few get-out-of-jail-free cards over time. For example, the first thing a woman will think if she finds you sleeping with her best friend or committing some other unforgivable act is… “where am I going to find another man that cooks, even if it’s just sometimes?“. If that answer is yes, you will be far more likely to escape alive and resume a somewhat peaceful life. Be prepared, however, to do all the cooking for the week (don’t quote me here, it maybe the whole month, year or lifetime…. it varies greatly from woman to woman, you know how that goes).
- In the case of 5. above where your culinary skills are not enough to appease her rage/anger, when she leaves your ass or kicks you out, at least you’ll be able to fend for yourself, especially in the lean times when you cannot afford fast food every day.
- In the case of 6. above, you won’t stay without a woman too long, because, as you would have gathered from 1. above if you were paying attention… “Women throw themselves at men who cook. Learn to cook one good meal” … it might just spare you the ignominy of having no choice but to pleasure yourself with yourself by yourself“. Please note, this is not a knock against the general concept. However, I am sure that even the most hardened, ardent practitioner will concede that they would prefer that it is not the only option.