Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cold Buttermilk and Shrimp Soup (Page 85)

RECIPE # 1015

  • Date: Saturday, August 22, 2009 -- 6pm
  • Location: Okemos, MI
  • Kitchen: Matty's Temporary Residence
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: C

Since we haven't yet succeeded in buying a house in East Lansing, my special gentleman is renting a house from one of the professors who is on sabbatical. I made this recipe on our first weekend in the house, selecting it because it required few ingredients and little equipment, both of which are key when cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen. To start I cooked some shrimp in their shells in boiling water. Then I peeled, deveined, and chopped them. In a bowl I whisked together buttermilk, dry mustard, salt, and sugar. I then added chopped, peeled cucumber. Now here's where it gets a little sketchy. I am reading the recipe now and seeing that next I was supposed to add chopped chives. I remember buying the chives, but I don't remember chopping them. And certainly in the picture above I don't see any chives. What I do remember chopping is radishes. And indeed I see flecks of radish in my picture. Mysteriously, there are no radishes in the recipe. So what happened? Well, I bought ingredients for two recipes that day, and the other had radishes in it. So there were radishes in the fridge and I was thinking they would get used. While I was making this recipe my special gentleman flipped the page back to see the name of the recipe (which was on the preceeding page from the ingredient list). Coincidentally, the recipe before this one (also a chop-it-up-and-stir-it-together cold soup) called for chopped radishes. Not realizing the page had been flipped, I saw the word "radish" and chopped them up. Whoops. So, this recipe didn't end up exactly as it was intended. This fact makes me a little hesitant to give it such a harsh grade, but I feel pretty confident that it would have deserved it in any case. This soup tasted just how it sounds: it was buttermilk mixed with a bit of mustard, with shrimp and cucumbers floating in it. Not my thing. It didn't taste bad exactly, but it also wasn't something I felt compelled to eat. When my special gentleman asked me if I liked it I said, "Well not really, but I don't love shrimp." His response: "I do love shrimp, but this recipe might change my mind." In summary: we didn't love it.

The recipe in The Book is the same as this one, except the one in The Book calls for only 1-2 teaspoons of dry mustard.

On Saturday morning, as I was lying in bed trying to motivate to get up, I was thinking about how it seemed almost too easy to change my name. The process was so streamlined and simple that it made it seem like a non-event to give up the last name I have lived with my whole life and adopt a new one -- my husband's. Or so I thought anyway...

On Friday I had gone to the Social Security office, where I explained to them that I wanted to drop my middle name (Meredith), make my maiden name my new middle name, and change my last name to my married name. This seemed like the perfect compromise. I didn't feel ready to abandon my maiden name (which would be impossible anyway -- I can't change my last name professionally, as I have already published in my maiden name, so my colleagues and students will always know me by my maiden name), but I did want to change my last name legally. It was easy, the social security woman was super friendly. She entered it in the system, told me to wait 24 hours and then change it at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

So on Saturday morning I was trying to motivate to go the BMV when I was thinking about how simple a name change was. Eventually I rallied, and waited in a very long line. When I got to the front, I explained very happily about shifting my old last name to my middle name and changing my last night. The woman paused for a second and said, "I can't do that." It turns out that in order to drop my old middle name I need a court order. So my options were to have two middle names (which didn't appeal to me) or to drop my maiden name entirely (which also didn't appeal). As I stood there, trying to deliberate quickly, as there were dozens of people behind me in line, it occured to me that this was the stumbling block I had asked for -- the event that would make me really think about the gravity of changing my name. So I picked what I thought I would like better, dropping my maiden name entirely, and I left the BMV irrationally frustrated and upset.

Yes, I could get the court order to have my name as I wanted it. But I doubt I ever will. Partly I am lazy -- there are many forms and you have to run notices in the newspaper announcing your name change (so as not to evade creditors...), etc... It sounds like a huge pain. And frankly, having now lived with my new name, Teena Meredith Hedden, for a day and a half, I like it just fine. My maiden name will always be on my office door, in the course catalog, on my research papers, etc... Legally, of course, it is no longer part of my name. But I think that is ok with me.


M and M said...

Teena, I don't know if you are aware of this, but I used to be M. Walsh Felz (no hyphen, same situation as you). After babe #3, well, just before he was born, I felt totally erased of identity and went back to court to retrieve the name of my birth. We women always have these weird/awkward/standin'in long lines for legal changes, scenarios. ARGH! (Babe #4 didn't get a hyphen...can you believe it? But I didn't take husband #2's name, either. Hehehehehe).

Teena said...

I didn't know that. Yeah, the thing that is hard about it is that I just don't know how I am going to feel about it 5 years from now, or 20 years from now... Only time will tell I guess!

michael edelman said...

The original version of that recipe called for buttermilk, cooked shrimp, and peeled, seeded cucumber to be pureed in a blender and served cold. Very different from what you describe, and very, very good.

Teena said...

Wow, that is a big difference! Perhaps I should try the original recipe!