I was watching Top Chef the other day (episode 6 of this season).
Yes I am quite behind. Yes I think that this season's competitors are among the most talented yet. Yes I think Tom Colicchio is incredibly attractive.
Not that that has anything to do with anything. Just putting it out there. In case he's reading. (Hi, Tom!)
Anyway, so I'm watching this episode. The one with Penn and Teller. And for the elimination challenge, they are each assigned a different comfort food dish that they are supposed to recreate, albeit in a deconstructed form.
But what is deconstruction, you might ask? (To be or not to be - another pertinent question. Maybe for another day.) To deconstruct is to break something down into its components; to dismantle it. It is construction in reverse.
Or it is an obscenely incomprehensible vein of literary theory created by Jacques Derrida that no one can actually understand. "Deconstruction is not a dismantling of the structure of a text, but a demonstration that it has already dismantled itself. Its apparently-solid ground is no rock, but thin air."
It is all about the irreconciliable and contradictory quality of everything. Nothing is steady or sure or stable in any way, except for that we can depend on the fact that nothing is steady or sure or stable in any way. But even those two clauses are mutually exclusive. So where does that leave us? At the beginning. Or the end. It's all very chicken-and-egg (i.e. which came first).
I'm feeling a strong desire to emote this morning, in case you couldn't tell. Probably a sign that I shouldn't be blogging. But here I am. So bear with me.
After watching the episode I had a strong desire to deconstruct something. And it's stayed with me ever since.
The thing about deconstruction that I failed to mention before in all my pessimism was that it is actually all about breathing new life into something so that, even though what it once was no longer exists, the materials can live on, albeit in a different form. Same parts, different whole.
So I bring you this deconstructed peanut butter and "jelly" sandwich. Cranberry chutney instead of your traditional grape or raspberry jelly. Whole wheat pumpkin pie brioche because cranberries signify Thanksgiving and you can't have Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. (Pumpkin pie brioche thus becomes pumpkin pie deconstructed.) And peanut butter because, well, old habits die hard. All assembled into a somewhat cohesive whole and then eaten open-faced. Piece by piece. Because that is actually how I have always eaten sandwiches. Sometimes the whole is not better than the sum of its parts. Or in a more positive light, sometimes you just want to stop and smell the roses. And appreciate everything for what it is and not what it could be if you just tweaked it or changed it or molded it in some way.
Again with the emoting.
I'm going to go make myself another sandwich.
Makes about 2 cups, adapted from Closet Cooking
1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
1 apple (peeled, cored and diced)
1 onion (diced)
1 jalapeno pepper (finely diced)
1 tablespoon garlic (grated)
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup cider vinegar
Place everything in a large pot and boil until thickened.
I am sending this to Deb of Kahakai Kitchen for Souper Sundays!