Congratulations! You’ve Just Graduated From The Best Four Years Of Your Life – Welcome To A Big Bag Of Suck.

3 June 2009

"Whoa, whoa, whoa...  Before you get all blame-y about the job market you're entering, let me tell you about the Hope distilleries and Change factories we plan on staffing in the coming months to fulfill my campaign promises."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa... Before you get all blame-y about the job market you're entering, let me tell you about the Hope distilleries and Change factories we plan on staffing in the coming months to fulfill my campaign promises."

Class of 2009: Congratulations on your graduation day!  You’ve worked hard for this moment, and you’ve earned it.  I can only imagine your excitement, as I look out upon your smiling, hopeful faces.  Actually, I can’t really imagine it, because you idiots seem to be happy about the fact that you’re leaving a situation where your schedule revolves around Wasted Wednesday and going snowboarding.  Are you guys fucking for real?!?!  You should be applying to grad school, right now, in hopes of extending your four-year, post-high school vacation.  Seriously, all the girls here are under 25, and will probably have sex with you if you give them coke!  They don’t do that in the real world – you have to buy them expensive jewelery for that!  And, trust me, when you get an actual job you’re not going to be able to wake up on a Tuesday with a hangover and just decide, “Oh, well, I can probably just stay home this morning.”  Unless you get a Union job, of course.  Seriously, what the fuck are you smiling about?!?!

But fear not, morons, because you’re about to get smacked dead in the junk with the cruel whiffle ball bat of reality.  They say that graduation is not an “end,” but a “beginning.”  Well they’re wrong, because it is most assuredly a fucking end.  An end to fun; an end to finals being the biggest worry of your life; and an end to drinking on a week night for fun, rather than for the purpose of forgetting, even if just for a moment, that you’ve become the man of “quiet desperation” described by Thoreau.  And you pathetic bastards have it doubly as bad – you’re entering one of the worst job markets since every time I’ve ever tried to get a job, and the economic landscape is just plain rough, in general.  The lucky among you will have a nice reprieve from the real world while getting drunk and pretending to be disappointed about being unemployed.  However, there are some of you out there who, for whatever reason, actually applied yourselves for the last four, glorious years, and will unfortunately land some generic office job at a non-descript corporation with a name like “Lexonix” or “Invectco” or “Invectronix.”  I just hope you like hearing “Only x more days ’til Friday” at least ten times every day of the week until Friday mercifully arrives, at which point they’ll invariably say “Ugh, at least it’s Friday.”  Do you know why they say these things?  Because they’re assholes, of course, but also because, unlike the inspirational quote above the entrance to Dachau, work is most assuredly NOT freedom.  It’s, like, the exact fucking opposite of that.  And for those of you thinking “That won’t be me – I’ll get a job that I love,” I’ve got news for you: no one is advertising an opening for “Lap Dance Recipient,” and you’ll never see a Want Ad reading “Full Time Scotch-Taster and Belligerent Wall-Puncher Needed.”  Trust me, I’ve looked.
 
Regardless of your individual circumstance, it’s a tough economy out there.  You’re going to have to scrimp and save and maybe even buy blended whisky.  You’re going to have to hawk your stuff and sell your plasma just to make rent.  You’re going to have to roll tourists on the boardwalk just so you can fix before the hallucinations start.  It’s going to be tough, and I don’t envy you one bit.  I know it sounds depressing, but I would like to leave you on a happy note, as I do have some good news: I’ve banged, like, four co-eds this weekend, and I’m proud to report that The Chef’s Prerogative’s stiiiiiilllll got it!  Anyway, I’m out, suckas; chuch.

In an interview I recently conducted with world-renowned economist, Milton Friedman, for this blog post, he concluded that “We’re all fucked!!!  Run for your lives!!!”  This is in marked contrast, however, to the informal poll I took of the ten other people working in my Registered Science lab, all ten of whom reported that they were currently gainfully employed.  Whoever is right, I thank God that registered scientisting and obscene blogging are recession-proof industries.  What’s not recession-proof, though, is making expensive meals in your home.  So say goodbye to your suckling pig.  So long to your pate de foie gras.  Don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out, eating five steaks in one sitting.  But, while wallets may be a little light, right now, there’s no excuse for resting on your laurels and making bland fare solely for the purpose of saving money.  Indeed, there are numerous meals, humble in their prices, yet delicious in their execution, that can serve to help you ride out this economic down-turn in style.  The following are some of the meals I’ve come to turn to when my side-business as a gigolo slows down, which is never.

Red Beans And Rice

As this photo indicates, red beans and rice can be made for a mere nine dollars per serving.  Red beans and rice is gooooood.

As this photo indicates, red beans and rice can be made for a mere nine dollars per serving. Red beans and rice is gooooood.

Red beans and rice pairs up two of the most common – and cheapest – staples the world has to offer (not so fast, Africa.)  But, like most humble foods, when made with care and attention, RB&R is absolutely delicious.  Plus, it’s got a ham hock in it, so you know it’s good.  Not only that, but this delicious dish is actually, dare I say: good for you!  Beans are high in fiber and protein, and rice is…  well, rice is what sake is made out of, so it’s good for making bad feelings go away.  While simple to make, RB&R is, however, a time-consuming endeavor, taking up to three hours to cook.  But, again, you’re probably sitting at home all day, anyway, so why not cook while you’re playing Worlds of Warcraft and listening to your fourth hour in a row of Sportscenter?  Saute onion, bell pepper, and celery in a cast iron pot.  Add in the ham hock and some minced garlic.  Sort the beans and remove any pebbles, then add to the pot, along with enough water to cover everything by a couple of inches.  In terms of seasonings, I always add a bay leaf, Cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, a little cumin, and red pepper flakes; but in these dire times, feel free to throw in whatever you may have in your pantry, as well as grass, dust, and kitty litter.  Simmer for two to three hours then remove the lid and let the liquid reduce to the desired consistency.  Pour over a bed of rice and enjoy with a cross-cultural tortilla.  P.S.  This meal is seriously, like, eight bucks to make, and will keep you fed at least until your dignity wears down and you finally pawn that watch your grandpa gave you.  P.P.S.  Wow, that last sentence was way more sad than funny.  Sorry.

Pasta – Imagine That!

See?  That shit's cheap.  Plus, it pairs my two favorite things: pasta and shame.

See? That shit's cheap. Plus, it pairs my two favorite things: pasta and shame.

Making pasta is about as cheap & easy as the sorority girl at the frat party who’s doing kegs stands, and who will, later in the evening, let you film whatever dirty thing you want to talk her into.  But, then again, you already know this because (a) you’ve made pasta before, and (b) it is your sister we’re talking about, here.  You can get a pound of pasta for a buck, and you don’t need much else besides oil, seasoning, and maybe some veg to make it taste great.  For an easy dinner that won’t hurt your wallet, simply saute vegetables and garlic in oil.  Add pasta and toss.  Please be aware, though, I invented this recipe, and have copyrighted it under the name TCP’s Lotsa Pasta Madness (beat ya to it, T.G.I. Fridays!).  So if you make this thing, please understand that you will owe me royalties, and I will exact my recompense by expropriating the hopes and dreams or your children.  Or you can just send me a check – whichever.

Ramen

Dave, does this ramen taste like crazy fucking broad, to you?

Does this ramen taste like straight-to-video, to you?

Continuing with the carb theme that I’m just now noticing, is perhaps the most awesome meal ever devised by hungry, fourth-century Chinese college students.  Ramen is chinese, right?  Anywho, grocery store Ramen, on its own, isn’t exactly haute cuisine – it’s freeze-dried noodles with packets of MSG cocaine for flavoring, for Christ’s sake.  What the fuck ever, though, because Ramen is cheap, comforting, delicious, and cheap, and if you eat enough of it, I’m pretty sure you’ll probably get scurvy, which will make you sound like you’re a pirate.  And, while Ramen may not be the most stylish of fare, who’s to say you can’t dress it up on your own?  Boil that shit in some store-bought stock to add flavor; add some chicken you grilled on your George Foreman right before snorting that Ativan; forego the Ramen altogether, tell your mom and dad you need money for books, then spend that money on an enchilada dinner at The Blue Iguana and three forties of Old English.  It’s all good!  I have fond, fond memory of late night Ramen dinners, and though pleasuring the entire Spirit Squad sapped me of the strength needed to add any non-packeted accoutrement to the dish, your own Ramen adventures are limited only by your imagination and the contents of the food isle at your local gas station.  Get some nachos while you’re there, you deserve it!

Well, there you have it: a woefully inadequate guide to eating on the cheap.  I apologize that I didn’t have more recipes for you, but I’m pretty busy, right now, lighting fifty-dollar cigars with conflagrant hundred-dollar bills.  Hopefully, though, this humble guide has inspired you to understand that even the most pedestrian of foods can be delicious, so long as the cook is willing to take his time to impart as much flavor as possible to it, and also to ignore anything and everything that Rachel Ray says.  I generally try to add extra flavor with fresh black truffles and saffron, but garlic powder works, too, if that’s all you’ve got in your mobile home.  In conclusion, college is awesome, “red beans” sounds like it should be offensive to both Native Americans and Latinos, I still eat Ramen once a week, paying for pasta at a restaurant is stupid, and Britney Murphy’s career is not going as well as planned.

Did I include this picture of Christina Hendricks because I mentioned "saffron" back there, and she used to play a character named "Saffron;" or did I refrence saffron back there just so I could include this picture of Christina Hendricks for you lucky readers?  It's a question as old as time, my friend.

Did I include this picture of Christina Hendricks because I mentioned "saffron" back there, and she used to play a character named "Saffron;" or did I refrence saffron back there just so I could include this picture of Christina Hendricks for you lucky readers? It's a question as old as time, my friend. Perhaps we'll never know.

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2 Responses to “Congratulations! You’ve Just Graduated From The Best Four Years Of Your Life – Welcome To A Big Bag Of Suck.”

  1. Jamie said

    I was wondering how you were going to tie food and cooking into the blog after the Obama speech, which was sooo funny by the way. So…uhmm…do you think pinto beans can be substituted for red beans in your red beans and rice receipe? I have a heaping bag of pinto beans that I just don’t know what to do with.

    • thechefsprerogative said

      Thanks for the comment, Jamie (whoever you are). To answer your question, pinto beans would be a delightful substitution. This begs the question, though: what do you have against red beans? What did they ever do to you?

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