Death By Improv is thrilled to be holding our third annual benefit show for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Since 1993, BCRF has invested more than a half a billion dollars into lifesaving research. In 2014-2015, BCRF will award more than $47 million in annual grants to more than 220 scientists from top universities and medical institutions around the globe.
We hope to see you all there October 3, at the Main Street Theater Company at Garden Friends Learning Center in Parlin. Showtime is 8pm, and seats, as always, are five dollars each. We hope to see you all there, but if you can’t make it, we hope you consider making a donation via bcrfcure.org.
Facebook event right here:
I’m going to tell a story about something that happened to me a while back. Previously, I related the tale of my experience making potato crusted chicken breasts. While this wasn’t a total success, it didn’t keep me from getting back into the kitchen for long.
I mentioned in the post above that I’d gotten the chili recipe from the sports blog, Deadspin. They have a weekly column where a recipe is throughly explained, and the writer, Albert Burneko, has become a favorite of mine. His writing is hilarious, and it’s gone a long way towards deconstructing the idea that I had that cooking is inaccessible, and only the province of your Mario Batalis, Bobby Flays, and Martin Yans. I’ve had a lot of success with Albert’s recipes, and his pot roast and lasagna recipes have become personal favorites.
One of the first recipes of his I tried was his macaroni and cheese recipe, linked below:
It is a delicious preparation, and well worth the time and effort put into making it. That said, for a rookie in the kitchen unfamiliar with proportion, you should be forewarned that this recipe yields a shitton of mac and cheese.
My first clue that something was amiss was as I prepared the cheese sauce. The recipe calls for putting your biggest pot on the stove to cook the pasta, which makes sense, since you’re making three pounds of macaroni. I know this sounds like a stupid thing to say, but I had no idea exactly how much pasta three pounds of macaroni was.
Since my biggest pot was being used to cook the pasta, the second biggest pot I had was pressed into service for the sauce. The sauce recipe called for melting two sticks of butter, whisking in a cup of flour, then adding a quart each of milk and heavy cream. This left me with my pot about three quarters of the way full, which is kind of rough considering that I still had to add THREE POUNDS OF CHEESE to the pot. The fact that I managed to do this without cheese sauce bubbling over the sides of the pot and into the stove was a minor miracle. But the sauce was done, the cheese had melted, now it was time to turn my attention back to the pasta.
I had thoughtfully placed a colander into the sink to drain the macaroni in, so I was all set. I overturned the pot to dump out the cooked macaroni, and promptly realized I was fucked. This dinky colander held maybe half the pasta, and hot sticky pasta water and a significant portion of my pasta was now pouring out of the colander and into my sink. Thinking quickly, I placed the pot back onto the stove, retrieved a second pot to store the drained pasta in, and repeated this until I had drained all the pasta. I then placed all the pasta back into the biggest pot, and placed it in the sink.
Now came the difficult part: moving the cheese sauce to the sink to pour it over the pot of macaroni. This proved difficult, because scalding hot cheese sauce was percolating mere microns from the top rim of the pot. I lifted the pot up, and cheese sauce poured all over the front of my stove, onto the floor, and my pants. I then had to take three steps backwards, which resulted in more hot cheese sauce spilling out over my floor, and my feet. I then had to complete a forty five degree turn to face the sink, which resulted in more spillage, this time in a lovely crescent pattern across the linoleum. I then needed to take four steps to the sink, and wouldn’t you know, there’s more spillage, which I then walk through to get to the sink. But at last I’ve made it to the sink, and the ordeal is over, right? You’d think that, wouldn’t you?
As I poured the cheese sauce over the pasta, cheese sauce dribbled over the side of the pot, down the pot, and all over the kitchen counter, the cabinet under the sink, and the little rug in front of the sink. But don’t worry, the rug wasn’t completely ruined, because my pants and feet took a lot of it, too.
But hey, mac and cheese. Done, right? Nope, I still gotta bake it. Making use of the biggest casserole dish I had, I quickly realized the biggest casserole dish I had wasn’t quite enough, so I quickly had to make use of the second biggest casserole dish I had, and the third biggest casserole dish I had.
The remainder of the experiment proceeded without incident. So really it was quite easy, and all I had to clean up was a whisk, three pots, three casserole dishes, my kitchen floor, a colander, the stove top, overn door, the sink, kitchen counter, the under-sink cabinet, my pants, shirt, socks, and the little rug in front of my sink.
The mac and cheese was amazing, and gone within three days.
An exciting episode of “I saved this as a draft two and a half years ago and found it enjoyable, why didn’t I hit publish” Theatre.
Hi, 2014 Mick here. I’ve been wanting to write more so this blog wasn’t so dead, but I’ve been fighting writers block since about 2004. So it’s an uphill battle. In looking for inspiration, I looked a some unpublished drafts I had on WordPress, and found this. I actually enjoyed it, and don’t know why I never published it. I figured I’d share it now, despite the fact that it’s several years out of date. 2014 Mick may appear in italics when he has something to add.
2012 is here, and, for at least another few months, so are we. The new year is here, the holidays are behind us, and we’re all substantially fatter*. (There should have been a joke at the bottom in reference to this asterisk. I never wrote it, and I have no idea what it was. Early 2012 Mick was in the best shape I’ve ever been in, and I am significantly fatter now, so if nothing else, this is accurate). I figured I’d share some of the lessons I’ve learned this holiday season.
First of all, until this Christmas, I’d never slept with an electric blanket before. I didn’t know what I was missing. I have a hard enough time being getting out of bed as it is, but with this thing, forget it, it’s like being back in the womb. (I’ve since moved, and still have the blanket, but couldn’t tell you where the cable I use to plug it in has gone. God, that was a great gift).
My favorite part of 2012 so far is Tim Norek running down the street being attacked with silly string and screaming “DON’T CHASE ME! I HAVE A MORTAR!”. ** (That was from a fairly epic New Year’s Party Tim threw. That may have been the party where we burned a four foot tall stuffed Mickey Mouse doll and Tim told the police we were done shooting off fireworks while holding Mickey’s flaming feet. Also, there was supposed to be another joke at the bottom in reference to the double asterisk, but it’s also been lost to the mists of time. I’m a big fan of the see below joke, and I’ve used in multiple times).
More people travel with dogs over the holidays. I can’t stand when people do this. This disturbs me. I find them to be smelly, disgusting creatures. The dogs are even worse. (Ba dump bump!)
There are few things in this world funnier in this world than an eleven year old falling off of the top of a couch while attempting to plan (to plan? Must be a typo, I have no idea what my sister was doing on top of the couch now, though I do remember her falling. She wasn’t hurt. It was hilarious.), with the possible exception of a five year old playing with his trucks and yelling “OH SHIT!”.
I think I convinced my two year old niece that I actually tried to use her little pink training potty. Even at the age of two, when I tell her this, she knows to look at me like I’m a complete idiot. (She’s now five, and still does this).
We all love an Italian sub, right? Well, try this: get rid of the bread, put all the contents in a bowl, and cover it with mayo, and boom, sub salad. The best part is it’s a salad, so it’s good for you. (And I wonder why I got fat).
I firmly believe that the stigma of the holiday season being depressing was a myth, until I got books about by beloved New York Mets from two different people. After reading them, I wanted to lie down on train tracks. (Luckily, things have turned around for the Mets since then….oh god, I can’t lie to myself like this).
I want to dance like Victor Cruz. (Funny story, he used to score a lot of touchdowns at one point).
After twenty five years, I think I’m officially sick of A Christmas Story. Or, at least, I need a several year break. Except for the “Ovaltine? A crummy commercial! Son of a bitch!” scene, which I always laugh at. (Haven’t watched a Christmas Story since. Really not missing it).
There should’ve been something to end this little essay here. Something profound and deep, and not just a shameless plug for our next show, which is September 5 at the Main Street Theater Company in Parlin at 8pm for the low low price of five dollars. Or for our YouTube channel, youtube.com/deathbyimprov which now has countless hours of enjoyment, including our last Improv Foundations Class Show and the Monoscene. Luckily, I’m above such shameless pandering.
So yeah, our August 1 show is now August 2. Everything else I wrote last week is still true. Except Doc, Jimmy, and Brown are also doing the Canadian fantasy team, not just Tim.
If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time looking through the magazine rack at the supermarket, reading about hot sex tips in Cosmo, checking out the review of the latest explosive shmup for XBox One in Electronic Gaming Monthly, finding out who the number 6 contender to the WWE World Championship is in Pro Wrestling Illustrated, and hoping against all logic that Shop Rite has decided to listen to your letters and started carrying Black Tail. But we’ve reached the time of year where the fantasy football preview magazines have come out, and it’s unanimous, you’re stupid if you don’t draft Jamaal Charles first, unless you listen to the one editor who says you should sell your family into slavery if it can land you LeSean McCoy.
Inevitably i end up buying one of these magazines every year, and it spends the 2 months prior to the season starting in a place of honor atop my toilet (where it will remain until several weeks after the Super Bowl, when I finally clean my bathroom and remove the magazine from underneath The Onion’s Our Dumb Century and America: The Book). I do this in the hopes of getting the edge over my competition, only to be beaten in the playoffs by the guy who forgot all about the draft and had his team selected by the computer. It never works, but if nothing else, it lets me feel like I know what I’m doing in the team selection phase.
What’s really needed, though, is a glossy, full color magazine that costs 7.99 that tells you how to name your team. I agonize over this more than the actual draft. I mentioned this in a post a few years ago that I’m sure nobody else also read, but I named my team “No Romo”, but I think I’ve learned the finest team names have nothing to do with football. Or really, nothing to do with anything. Last year, my team was The Strangers In The Alps, which, if you don’t know, is a reference to a hilarious TV edit of The Big Lebowski. I was confident this was the best name in the league, until I saw that DBI alumnus Chris Brown named his team the St. Burgermachine Wizards. I knew at that point there was no chance I’d win the league, or anything in life, really.
That’s why, this year, my team will be called Tom Waits Fantasy Camp.
Anyway, DBI news dump time. We unfortunately don’t have a show in our home base in July, but we’ll return to the Main Street Theatre Company at Garden Friends twice in August, August 1 and August 22, both at 8pm, and both for the low low price of 5.00. Also, DBI will be performing at the Coffee House Benefit Show on July 26 at the Edison Valley Playhouse. There will be sketch comedy from the Pavlovian Dog Show, and some other great acts that I don’t have info on at the moment. 8pm, 10 bucks, and it’s an awesome room if you haven’t been there before.
Lastly, while I enjoy fantasy football, Tim likes it more. He’s doing a CFL Fantasy League.