“Sophocles” — Gordon Lish

“Sophocles”

by

Gordon Lish

from Self-Imitation of Myself  (1997)


Take egg. Boil until hard-cooked. Crack shell. Hold under running water. Remove shell. Set shell aside. Peel away white. Set white aside. Use heel of spoon to mash yolk in midsize mixing bowl. Add one teaspoon heavy cream, one tablespoon granulated sugar, one teaspoon confectioners’ sugar, three teaspoons almond extract, dash salt. Blend until blended consistency has been achieved. Set mixture aside. Take half cup shortening, two cups sifted flour, one teaspoon salt, four tablespoons ice water. Press with fork. Melt two sticks unsalted butter and fold in. Add two teaspoons vanilla extract. Shake in ground cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Cover with dampened towel and set aside in warm, dry place. Core eight apples. Cream three bananas. Take one cup sour cream, half cup sweet cream, quarter cup molasses. Blend three tablespoons dark brown sugar with quarter cup unsalted butter. Add half teaspoon baking powder. Turn when bubbles appear. Set mixture aside. Heat bacon drippings, peanut oil, and corn oil in shallow frypan. Drain excess onto brown paper bag. Pour remainder into buttered casserole. Sprinkle with paprika. Pat dry. Remove from pan. Allow milk to “billow.” Cut in four servings of finely chopped cabbage. Put seven egg yolks, two pints buttermilk into large mixing bowl. Beat until ingredients are thoroughly moistened. Resolve butter while gradually adding sugar. Add egg mixture to hot milk in saucepan. Set aside and take two tablespoons strained orange juice and eight-ounce jar apricot preserves. Cut pecans coarsely. Pour and spoon into prepared pan. Add half cup condensed milk, half cup evaporated milk, whole cup skim milk. Cook until substance has clarified. Let cool before refrigerating. Then bring gently to boil. Stir in apples and “shave” top with well-chilled knife. Beat vigorously until thick. Set this aside. Crush four vanilla beans with curd mallet. Divide with scissors into one-inch pieces. Transfer mixture to baking tin. Core more apples. Fold in eggs. Fold in pecans. Beat until stiff. Where’s your cooked egg white? Don’t forget your cooked egg white! Cut shortening into safflower oil. Remove cabbage from double boiler. Steam and then spread until surface is crumbly. Beat with whisk. Set aside. To begin sauce, take one quart okra, two pints tomatoes, two chopped onions, salt and pepper to taste. Take off skin and slice thin. Shake until greens are engulfed. Combine and keep beating. Prepare greased sheet. Allow contents to regroup. Dice and remove grated walnuts. Mixture is “ready” when peaks appear. Set aside and boil without stirring. Is it brittle? Discard and start again if brittle. What happened to vanilla beans? Crush more vanilla beans. Take creamed bananas. Pat dry. Remove from bowl. Lift gently. Combine. Fold back towel. You dampened it, didn’t you? Didn’t you dampen it? You didn’t, you didn’t, you didn’t dampen it! You took this for a joke and didn’t fucking dampen it, did you? See the brittleness? Weren’t you warned? You were warned, weren’t you?

Take egg.

No, forget it — don’t take egg.

Go get eight pounds stewing meat.

Hack away gristle.

Hack away suet.

Rip out bone.

1 thought on ““Sophocles” — Gordon Lish”

  1. Gordon Lish shows through the original wall-paper of Robert Carver, as a self-diminished writer of the ‘plain-style.

    Like

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