Sunday, May 29, 2011

Last Meal

If everything is going down
Shuddering down to fiery end
If everything is over now
I'd like
For my last meal
A nice seafood dinner.

Nothing fancy
Well, nothing too fancy
Just some crab or lobster
Or (if that's not quite affordable)
Some langostinos
To commemorate my presence on this earth.

But in case that's not possible either
(If, for example,
The seas have already risen above our heads
Or receded
Down below our awareness)

Well, I'd mostly just like
For us to share a meal.
Something from the sea would be nice
But anything will do

Just please
At the end
Hold my hand
I was only vaguely aware that the world may have ended last week.  And now that the Rapture has been postponed to October, I only vaguely care.

If the world ends, so be it.

But for many, this time of year marks a more concrete, certain kind of end.  To those graduating this year -- it's customary for everyone you know who's even slightly older or wiser than you to shower you with helpful advice.  I don't purport to be wiser, but I'm not about to break from tradition.

To the lost-and-confused, those unsure of the next step and thus afraid to take it -- you are not alone.  Many people don't know what they want in life, and they wander around a while getting to know the world and themselves, and this is not depressing.  People who've known they've wanted to be doctors or actors since age six are solidly in the minority; we are meant to explore the possibilities of what we are meant to do in life.  So if you're lost and confused, the best words I can think of to say to you are those of John Jay, inscribed on a common-room wall in my freshman dorm:

"Hold fast to the spirit of youth -- let years to come do what they may!"

To those in the minority -- people who've known they've wanted to be doctors or actors since age six -- remember to embrace spontaneity and change; they're what gives life its luster.  And when the real world changes (as it often does) and things get tough (as they often do), roll with the punches, and stay true to your own loves and virtues.  This is a reassurance as much as it is a warning -- a history of success and knowing-what-you-want-to-do doesn't portend a lifetime of such things.  We may change our direction in life as many times as it takes to find true passion, but even upon finding it, we must continue to move forward with tenacity and integrity.  So if you are lucky enough to have found your passion already, I share with you the words of Albert Camus:

"Integrity has no need of rules."

Wherever you are, whomever you are…you are you, and you've done a good thing just now.  Congratulations!  Kindly celebrate, perhaps with a few of your favorite dishes, definitely with a few of your favorite people.  And for goodness' sake, don't take every little piece of advice you're given.

Ginger-Scallion Langostino Tails with Bamboo and Sugar Snap Peas

  • 2 lbs frozen (raw) langostino tails
  • 8-10 precooked bamboo shoots
  • 4 cups sugar snap peas
  • 2-3 stalks scallions
  • 1 large slice ginger root
  • 2 tbsp cooking wine
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 2-3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • 1-2 tsp black pepper


Thaw the langostino tails in the fridge.  After about 3 hours, mix with the cooking wine and a few pinches of salt.  In a colander, allow to thaw for another 3 hours at room temperature.

In the meantime, string and wash the sugar snap peas, and slice the bamboo.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok over medium heat, add the bamboo and snap peas, and sprinkle with a few pinches salt.  Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until pea pods are tender.

Transfer to a separate bowl.

Chop the scallions.

Add the corn starch to the thawed and drained langostino tails.

Add the scallions and mix well.

Heat another tbsp oil in the wok, this time over high heat.  Add the slice of ginger and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant.

Then pour in the langostinos and stir-fry for no more than 5 minutes -- the meat should be firm, but not chewy. Add some salt to taste.

Add in the bamboo and peas, and sauté for another minute.  Season with sugar, salt, and pepper to taste.

Serve fresh and piping hot, with rice, if you'd like.  (Serves 6-8.)


  1. Great recipe and writing. I linked back to this page from our Langostino Facebook page

  2. Cool, thanks! Who knew there was a langostino Facbeook page?!