Today will mark 29 years since the end of the B.C. (“Before Colin”) calendar and the beginning of the current and amazing A.D. (“Awesome Days”) period.
Here I am, at it again! Cooking!
This recipe is a basic, tasty dish that uses a protein I wasn’t familiar with, personally, but which is a treat to many before me: the portobello mushroom. This dish is one notch away from being vegetarian — one deliciously wonderful notch. So, you’re able to modify this to suit a few different dietary needs.
Plus, it’s frakkin’ delicious and easy to make in about 15 minutes.
You should pick up:
Got it all? Ready to go? Nice. Let’s continue!
It looks like more work than it is. Total prep and cook time should be about 15-20 minutes. And it’s worth it. The bacon fat helps the peppers and garlic reach a state of “more awesome than usual” without robbing the dish of its healthiness.
I suggest you serve beside Tomato Lentil Couscous, which is a great compliment.
Wow! Colin cooked up mushrooms!
SEPTEMBER 11th, 2001
as remembered on
SEPTEMBER 11th, 2011
I was waking up. Earlier than usual, because I had a class to get to. It was barely the third week of college and I was in Room 103 of Russell Hall E at the University of Delaware. My roommate –now one of my closest friends, but then still someone I was getting to know– and I were awoken by our neighbor, Adam from Room 105, banging on our door telling us to turn on the news.
We had the largest TV on the floor, which is funny considering it was a mere 25in. TV/VCR combo. As a result, a handful of friends and floormates gathered in our room. I was watching the havoc unfold and watching live when the second plane struck.
Everything was mesmerizing. Stunning. Awesome. It all seemed so big. Here I was in a room, in a dorm, at a college, and in a state I had known for shy of three weeks, surrounded by a half-dozen or so young adults in the same situation. We didn’t know what to do. We were paralyzed by the news and by the bigness of it all.
I went to class. I’m sure I could’ve skipped, but I was a Freshman away from home, confused about everything happening, and desperate to insert some rhythm, schedule, and routine back into this day of destruction. I remember walking to class and wondering if the other students around me knew what was going on. It was obvious that some did. It was also strikingly obvious that many did not. I learned through the four years of college that followed how routine it can be for a college student to roll right out of bed and on to class. This explains why so many people seemed to have no idea of the news, but I remember it feeling so very odd to me at the time.
What I remember most about that walk to class –and that morning in general– is the sky. As a whole, the weather that day was the type of autumnal weather you yearn for — a bright, blue sky full of fluffy, white clouds accompanied by a light, but crisp breeze. Had it not been for everything unfolding in New York, and later Pennsylvania and Washington, it might have been the most beautiful day of the year.
My 9:30AM class did not start as had been its usual. People were talking about the news throughout the beginning of class and the professor, frustrated, asked what was going on. A student told him what had happened. He turned on the television in the classroom and we watched a bit more of things on CNN. Eventually, he started our linguistics discussion up again, but class was a bit more broken than before.
After class, I returned to my dorm. Along the way, I had a conversation with a new friend from my class who would become my sophomore year roommate and a part of my core group of friends throughout college. I don’t remember any specifics, but I remember standing for a bit on the South Mall, near Allison Hall, talking about the events of the day and the weather.
Once back at the dorm, there were a lot of people stirring, watching the news, reading things online, and gathering. The news of Pennsylvania and the Pentagon crashes was now out. For a brief while I thought everything and everyone in America might be in danger. Some of us were too shocked to really understand what it all meant, others were altogether too angry and patriotic, storming about the place.
I remember trying to call my parents, but having a hard time getting any connection on my cell phone. A group of us must’ve went to lunch around this time, but I don’t remember it.
I was able to checkin on other friends at college through Instant Messenger. People posted status messages indicating that they were unharmed and safe. Several of my closest friends attended school in New York and near Washington. All were okay. It was amazing to be so connected to people throughout the day, and realizing how similarly we all felt. New friends I’d met at school and old friends away at their own schools, all trying to figure things out and understand what and why.
In my afternoon class, an honors English course with a professor I had already come to abhor, we had fairly high attendance. One girl in our class was clearly affected by the tragedies personally. She was being consoled by friends and the professor. I remember only that this girl was a commuting student and that in coming weeks, she would leave our class, presumably due to family difficulties stemming from the tragedy. As I remember this, I wish I had been one of the students to console her, but I had a very “deer in headlights” approach to the day in general, and did not. In the class, we postponed our planned discussion and instead talked about the days’ events. It was interesting to have the thoughts of about twenty eighteen year olds scrambled into a discussion, but everything was so raw or shallow. It takes time to figure out how you feel about things like this, and we’d only had about five hours. I didn’t know how to summarize everything I was feeling weeks later, let alone hours.
In the early evening I did get in touch with my parents. My Mom and Dad were distraught and upset like everyone else I’d interacted with that day. I talked with them on my cell phone, which I’d only had for a few weeks, on the grass outside my dorm and dining hall. I remember exactly where, though a year later, the university would rip up the pavement and trees, changing that area of campus entirely. I remember my Dad telling me to be calm and take everything in. I was already calm, but at this point in the day mostly confused. There wasn’t really a good way to fight the confusion.
My girlfriend at the time was still in high school. We were able to talk that evening. It was her sister’s birthday. I remember, clearly, my girlfriend cursing that it was a “pretty shitty birthday present, huh?” which was striking because she so rarely used language like that. It was a small outburst, but really indicative of what everyone was going through that day. She told me how upsetting it had been to learn of everything going on in school and I wished so very much to be wherever she was. There is something about tragedy that makes you need to be with the people you love, and I felt that intensely that evening. A big part of me just wanted to be home.
As day finally turned into night, the dorm was still abuzz with activity and life. That’s normal for a dorm full of freshman, but it was different. Quiet hours were actually pretty quiet, but you could clearly hear conversations and the noise of news broadcasts on televisions in each room. There wasn’t any of the fairly typical hall sports or rambunctious behavior in the hallway.
I can’t remember dinner, which is funny, because I can’t seem to remember a single meal from that day. I can’t remember many details beyond the morning. I remember large swaths of feelings, and the gorgeous weather. I don’t remember when or how I was able to fall asleep with so much running around in my head, but I remember hoping the next day would be better. I hoped the next day would bring more information and reason into the ambush of excitement and fear that plagued today…
In the ten years since, I have graduated college, entered the working world, moved across the country (by plane, of course), moved back across the country, married my lovely wife (one of my closest friends from that dorm Freshman year), and started my own business.
I’ve been through more trying times, personally, than September 11th, but nothing since has come close in terms of national spectacle than the events of that day. It was shaping up to be a beautiful, perfect autumn day until around 9:00am when everything changed.
I can’t believe it’s been ten years.
Perfect for a warm summer day. Not a salad you’ve added shrimp to, but a chilled pasta and shrimp sensation! Plus, there’s mayonnaise, so it’s extra indulgent… yes, that’s the word I’m going for… indulgent.
You will need:
Take the next 20-30 minutes to prepare, thusly:
You can try this with any type of pasta, but the shells are the best, because they occasionally create these shrimp-onion-celery-pasta bombs in one single bite when they catch everything together. It’s grand.
This makes me think of my Mom. It makes me think of summer. It makes me happy. It’s a perfect compliment to burgers, hot dogs, and anything else you’re whipping up on the grill.