By ALEXI VENICE-
My sister-in-law, Cinnamon, who’s pictured here, arrived at our lake place with a band-aid over the bridge of her nose. I asked her what happened, curious if she had a suspicious mole removed or ran into a door while drinking cilantro gin and tonics, her favorite summer drink.
She told me that she’s wearing the tiny band-aid during the summer months to keep her glasses securely perched on the bridge of her nose. Without it, the heat and humidity cause her glasses to slide down, annoying her. So, her eyewear problem was solved, and a new nickname was born— Cinnamon Bandi. (I defy you to see the band-aid in the pic of her.)
Cinnamon Bandi has always been into food, even baking her own Tartine sourdough boule in a Dutch oven. Her existing nickname “Cinnamon” was a no-brainer. Add a band-aid for keeping her eye glasses in place during the summer of 2017, and, voila, we have a proper name for a food network star. Or, maybe a different genre of star. You decide.
To know Cinnamon Bandi is to know the provenance of food and appreciate how it’s prepared. For example, the entire family, and many friends, rely on her to bring loaves of sourdough and pale ale bread to gatherings. Perfectly baked, chewy bread made from scratch.
This story isn’t about bread, though. It’s about pork, my favorite meat. I like the pork—bacon, chops, sausage, roast, ribs, you name it—and rely on ample servings to maintain my svelte figure.
Ages ago, Bandi’s friend invited Bandi and her husband, Chap Daddy, to a dinner party.
Upon being invited to dinner, Bandi asked the hostess what she was planning to serve and was told, “a pork loin.” Bandi pushed up her spectacles as she pondered her friend’s ability to roast a pork loin successfully. She doubted her friend’s ability to pull it off, so Bandi hatched a plan.
Chap Daddy and Bandi arrived at the dinner party in plenty of time to mingle. While Chap Daddy enjoyed a cocktail with the other men, Bandi made a bee line for the kitchen and offered to help. Roughly translated, she wanted to snoop on the cooking process. Bandi arrived just in time to watch the hostess open the oven and remove the pork loin.
To Bandi’s astonishment, she saw a meat thermometer suspended in the center of the oven from a wire that was coiled around the rack hooks on either side. A meat thermometer suspended in the center of the oven? What?
The suspended thermometer had burst, however, and mercury had spilled onto the pork, pooling into a silver puddle on top of the brown meat. The hostess removed the roaster and set the mercury-laced pork loin on the counter, announcing, “I’ll scrape off the mercury. We can still eat this.”
Astonished, Bandi asked the hostess why she had suspended the thermometer from wire. The hostess replied that she thought that was standard procedure for measuring the temp of the pork loin. Obtaining the temp by inserting the thermometer into the meat apparently never occurred to her. Neither did watching a cooking show or consulting someone. Hmm. I fear for her unborn children. How is she going to take their temp? String a thermometer from a mobile above the crib?
Bandi assimilated this information, assessed the silver mercury sliding around on top of the pork loin, and told the hostess they could not eat it, because she didn’t want everyone to die from mercury poisoning!
Panic-stricken, and her pride on the line, the hostess insisted they could eat the mercury pork, because she didn’t have anything else to serve. Really? They were in the heart of Minneapolis, not shipwrecked on an iceberg. Non-poisonous food was only steps away.
They didn’t have to leave the house in search of dinner, however, because Cinnamon Bandi came to the rescue! She reached into her bag and extracted a pre-baked pork loin wrapped in aluminum foil. Trying not to offend the hostess, Bandi explained that she had prepped the pork loin in case the hostess confronted difficulties in making the dinner. Yay Cinnamon Bandi!