OTF: Having impressive friends

Other Things Friday is our blandly named series for non-how-to content that we publish on Fridays. You probably figured that out from the name.

I think we all have at least one friend that people find impressive. You might have a ton. I do. One of them is Chris. Maybe you are that impressive friend. This blog basically exists to make you that friend, but Other Things Fridays is for other things, so this post is about what I've learned while being around impressive people. It's like really bad investigative journalism.

First paragraph: Impressive people only like flattery up to a certain point. Flattery is nice and ego-inflating, and in the right context, makes you a great wingman or wingwoman; however, really impressive people are probably constantly being told how great they are at something by someone, and that someone doesn’t have to be you. It’s kind of that celebrity thing - you know, like when you imagine meeting your celebrity crush (mine is British) and you treat him or her like he or she is just a normal person, and they fall in love with you because you are honest with him or her? FYI, that link has NSFW language, but it’s funny. Anyway, it’s probably something like that. I don’t do that though. I bring up everything impressive about Chris at every opportunity to receive more death glares from him.

Second paragraph: Impressive people like other impressive people. So, if you are friends with your impressive friend, congratulations, you are probably impressive. Impressive people like other people too, I guess, but let’s focus on the positive.

Third paragraph: Having impressive friends enriches your life. For example, I probably wouldn’t have tried chimichurri if I hadn’t been friends with Chris. That’s not really true - I had it before he tried making it, but you know, you can imagine. It’s nice to have impressive friends that make you do all the stuff we write about here that you wouldn’t do on your own - cook new things, wear new things, clean new things, etc.

Fourth paragraph: I think being someone who is easily impressed makes you seem like a rube, but it makes for a fun life. People used to make fun of me a lot for thinking everyone was somehow impressive, even if their accomplishments seemed entirely unremarkable. It made me more enthusiastic about the people I’d meet, though, so you know, what kind of life do you want to live?

Conclusion: This was supposed to be a five paragraph essay but I totally messed that up. Sorry Mrs. Brewer, I tried. Anyway, no conclusion. It was hard enough writing paragraphs instead of a bunch of stupid bullets.

Imprecipes: An introduction, plus Chimichurri

New feature! Imprecipes: helping you build a repertoire of deceptively easy, impressively delicious recipes.

Here are my criteria that a recipe needs to meet in order to be considered an Imprecipe:

  1. Fewer than 8 ingredients, not including stuff like oil, salt, and pepper. Those are kitchen essentials. Maybe I should have done a post on kitchen essentials before jumping into Imprecipes.

  2. Can be made with less than 30 minutes of active time. Active time means that you are actively required to be in the kitchen doing stuff, like chopping or sautéing.

  3. A wide variety of people consistently comment on how delicious it is. That means that these recipes have been tested plenty of times. Don't worry, we aren't just messing with you.

I might have just made these up on the spot, but I think they’re pretty good benchmarks. Today’s recipe, for a ridiculously easy and tasty Argentinean sauce called Chimichurri, definitely meets all three criteria.

It’s also really pretty. (   img src   )

It’s also really pretty. (img src)

I tried for like 15 minutes, but for the life of me, I can’t remember how I found out about this sauce. But I do remember when I first made it for people - it was at a church retreat of about 20 people, and minds were blown. Some people probably considered it a literal spiritual experience. It’s herby, tangy, spicy, and tastes delicious on literally any meat; my favorite meat to use is tri-tip. Best of all - it takes literally 10 minutes to make, if you have a blender or food processor. Here’s what it takes:

  • 2 bunches of flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, stems chopped off

  • 0.5 bunches of cilantro, stems chopped off

  • 0.33333333 cups of red wine vinegar (I started writing in decimals and decided to just run with it)

  • 5 peeled garlic cloves

  • a pinch of red pepper flakes (the kind you put on pizza)

  • salt & pepper (probably a generous pinch of each)

  • 1.5 cups olive oil

Literally throw everything except the olive oil into the blender/food processor and run the food processor. Leave the slot thingy open so that while everything is blending, you can slowly pour the olive oil into the mixture. It’ll turn into a lovely, vibrant green emulsion. Serve on literally anything. It keeps well in the fridge for a couple days, too.

The word "literally" was used four times in this recipe (not counting in this sentence). Five if you count "literal" also. 

Watching Good TV

Honesty moment: People judge people on their taste in media. Reading impressive books, watching the latest movies (or films, if you are into that sort of thing), listening to the latest album leaks, whatever. I feel like lately, though, watching the right TV is having its fifteen minutes of fame, so I’m going to tell you what television programming I think is impressive. I’m also going to tell you about all the terrible TV I actually watch.

Do watch: The thing everyone watches. Everyone loves a shared experience. The Olympics, Friends, the Oscars. It’s great conversation fodder.

I watch(ed): Boy Meets World. I think that falls in this category. I suck at TV.

Do watch: AMC, HBO, Netflix dramas. It’s a brave new world of visual storytelling. My overpriced liberal arts college had an entire class on The Wire. Watching these shows (Breaking Bad, House of Cards, et al.) gives you carte blanche on talking about TV like an insufferable intellectual.

I watch: Mediocre procedural crime dramas, like NUMB3RS. I do watch House of Cards, though.

Do watch: Quality Comedies. Historically, a lot of these have been on NBC Thursdays. The Office, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Brooklyn 99.  Nothing on CBS. Categorically, I think of these shows as “not the lowest common denominator.”

I watch: These! Sometimes I follow my own advice.

Do watch: BBC shows, probably. Sherlock is much better than its CBS counterpart. Top Gear is cool. Doctor Who is great for nerds and stuff. Also, it'll help you practice your British accent.

I watch: American TV, like a patriot. And Sherlock. It’s really good.

Don’t watch: Anything on the CW. Anything involving swapping wives or hunting for things, usually on the Discovery, History, Travel channels.

I watch: Two CW shows. I won’t say which.

At the end of the day, though, it’s important to remember two things. 1. You only need to be able to talk impressively about TV. You can circumvent a lot of screen-staring time by reading spoilers and intellectual commentary, if that’s your thing. 2. TV is still supposed to be fun. So, basically, like all our other advice, just fake it.

Chris basically only watches singing shows. He is the worst of us.

OTF: Cookbooks and Kickstarter

We forgot Friday came after Thursday and didn’t prepare for OTF. Luckily, my friend sent me a great email telling me about her new project, a cookbook about immigrant food culture in Nairobi, Kenya. She’s kickstarter-ing it.

I tried to get the most awkward screengrab of April just for this caption

I tried to get the most awkward screengrab of April just for this caption

Let’s talk about the impressiveness-related things from this project.

  • Kickstarter - Using Kickstarter is impressive in two ways. One, it tells everyone you have a side gig/project and two, that it’s worth accomplishing enough that you are willing to bug your friends for money.

  • The book part of cookbook - if you write a book, people will call you an author, and not in some stupid metaphorical sense.

  • The cook part of cookbook - cooking is always impressive. Especially if you hang out with single 20-somethings because we are totally incapable of cooking well ourselves.

  • Nairobi - this is a very stuff-white-people-like concept, but you know, “exotic” locations.

  • Immigrant - stuffing diversity into the already-impressive foreign location.

An inspiration to us all. Consider backing the project on Kickstarter. That’s also impressive. Or I’m totally lying to you to help my friend out.

Being Tidy

This will be a short post. I won’t say I’m busy, because that will violate the advice we gave around seeming busy. I’ll just let you infer.

I once had an epiphany about what makes people tidy. Angelo was over at my house, and we were in the kitchen chatting. I have a reclaimed wood tray that holds all of my tea (and tea peripherals), and Angelo picked up my two mesh tea infuser clamps from the tray and started playing with them. In case you don’t know what a tea infuser clamp is, here’s a picture.

For steeping loose leaf tea, because fancy. (   img src   )

For steeping loose leaf tea, because fancy. (img src)

After we were done chatting, and he was done making the tea infuser clamps look like they were talking to each other, he set them on the counter next to the wooden try he got them from and then walked over to my couch to watch League of Legends or something. I was flabbergasted. Why not just put them back in the tray? It was exactly the same amount of effort.

This was my revelation, and is my advice to you, reader: all it takes to be tidy is to put things back where you found them after you are done using the things. Your house will become effortlessly more impressive on a daily basis.

I didn’t think I would spend the entire post complaining about Angelo, but he was really the only character in my anecdote. Also, I’ve read his next post and he totally disses me, so I’m preemptively dissing him first. How to seem impressive: always be one step ahead.