February 8, 2008
My X-man power
I might love the X-men. Let me rephrase that - I really really LOVE LOVE the X-men. I read every comic book in the franchise, I know the whole soap opera back stories of all the characters, and I am basically about as geeky about it as a grown 30 year old woman could possibly be. What I really like is the way Stan Lee designed their powers. It's not boring Superman, with super this, and super that, and invincibility, and flying, and whatever else. Instead, each X-man is able to do only one special thing - and usually it's a skill not useful for physical combat. One is able to pick up radio wave transmissions without a receiver, another can dissolve into dust, several can shapeshift into animals, one really sad one just looks like a chicken. In order to actually deal with the villains they have to constantly be training. Think about it - have you ever seen Superman practicing anything?
I kind of like to think that everyone has an X-man power. Just one thing, probably a totally useless thing, that you do better than anyone else. Something slightly magical, most likely something that only you have ever noticed about yourself. My X-man power? I reasonably infallibly order the best thing on the menu in a restaurant. My food pretty much always tastes better than whatever everyone else has chosen. I've noticed this for a while, but I think I recently figured out why - I have a good sense for what foods would taste good in combination. Have you ever seen the movie Ratatouille? There is a scene when Rene the rat chef is tasting foods first separately and then together to see how they complement one another. This is drawn beautifully. On a black backdrop, cheese is a set of boppy yellow circles, and then strawberries are represented with a fading pink paisley-like pattern. Together, they are a swirling mass of orange fireworks. (Here is a link to a YouTube clip.) It's a little like that in my head.
All of which is to say that if you saute some onions with green beans and potatoes, nothing will top that better than Greek yogurt (tzadziki). Better than sour cream, better than regular yogurt, better than Indian yogurt (raita) - it has an extra note of tangy sourness that makes this a fast but really really delicious dinner.