On this rainy Monday, Micah and I were watching his beloved Mickey on Disney Junior after his nap. I almost fastforwarded through a commerical, a how-to demo for making “Cauliflower Steaks.” But during the fastforwarding, I saw that she had just rubbed some salt and parsley into cut-up cauliflower and put them on the grill for five minutes. That’s it? Even *I* can do that!
I realized again that names mean everything to me. Just because she had called them “cauliflower steaks,” I had gotten needlessly intimidated and wanted to glaze over the way I do for all things kitchen. The name sounded more serious than what it was, which was “Cut and Salted Cauliflower in the Oven” or even “Roasted Cauliflower.” I had assumed that cauliflower steaks would involve some elaborate voodoo that I didn’t want to attempt (I promise I did not think it involved the alchemy of turning cauliflower into steaks).
Same goes for places. When I first moved to NYC seven and a half years ago, I immediately went to go look at Astoria for an apartment rental because the name sounded so enchanting, like from The Never Ending Story. Like I would be exploring NYC’s nooks and crannies with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, along with our entourage of Atreyu, Bastian, and The Luck Dragon. I grimaced when I heard of a land called Flushing.
After watching “Saw,” my husband asked me if I liked it. After deliberating whether or not I did in fact like it (I did), I said, “Yes, but the title.” “What about the title?” “I wish they didn’t call it ‘Saw’. I wish they had named it straight up ‘Kill Yoself Killa.'” I dismiss many movies based on poor titles like “Tower Heist.” Not catchy or creative. I cannot imagine my ordering tickets at the box office for one “Tower Heist.” Yet I appreciate juvenile titles like “Crazy Stupid Love” because it just works! I don’t know how Kevin convinced me to go watch “I Heart Huckabees” though.
During my first full-time job as an Account Associate at a public relations / strategic communications firm in West Hollywood, CA, we were hosting a literacy convention for The LA Times. Our Vice President was trying to impress our client and explained in her most schmoozy voice, “Please do not worry about any of the preparation on that day as my staff will take care of all signage for you.” Signage meant that I was going to make some signs with a black Sharpie. Nothing fancy. Not even involving a computer.
I became consumed with that word and what it represented at that time in my young career. I called my friends to explain that I don’t think I can work in an office setting because people think they can just throw words like “signage” around without laughing. I wanted people to say, “My staff will make the signs.” I know I totally overreacted but I realized I have word allergies. “Signage” was one. “Treatise” was another I encountered years later in law school.
I can go on and on but I have to make my cauliflower steaks now before it gets any later.