No Pride, Lots of PrejudiceAugust 1, 2009
Crash is way too controversial to talk about! OK, no it’s not really. It was, however, mine and Jim’s biggest disagreement ever about what movie should have won that year. I much preferred the more complex and richer Brokeback Mountain. He liked Crash. I think that any movie that wins best screenplay (Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana) and best director (the great Ang Lee) should also win best picture. In the end, after a much heated discussion, we agreed on the comparison of Crash being is a Dickens novel, and Brokeback being a Jane Austen. And since I have the power of the keyboard I can clearly state that Brokeback should have won. And me and Jack Nicholson were both surprised when it didn’t.
Crash isn’t a bad movie. Paul Haggis, who won the previous year’s best adapted screenplay award for Million Dollar Baby wrote and directed Crash. Haggis is also a journeyman television writer. And by journeyman I mean journey, man: he’s written for such varied and sundryed shows such as thirtysomething (a show I loved) and The Facts of Life (a show who’s theme song is now stuck in my head). Crash’s ensemble cast is pretty incredible too. Matt Dillon, truly one of our must underrated actors, is great as the beleaguring and beleaguered cop–the rescue scene is harrowing on so many levels and Dillon and Thandie Newton both shine. And I love Brendan Fraser, he’s one of my favorite actors. He doesn’t do a lot in this movie (he plays the sterotypical somewhat corrupt DA). But It was nice to see him only so I could reminisce about my favorite amusement park ride ever: The Mummy Ride. Love it.
Racism, however is such an uncomfortable difficult subject. And most everyone in this movie is guilty of one form of racism (or racial profiling for a more PC word) or another. So you really end up not liking anyone in this cast. OK, the daughter and the locksmith, that’s it. In the end though I think that people watching this movie 20-30 years from now –someone doing the next generation of an Oscars in Order perhaps?– will be hard pressed to figure out how this one won. Kind of like me and Cavalcade. Brokeback Mountain, on the other hand, with it’s timeless tale of self-sacrifce will indefinately continue to win the approval of audiences. I need to stop.
Well we went with the stereotype theme and made food that fit the stereotypes. Sort of. Crash is set in Los Angeles so we made California rolls. I’m not a big sushi eater and this was my first time making sushi. It’s a bit tricky when you don’t have all the right tools: I had to use a big bamboo place mat instead of the proper, smaller wrapper. They looked a bit wobbly but they tasted great.
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces
4 sheets nori
1/2 batch sushi rice, recipe follows
1/3 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into matchstick-size pieces
4 crabsticks, torn into pieces (crabsticks are imitation crab, or “krab”)
Pickled ginger, for serving
Wasabi, for serving (but be careful this stuff is hot!)
Soy sauce, for serving
Squeeze the lemon juice over the avocado to prevent browning.
Cover a bamboo rolling mat with plastic wrap. Cut nori sheets in half crosswise. Lay 1 sheet of nori, shiny side down, on the plastic covered mat. Wet your fingers with water and spread about 1/2 cup of the rice evenly onto the nori. Sprinkle the rice with sesame seeds. Turn the sheet of nori over so that the rice side is down. Place 1/8 of the cucumber, avocado and crab sticks in the center of the sheet. Grab the edge of the mat closest to you, keeping the fillings in place with your fingers, and roll it into a tight cylinder, using the mat to shape the cylinder. Pull away the mat and set aside. Cover with a damp cloth. Repeat until all of the rice has been used. Cut each roll into 6 pieces. Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.
2 cups sushi or short grain rice
2 cups water, plus extra for rinsing rice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Place the rice into a mixing bowl and cover with cool water. Swirl the rice in the water, pour off and repeat 2 to 3 times or until the water is clear.
Place the rice and 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer the rice into a large wooden or glass mixing bowl and add the vinegar mixture. Fold thoroughly to combine and coat each grain of rice with the mixture. Allow to cool to room temperature before using to make sushi or sashimi.
We also bought some frozen Korean shortribs from Trader Joe’s and Jim fired those up on the grill.
And we also had this nice summer-jicama and watermelon salad
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice, plus 1 teaspoon zest
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, plus 1 teaspoon zest
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Kosher salt
- 1 jicama, cut into matchstick pieces
- 4 cups watermelon in 2-inch chunks
- 1/3 cup roughly torn fresh mint leaves
Whisk together juices, honey, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Add the jicama, watermelon and mint and toss to coat.