Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.
--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Return of the Pot Boy


Creative speller, bonfire-maker, collector of hats, and history teacher Susanna of Alabama has suggested in the Comments that it is high time for the Pot Boy to stir up some mischief. As I am bogged down in college searches, revision of a 60-poem ms., horrid financial papers that don't bear thinking about (must pay taxes, must send three children to college), story requests, and being Mama, I think this a first-rate idea.

I have rousted him from the chimney corner by the fire (yes, I have a real old-fashioned chimney corner in my cottage of sagging floors, as well as an I-beam that holds up the floors as well as it can), and that daring young fellow has pronounced himself eager and willing to entertain questions. You may recall his piratical ways, his seizure of the premises in the guise of Palace Advice Columnist, and his dispensing of Pot Boy wisdom to novelist, poet, art teacher, person of ungraspable foreign name, child, graphic novelist, and nature photographer. You do not have to be one of these (though you may be) to ask for his sterling advice, but you do have to deposit a question.

In case you need to refresh your memory about his role and ambitions in life, you may inspect them here (and elsewhere in snips and jots of news):

Need advice or answers on matters of the heart, pots and pans, etiquette and protocol, the hunting of buffalo, why mome raths outgrabe? Please leave that question. Nothing under the sun is safe from the Pot Boy's eloquence.

Image credit: Photograph courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu/ and Valber Cortez of MaceiĆ³, Brazil.

19 comments:

  1. Dear Pot Boy:
    Who wrote the Book of Love?

    Sincerely,
    Sorry, that was the best question I could come up with on Short Notice

    ReplyDelete
  2. An, nothing like going to the expert with an ancient question...

    Stump the Pot Boy!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ah, I have one.

    What is it like to be a boy/man in love? I've wondered lately. We girls get all giddy, look starry eyed, feel weak in the knees when kissed, etc. I've wondered if boys and men feel the same or is it different for them?

    I read also that usually one of the couple is "more in love" with the other, and saw this played out today at McDonalds. I saw a chap with his arm around a girl looking totally besotted. Giving rise to the above questions in my mind. She on the other hand looked like she was just tolerating his being there and was more in love with the ice cream cone she was holding. I was thinking, poor chap, she's probably going to dump him sometime... but anyhow, do boys/men go all gagga like girls/women do when they are first "in love".?

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Pot Boy is refusing to come out and play so far. Evidently he feels unloved. A mere two questions! And blames me for being a lazy blogger of late...

    Meanwhile my traveling child will be home around midnight, and it will be good to see him again.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have been working with my profile and looks like I will just have to be faceless and hatless, I so wanted to wear my turbin hat for the potboy

    Susangaliques question, is how a soul might beat the lethargy of bla

    ReplyDelete
  6. What mammoth questions you ladies have! Who wrote the book of love? What does it mean to be a boy or man in love? How does one beat lethargy of soul?

    Doesn't anybody want to know something modest these days?

    Well, it will put the Pot Boy to work. He may as well establish world peace while he's at it.

    Meanwhile, my eldest's first plane was so late that he wouldn't make the second, so now he's on a different plane... The Mommy does not like this waffling about in the air with her son!

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  7. I know what you mean about that. Son's are special to their mommies.

    Tell the pot boy that we love him, otherwise we wouldn't write to him. I'd love to see a picture of his handsome face sometime though.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh I forgot, if he posts a picture it must be wearing his own tea cosy. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dear Pot Boy,
    What we would all do without pot boys?
    please, i'm being rhetorical.
    After all, armies and families must be nourished on a frightening regular basis. And this requires pots. Clean pots. Lots and lots of clean pots.
    So, dear pot boy, please let me off the hook if you can. What i need to know is this:
    is it absolutely necessary for me to keep my copper pots shined at all times? i only have two in my humble kitchen, but they are used frequently and while i do often enjoy shining them 'til them gleam, i am almost always compelled to fly away with dishes dripping dry on the rack while the last of the soap bubbles slips down the drain. This means, of course, that the copper pots develop a well-worn patina i've often spied on tv chef's copper pots...but...please tell me the truth: am i slothful for not polishing them every night?

    Humbly yours,
    Fitful Zephyr

    ReplyDelete
  10. Donna, he is said to look a lot like Horatio Hornblower in a silly white hat! Or a tea cosy.

    Now there's a real Pot Boy Question, zephyr. Doubtless he will know the answer.

    ReplyDelete
  11. look! I got my hat back!

    I am actually wearing a big fur hat today that is to big for this screen. I think its the closest thing I will ever have close to an afro.

    I think I solved my lethargy...

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have another question for the pot boy. Are there ghosts in your palace? I was with a friend tonight at our local coffee house and we had contact with a ghost. Details are on my blog, but I want to know about your palace, does it have ghosts, and what are they like?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dear Pot Boy:

    Pls do not feel unloved and come out and play! There are few worse fates than being unloved, it is true...but you could have a name that means "worthy of love" and feel the weight this title adds to the burden that is absence.

    I've a query for you, but perhaps you require some gentle coaxing. Since you spend your hours in the kitchen, I assume you like to eat and also approach the edible with a certain creative flair. I've just perfected my recipe for simple home-made pasta sauce here in Italia and shall give it to you. It is not a bribe, just a gentle offering.

    1 lb sun-ripened tomatoes
    1 lb spaghetti
    1/2 cup grated ricotta salata or pecorino
    salt and pepper to taste
    a pinch of red pepper flakes
    olive oil
    6-8 basil leaves
    3 cloves of garlic, chopped

    Cut a small "x" in the tops and bottoms of your fresh tomatoes (pls avoid grocery tomatoes...grow them yourself or go to a market). Boil them in hot water until their skins loosen. Peel the skins whilst making sure you don't singe your own skin. Chop up the tomatoes and and put them in a saucepan with the garlic (finely chopped or pressed). Let this mixture simmer eight-ten minutes - stir occasionally. You can add a TBS or two of olive oil at this point. This is a personal choice. I find too much olive oil makes the sauce less hearty. Also add salt, pepper, and the red pepper flakes (be very sparing on the flakes). Boil your pasta in salted water. Add shredded basil and cheese to your sauce just a few minutes before serving.

    Variations:

    Eggplant - Peel and slice into 1/2" slices and salt them. Place in a colander for 1-2 hours. Then rinse, pat dry, and fry in hot oil, turning so both sides brown. Drain on absorbent paper and add to your sauce before serving.

    Black olives - 1 1/2 cups black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped. I don't use canned olives...I remove the pits myself. Try adding these with a tsp or two of oregano and a little chilli pepper for a second variation on the sauce.

    Serves 6.

    Some people like to add a pinch of sugar to cut the acidity of our tomato friends. I did not detect a difference when I tried it.

    There will be pots to scrub, of course.

    Now: Do you think it is a person's duty to build a life around a gift/skill (one recognized by the individual but also one others have defined for him or her)? Suppose it is a skill that few possess, but that the person only enjoys him or herself 95% of the time? Is it the greater duty for the person to follow his or her bliss, even if it is unrelated to the gift?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Donna,

    Ghosts! Duly noted. N will be pleased with that one, as he is interested in "G's."

    Amanda,

    Thank you very much for the perfected recipe--I'm sure that will be a temptation for the Pot Boy. I find your question very interesting for what it says about Amanda's joys, and for what it evades.

    ReplyDelete
  15. How did I break through the lethargy?

    I have been thinking about this carefully for what ever reason. On the top I would think a new challenge, raising things to the next level, or meeting a new cool person,

    but really I think it is because I felt like providence brought something new to me and I just have to think magically. It is silly really, but I needed to feel like God was doing something, or that the divine was still seriously at work within me, or that the stars and planets might have set a new path in order that was beyond my control.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh and Happy Leap Day to the pot boy and the Mrs.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Halloo, Susanna--

    Is there ever anything silly about thinking that divine Providence is at work?

    I doubt it!

    Thank you for the Leap Year wishes. I'll have to put up a Leap post soon.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dear Pot Boy

    Verily my pot runneth over and there is little I need to ask. But while we're on pots and pasta sauces, are green bell peppers, capsicums, what you will, the same species as the red ones, only at a different stage of ripeness, or are they something of a different kidney? (Always loved Eliot for rhyming that with 'Sir Philip Sidney...)

    ReplyDelete

Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.