Skip to main content

This Sauce Is the Sauce

F@*% jar sauce! Nat's what I reckon.

I am, of course, referring to the battle cry of "Nat's What I Reckon," the Australian YouTube champion who went "viral" during the first 2020 pandemic lockdown, on a mission to nourish the souls and bodies of weirdos and gutter punks around the world who appreciate a healthy sense of humor and a wholesome home-cooked meal lovingly presented with heaping sides of Australian-accented cuss words, dangerously long hair, and tattoos.

According to Nat's unorthodox self-help, autobiography, and cookery book, Un-Cook Yourself: A Ratbag's Rules for Life, his journey to unexpected lockdown internet fame began when he was a teenager and his father took him on a trip to India, where he contracted tuberculosis. Upon his return to Australia, the initial symptoms of infection were obscured by the usual effects of an unhealthy lifestyle and the medical community's biases toward... ratbags, as Nat would put it. His TB infection raged on for years without a diagnosis, ravaging his lungs and nearly taking his life while he unknowingly infected several of his friends along the way to figuring it out. He spent a horrifying length of time in isolation in a hospital ward, unable to breathe properly or receive visitors, and ended up losing a chunk of one lung to the extended damage of his long-untreated infection. (He has a gnarly blood eagle scar on his back from the surgery, which I gotta say is metal AF.) 

Fortunately, Nat recovered enough to go home--with a new motivation to take better care of himself and his mates. One of the lifestyle changes he made was to learn how to cook proper meals--but he never considered making a career out of it. He planned on using another adaptation to hardship, rough humor, for his bread and butter. He was just about to launch his standup comedy career with his first tour when Australia went into lockdown in 2020. 

When life handed Nat lockdown, he made Quarantine Sauce—and created a silly YouTube video about it, which he only expected his own friends to watch. Instead, it went viral faster than SARS-CoV-2 and launched him into a level of fame beyond what his live standup tour might have done.

Nat still struggles to maintain his physical health. That lung won't ever grow back, and throughout the pandemic, he has had to live very carefully because Australia's vaccine rollout has not been swift.

If you watch all of his cooking videos religiously like my husband and I do, you might notice that, as with mortals in general, his weight fluctuates. In some videos, he's more jacked than others. (He's always more or less jacked, though, adding to the visual experience.) But of greatest concern, his energy level ranges from manic to breathless. In some videos, he crackles and roars; in others, he mumbles and wheezes his way through the narration. I'm sure it can't help that Australia, like Siberia and the United States and Canada and a bunch of other places, is constantly on fire with totally chat air quality.

But in every video, Nat brings a heroic and hilarious attitude to whatever daily sh!tshow can be made a little more bearable with a laugh and a heap of flavorful nutrition.

This month, I finally got around to trying out his OG Quarantine Sauce recipe. I'd been waiting for local homegrown tomatoes to ripen, but unfortunately they didn't really turn out this year. I had all the other ingredients lined up and ready, so I was able to take advantage of a large tub of chopped, fresh tomatoes that landed on my kitchen table with our family Taco Tuesday takeout toppings. (Hey, sometimes it's just too hot to cook, and our kitchen has been under construction all summer.) I used those chopped tomatoes, and a splash of the hot sauce as well, to finally cook up a batch of Quarantine Sauce on the next day cool enough to open a window, and it sure was the sauce! I even made enough to throw some into a mason jar and freeze it for later.

Nat offers many more recipes on his YouTube channel, including more vegetarian options and suggested variations than he put into his printed cookbook.

But if your doctor has told you to eat some meat like mine did, and if you relish the challenge of following recipes in the metric system and heavy metal album cover art-style comic book format, Un-Cook Yourself is the book for you. I've now made every recipe in it except Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner (which I think would be best for a dinner party, something I'm not doing currently), and they are a deadset fortress of bickies, f@*%en oath.

Nat has been an  inspiration to my family over the past couple of years to eat right, stay active, take respiratory contagion seriously, laugh at everything, swear through the pain, chuck into the bin what belongs in the bin, and promote vaccination. I hope you find his work inspiring too. As Nat says,

Remember, you're a bloody champion!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

35 Great Things About Turning 35

The prime of life starts at 35! It's the best-kept secret from younger people, but your 35th birthday is a major cause for celebration. For mine, I have made my own listicle of 35 reasons why experts agree that 35 is the best age to be: You get to say, "I'm 35." The number 35 carries so much more gravitas than 30, but you're only a few years older. At 34, I've started fudging my age--by adding a year. People automatically take me seriously, and if they don't, at least they tell me I look young for my age. (Eye roll, hair toss, "whatever.")    35-year-olds DGAF. Inner chill reaches new heights at 35. Despite its #2 status on this list, it's the #1 response I hear about what's best about hitting 35. My gorgeous friend Nerlie was beautiful and resilient and wise beyond her years in high school, but now, at age 35, she gets to fully enjoy being herself on her own terms. She writes,  "I've survived so much that I don't

Happy Daylight Spending Time!

Happy Daylight Spending Time! It's finally our chance to enjoy the quality of life offered by Real Time. Now we can sleep until almost dawn, commute to work and school in the actual morning instead of during the night, savor the golden hour of the evening with active quality time outdoors without pushing into what should be winding-down time, and then relax into the beauty of a backyard bonfire or a candlelit dinner or a holiday light viewing stroll before the hour required of most human beings to go to bed in order to receive a healthy amount of sleep. Ah, what a relief from the unsustainable grind of Daylight Saving Time! It is fashionable to hate on the end of Daylight Saving Time, but I will not be fooled into participating in that griping. I believe that most of the whiners are conflating the onset of Standard Time with the time of year when the overall amount of actual daylight decreases naturally in the northern realms of the Earth, which is a fact of life outside the contr

Have a Vaxxed, Relaxed Holiday Season!

You deserve it. You've survived almost two years of a global pandemic and done everything in your power to take good care of yourself and your family and your larger community, all during a surge in stress, meanness, white supremacist violence, basic Karen-ing, economic hardship, unnecessary bad vibes, and rants about the government infecting people with magic octopi. Good onya, champion! You made it this far! Last year's holiday season was sketchy and filled with family drama (or isolation from family), but this year's doesn't have to be. This year, everyone ages 12 and up (without medical conditions that preclude them from gaining immunity via a vaccine) has had a chance to get fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. And everyone ages 5 and up (without those medical exceptions) has a chance to get fully vaccinated by Christmas. Pregnant and breastfeeding parents who get vaccinated can even confer immunity to their little ones in the womb or via breastmilk. How

Pocket of Joy: Starting a Shiny New Project

Oh, the buoyant thrill of a sparkly new idea! Ooh, the giddy joy of starting in on it--like planting the first footprint on a blanket of new-fallen snow, or drawing the first line on a clean sheet of paper, or sweeping the first brushstroke of slick, wet paint across a wall! Of course, it takes follow-through to manifest a dream through the sweaty, dirty, messy middle of any big project. But when you know you can do it, you can hold onto that shiny new feeling to sustain you all the way to the finish. Here I am chiseling away at the remains of my old kitchen back in the spring, when my new kitchen lived only in my imagination. My husband and I have been working on our kitchen (with my parents' help early on) for four months now. Our summer has been a marathon of hard, sweaty, dirty work littered with setbacks, frustrations, and frequent changes of plans--including the decision to redo our main bathroom at the same time, while we're at it! Anyone who has repaired or remodeled a

Shots All Around!

My daughter got her first Covid vaccine shot over the weekend! Lots of her friends have also received theirs or have appointments coming up soon, and most of her older relatives have been boosted. We are all so happy and relieved that we can look forward to celebrating winter holidays and birthdays indoors with friends and family this year. We've waited so long for this! And it was free! And, according to her, it didn't even hurt! She felt a little bit of soreness at the injection site for a little while, and she was very sleepy all weekend, which I understand is a good sign that her immune system is working hard to gear up in response to the vaccine. We are very pleased, and our extended family is feeling major relief and hope for a more relaxed, pleasant winter. Michigan is having a particularly rough go with the Covid at this moment in time, with outbreaks driven by Michigan's preteens and teens, and in these dire circumstances, it is so good to have a real reason to hop

Pocket of Joy: Wearing Purple

Being human is crazy, full stop. It's a blessing to be able to transcend the drama, rise above trends, and get to a place where you can just start wearing purple. My daughter is a pretty normal kid who had a pretty normal childhood up until the pandemic, compared to how her parents grew up. We are beyond proud and happy that her first decade of life has contained far less drama and trauma than either of ours did. And yet, there is no escaping the broad insanity that is human life, for everyone, everywhere, in every generation. Fortunately, our daughter has somehow inherited our creativity and wicked sense of humor without being forced to develop those traits as coping mechanisms. What fun! She loves campy horror and the cheesy occult. Her style is a little edgy without any true angst behind it. At the moment, her favorite colors are black and purple. And I feel like, somehow, some way, all of this has helped her to take the pandemic in stride. She has a firm grasp on fantasy versus

Treat Yourself to a Good Old-Fashioned Novel

'Tis the season for reading! Many people have done their holiday shopping early this year or simplified or opted out of a lot of the usual hustling and bustling of this time. Here in Michigan, we're still in a high risk pandemic situation, and now there's a new variant circulating in the world that might render our exciting new booster shots less effective than we had hoped they would be. We are all in need of safe comforts at this time, and what could be safer or more snuggly than an immersive adventure tale full of purely fictional drama and peril that has nothing to do with the real storms outside of our windows right now?  It doesn't matter much whether you cuddle into bed with a luscious, thick hardcover object of beauty or a sleek ebook reader. The benefits of reading anything that engages your mind, but especially fiction and most especially literary fiction, are vast and well-documented. You can read all about it in  Harper's Bazaar , BBC Culture , and Healt

Pocket of Joy: The Indiana Jones Door Slide

I find that sometimes when the gods close a door, you can run and slide through the crack at the very last second. And even reach back to grab your hat, if you're quick! Indiana Jones Door Close GIF from Indiana Jones GIFs   This feels like the vibe for all of my home and auto repairs over the past year as well as how I released my novel, and it feels like how I'll need to finish my 2021 Christmas shopping. Over the summer, my family went through a harrowing adventure in major home repairs and maintenance that suddenly seemed financially possible due to those stimulus payments and that free student loan forbearance. My husband and I, with the help of my parents, spent the summer and early fall doing most of the work ourselves to demolish and rebuild our kitchen and main bathroom, which had seemed to fall to pieces all at once, just like our furnace and vintage pickup truck did the moment we finished renovations. Thank goodness for emergency savings and credit cards! In the Tim

LEIRAH AND THE WILD MAN Now Available in Ebook Formats

It's my last 30-something birthday today! And in celebration of what I hope will be my last birthday that requires me to work creatively around plague conditions, I have released Leirah and the Wild Man in affordable ebook formats!  Are you bummed out about travel difficulties and shipping delays as we enter yet another Covid-complicated holiday season? Relief is here! Enjoy this cheap, instant-gratification ticket to a wild and exciting adventure full of 100% imaginary peril, which you can enjoy snug within the comfort of your own bed, pillow-and-blanket-heaped couch by the fire, or bubble bath if you have the right kind of protection on your reading device. Read a free excerpt of the Kindle version at amazon.com. Read a free excerpt of the Nook version at barnesandnoble.com. Leirah and the Wild Man: A Tale of Obsession and Survival at the Edges of the Byzantine World is a historical thriller set in the 11th century. Leirah dreams of stealing a Viking longship, hunting pirates,

Pocket of Joy: Supply-Unchained Gift Giving

Happy Hannukah, St. Nicholas, Solstice, Christmas, Three Kings, Kwanzaa, birthday, or other winter celebration that involves gift-giving! This is a great year to try out some buy-nothing-new gift ideas that don't fit in a box or that can be wrapped creatively, using found-around-the-house materials like old scarves or tea towels, craft materials, holiday catalogs from your junk mail, or painted-over shoeboxes. There are many ways to get festive and express generosity toward loved ones without spending a lot of money or worrying about shipping and delivery, such as... delivering homemade baked goods or casseroles giving handmade crafts hosting a game night, in-person among the vaccinated or virtual to include parents of young children, the immunocompromised, and others too vulnerable to gather safely indoors regifting new stuff you don't want or need regifting your own used books scouring thrift stores for funny/ugly holiday sweaters getting vaccinated, then offering childcare,