A pound of shrimp, shells on, is kind of a pain to deal with. You have to pull off the shell and little legs, then there’s that gross vein thing running down the back, and the whole process just takes So long, and by the time you’re done your hands smell like Gulf seawater, minus billions of gallons of oil. I’m no great fan of a pound of shrimp. But I am a great fan of my sleeping pills. Combine the two, though, and what you’ve got is a recipe for disaster.
This all happened last October, when I was relatively fresh from the bin and the Smart Car was a bright shining sore on the skin of my marriage. It was not a happy time, and I was not in the best of spirits. Nevertheless, I was determined to throw Katsu the surprise party of his life. I had a special Asian menu planned, which I took great care in selecting and prepared entirely in secret: roasted chickpeas, tofu and meat pancakes, roasted pork appetizers, and, last but not least, thai-inspired shrimp deviled eggs.
I was still a pretty heavy drinker and an even bigger insomiac, and I was on what I like to call “the Trifecta”: a blissful combination of Seroquel, Trazodone, and Ativan strong enough to knock out a horse. I’d usually wash them down with a glass of red, the wine speeding my way to a slumber that would rival Snow White’s. I absolutely loved it – the drugs had their own gravitational force, I could feel them pulling me downwards… I’d be helpless to stop it, and sleep would cover me like a Duvetyne quilt. No light. Just nothing.
So this one October night, I’ve taken the Trifecta, had my wine, and just as I start to feel the medication begin to pull down the shades I remember about this pound of shrimp I have sitting in the fridge for the eggs. We were broke, food costs money, and shrimp? Shrimp costs a LOT of money. I wasn’t about to waste them. So I stumbled out of bed, staggered to the kitchen, and proceeded to peel and devein the whole pound. I was amazingly drugged – my eyes were crossing, barely open – and the knife in my hand was sharp enough to slice off my entire finger. I considered this as I worked through the batch of them, but remained undeterred. Slowly, ever so slowly, shrimp by grey-fleshed shrimp, I made my way through the pile, and in the end I even had enough sense left to parboil them to ruddy pinkness.
In the end, the eggs were terrible, owing more to the cilantro, I think, than the late-night adventures with steel-tipped blades. But I still look back on that and think like, hey! Holy shit! That was fucking awesome!! Anthony Bourdain, look out. I’m coming for you.