Jan. 3rd, 2016

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I could tell you how awesome this recipe is, but I will instead let you read it, maybe listen to that episode of The Splendid Table, and ideally try it for yourself. As the recipe says right at the beginning, it is a simplified version of musakhan, which I have tried to make several times in the past with limited success. This recipe basically cheats by taking the best parts of musakhan and cooking all of them together. The hardest part of cooking musakhan for me was always cooking the chicken on top of the bread. The bread ends up burnt before the chicken is done. This recipe just says screw it, cook the chicken, and serve on a warm pita. So I did. And it was an absolute crowd-pleaser. I don't like to compliment my own cooking, but after a few bites, I was like, daaaaamn, this is good. Unusually for me, I just followed this recipe straight (though I did have to add a bit more liquid in the marinade to cover the chicken). So when I was praising the dish, I was really praising the recipe's creators. I would love to have their cookbook. You know, just in case the universe wants to drop one off a truck or something.

We are going to see the new Star Wars tomorrow, finally. Mariah borrowed the box set from her uncle and has been watching them all weekend. I have sort of come and gone. I have a very limited familiarity with the series. I didn't grow up watching it. I think I watched the first one in middle school, in band class on a rest day after contest (straight 1s, bitches). I don't know that I ever saw the others in full, though parts certainly seemed familiar. I did see the prequel trilogy, I think all three in the theater. Certainly, for Episode 1 I did the whole leaving school early to buy tickets for literally everyone I knew, then waiting in line for many hours bit. And then the movie was awful, at least, I remember it being awful. By the time Mariah started on that one, I left her on her own. When I walked by, it looked more like a poor attempt at a Pixar movie than a live-action film. Mariah wanted to watch all of the films before tomorrow's curtain time, but that does not seem likely at this point.

I have not heard much about the new movie, intentionally. I feel like I have a very weird relationship with the star wars franchise at this point. For starters, JJ Abrams. I go back with the guy. I was aware of Felicity, though I didn't watch it. Alias was great. Lost was occasionally great, kind of a mess, but to be fair, JJ Abrams wasn't showrunner. Fringe, though, that was my jam. I love that show and have watched it multiple times. During Fringe, Abrams went off to work on his Star Trek reboot movie. At this point, he became an action movie superdirector, and the sequel cemented that place in hollywood. The Star Trek movies got a lot of backlash from Trekkies, because they were heavy on the action and light on the intellectualism that was omnipresent in post-TNG Star Trek. This is a fair criticism. But when Abrams finally agreed to do Star Wars, his sensibility made much more sense. He has shown plenty of skill in directing epic space opera action movies.

My biggest beef with the new Star Wars franchise is that director Rian Johnson has apparently signed on to direct the final two episodes. While I think he is an interesting choice for a Star Wars director, I am bummed that he will be tied up for years making those movies. Rian Johnson's early movie Brick is one of my favorite films, and all of his movies to date are great. I feel like, however good his Star Wars movies may be, the world would be better off if he made two or three of his own movies instead during that time. I also fear that, after Star Wars, Johnson will not be making any more of the type of movies that made me like him in the first place. 


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