lunch and trauma

last week was an outdoor adventure with friends. this week is an indoor adventure with me and Wedge.


Callie: [00:00:00] Big shouts out to Mike and Morgan for becoming new patrons this week. Thank you, friends. Love you lots. Heads up before we get into the show today, this episode is all about food and cooking, and I know that’s a sensitive topic for some folks. So please do what you need to take care of yourself, friend. My name is Callie Wright  and this is Queersplaining.

For obvious reasons. I don’t have the roller derby track as my happy place at the moment. Without it, I gotta find something new. Right? And for me, that’s become my kitchen. It started with a grill and it’s just kind of been downhill ever since. The rabbit hole of cooking channels on YouTube is gigantic.

And I fell down it very hard. And very fast. And I was enamored. The look on my wife’s face when I get the sear just right on the steak or seasoned the potatoes just right. That is some sweet, sweet dopamine. So today I’m gonna bring you in the kitchen and we’re going to do lunch and unpack some trauma.

I walk into the kitchen and set up the puppy gate so I can keep an eye on the Wedge.

Cooking Callie: [00:01:27] Hey buddy.

Callie: [00:01:28] He comes over to say hi, you’ll hear him a lot in this one.

Cooking Callie: [00:01:32] Cute Puppy. 

Callie: [00:01:36] Crack open a PHT monster, take a sip and I am ready to do this shit. When I’m trying something new in the kitchen, there’s this single minded focus that comes over me. I’m honestly not sure if it’s a good or a bad thing. It feels borderline obsessive. And I do mean that in a clinical sense, it’s hard for me to stop thinking about it.

It’s hard for me to pull myself away. I need to think through how’s the cook going to work? Do I need to adjust the spice blend? What’s the right level of heat. And I can’t think of anything else, but that focus also takes me away from my darkness. On a bad mental health day? Maybe it lets me forget I’m having a bad mental health day. For the next 20 or 30 minutes. I have one job and one job only, and then Wedge will hear something outside, decide to express his feelings. Of course, because that’s what he does.

Cooking Callie: [00:02:37] Sir, sir, sir. Gonna need you to chill. Gonna need you to chill. 

Callie: [00:02:48] On the menu today, tofu chorizo tacos. I am not vegan or vegetarian, but that doesn’t mean tofu isn’t rad. It tastes like whatever you cook it with. So I got this spice mix, some shallots, some Serrano pepper, some avocado, some fresh cilantro. And I got some corn flour that I’m going to make into tortillas. I am stoked. 

Cooking Callie: [00:03:11] All right, let’s get the spice mix together.

Callie: [00:03:21] It’s rad watching the spices mixed together. Cooking is really about applying different forces to put stuff together and turn it into something new or different. Right? And seeing all of those distinct colors blend together as I mix, it’s actually kind of soothing. 

Cooking Callie: [00:03:38] Yeah, we’re just going to keep doing this black pepper because that’s what Maddie likes. Sir. I need you to get down off the table. Oh my silly, silly boy. Alright. Let’s prep this tofu. So we’re gonna have this dry a bit, cause we want to get rid of this excess water. 

Callie: [00:04:08] I think there’s something kind of beautiful and that tofu starts off as this bland white block of curdled soy something. And you can turn it into so many different things. It’s filled with possibility.

And I feel like a fucking cheeseball saying that, but that’s how I feel. Okay?

Normally, while I’m cooking, I’ll turn on some YouTube videos, a podcast, Star Trek or something. And I like having some kind of noise happening in the background. My brain likes sensory input, even if it’s not my main focus, but obviously I’m recording this for the podcast. If I had a TV show or music playing in the background, one, it would be distracting for you and two I’d probably get dinged for copyright infringement. So, you know, Muttering to myself. I hear Wedge walking around doing his dog stuff. And outside of that, it’s just kitchen sounds. And that was new specifically today. It was kind of rad. I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I have problems being distracted easily.

It’s really easy for me to go to YouTube and turn on some lo-fi music to work to. And. Instead, I end up watching like 30 minutes of cooking videos or live music before I even realized what happened or, you know, I’ll get sucked into a Twitter or Facebook debate. And I think when it comes down to is my brain just wants active sensory input, the same thing that makes me feel like I need to turn on a podcast or video or music while I’m cooking. My brain just desperately wants a stream of input, whether that’s music or podcasts or words on a screen. 

This is why I have problems with meditating and mindfulness practices. I think I kind of freak out when I don’t have that outside stream of input. My mind goes silent and it takes just a few seconds for me to start an internal monologue about something, to think about a conversation I recently had, or I’m going to have soon.

Some worry that I have; client work, podcasting ideas, something. I can’t stand the quiet, but today I had to endure the quiet. I had to be present. And the outside world just kind of disappeared. I had clarity of thought and of purpose and it was kinda uncomfortable. I noticed the silence. It’s really trite to say something like, you know, the silence was too loud, but like, that’s kind of how it felt.

It was almost punishing for a minute. It was big. And my mind, my brain was screaming at me. It’s too quiet. Turn something on, but it couldn’t, I’m recording content for the show. I got to get clean tape. So, uncomfortable as it was, I went about my business and you know what? My brain did eventually decide to shut the fuck up about it.

And I was able to embrace the clarity of thought and of purpose I was being provided. I forgot anything else existed and I didn’t want to remember. And I was able to go about the business of making some fucking bad ass tofu tereso tacos. 

Cooking Callie: [00:07:24] I’m gonna make my tortillas.

Callie: [00:07:39] The tortilla press comes out. Our Lord and savior Alton Brown has taught us that uni-taskers are a bad thing and I tend to agree, but a tortilla press isn’t super expensive. And I feel like tortillas. Well, I do. In fact, like tortillas, I think it’s a good thing to have and you of course have to store it in a place where you make tons and tons of noise and the process of getting it out.

Cooking Callie: [00:08:00] All right. So you’ve got the tortilla dough, mixed. Tortilla press and making tortillas, and then prep the food. Crumbled the tofu into here. Kind of get up the consistency of ground beef. Okay. This one last and paper town, but it’s all crumpled up on some avocado oil. Turn on the heat. Let’s get that splice. Mix it in there.

Callie: [00:09:09] And again, there’s that wonderful color change. The tofu turns from this bland off white to this beautiful brownish red, and this is the thing I’m doing with my hands and with my tools. I don’t have a lot of power in this world, but in this moment, I’m in control. 

Cooking Callie: [00:09:26] Go ahead and press out this tortilla. Press it down there and hold it good and tight for a minute. Oh yeah. That’s the good stuff right there. 

Callie: [00:09:44] Before I know it. I hear sizzling the sound of progress. And I’m on autopilot for like 15, 20 minutes watching for browning, making sure I’m not cooking too hot, making sure things don’t dry out. And then it’s time to taste for seasoning. Very important lesson I’ve learned is that you taste for seasoning while your cooking.

Cooking Callie: [00:10:16] Desperate need more salt. Oh shit. There it is. Gonna need more salt, literally all that’s necessary. Fuck me. That’s good. It is. 

Callie: [00:10:40] Wild how much different salt can make. My first taste was this bland mushy thing that tasted vaguely of paprika and cayenne and was not at all enjoyable, add some salt and suddenly it’s this beautifully textured, four dimensional, culinary creature that’s complex and smoky and spicy and there’s onion. And there’s garlic. This is fucking it. I. Live for this shit. 

Cooking Callie: [00:11:07] All right. Well, let’s do one thing. I’m going to prep my veggies. I’ve got a shallot and a couple of Serrano peppers. I keep the seeds more fleshy bits inside the Serrano’s because I’m fucking hardcore like that. Just kidding. I just really like spicy food. 

Veggies are prepped. Chorizo almost done. Tortillas are done. Chorizo got a little crunch to it. Get the fridge here, get some cilantro because like, of course. The avocado while I’m in here too, because that’s certainly going to be a thing. Cilantro. Complete that shit.

Callie: [00:13:33] And, you know, presentation isn’t everything. And obviously it doesn’t change the way things taste, but meals can be a total sensory experience, right. They don’t have to be, but they can be, and that can include the way it looks. And if I may be so bold this taco was a visual masterpiece. There’s the deep brownish yellow, the tortilla, the reddish brownish tofu chorizo the white and green charred onions. And Serrano’s the bright green avocado, the green cilantro, a thing to behold. But like what matters is how it tastes, right. 

Cooking Callie: [00:14:14] I’m going to take my first bite without hot sauce. I like hot sauce, but I want to, I just want to see what this is. All right. Let’s see what this is all about right here.

Mm. Oh my fucking God. That’s so good.

Callie: [00:14:36] Most of the YouTubers. I watch have a signature reaction to good food. There’s a certain look, a certain thing they say, some body language or something. My thing for some reason is that I punch my right palm with my left hand, hard and exclaim about how awesome it is. That’s how I celebrate getting that right. And I don’t always get it right. I have definitely had disasters, but this one was just right. And I had tons of leftovers too. 

Cooking Callie: [00:15:06] That is ridiculous. Oh my God. That’s so good. I’m going to go ahead and get some hot sauce though. Do we do red pepper, jalapeno or smoked citrus? I think we’re going to go red pepper, which is what we’re going to do.

That’s fucking silly that are so fucking silly. 

Callie: [00:15:38] I started therapy, what, like a month ago now. And it’s interesting, the stuff that’s been brought to the surface, it’s not like I’ve uncovered some secret trauma I had buried deep inside me or anything. What I’m discovering is that. There’s some stuff that’s just not really behind find me like I thought it was, I’ve always hesitated to use the word trauma for the same reason. A lot of people do it’s that constant comparison. Other people have had it worse. So that word’s for them now, for me, I’ve even used the phrase for myself. 

You know, I’m not sure trauma is the right word. It’s more like baggage. I’ve been minimizing my pain, all this on top of the state of the world right now. I think my brain is grasping a bit. I grew up in a relatively safe white middle class bubble. And while that bubble still protects me to some degree, I’m just horrifically aware that safety is not what it used to be and never really was what I thought it was.

In the first place, what the fuck are we supposed to do with that? What’s the deal with that find and hold onto the things we can control. Right. I made a choice to switch to injectable estrogen. That’s going to be next week’s episode, by the by. I made a choice to join both a bridge 40 feet into our river. I made a choice to go to therapy.

I made a choice to start medication for my anxiety. My brain is going scorched earth on grabbing a hold of what I can control about my life. Some of it’s luck, some of it’s privilege, some of it’s hard work and determination. Some of it’s desperation. I can’t control a global pandemic. I can’t control the economy.

I can’t control the weather. But I can control the salt, the sear, the temperature, and the presentation of a good meal. And I can make people that I love smile, and that feels nice. 

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If you’re struggling, please, don’t be afraid to reach out. Till next time, friend, my name is Callie Wright and this is Queersplaining.