If you know who Cody ChesnuTT (N.B. Capital Ts are intentional…sigh) is at all, you prolly know him for his 2001 song The Seed. And if you know The Seed at all, you prolly know it as combined and moderately reworked by The Roots in 2002 as The Seed (2.0). And if you know The Seed (2.0) at all, you know it’s the best song The Roots have ever done and one of the very few utterly perfect songs of the last decade.
But if you don’t know any of that, and this track is your introduction into brilliant neo-soul mad man Cody ChesnuTT, then I can only implore you to listen to this track, then go back and find The Seed (2.0) and jam on some brilliance. Ford describes music (Soul, Neo-Soul, and esp. James Brown Pandora) like this as cooking music, and he’s right.
There are people (I’ve read their confessionals/slightly holier-than-thou blog posts) who maintain that if they were able they’d simply take a pill each morning to satisfy their nutritional requirements for the day. Thus preventing them from the necessity of eating. They’re so blase about the “chore” of consuming food they’d forgo it for the convenient comfort of knowing they wouldn’t have to trouble themselves with it.
These people are boring. I am not one of them. Indeed, I decided a while back (N.B. “realized” may be more accurate) that there are a finite number of calories I shall be able to consume throughout the course of my life. I can theoretically inch this number upward by exercising, which I’m doing a decent job at. I can certainly ratchet it down by not exercising and main lining 12 Dr.Ps a day (N.B. down to one diet Dr. P per week. I’m working on the Arnold Palmers. I’m doing better.)
But I understand there is a number, and I’ve decided I’m going to max that sonofabtich out. I will do my very best to eat meals, to eat anything I like every time I open my mouth. And I’m going to search out new foods to try and find the perfect one with full knowledge that it doesn’t exist (N.B. Well, not counting the perfectly ripened peach. What could possibly be better than that?)
I’ll eat or drink everything once, but I’ll do neither for anything not worth it twice (N.B. This is not a snobby as it sounds. “Worth it” has contextual elements to it as well. It’s “worth it” to drink 12 Miller Lites on Killamike’s back porch ruminating potential actors for Episode VII, just like it’s “worth it” to eat Velveeta and Rotel at my grandma’s every time.)
I’ve made this decision partly because I love food, but also because Wife is a great cook. (N.B. Allow me to preface this by saying that prior to domestication (i.e. DINKville) Wife and I were notorious restaurant junkies. We found our favorites and were loyal to them. We searched out new ones with the adventurous zeal of curious Yuppies in a city with an emerging restaurant scene, and rarely said no. If you have kids, I don’t have to tell you that changes. If you don’t, trust me, you’re glad that it does.) And she’s not a great cook like a man slowly approaching 35 (gulp) patting a pot-belly sipping a Bud Lite Lime saying “my old lady can cook..best chicken fry I ever had.” No, Wife is a preternaturally great cook.
I’d say she’s a “missed her calling” great cook, but that spins me off into all kinds of thought experiments where I have to reverse engineer a scenario where we still meet while I’m in law school (N.B. or playing first base for the Yankees), but she’s in the CIA (N.B. not that CIA). So she didn’t miss her calling at least on a karmic level. It’s more that she has another completely independent skill set to derive satisfaction from (N.B. Which would be her third after motherhood and insanely voracious reading).
She’s a notoriously reticent good cook and a notoriously cryptic one. (N.B. in fact just imagine the complete opposite of me, bloviating suspect and self congratulatory pronouncements, then imagine me also able and willing to magically craft expert dishes.) The question she hates most in the world (N.B. other than “why did you fall in love with me?) is “oh my God this is amazing, what’s in this” or “how did you do this?” Whereas if I had the skills she does, I’d be planning my answer to those questions before I’d even sat it in front of you to consume.
I don’t know where it comes from. Her mother is a good cook, but a country good cook. Fried chicken, biscuits and gravy all of that shit everyone loves. Wife is a different type of cook, an adventurous one. Like she was slowly absorbing all the restauranting we once enjoyed (N.B. while WD was absorbing Jameson) and is now able to combine recipes, and ingredients, and ideas with an aplomb that mystifies me.
In our great adulthood search for hobbies, she gets to proofread blog posts about the genius of Titus Andronicus, and I get to eat Coq au vin and incomprehensibly delectable Thai lettuce wraps with crushed peanuts and soy-chili dipping sauce.
And it’s not just big and complex meals. We don’t have bologna sandwiches (N.B. as close as you can get to taking the pill referenced above) at my house. Even sandwiches are an event, Italian meats, fresh tomatoes, increasingly complex and brilliant mayonaises, and good bread. We don’t have flour tortillas and ground beef with taco seasoning at my house. We have carne asada street tacos with fresh onions and cilantro and homemade salsa. Even the pizza is homemade and piled with an ever fine tuned mix of magical toppings and sauces.
However, we do still have cereal (which, as the child of a broken home (sniff) Wife knows I’ve eaten far too much of in my life), and it is her forever gambit to get me stop and bring something home when she doesn’t want to cook.
WD: “What’s for dinner?”
Wife: “I don’t know.”
WD: “Is there anything in the house.”
Wife: “I’ll prolly just have cereal.”
WD: “Pizza from Upper Crust, Tacos from Big Truck, or Onion Burgers from Tucker’s?”
But that aside (N.B. and trust me, anything from those restaurants is hardly a waste of calories.) Wife has proven to be the ideal companion (N.B in so many, many ways) in my quest never to consume a wasted calorie. And her development of this skill was the final proof that in marrying her, I far out kicked my coverage.
So at some point this weekend, I’ll fill our house with Cody ChesnuTT, her glass with (box)wine, and our son with distractions, allow her to flex her incomprehensible cooking muscles, and savor the results.
Lucky guy, me.