I had an idea a few months ago about a new social site for intellectuals called Nashboard, named after the math genius, John Nash. It would be almost like a clipboard that you would text ideas to that could be open to discussion among your circle of peers or you could have it hidden for you to solve or research at your leisure or as your passion pulled you. It would be like the clipboard that John Nash used during his first years at Princeton, or was it Cornell? It's been has been over six months since I read one of his biographies that I just can't solve the mix and match puzzle.
Nash didn't have to attend classes if he didn't want to. It wasn't required. He could just walk around all day long and write down questions or propose problems on that clipboard. If a question struck him while he attended mandatory Tea Time at 4pm with the math department (or on his meandering walks or when performing concentric bike circles), he would write it down, and try to wrap his mind around the solution, with months going by at a time and letting his subconscious do some of the work. Whenever he was ready to do some serious thinking on the matter, he would come to a conclusion consciously and work it out on his clipboard. I think I'm a bit like Nash in that regards.
When I was entering the 102.1 the X chili cookoff in 2011, I proposed the problem to myself, how do you make 60 gallons of vegan chili using only your own spices and it has to razzle dazzle? I thought about it for a bit and did not even attempt to write down a recipe. I just thought of colors of beans, colors of vegetables and herbs, the combination of my Bangarang! signature spice versus the sweet of my Shebang! spiced sugar blend, what kind of texture it needed and so on.
I let this all mull around in the old noggin for at least two months. Not trying to solve it at all. Then one day out of the clear blue sky, I just wrote down all of the ingredients and how much of each should go into the pot, cooked it, tasted it, and it was like the hand of God had come down and made a bowl of chili for me. I just went with it. It was the best thing I had ever tasted. It literally rocked my socks off. I wrote down the exact amount of everything, and then I started multiplying the ingredients until I had 60 gallons. Bought all of them and brought them to the cookoff. Cooked it up and won.
I did it again this same process this year. I thought about making another batch of chili, that was different, like none that I had ever had, or heard of, to compete in 2013. I have thought about it, and let it all come together in my head, and then did the same thing, and it was shockingly thebomb.com . I don't know how I do it but it truly feels like the hand of God works in my kitchen from time to time. Especially when he sees that I am cooking up an epic pot of chili. Can you imagine?!
Hey God, will you dice up another onion?
Sure Jen. I would do it for the least of these...meaning you.
And then we would have a good belly laugh.
He must really like the smell of my chili like the Greek gods love the smell of burnt meat as an offering or tithe in their name as you send a prayer to your favorite god like Apollo, Zeus, Aphrodite or Hermes. They don't do it for me. Nah ,it would have to be Athena and her band of warrior princesses that I would make a burnt offering of soybean burgers to. Those girls are the ish, as Michael Jackson's daughter most eloquently stated in a recent interview.
The ish. I like it.
Athena's immortal band of sisters take a vow like they are super-hero-nuns who swear off men for ever after and are wise, beautiful and resourceful. I know, I know. They are hunters too. Everything can't be perfect, not even the Greek gods, for my ideals. ;)
So this idea that hit my head like a bolt of lightning or more like a nudge in my belly-brain and said, cook this and thy shalt love it.
You know what, I have a great deal of respect for C.S. Lewis who was an atheist for a bit and then resolved that there just had to be a God. The Narnian was a fun book to read. I loved the part about his favorite thing in the world was spending time convalescing over some flu while reading a book. He really enjoyed having a fever and reading a fairy story. So, in the month of December, I had the worst case of the flu. I was sick for over a month.
While I was laying wide awake with fevers reaching 103 degrees, I thought, wouldn't it be Jolly-Jack-Splended to do as Lewis has done and read something fantastical and get really lost in a book. I mean really lost in a book like you are seeing some of the creatures out of the corner of your eyes, Pink Floyd knows what I'm talking about. I picked up a book and it was so hard to concentrate. I tried and I tried but I just couldn't appreciate it for all that Lewis and his dear friend Tolkein had cracked it up to be. And I really did see dark shadows in the corners of my eye and that le freaked me out so badly that I abandoned the notion of fever reading. I'll try it again next flu just for the heck of it I have no doubt.
This million dollar idea was of a Food Truck. I've always wanted a food truck but I wouldn't dare go to the city by myself because I'm a scaredy-cat. You see, I'm afraid of strangers, which is not a very good way to be if you are in the business of feeding strangers. But, I digress.
This food truck would be called either Pho-To-Go (I hate when I see something like 4-real or Pho-2-Go, it makes me cringe) or Pho-Real, or Pho-Sho, just because it would give me a laugh if I answered my mobile like this,
Pho-Real, this is Jen speaking.
Ah, and I love a good laugh.
You'd go up to the Counter and you'd see me, the brave version of me, behind the window. I would do an inviting smile, try not to open my eyes too big so you don't think that I am a nutter, and then you would look up at the menu, and realize,
hey wait, I get this venti to-go cup and I just tell this nice lady what veggies and noodles I want. That is the ish.
I've got everything from carrots, shiitakes, ginger, cabbage, mung bean sprouts, avocado, lemon wedges, tofu, cellaphane noodles, soba noodles, you name it, in my long, Subway style counter, you just let me know what you want in your cup.
You list off all of the super-thinly sliced veggies and noodles and I stuff them all the way to the top of the cup. I pour my magical broth on top and stud it with fresh herbs and a sprinkle of Bangarang.
I put the lid on top and tell you to let all these things steep for 5 minutes before you remove the lid.
I give you your Pho-To-Go with a napkin and a spoon and we are all so marvelously happy.
And guess what? You love it.
You tell your friends. You take a picture of you enjoying it and you share it on facebook. And you come back and bring a friend and it goes on and on until I have a Pho-Sho in every town that would fit perfectly in the old Blockbuster video.
And this is what it would look like.
And it is the ish.