[Note: My dad wishes to clarify that the minivan described here was in fact registered as burgundy and not purple as I had written. Thanks, dad. We can all sleep soundly now.]
Let’s be straight: we Americans have a hard time dealing with things that are outside the norm. We claim to be progressive, but when it really comes down to it, we like easily digestible (see how I did that? related my word choice to food? i don’t call myself a writer for nothing) info and tidbits that fit perfectly into predefined boxes. We categorize (white, female, short), label (anxious, driven, dramatic), and file away (under C for crazy).
There are probably some of you who think that’s a broad generalization. You’d be right. But so what? There you go labeling it. Plus, I never say something unless I can back it up. There’s nothing I hate more than stories without proof. Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I’m relentless when I want answers and ruthless when I don’t believe you. I refuse to give up until you give it up. Hmm. That sounded less sexual in my head…
Anyway. The stars of this particular story are myself and quickcookrice BFF, Bean. Bean is white, male, tall (and by tall, I mean giant compared to my almost little person status). Bean is also an actor, singer, writer, and waiter. If you’re already trying to put Bean into a filing cabinet, you’ve probably wondered about Bean’s sexual orientation. I imagine your thought process went something like this: girl bff + boy bff – married girl bff = confusion unless boy bff is gay.
That’s what I thought.
See, we’ve faced our fair share of judgmental folks. Bean and I are very close, squabble like siblings, and love each other no matter what. In middle school, Bean chased after me and I shot him down. We dated while he also dated a boy at summer theatre school (technically a school, but you’d probably call it a camp). I forgave him for cheating, and he told me he liked boys just a whole lot more than he liked girls. And since I was a freak, and because my parents said yes to things like having two women borrow our backyard for a lesbian wedding before it was actually legal in Massachusetts, I didn’t have that hard of a time finding a place for Bean in my life. Friend, boyfriend, brother, whatever.
Recently, Bean and I were looking for an apartment in L.A. We wanted to share a studio or a one-bedroom (hold off on your little labels for a second, please!) because 1. we’re poor and 2. we’re writers just needing a place to sleep and 3. we had a second home on the east coast. Yes, I realize #3 doesn’t mesh with #1 and #2, but you’re just gonna have to deal with it.
The amount of confusion and sheer terror we encountered from potential landlords was irritating at first and amusing in hindsight. These L.A. landlords, in a city full of many desperate and insecure freakazoids, could not get with the fact that a male and a female, one of whom was married, both of whom were not in a romantic relationship, wanted to rent an apartment with only one bedroom. Some even went so far as to say no, which I suppose was probably illegal, but who wants to pay an evil, judgemental landlord for the privilege to live next to an agent’s assistant and Joe, the homeless guy who takes a poop in front of the neighboring Whole Foods? Yum!
If those landlord had, I don’t know, taken a moment to know us, they might’ve realized that our labels had nothing on us as people.
Don’t knock us ’til you try us.*
Same goes for this mac & cheese. It might be vegan. It might be full of veggies. It might be manfood. But it’s sure to please everyone no matter what you call it.
Don’t Knock it ’til you Try It Harvest Mac & Cheese
(vegan, serves 6-8)
- 1 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/3 cup cashews
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or sub high-quality soy sauce)
- 1 cup canola oil
- 3 gloves garlic, roughly chopped
- pinch of red pepper flakes
Pasta and Veggies
- 2 cups cauliflower, chopped
- 2 roma tomatoes, sliced
- 1 portobello mushroom cap, roughly chopped
- 1 lb pasta (any type will work, but a sprial-type is best)
- Panko breadcrumbs (whole wheat is best)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions, but under cook by 1-2 minutes. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven.
3. While pasta cooks, prepare your veggies and place in a large baking dish.
4. Once the pasta is done, drain and pour into the baking dish. Pour sauce from blender into the baking dish and stir everything to combine well.
5. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the the top to cover.
6. Bake for 20 minutes.
And if you eat 2 or 3 or even 4 helpings of this, I won’t label you a certain animal with a curly tail.
*Again, that sounded less sexual in my head. Note to self.