Sunday, June 19, 2016

the cook

Recently on Twitter, there was a small flap about the "nouning" of verbs—by which I'm not talking about gerunds (e.g., changing to fish into fishing), but about taking a verb's bare-infinitive form and simply using it as a noun. For example: the infinitive to ask gives us the bare infinitive ask, and there are folks who "noun" this by saying "an ask" instead of "a request." On the show "Mythbusters," one would often hear about how a project was "a difficult build." Some people absolutely despise nouning, but despite my grammar-Nazi tendencies, I'm strangely okay with it. Well.. with some of it.

So today, I'm doing a cook. It's a rather ambitious cooking project: I'll be making my Middle Eastern chicken along with some spaghetti sauce brimming with mushrooms and spicy Italian sausage. Once this mound of food is done, I'll have more than enough to last me the coming week, after which I'll be switching over to healthier fare, like salads (which reminds me: there's a Costco run in my near future). I might be sharing some of my chicken with my boss and coworker; we'll see. If I'm feeling too greedy, or if I'm insecure about how much the chicken breast* has dried, I might share nothing.

Today's Middle Eastern chicken dish doesn't get a fancy Arabic name because it's essentially an amalgam of things I've tried before and new recipes I've seen online. Will it be Moroccan, Tunisian, Egyptian, or something else? I'd venture north African, but that's about as precise as I can be. My apologies to all the citizens of all the countries along the south side of the Mediterranean. Expect all the usual suspects in my generically Middle Eastern dish: chicken, squash, tomatoes, raisins, figs, chick peas, feta, parsley, cilantro, various spices, and couscous—probably bathed in chicken broth.

Photos to follow, probably sometime this evening or tonight.

*My brother Sean, who also cooks, likes to bust my balls about my over-reliance on chicken breast. He points out that it's the blandest part of the chicken, and the least moist. My counter to this is that the blandness makes chicken breast the perfect palette on which to add other flavors, and as for moisture—cook the chicken from a frozen state, and the result is ultra-moist (although, admittedly, it can dry out fast once you cut the meat into small pieces).



Bratfink said...

I agree with Sean about chicken breasts! I'm a dark meat gal and unless you throw a couple of pieces of dark meat in your chicken soup, it's just sort of bland.

As for nouning, the one that drives me batshit crazy is "It needs cleaned."

Kevin Kim said...

Whoa. I've never heard "It needs cleaned" before. Strange and alien. In fact, that sounds more like a "participle-ing" than a "nouning." It actually strikes me as something a Korean with shaky mastery of English might say: they've messed up the passive voice, so instead of saying "It needs to be cleaned," they just drop the "to be." A true nouning would be something like, "It needs a clean." (That, as opposed to using a gerund: "It needs a cleaning.")

John Mac said...

Hmmm, I'n guilty of using "it needs cleanded" which seems perfectly natural. I can't wear this shirt, it needs cleaned. But I've always been in the camp of "say what you mean and mean what you say", to hell with the rules!

At yesterday's party one of the guests included me by speaking in English. She has a construction project going on and she said "I'm building a building". Then she laughed and said, that can't be right--how can I build something that is already built? To which I simply responded "nouns and verbs".