Cooking with Negatives

Posted on August 27, 2004 by Jenna

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The opposite of a sloppy joe is a tidy joe. Tidy Joes are small balls of delicious bread suspended in a broth of spiced tomato meat. One always eats Tidy Joes with a spoon, and the right pinky is fully extended. There is no mess.

In England, it is traditional to eat Tidy Joes every other Tuesday. The children do not shriek, “Tidy Joe! Tidy Joe!” and dance in glee. That mode of expression is more appropriate for vulgar roustabouts and their sloppy joes. For the Tidy Joes, the children march somberly to the table, saying, “I say, Tidy Joes! A meal like this doesn’t come along every week.” When they have finished, they carefully scrub their face and hair with their hands, working tidy cleanliness into every pore.

Moving on.

The opposite of a pot pie is an anti-drug pie. You may have seen these pies advertised on television. Where a pot pie contains euphoria, hallucination, chicken, vegetables, and sauce, an anti-drug pie contains crisp clear rationality. Many people believe that Salvador Dali maintains his identity as Alan Greenspan solely through the use of anti-drug pies. Hunter S. Thompson’s classic “The Fabulous Mint 400” admits his great debt to an anti-drug pie, which enabled him to pierce the haze of various drugs and make his way safely to the Nevada desert. Anti-drug pies are closely related to skeptical brownies.

The opposite of a sub sandwich is a super sandwich. Where a sub sandwich is restricted by its shape to a portion of the available sandwich foods, a super sandwich has no such restriction. A super sandwich can contain lettuce, mayonnaise, and cheese, but it can also contain sprockets, panda bears, and human heads. A super sandwich admits to no containment. Its borders are fuzzy. Its boundaries are inconclusive. Look at the tableaux around you: they are most likely super sandwiches. Taste them for a unique culinary experience.

The opposite of a pita pocket is an undifferentiated pita mass. Refusing to contain or be contained, a UPM surges outwards from its growth creche to swarm over the local region and drown it in delicious pita goodness. UPM organisms feed on ambient hummus, tuna, sprouts, and wheat grass. They also eat stray pets, or, in pita parlance, “man’s best supplements.” Lemurian prophets warned of the undifferentiated pita masses, but nobody listened, and now the world has only itself to blame.

Reversing lettuce yields prevention cabbage. An ounce of prevention cabbage is worth a pound of cure. Prevention cabbage is best eaten brown and dripping with strange rot. When green, leafy, and unripe, it is worth, at best, a few milligrams of cure.

The Surgeon General considers it unwise to grow prevention cabbage without eventually eating it. If no one eats a prevention cabbage, its rot becomes unchecked and spawns an undifferentiated pita mass. The UPM encourages others to doubt its existence by seeding the local water supply with anti-drug pies. Then, when people see the UPM seething around the corners of time and space, they declare, “My anti-drug is pie!” They eat rationality pie and ignore the UPM’s existence. When the sodden pie and chunks of its chicken ooze out through pipes and faucets, area residents declare, “This is unsanitary! Let us skip the water for tonight and eat something reassuringly clean. Like tidy joes!” The process of eating a tidy joe, with people at a table consuming food from bowls with spoons, forms a super sandwich. What is tastier on a super sandwich than prevention cabbage? In such circumstances, purchasing prevention cabbage is only natural—but if it molders in the fridge unused, the cycle begins again.