i call it crazy refrigerator lady blush sauce

photo challenge day #3: take a photo of something you ate.

oh, girl. i can tell you about something i ate! okay, many years ago, before i was even dating jared, & i lived with this crusty punk couple. i had a surprisingly rocky relationship with them. sometimes we got along beautifully, drinking beers & chainsmoking, introducing each other to new music, gossiping about our fellow punks, annoying each other’s pets (they had three dogs), tearing it up at parties, etc. & sometimes we got along really badly, for reasons i never understood. i got along better (more consistently) with the dude half of the couple, which is funny, because i don’t tend to get along with dudes that well. i almost always connect better with ladies. but this particular lady ran really hot & cold with me. i think she sometimes didn’t like how well i got along with her boyfriend. things finally blew up one day when i came home after being out all weekend & found a note on the fridge that said, “ciara–you have until october to find a new place to live. good luck.” it was august 28. & the note was actually written ON the fridge with permanent marker. by the lady. i found a new place to live that very afternoon & stiffed ’em on september rent (we didn’t have a lease, so there wasn’t much they could do about it). i still have no idea what caused her to believe that she couldn’t stand to live with me for one more second. i guess i’d been agitating for more equity in the rent distribution. i paid $535 for my bedroom, which was small to average-sized. they paid $275 each for their room, which was fucking enormous, about one-third of the entire apartment. if you add their rents together, yes, their room cost more than mine did, but only by $15 & i didn’t think it was fair that they got such cheap rent just because they were a couple who shared a room. i still think it’s pretty unjust, although i’m somewhat more understanding now. the only reason a couple would ever split an apartment with other roommates would be to score some cheap-as-fuck rent. i don’t know. i just didn’t know about the way rent was divided up before i moved in. i thought everyone was paying around $500 for their room because that’s what passed for pretty cheap rent in a shared apartment in boston at the time.

anyway, this lady i lived with was definitely a little bit bananas, with the writing notes on the fridge & all that, but she made this incredible dish that she just called “blush sauce”. despite my all-consuming love affair with italian food, i was unfamiliar with the concept of blush sauce (probably because it traditionally involves vodka & i was hardcore anti-alcohol until i was 26 years old or so–i didn’t even eat it in food). she only made it once every couple of months, but when she did, it was an all-day affair involving the huge pasta pot, a million hours of simmering, god knows how many kinds of cheese, & then she’d boil up a pound of two or penne & simmer it directly in the sauce until it was imbued with all the gooey cheesy tomato-y amazingness. she always made more than enough for herself & her boyfriend, & our fourth roommate was a pretentious vegan, so more for me! i asked her for the recipe, but she was really flaky & never got it to me. & then she turned on me & you know…refrigerators were drafted into her holy war against ciara.

yesterday i was hanging around the house, wondering what the fuck to make for dinner. & suddenly i was like, “BLUSH SAUCE!” i never got a recipe from her, i’d never made this dish before, but i have learned a lot about cooking since i started dating jared & i figured i could probably cobble something together if i couldn’t find a decent recipe online. in the past few years, i have been trying to perfect my macaroni & cheese recipe, which involves a cream roux that is mixed with cheese, & i figured i could adopt the principles of the roux for a basic blush sauce (sans peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc–i wanted my sauce to be a conveyance for nothing but creamy cheese & tomato).

i didn’t take any photos of the actual meal because i think that shit is kind of weird. an acquaintance of mine went on a blind okcupid date once with someone. they went to a restaurant, as you do on first dates, & after their entrees were served, the date whipped out a camera & was like, “i hope this is okay. i just have to take a photo before i eat?” my acquaintance was weirded out, mostly because no explanation was offered. why do you have to take a photo of your entree? do you run a food blog? are you the phantom gourmet? are you on weight watchers? do you have some weird camera-themed eating disorder? did you lose a bet? are you just a pretentious hipster who thinks random people give two shits about what you ate for dinner?

so here are my photos:

leftover sauce.
dirty dishes aftermath.

i didn’t end up using a recipe. i just kind of made it up. here’s what i did (warning: this is not remotely vegan–but it is vegetarian!).

melt about three tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. mix in a tablespoon or two of tomato paste. saute about two cloves of chopped garlic in this mix. throw in a can of diced tomatoes (like one of the cans that is about the size of a soup can, not one of the huge guys). pour in some heavy cream. i don’t know how much i put in. maybe half a cup or so? mix that all up & start stirring in fresh grated parmesan. i don’t know how much of that i used either. i’ll estimate 3/4 cup, maybe a little more. & then i tossed in a little handful of flour (like a tablespoon-ish? maybe two?) to thicken it up a bit. i was going to include mozzarella, but when i tasted it with just this, it was so insanely delicious that i decided not to fuck with a good thing. i served it over penne & it was enough for two people to have two big plates with the leftover sauce you see here chillin’ in the (permanent marker-free…so far) fridge. this was the best thing i have ever cooked, aside from a couple of especially incredible lasagnas. despite not being italian even a little bit, i really think i might have been an old italian granny in a past life.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

4 thoughts on “i call it crazy refrigerator lady blush sauce

  1. You are WAY overthinking this photos of food business. Some people just like to take photos, of anything & everything, for no other reason than they enjoy it, and you’re not like that so stop being such a judgmental freak about it already!
    Now excuse me while I get the lighting right for this plate of day old pizza I need to photograph before devouring.

    1. i can’t tell if you are joking with the “judgmental freak” business. i’ll assume that you are because i think it’s a bit of an overreaction to what i wrote if it’s serious.

      i think the “taking photos of food is obnoxious/weird/hipster-y” battle has been lost already, so i’m not going to press the issue or start severing friendships with people who do it. but…i think the story i shared is hilarious. i mean, picture it: you’re meeting someone for the very first time, & it’s a date, so there’s this subtext of, “maybe this person is a freak. maybe they’re all right. maybe we’ll bone. who knows?!” everyone is hopefully feeling the need to put their best foot forward. & then one of them says, “i have to take a photo of my entree before i eat it.” “HAVE TO” being the operative words. those are the kind of words that rather invite a follow-up explanation. this acquaintance of mine felt weird & was like, “i’m thinking that the most likely explanation is that she runs some kind of food blog & photographs all her meals for it, but why not tell me that? was she afraid i’d go look at it & have a way to, like, stalk her meals in the future even if the date didn’t work out?” a fair question, i think. if you’re going to bring your web persona on a date, you kind of have to be open about it or it’s just going to make everyone feel weird.

      but i prefer my suggestion, that she was the phantom gourmet. then the need for secrecy & subterfuge is totes legit.

        1. TL;DR! man, that is ice cold.

          usually you are such a passionate patron of emoticons to indicate sarcasm, the lack of emoticons threw me. plus you’re always taking photos of cupcakes & stuff. ps–i thought of you earlier when i walked by this new cupcake place in lawrence & noticed that they had huge blown-up photos of hostess cupcakes on the walls. why? why would someone do that? why advertise hostess cupcakes in your upscale gourmet cupcake boutique? that’s weird, right?

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