I have no idea who Alicia Silverstone is.
No. Idea. What. So. Ever.
Never heard of her, never saw a film she was in, never read about her in Science or Natural History Magazine, and basically never heard of her.
Who is Alicia Silverstone?
I am clueless.
But, that didn't stop me from watching her pull her wet, naked body out of a swimming pool and deliver some kind of message, which during the massive testosterone rush I forgot.
The conversation went something like this.
"What are you looking at on YouTube?"
"Uh, it's an advertisement for P.E.T.A. The animal people. People for animals. Animal people. You know." I was hastily trying to shut down YouTube but I was so too slow and Alicia was so too naked and I was so too busted.
"How come she isn't wearing any clothes?"
"She's a vegetarian. A virgin. I mean, a vegan. Not from Vega, ha ha, you know, but a plant person. Plant eater. Herbivore. Cow sort of person." I babbled the incoherent language of the so busted. I tried a weak smile as a diversion.
"So, how come she's naked?"
"Well," I stammered, "because she's a vegan. True vegans, I mean, really true vegans don't even wear animal hides." This was a weak defense and I knew I was going down for hard time.
"She could be wearing Spandex, don't you think?"
My brain, saturated by the testosterone rush was sluggish, but instinctively I picked up on the key element, animal hides, and attempted to minimize the damage I had already inflicted on myself.
“Well, that’s true. You don’t get Spandex from squirrels.” Immediately I knew that I wouldn’t have to analyze that statement in retrospect. It sounded totally lame in real-time.
As the Cold Stare bore down upon me I realized that my only option at this point was to take a flying leap off the cliff and hope the net was there.
“We eat too much red meat,” I blurted, “and we’d be healthier if we ate more vegetables and that’s what they’re trying to show with the swimming girl that if you don’t eat so much red meat you won’t look like a manatee coming off a six-month binge at Ben an Jerry’s.” At which point my brain ran out of fuel and sputtered to a halt.
Guilty as charged, Your Honor, with my remaining dignity I awaited execution.
There was a pause and I looked up hopefully.
“Yeah, I can see that. It’s good. Really good. We should do a vegetarian meal two or three times a week. Yeah, I’m on board with that. You can start tonight.”
I couldn’t believe it. I had survived! Caught in the act watching Alicia Silverstone, about whom I have not the foggiest idea, slowly pull her wet, taut, bronze, slippery, lustful body out of a pool of water and say blah blah, so, blah blah, and so blah blah, so amazing, or something like that and live to tell the tale was like Game, Set and Match plus Bonus!
I basked in my euphoria as visions of Alicia slipped below the surface.
Ah, the brain started up again. (Darn you, brain!) I had to come up with a vegan dinner. What to do? What to do? I thought of the great chefs from the Food Network.
I thought, What Would Emeril Do?
Deep fried pork in pork fat with pork fat fritters and deep fried pork fat. Hmmmm, no.
I thought, What Would Bobby Do?
Bar-B-Que whole hog stuffed with chickens stuffed with prairie dogs stuffed with lizards... Hmmmm, no.
What Would Rachael Do?
Pour in the EVOO and throw in your onions (yum-mie!), zucchini (yum!), lots of garlic (double yum!), tomatoes (yum-a-rum-tum-yum) and this is going to be so yummy that my yummer is in overdrive! Yum!...
And that was it: Ratatouille!
There was even a vegan movie about a rat by the same name. I was saved!
Ratatouille: zucchini, egg plant, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, spices and I was a Vegan Hero.
I got busy and in no time had my vegan creation simmering and giving off good smells. Well, mostly good smells. I lifted the lid and wafted the aroma into my nostrils. Yeah, garlicky and onioney and tomatoey but something was missing. Something was missing. What could it be?
(Later that night.)
“Ummmmm, this is great! So flavorful. So hearty. So healthy.”
“It’s all in the spices,” I waffled, “you layer them in. First onion, then garlic, then basil...”
“Whatever.” I was cut off. “Yummmmmy, this is good. I had no idea vegan could be so tasty. Maybe we should do this all the time, you know, go all veggie.”
I pretended to focus on a piece of corn bread.
“This is soooo good,” the compliments kept coming. Then a pause.
“Hey, what’s this?” holding a spoon towards me.
“Uh, I think that’s a piece of mushroom.”
“It doesn’t look like mushroom. It doesn’t smell like mushroom. What is this?”
“Well,” I stammered, feeling my brain about to shut down for the second time today, “it could be a piece of sausage. But, a very small piece. Tiny. No account. Not worth bothering about. I mean, not like a whole squirrel or something...” I was starting to blather.
“So, what do you call this,” pointing to her bowl, “this is supposed to be vegan. What do you call this?”
The missing ingredient was provided by a pound of Andouille sausage, chopped small. I cursed my luck at getting busted twice in one day. In my mind I heard the clanks and bangs of gears shifting, rods pushing, hydraulic lines tensing and out of all that noise forged in desperation came this:
“I call this the Spirit of Vega. It is the essence of Alicia, slim and savory with just a hint of meat.”
After a few moments I cautiously opened one eye.
“Well, it’s very good, and I think it’s a step in the right direction.”
What? I passed? I made it? I thought, Yessssssss! Who da man? Who da man? And as I was about to do my end zone victory dance I heard,
“I’ll expect more meals like this but if I catch you watching any more P.E.T.A. ads on the Internet I’ll break all your fingers.”
Fair trade, I thought, as I Googled “recipes squirrel Spandex.”