Cooking With (The Other) Lauren Ziemski
Plantains have been featuring regularly in my life lately. My wedding caterer, who was born in Peru, practically swooned when I mentioned I wanted fried plantains at my wedding. I think he might be more excited to make them than I am to eat them. Well, okay that’s not entirely true. I can’t WAIT to eat plantains, and all the other utterly mouthwatering things he’s thinking of making (think: ceviche, well, really multiple ceviches, fried herbed fish, plantains, beans and rice, hearts of palm salad, and, naturally, a whole roast pig that requires a device to house it called “La Caja China”.
And then, this, yesterday, from the Other Lauren Ziemski! That’s her official name, by the way (as is mine, to her, probably). See that? She’s making plantains! Go, Lauren! (Oh, and can I come over for dinner at your place sometime? I make a mean one-handed caipirinha).
It’s still utterly amazing to me that the Other Lauren Ziemski is as similar to me as she is. The reason she’s making those plantains? She’s celebrating the funding of her construction loan to build on her property in Panama. Panama. One of my favorite places on earth. And she’s making plantains. For God’s sake, Universe. Quit it with the uncanny coincidences already.
Briefly, as I watched her chop up habanero, I conjured up this scene where I bought property really close to hers, and we hired the same contractor to build our houses, and the contractor, seeing two perky blondes with exquisite taste in nail polish color and the SAME NAME on their blueprints would do one of those cartoon-y high-speed double takes and his head would explode off his body a la the drummer from This Is Spinal Tap and then the camera would close in on us taking a gratuitous bite out of an oversized avocado and shrugging innocently, palms turned up, dimples glinting like diamonds. End scene.
This is why I can’t concentrate at work. My head is FULL of crap like this.
Planning a wedding is surreal to me. I’ll have another post on this later, so for now I’m just going to say that directing this massive, unwieldy ship of tasks is not so much daunting as it is… well, surreal. I mean, I just told a man that I’d give him half of my annual salary to make ceviche for 175 people. And he agreed! And he’s going to do so much more than make ceviche! He’s going to direct a team of people to roast a pig and plate it up! And all because I said so! Why does this feel so strange and out of body to me?
Years ago, I worked for a sign company where my job was to order grown men (a good chunk of them ex-military) to cut letters out of sheets of plywood and paint them according to the exacting standards of national retail chain managers. Somehow, that felt more natural to me than planning this wedding does. What that says about my tendencies towards workaholism and the inability to enjoy the creative process is probably loud and clear. I think there’s a self help book around here somewhere for that …
Then again, this is a pretty HUGE life-changing event I’m planning for. I shoudn’t downplay the significance of ordering fish for 175 people. I mean, extracting the letter “T” from a block of wood and shipping it to some facilities manager in Wichita so his Intimate Apparel department is restored to its former grammatical glory is not the same thing as, you know, planning a party around the act of committing your life to another human being for the rest of your life.
There’s the whole issue of what to wear, too. I’m hoping the bridal gown world will be kind to the round of booty, short of legs, and flat of chests. Last night, with teeth gritted, I made my first appointment with a bridal shop in town. I’ve been putting it off because my experience with women in the fashion/aesthetics industry has been, shall we say, less than pleasant. I once had an aesthetician tell me during a routine facial that I had HORRIBLE Rosacea (I am of Eastern European descent. Hot water parboils my face every time I shower, it’s true. But I most definitely do NOT have Rosacea). Were it up to me, I would just send a rubber cast of my body to all the shops in town and say: Here. Fit this. Send me the bill than have to endure hours of pawing through poofy white gowns and being helped in and out of them like medieval royalty.
At least I have an excuse to buy more shoes. And plantains. I love any excuse to buy plantains.