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Only Cook w/ Hot Grease
Or don't cook at all.
Before we get started, shout out to Erika Malone from ATL who won our raffle for participating (along with over 400 of you‼️) in Tuesday’s IG poll. This issue’s prize is an original from FLoaWB friend XPayne. Hope you put it somewhere nice in your home, Erika, and make sure y’all participate next go ‘round!
“Nah, T, you gotta wait a little bit… ‘til the grease gets hot before you drop it in there.”
It was a fish fry at my auntie’s house and I had just cut some potatoes. Not to make french fries with, or nothing like that. These potatoes weren’t for eating. They were for the fish. More specifically, the oil.
“Yeah, so the potatoes, when you cut ‘em real thick like that… no special way, just real thick like that… it helps to keep the grease from popping while you’re cooking the fish. Plus, it’ll let you gauge how hot the grease is.”
My Dad loves frying fish about as much as we all love eating it. And, after doing it for years, he’s about as much as an expert at frying it as I am at, well, eating it.. And one thing he’s learned is, one of the most important parts of frying fish is first, frying a potato. Not really frying the potato, but putting it into the grease. You want a pleasurable cooking and eating experience? You better get you a potato. Until that potato drops in that pot, and the oil starts wiggling to indicate the right temperature, it ain’t worth putting the fish in.
Or, put another way, only cook with hot grease.
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Sage advice. And honestly, like most things in this newsletter, I’ve applied a little thing to a larger thing.
Apophenia is what it’s called: “the tendency to perceive a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things”.
So, if you’re ready to rock, I’m ready to roll. Shall we?
You ever been trying to pour some margarita out of a pitcher and into your cup? But maybe the pitcher has ice in it, so you’re nervous, because you don’t want it to trickle out and down the side of the pitcher (and not into your cup where it belongs)? But you know if you tilt it TOO much it’ll spill everywhere and fuck up Taco Tuesday for everybody? Yep, there’s a lot of pressure that comes with the perfect margarita pitcher pour. Times like this, people everywhere get caught in between a rock in a hard place, and it ends badly. The solution? You gotta give that pitcher a HELL YEAH pour, right into your cup like a champ… or don’t pour it at all.
What do I mean by a HELL YEAH pour?
This dude Tim Ferriss said something very interesting that I’ve tried to incorporate into my life since I first heard it: “If it's not a HELL YEAH, it's a NO.”
I know we don’t always want to live so binary, and not every thing these “lifestyle gurus” say is A1… but that’s pretty wise, huh? he’s not alone, check this.
My man Abraham Lincoln once said that if he had 6 hours to chop down a tree, he’d spend the first 2 hours sharpening his axe… And Ron Swanson told Leslie Knope plain as day “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.”
My mama had similar advice when it was time to clean my room growing up “It’ll take you longer to do it twice than to get it right on the first time.”
]Not sure about something? Can’t give it your all at this very moment? Shit happens, it’s cool. Just remember that if you have the luxury of waiting until you’re more equipped, it’s better to start it then than now.
In other words… Only cook with hot grease.
Like Big Daddy Kane and Mobb Deep said.. ain’t no “half stepping” NOR “half-way crooks”. Thems the rules.
Speaking of rap, you ever heard Kendrick Lamar’s “Barbed Wire”? It’s a requiem on the evils of not fully making your mind up about something, and inevitably getting caught half-assing. That’s the barbed wire. I mean, imagine trying to hop a fence, getting to the top, and losing momentum. Now you’re stuck. Sounds painful, right? That’s unforgivable for anyone, but on a barbed wire fence? Shiiiid. To hop a barbed wire fence, you better pack you some HELL YEAH if you expect to get to the other side. That’s what I mean by HELL YEAH, btw.
Same thing goes for time boxing your productivity in a day. Reaching a point where you’re slowing down and becoming rather useless? That’s cool. Take a nap, or a 20-minute break to walk around the neighborhood, or go do something intentional/productive with your hands like cook or wash dishes. It’s good for the brain. Maybe catch an episode of that show, even do absolutely nothing for a beat. These are things that give you rest and make you that much more productive when you start cranking it up again.
They key is to make it so that you’ve planned well enough to give yourself the luxury of choice, and you have the privilege of asking yourself:
Why cook when the grease ain’t hot?
Moreover, if it’s late and I’m starting to work inefficiently and not able to give my all, I’d rather go to bed mid-task and wake up 30 minutes earlier than I normally would the next morning with a fresh face to tackle it. That’s better than fumbling through it with lukewarm grease, just trying to make it.
🧼 Actually, sometimes if I’m too tired to clean the kitchen at night, I wake up 20 minutes earlier to do it with intention in the following morning.
🎤 If you don’t know all the words to the song you want to perform at karaoke, go back home to practice and wait for next week. Nobody wants to see you read the lyrics off the screen.
💤 If you don’t really feel like having sex right then, maybe next time. Surely you don’t want to half-ass that.
🎂 If you ain’t finished making your wish yet, don’t blow out your candles. You can have your cake and eat it too.
🏡 If the market or the neighborhood just ain’t right, don’t buy the house just yet.
💪🏽 If the gym is too far from your house, and you spend all your “work out” energy just simply trying to get there, find another gym.
📞 If you aren’t ready to talk on the phone when your friend calls to catch up, ask to call them back. You don’t wanna get caught up trying to catch up.
The thesis is that shit just works better when it’s done at the right time, with the right amount of energy. It’s no sense in doing something unless you’re ready and willing to do the something, AND the “something” is ready and willing to get done. Can I get a HELL YEAH?
As it turns out, timing still is everything. Now fire that grease up.
For Lack of a Wetter Bird, only cook with hot grease.
I hope this makes sense. I typed it at like 3:30 in the morning when I could barely think straight 🙃
P.S. - We took to Instagram for a poll this week, and 478 of you spoke loud and clear:
But I want to take some time to rank my favorite 3 “Reply w/other” responses 😂:
Honorable Mention: The 14 people from the Midwest who said spaghetti
All of ‘em, plus some ketchup.
Grits and cornbread.
Grape Jelly. I swear it’s good.