We all screw up song lyrics — some of us more than others. That, and a terrible singing voice, has never slowed me down. I think that one of the funniest things in the whole world is when you find out a song’s real lyrics — it’s infinitely more hilarious the longer you’ve been belting out those incorrect words. For example, the song “Southern Cross,” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash. I’m guessing that the first time I heard that song was in the early 1980s. It’s a real beaut of a tune, all about lost love, the mistakes we make, what really matters… and, of course, those men know their way around a harmony.
In those early years, I thought the refrain was, “Think about how many times I have fallen/Spirits are usin’ me; larger voices callin’/What heaven brought you and me cannot be forgotten./I have been around the world/Looking for a one-eyed girl.” I thought myself so clever when I “realized” that David Crosby wasn’t looking for a one-eyed girl but, duh, a one-armed girl. Now, I fully understand that I didn’t think this through. I was just singing along when the song came on the radio. I didn’t think this through at all. Clearly, if this guy was chasing a one-armed girl — both of them are in boats — wouldn’t she be sorta easy to track down? I’m just saying … if she had the one eye, as I originally thought, then she could cover it with her bangs or sunglasses if she were incognito. But, with all due respect to people with missing limbs, sailing around the world with just the one arm, people are going to notice you.
I bring this up for a reason. My friend Kelly made a CD for me with this song on it and I’ve been listening to this song over and over again, to the point where I decided to learn how to play it on the guitar. So I downloaded the lyrics. Turns out he’s desperate and pining for a woman-girl. I don’t entirely understand what that means, but in retrospect it does make more sense than one arm or one eye.
Now here’s the food segue. Keeping the islands in mind, another friend, Cindy, makes a delicious dish called “cashew rice.” She made it at a dinner party, and I’ve been mildly obsessed with it. I had Cindy to my house, and she brought a hostess gift of Boston Uncommon, a recent cookbook from the Junior League of Boston. I love Junior League cookbooks. Guess what? Page 108 reveals the instructions. Here’s the recipe, but the whole book is terrific, and available by logging on to the Junior League Web site: jlboston.org
Cashew Pineapple Rice
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice (don’t use instant or quick-cooking)
1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks
3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews, lightly toasted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Heat your oven to 350º. Heat the butter and canola oil in a medium saucepan. Add onion. Cook 4 minutes or until tender. Pour onion and drippings into a 9×11-inch baking dish. Add rice, stirring to coat. Drain pineapple, reserving 1 tablespoon juice. Add pineapple, reserved juice, broth, carrots, cashews, salt, and pepper flakes to rice mixture and stir to combine. Bake, covered, 45 to 55 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Yield: 10 servings