Yesterday was, of course, Thanksgiving. I celebrated colonialism and destruction and, um, food with Anna and Ellie and various other people who I knew (or didn't) to varying degrees. And it was mostly a very nice day, with egg nog and Scrabble and Slumdog Millionaire (which cheesed out at the end but was still good) and lots of food, natch. There was one sore spot, and it was entirely personal: the dish I made pretty much sucked.
I picked out a Moosewood recipe (squash with a tofu-mushroom-pecan stuffing) that was described as being a good veggie alternative for just this type of meat-oriented holiday. Because Anna is allergic to soy I made my own seitan the night before to replace the tofu, toasted up some bread cubes in the morning, and headed over with a backpack full of prepped veggies and foil baking sheets. And somehow, I ended up with a dish that was a) undercooked (hard squash, yum), and b) very unappealing looking. This hurt my cooking ego more than I would have imagined; apparently, said ego is far too based around my ability to cook squash. Which I suppose is a good thing to realize and was something I theoretically knew, but it kind of sucked to figure it out on Thanksgiving. Because regardless of the historical basis for the holiday, now it's almost entirely based around food, and that's something I've come to trust that I will usually do well with. And I didn't. Alas. (This experience also compounded my lasting frustration for recipes that involve "stuffing" an unstuffable vegetable by simply placing some stuffing on top of said vegetable. I mean, really, that's not stuffing, and it rarely turns out well for me. But that's another story.)
But other than that, it was a good day, and at least the rest of the food was all good. But today is, as many or all of you theoretical readers know, Black Friday, a.k.a. Buy Nothing Day. And I have to work all day as a capitalist whore, selling candles and Christmas ornaments to old ladies and gay couples. Have I discussed how dirty it makes me feel when I convince somebody to buy, say, Caldrea's eco-friendly Ginger Pomelo-scented linen spray? I've been mocking myself in gatherings lately, demonstrating my technique:
(customer walks by our Caldrea shelf and briefly pauses. I sidle up.)
me: Would you like to smell some of these? (Without waiting for answer, opens a candle box and waves it at customer's nose.)
customer: Ooh, that does smell good!
me: Yeah, these all smell really nice. Try the basil blue sage. (Continues opening boxes.) And a lot of green products don't work that well, but these ones are great. I use a lot of them at home. Try some hand balm!
On a good day, this interchange results in a Caldrea sale maybe forty percent of the time. It's kind of inexplicable; I don't say much, but for some reason I sell waaaay more of this stuff than anybody else in the store. On a good day, it feels like magic: I open a box, they walk away with countertop spray. And the thing is, I'm not lying or anything. I do actually use almost exclusively Caldrea in my house, and it does work well. (The joys of being able to buy things wholesale: eco-friendly designer laundry detergent.) So, if I'm not lying and I like the product, why does this make me feel so gross? I think it's just the discovery that I kind of enjoy pushing people into a sale. It's a kind of power over them, to say "Smell this!" and feel like, for a few minutes, I was in charge of what they did with their day. Which is, of course, totally egotistical. Apparently I need to work on this whole "ego" thing.