As with most of the memoir and personal essay books I pick up, I expect something. Yeah, I know expectations are a tricky thing. Oftentimes, I don’t have a clear vision of what it is that I expect, and this muddled perspective may be part of the solution or part of the trouble. Maybe you’re asking yourself, “what is there for you to find trouble or a solution in?” It’s important that I find a voice in the writing; it’s important that I find some humor; it’s important that I find some true and deep personal anecdotes for which I can either relate or contrive some humanity from the writer. The list goes on. In many ways, when I’m preparing a dish or sitting down to eat a meal that someone else prepared, I have similar aspirations. Yes, food can have a voice–although if you’re food’s talking to you you may want to look into that–and food can be imaginative and fun, and I should hope that some of your meals bear a meaning in your life, and in their preparation or enjoyment a life story is created. The reason I pontificate about this is because Tina Fey’s book, Bossypants, did this for me. It had a voice, it made me laugh most genuinely, and it excavated some personal anecdotes that displayed a person, beyond the comedic, media icon.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
A sarcastic, facetious, yet hilarious auto-biography that takes few risks but speaks truthfully in tone and anecdotes. Bossypants is more than just a memoir because it almost perfectly channeled Tina Fey’s incredible humor and voice in a way that many memoirs don’t. Tina’s self-deprecating anecdotes at times come off as a way she assuaged herself from becoming too immersed in the depth of her life and ‘soul’ on the page, which was the biggest down-fall of this book for me. Fey proved she’s not ready, nor feels the need, to write a memoir filled with post-reflective ‘aha’ moments and sentiment. In this way, her writing is obdurate and the title, Bossypants, begins to hold a stronger meaning. With no true cohesive nature, Fey is still able to make me laugh consistently on nearly every page and for this, I thank her. The lack of structure seems to work in her favor as a thematic metaphor that she herself is still trying to understand who she is in life. It became a genuine point of comfort for me to read about such a talented and enigmatic figure struggle to have a bone-strength confidence in herself, yet continue to have the grit to keep going. Fey’s writing felt effortless and suave. She captures the minutiae of transitioning from a girl into a woman and the key moments when innocence of self is lost, but self is never lost without purpose or a meaningful outcome.
“One afternoon a girl walked by in a bikini and my cousin scoffed, “Look at the hips on her.” I panicked. What about the hips? Were they too big? Too small? What were my hips? I didn’t know hips could be a problem. I just thought they were fat or skinny. This is how I found out that there are an infinite number of things that can be “incorrect” on a woman’s body. At any given moment on planet Earth, a woman is buying a product to correct one of the following “deficiencies”: big pores, oily T-zone, cankles, fivehead…” [Age 13; Fey continues to list ‘deficiencies’.]
Fey comments on the superiority complexes that occur among women, and we are doing our gender a disservice by not equaling the playing-field.
“…you were either blessed with a beautiful body or not. And if you were not, you could just chill out and learn a trade. Now if you’re not “hot,” you’re expected to work on it until you are.” [Fey comments on then and now.]
While devouring this book, a moment of sadness flushed over me when she peaks to not feeling a bond between herself and other animals. It’s hard to realize that someone you admire doesn’t “actively care”–as she put it–about something you hold dear, but I cannot fault her for this. Again, I appreciate her honesty.
As for edibles, all I have to say is N A C H O S! No, that’s not all, but really, nachos make a cameo in this book that I feel is worth focusing on. Fey talks about the magical moment in time when homemade nachos were the “it” thing to make. What’s so refreshing about this commentary is the manner in which she turns your typical junk food into a food celebrity. The same way that quinoa and kale have brandished their way into the fast-food, box-food episode of the food world. The imaginary drama we create with food trends is comical and to have someone reflect on a time when homemade nachos were the shining star is ridiculously satisfying. It is for this reason, I decided to make my version of nachos, which have made an appearance before.
Gourmet Nachos (animal-product-free, gluten-free, soy-free)
Avocado Sauce Ingredients | generously serves 2 people
- 2 avocados [rinsed]
- juice from half of a lime [or more to taste]
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic granules
- /14 tsp onion granules
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves [rinsed, and stems removed; use 1 tsp dried cilantro if fresh is not on hand]
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Slice avocados in half lengthwise, remove pit and use spoon to scoop out flesh into bowl or mortar.
- Squeeze lime juice over avocado.
- Now add cumin, garlic granules, onion granules, salt, and black pepper and cilantro leaves.
- Using back-end (convex side) of spoon or pestle and mash avocado, lime juice, cilantro and spices until you have a creamy but still slightly chunky sauce.
- Set aside and enjoy with nachos and other delectables.
- 1 bag of blue corn chips
- 1 can refried black beans
- 1 package of ‘cheddar’ Daiya
- pickled jalapeno [sliced, by taste]
- grape tomatoes [quartered, by taste; I use about 8 per person]
- 2 crimini mushrooms [thinly sliced]
- cilantro [minced, no stems; *optional]
- 2 green onions [minced; only the greens; set aside white part for another meal, *optional]
- avocado sauce [see recipe above]
- On oven safe dish, spread out your chips in layers to a proportion that suites you or use a platter if multiple people will be eating from the same plate.
- In a small saucepan, heat up black beans and spoon beans over chips, no need to be a perfectionist here.
- Now, place sliced jalapeno pieces, quartered cherry tomatoes, and sliced mushrooms over the beans, evenly.
- Sprinkle the Daiya on top.
- Place plate(s) under broiler until ‘cheese’ melts, being careful not to burn anything, maybe 3 or 5 minutes.
- Once plate has been removed from oven, sprinkle with cilantro and green onion.
- Finally, place a big wallop of avocado sauce on top of the delicious mound and enjoy!
- Keep some napkins and a fork handy, these might be fun and messy!
- That plate’s hot, be careful!
- Another option would be to place your avocado sauce in a ramekin on the side for dipping.
- Some like to enjoy hot sauce with their nachos for an extra spicy kick, go for it!
- Have some extra chips around, the beans can get a little heavy in the middle of the plate.
- Know when to hand your plate over to your friend or partner; I made the mistake of eating too much because it was in front of me. Big, full-belly mistake.
I can’t say I’m a ‘nacho eater’, but I can say that these made my husband very happy and coupled well with this book. Tina Fey is the kind of woman I would like to have tea with on a rainy Thursday morning while we giggle about playing hooky from our work. Her humor speaks very clearly to the sensibility I hold dear and this book will stay near to me both figuratively and physically for years to come as a reference guide and to ground myself. Thanks Tina.
Thanks for reading this week’s Noshed in a Book and make sure to share some of your #noshedinabook experiences and pics. Join me ind reading Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner. I hope you all enjoyed Bossypants as much as me, and remember…bite responsibly!