2013-12-01

About Lou Reed

Lou Reed, the rock'n'roll animal, died last month.


The first time I heard his music, was on a CD I rented at a local library. I was still a fresh immigrant to Germany, and thirsty for all the art and music that the Soviet regime blocked for seventy years. At that point, I had been unraveling the great mystery of Western culture for maybe two or three years, consuming art and photography books, fine literature, iconic films, and all kinds of music.

Reconstructing cultural references would lead me from Oscar Wilde to Aubrey Beardley, and from him, to ukio-e of Japan, pop art, and comics, and on and on. I would read books and listen to music that was named as influences on the artists and authors that I liked, and would repeat the cycle as much as I could, building this mental map of the 20th century awesomeness.

So there I was, in my room in a high-rise on the outskirts of Berlin, listening to the soundtrack CD for the movie "The Doors" -- which I still had to watch at that point -- when I heard this unearthly electric sound and a languid voice reciting "I... don't know... just where I'm going..."

It was so different from the quite accessible music of the Doors[1], so dark, and so unlike anything else I have heard to date. I had to find more of the same.


Once I got to hear one full Velvet Underground album, I was in love forever. The love continues to this day. I have been lucky enough to attend several of Lou's concerts, both in Berlin and in the United States, and of course I collected all of Lou's music, from his Velvets days to the recent stuff.

Lou's music and lyrics followed me through my early years in Berlin, through the university, my travels, my first job, all the way to today. I found that different songs and albums resonated with me, as I lived and changed and grew as a person.

Even though I never met him in person, the fact that we're no longer sharing the same planet breaks my heart. Lou is one of the few people whose art and ideas influenced me the most.

World is not the same, now that it lost your creative mind, Lou.

[1] Doors' fans, please don't hate me, but the Velvets were in a whole different league.

Look ahead. Cook ahead.

One thing about being a member of two CSAs is, that no matter what your consumption, the food just keeps coming. And if you get behind, you'll be very soon swimming in perfectly healthy, organic, uncooked food that you have no idea what to do with. And then you give it all away to people who know what to do with food, unlike yourself.

Having gone through a few of these cycles, J. and I have wised up. Now we take an evening on the weekend to turn all the fresh veggies we have in the fridge into side dishes we can reheat throughout the week. The major bonuses of that being that (1) we/I don't have to spend much time during the week preparing dinner; (2) we achieve economies of scale in food prep and cleanup; (3) we don't spoil nearly any food anymore.

Recently I have been taking inspiration from the Googley cafeteria and roasting all sorts of veggies together, like...

  • Beets, carrots, and kale
  • Cauliflower, apples, and leeks
  • Radishes, carrots, and kale
Over the holidays, I've also cooked two birds, a chicken and a duck, and after all the easily accessible meat has been carved and consumed, I did two batches of home-made bone stock. That turned out to be an awesome thing. How come nobody told me about that? You get the awesome stock that you can use to cook things with, and then you can also pick off the remaining scraps of meat from the bones and use that in salads, or as a noodle soup topping.

Soba noodles in duck broth with duck meat topping, sprinkled with toasted nori and sesame seed, and just a little bit of salt made a great "leftover" lunch.

We're in the middle of a four-week delivery break from our vegetable CSA, and I am happy to report that as the first delivery of the new season nears, we'll be done eating all the vegetables we've received before the break. That's a good feeling.

Historically I've had some trouble utilizing all kinds of lettuces. I mean, I can toss a handful of arugula into a squash and quinoa dish, or use some romaine in a salad once a week, but when you have three bags of leafy goodness, and two or three heads of different lettuces in a single box, that's just beyond me. I have always despised eating raw leaves, no two ways about it.

This is why I'm looking forward to the next delivery. Our CSA now has a "custom order" option where for an additional five dollars processing fee you can pick what goes into your weekly box. This will hopefully mean less spoiled veggies, since we'll only be getting things we eat. Whee.