Category Archives: Food and Drink

The Shape I’m In

This is usually a slow news week but since the Impeached Insult Comedian has been in extended tantrum mode, there’s a lot of stuff happening. Repeat after me: it’s NOT a coup, it’s an extended tantrum.

Dr. A and I remain under quarantine after she tested positive for COVID. We’re still asymptomatic and it looks as if we’ll stay that way. Good news all around. We even had groceries delivered for the first time. It was a break from the routine but did not involve poutine. Mmm, poutine.

Some friends brought us Thanksgiving dinner. It was amazing, awesome, and many other A words. Fried turkey not only rocks, it rules. Did I really just say that? We also had three kinds of pie: apple, pecan, and sweet potato. Mmm, pie.

I enjoyed having a quiet Thanksgiving this year. Instead of doing a holiday triple-header, we watched The National Dog Show, The Last Waltz, and some episodes of Cold Justice to add some grit to the holiday. I was also able to bask in compliments for my annual tribute to my late mother, Now Be Thankful.

Cue the original version of the song:

President* Pennywise continues to whine about his electoral defeat. It’s a way to stay in the limelight as his star recedes. He remains the president* of the Republican party and not much else. The rest of us are sick of his shit and wish he’d go away. Piss off out of our lives, Donald.

I nearly wrote an instant analysis post about the Flynn pardon on the day it happened. I had a good title too: Lame Duck Pardons Turkey & Traitor. I decided to leave it to Michael F. I knew he wouldn’t let down the side:

The Flynn case was born in scandal, lived in scandal, and finally died in scandal. Did I say it was scandalous?

Bill Barr’s conduct should be investigated and result, at the very least, in his disbarment. His name is part of the word, after all. As for myself I would never dis a bar, only a Barr, but not former Giants pitcher Jim Barr:

Dig those crazy sideburns, y’all. They were mandatory in the Seventies. It was a bad time for the Giants but a great time for sideburns.

In other Trump news, Rupert Murdoch is also sick of his shit as reported by Gabriel Sherman:

According to two sources, Trump’s attacks on Fox News are causing alarm in the Murdoch family. Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch is considering a plan to offer Trump a $100 million package that would include HarperCollins publishing Trump’s post-presidential memoir and Fox News giving Trump a contributor deal or his own show, the sources say. On November 10, the Murdoch-owned New York Post reported Trump could land a $100 million book advance, but made no mention of the Murdochs. “Rupert is going to make a humongous offer,” one of the sources said. “The thinking is, Let’s buy Trump off so he shuts the fuck up.”

Trump STFU? You must be dreaming. He cannot even shut up during the holidays when thoughts turn to turkey and shopping, not “baseless claims” of electoral fraud. Did I just say baseless claims? Holy shit, I sound like the Failing New York Times.

In the same Gabe Sherman piece we learned why Trump didn’t retreat to his Florida Elba:

But according to a Republican close to the White House, Trump’s decision not to travel to Mar-a-Lago is actually an indication that, privately at least, he’s preparing to vacate the White House in January. Trump is in the midst of a major renovation to his private apartment at Mar-a-Lago, which has made it uninhabitable during the holiday, the source said. “He wants to make it more comfortable as a full-time residence. It’s actually not that big,” the source said. The Mar-a-Lago renovation adds more evidence to the widely assumed view that Trump will make Palm Beach his permanent home after he leaves office, given his toxic relationship with New York.

The Kaiser of Chaos has essentially been booed out of New York City. It’s a tough town. In Florida, Governor De Santis can be his yard man as well as his yes man. Trump likes yes men instead of being blasted by De Blasio and criticized by Cuomo. It’s a tough town. If you don’t believe me, listen to John Lennon:

That concludes this rambling post in which I tried to talk turkey or is that cold turkey?

The last word goes to The Band:

Quote Of The Day: Diplomatic Gumbo

As I listened to the incoming UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, I was proud to be an LSU graduate.

Here are edited highlights of her remarks yesterday:

I learned from my family. Mr. President elect, thank you for those generous words that you said about me. My parents had very little back in Louisiana where I grew up, but they gave me and my siblings everything they had and I know how proud they would be of this day. On this day, I’m also missing my mentor, Ambassador Ed Perkins, who served as the US Ambassador to the United Nations under President George HW Bush and President Clinton. And who was also from Louisiana. He told me constantly, “Linda, don’t undersell yourself.” And he would always do everything possible to lift me up.

He passed away last week, but I know he’s here with us today. And on this day, I’m thinking about the American people, my fellow career diplomats and public servants around the world. I want to say to you, “America is back, multi-lateralism is back. Diplomacy is back.” Mr. President elect, I’ve often heard you say how all politics is personal, and that’s how you build relationships of trust and bridge disagreements and find common ground. And in my 35 years in the foreign service across four continents, I put a Cajun spin on it. I called that gumbo diplomacy.

Wherever I was posted around the world, I’d invite people of different backgrounds and beliefs to help me make a roux and chop onions for the Holy Trinity and make homemade gumbo. It was my way of breaking down barriers, connecting with people, and starting to see each other on a human level. A bit of lagniappe is what we say in Louisiana. That’s the charge in front of us today. The challenges we face, a global pandemic, a global economy, a global climate change crisis, mass migration and extreme poverty, social justice are unrelenting and interconnected, but they’re not unresolvable if America is leading the way. Thank you.

I come from a food-oriented family and live in a food-oriented city, so this was a perfect message for this season. It’s also a refreshing antidote to the nonsense spouted for four years by Team Trump on the foreign policy side. To paraphrase Gordon Ramsey, isolationism can piss off out of my kitchen.

The entire Biden event was a refreshing antidote to the weeks of crazy following the election. The grown-ups are back in charge. Imagine appointing people on the basis of their qualifications, not on how they look. That’s what gave us the Exxon CEO as Secretary of State and he was by no means the worst appointee. He did, however, provide me with Tea for the Tillerson puns so it wasn’t all bad.

Speaking of puns, I’ve heard before that the incoming Secretary of State is a fellow punster. He certainly has a punworthy name: Blinken. I hope he does the pun community proud and doesn’t get in too much trouble with the media for having a sense of humor. It will be a refreshing change from the ponderous pomposity of Pompeo.

The appointment that pleased me the most was that of John Kerry as the climate guy. Appointing someone who’s an equal is a sign that Joe Biden is comfortable in his own skin and that the incoming president is serious about climate change, which is some serious shit.

Team Biden has a mess to clean up but it’s what Democratic presidents do. The magnitude of Team Trump’s corruption and incompetence makes it an even bigger challenge but most of it is reversible. Repeat after me: help is on the way.

Back to Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield. She’s from Baker, Louisiana, which is right next to Red Stick, but I won’t hold that against her. I eagerly await the inevitable “she’ll be good for Louisiana” pieces from the Gret Stet punditocracy. In this case, they might be right. She does present a refreshing stylistic contrast to the cornpone shtick of our fake hick junior Senator, John Neely Kennedy.

The last word goes to Little Feat with the number 8 song on my Louisiana Top 50:

Headline Of The Day: GOP Sycophancy Edition

I awoke this morning feeling unproductive. It may have had something to with the 32 ounces of frozen margarita I imbibed last night. To paraphrase an old beer ad: Great taste, not so great feeling. Whiskey and beer are my jam, not tequila.

Shorter Adrastos, I’m feeling unproductive this morning. Did I say that already?

I may rally before the Friday Cocktail Hour but Charlie Pierce has bailed me out with this headline:

Ron Desantis’s Devotion To Trump Makes Brian Kemp Look Like Adam Schiff.

Both Florida and Georgia have governors who won close races against African American opponents. Kemp was helped by some good old-fashioned voter suppression and his refusal to resign as Secretary of State during the campaign

Neither DeSantis nor Kemp would have won without Trump’s support. Hence their endless sycophancy. They’ve both fiddled with the books to minimize the impact of the pandemic in their states. So much for the latest iteration of the New South. To paraphrase, H.L. Mencken: it’s the Sahara of the Trumper Bozart.

This tweet from the peerless Mr. Pierce set NOLA Twitter ablaze but left me nonplussed:

Been there, done that with Buy Us Back, Chirac. Pick up the phone, Macron doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The last word goes to The Champs:

The Age Of Overkill

It’s hard to know where to start some days. There’s so much happening that my mind reels like the drunk monkey in the ancient koan. Overkill is the koan of the realm in 2020. Pun intended; it always is.

It should come as no surprise that there’s rot at the core of the federal government. The Impeached Insult Comedian has been on a firing bender of late. A sinister one indeed: he’s been firing Inspectors General. They’re the ones in charge of keeping the various departments on the straight and narrow. That’s impossible during the Trump regime. Straight is out, crooked is in. It’s the age of overkill, after all.

The most worrisome of the firings is at the State Department where Mike Pompeo was being investigated for various abuses of power including turning his staff into servants. Inspectors Generals frown on civil servants walking their bosses’ dog. They’re only supposed to walk government dogs but since they don’t exist, dog walking is out.

I wonder if anyone in Trumpistan is literate enough to be familiar with Nikolai Gogol’s satirical play The Inspector General aka The Government Inspector. It mocked corrupt provincial officials in Tsarist Russia. In 1949, Hollywood reduced Gogol’s biting satire to imbecilic farce. Imbecilic farce certainly describes the Trump regime’s bumbling response to COVID-19. Make that deadly imbecilic farce.

Notice Danny Kaye’s orange skin in the poster below. I hesitate to make a Trump comparison since Kaye was a leading Hollywood liberal. Besides, he had much better hair than the Kaiser of Chaos:

Back to Gogol. Perhaps Mike Flynn discussed him in one of his many conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. You know, the ones he lied about to protect himself and President* Pennywise.

In other news, Trump has been making outlandish and untrue statements on a daily basis. No surprise there: he’s the personification of overkill, after all. He gave a whole new meaning to the term American exceptionalism with this deeply stupid remark:

When we have a lot of cases, I don’t look at that as a bad thing — I look at that in a certain respect as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better. … So I view it as a badge of honor, really.

Really? A badge of honor? The only good thing about this loony remark is that it gives me an excuse to post this:

Where is my badge? Indeed, sir.

You’ve surely heard the Trumpian claim that he’s taking hydroxychloroquine to keep the coronavirus at bay. He’s lying, deeply stupid or both. Given what Nancy Smash called his “morbid obesity,” I wonder if he’s ingesting these instead:

It’s hard to top that sight gag. Attempting to do so would be overkill.

The last word goes to Men At Work and Colin Hay with two versions of an insomnia song I forgot to post last week:

Friday Cocktail Hour: Drinking Again

Unless you’re a teetotaler or recovering alcoholic, the pandemic has either driven you to drink or you’re resisting its siren call. We’re lucky: we never run out of whiskey because people bring it as tribute during Carnival. Dr A makes the odd white wine run and I’m trying to limit my intake since booze lowers one’s immune system. We did, however, have Mint Juleps on un-Derby Day. I’m cautious, not a killjoy.

Drinking Again is a boozy torch song written by Johnny Mercer and Doris Tauber. Mercer was known as a drinking man as to Doris I’ve never kept taubers on her. Ouch. That was so bad it hurt.

We have three versions of this liquid tune for your cocktail hour listening pleasure: Dinah Washington, Aretha Franklin, and Frank Sinatra whose best friend’s initials were JD:

On with the music.

The last word goes to the cartoon Rat Pack:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Can’t Let Go

Masks by Jackson Pollock

We had some first world problems at Adrastos World HQ this week: a cable box containing 60 episodes of Law & Order died. I battled the provider to a draw but losing the season-5 episodes with the perfect L&O cast of Orbach, Noth, Merkerson, Waterson, Hennessy, and Hill hurt:

Law & Order is my pandemic jam and it’s not currently on a streaming service. I can’t let go of the craving.Told ya this was a first world problem.

I hope that those of you who have read my previously unpublished law school mystery, Tongue In The Mail, enjoyed it. If you haven’t read it, give it a shot by clicking on this link. The serialization is dead, long live the serialization.

This week we have a trio of theme songs with the same title. Our first Can’t Let Go was written by Bryan Ferry for his 1978 solo album The Bride Stripped Bare. Here’s a double dose with the studio original and Roxy Music live:

Our second Can’t Let Go was written by Lucinda Williams for her classic 1998 album, Car Wheels On A Gravel Road:

Our final Can’t Let Go was written by Bill Meyers, Maurice White, and Allee Willis for Earth Wind & Fire’s 1979 album I Am.

I don’t know about you but I’m having a hard time letting go. Perhaps a jump to the break is in order.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: The Ghost Of You Walks

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.

Richard Thompson-Edward Hopper month concludes with a perverse pairing of Hopper’s most famous painting and a lesser known RT gem.

There’s not a lot to report this week since we’re on lockdown like everybody else. The polls don’t seem to reflect the Impeached Insult Comedian’s notion that people are desperate to resume normal life and take another bite out of the COVID-19 apple. Even 70% of rank and file Republicans would rather not die. Imagine that. So much for the Trump Death Cult.

This week’s theme song was written by Richard Thompson for his 1996 album You? Me? Us? Dig those crazy question marks. It also has a cool Max Ernst-like collage album cover, which may turn up some Wednesday. You never can tell.

We have two versions of The Ghost Of You Walks for your listening pleasure. The studio original and a live teevee performance on the BBC’s Later with Jools Holland. The latter is just the two unrelated Thompsons: Richard and Danny.

I’m not afraid of ghosts but if you are, let’s jump to the break to escape.

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Thank You

It’s been a whirlwind since Chef’s Brigade NOLA launched and I began soliciting donations. I’d like to thank everyone in the First Draft community who helped this worthy cause. Your generosity does not surprise me, but it still moves me.

As of this writing, they have raised $31,000+ at their GoFundMe site. The work continues as does the need for funds. I will revisit this subject again as it’s close to my heart. Thank you again.

Special thanks to Chef’s Brigade NOLA organizers Troy Gilbert and Robert Peyton for their passion, dedication, and hard work.

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New Orleans Needs Your Help

Dear First Draft Readers:

New Orleans needs your help again. The situation here is dire and getting worse. We have the 6th highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita in the country. It’s hard not to feel helpless in these terrible times but there are people trying to make a difference.

My friend and fellow Bayou Brief writer Troy Gilbert and local food writer Robert Peyton have a great idea about how to help our beleaguered restaurant industry. (Troy is one of the OG NOLA bloggers as well as one of the founders of Rising Tide.) Last week, Troy ran their idea by me, I was immediately impressed and urged them to go for it. Last weekend, Chef’s Brigade NOLA was born.

I’ll let them explain the details to you via two Facebook posts:

There’s a GoFundMe link at the bottom of the second post. Please join me in donating to help our restaurants survive and do what they do best: feed people.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE.

Thanks in advance,

Adrastos who is trying to keep the Spirit of ’05 alive.

Updates can be found after the break.

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Don’t Talk to Me About Fake News

Until you address this kind of crap, published on the notoriously dodgy internet website known as CFUCKINGNN: 

5W Public Relations said that 38% of Americans wouldn’t buy Corona “under any circumstances” because of the outbreak, and another 14% said they wouldn’t order a Corona in public. The survey encompasses polling from 737 beer drinkers in the United States.
In another survey conducted by YouGov, the firm found consumers’ intent to purchase Corona fell to its lowest level in two years. The survey also showed that Corona’s buzz score, a metric that that measures favorability, has dropped significantly since the beginning of the year.
Constellation’s Newlands said those reports do not reflect the company’s business performance, calling the “misinformation” about the virus’ impact on Corona’s business “extremely unfortunate.”
Online searches for “corona beer virus” spiked in early February, but have since declined.

Jesus Christ. After days of debunking, at least they fixed the headline, which spread across social last week lookin’ like this:

This kind of thing is horseshit and it’s a type of horseshit designed to appeal to people like me. College educated, middle class, no meteoric anything or other but probably not as dumb as the average bear. I’m deeply insecure because I know enough to know I’m not a supergenius, but look at all these idiots, who think Corona beer gives you coronavirus! HAR DEE HAR HAR.

This got shared all over amongst my fellow Xers with “we are a stupid country” and “this is how Trump got elected” and “man, people are dumb” and that the entire thing was designed for self-congratulatory shame-forwarding apparently didn’t ping anybody’s radar at all. That’s how canny it was: clickbait for people who are kinda smart. Like that Honey Boo Boo show or the Bachelor. Here’s a bunch of people to point and laugh at, you’re definitely not them!

And all of that is beside the point which is that we can have all the ethics panels we want about fighting “fake news” and teaching “media literacy” to children. As long as the ACTUAL NON-FAKE MEDIA have so little pride that they’re posting dubiously sourced press releases for traffic, nobody really has a keg to stand on here.

A.

Burst Bubble

I spent most of February in the Carnival bubble. On Ash Wednesday we hauled our ashes out of town to the Dallas area-Plano to be exact-to visit my seriously ill cousin, which placed us in the travel bubble as more news about Coronavirus bubbled to the surface.

We were on the road on Leap Day so here’s a belated shout out to Leap Day William:

My cousin has been battling cancer for 25 years. It finally seems to be winning. She’s in a nursing home now: The Healthcare Resort of Plano. I am not making this up. They resorted to calling a satisfactory nursing home a resort. Holy misnomer, Batman.

One oddity of my cousin’s condition is that, after a lifetime of being low maintenance, she’s become high maintenance. She’s turned into her mother who was a boss; not something I expected to happen. It’s okay. She deserves the extra attention after taking Dr. A, Pogo, Oscar, and me in after Katrina.

We finally met her grandchildren who are 15 and 13. They’re smart and funny kids who enjoyed the bag of Carnival throws we bestowed on them. They were particularly taken with the Tucks terlet that squirts water. It inspired a session of dark humor that convinced me that the 15-year-old could be the next Steven Wright. The kid is that deadpan.

This may be the last time we see my favorite cousin so it was worth spending two full days in the car. And in the Dallas metroplex, one must drive everywhere. Sidewalks are rare in Plano.

On the way home, we stopped for lunch at the Collin Street Bakery in Hideaway, Texas. It was a somewhat ironic stop because we’re not fruitcake lovers, which is what they’re famous for. Their sandwiches and other baked goods are awesome so I hope that Calvin Trillin will forgive me for spending time in close proximity to fruitcake.

I seem to have picked up a stomach virus during our trip. It’s not that bad if you don’t mind having a fever and the night sweats. At least it’s not Coronavirus, which means that the Impeached Insult Comedian won’t lie about it. The man is incapable of telling the truth even when it’s in his best interest. What can you say about a president* who puts Mike Pence in charge of this mishigas instead of Dr. Anthony Fauci. The doc’s an expert, what the hell does he know? Pence is ready to pray it away.

 

I didn’t look at political twitter while on the road. When I looked I saw Berners saying that Biden would lose in a landslide and Biden supporters saying the same about Sanders. They’re both wrong: Trump isn’t winning in a landslide against anyone. His path to re-election is a narrow one that likely involves winning the electoral college and losing the popular vote again.

The bubble has burst so things should be getting back to normal here at First Draft. Did I say normal? Make that normally abnormal. I don’t want to make any false claims. I’ll leave that to the Trump regime.

The last word involves some bubble songs. Mr. Bubble was invited to the party but declined.

Ride The Tigers

I’m uncertain if I have a coherent post in me today. You’re probably saying: when was he ever coherent? I started Monday off by giving y’all a straight line, be nice.

Since I still have King Cake on my mind, I’m going to cut this post into slices.

Geaux Tigers: I’m as nervous as Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof about tonight’s national championship game. I’m not sure if I’m Brick, Maggie, or Big Daddy; mercifully, there’s nary a no-neck monster in sight and PD is undercover as a big blue lump on the bed. Make that under the covers…

My LSU Tigers have had a magical season, but they face a formidable foe in the Clemson Tigers. Formidable as in defending national champs and winners of two of the last three titles. The good news is that Coach O gets it. He was in the same position as an assistant at USC when the Texas Longhorns hooked the defending champion Trojans in the 2006 Rose Bowl.

LSU doesn’t  have the mascot advantage for a change; it’s the Tussle of the Tigers. We do have two of the three colors of Carnival on our side: purple and gold. Clemson’s color is orange. Not one of my favorite colors even though the fruit is swell and citrusy.

It’s time for a semi-relevant musical interlude:

The long layoff has me worried. One team is apt to be rusty, the other to be prepared. Let’s hope it’s the right Tigers who do the riding or some such shit.

I’d like to call your attention to an article in the Failing New York Times, which gives my main man Coach O his due:

Ed is officially a folk hero now but that doesn’t ease my pre-game jitters. The last word of the segment goes to Brian Setzer:

Speaking of riding tigers, the impeachment process is finally moving to the Senate.

Cover Up, Trump Style: Speaker Pelosi tried to nudge and/or coerce the Senate into giving a shit about its reputation, but Moscow Mitch seems to have dug in his heels. He’s declined to relinquish his iron hold on his caucus, which makes a fair trial much less likely. Mitch doesn’t give a damn, Harry Reid said last year that his former colleague had ruined the Senate. The ruination continues apace.

I’m still glad that Nancy Smash pulled the Tribe Gambit. It has made GOPers look bad to fair-minded members of the public, and resulted in a series of meltdowns by the Impeached Insult Comedian.  He continues to play the victim card. Apparently, he’s the most mistreated and misunderstood president* in history. Who knew? Imagine a president being impeached with such a strong economy. Just ask Bill Clinton about that, Donald.

It’s time for a relevant musical interlude:

These opening lyrics could easily be sung by President* Pennywise:

Just want to be misunderstood
want to be feared in my neighborhood
Just want to be a moody man
Say things that nobody can understand
I want to be obscure and oblique
Inscrutable and vague
So hard to pin down
I want to leave open mouths when I speak
Want people to cry when I put them down

That Pete Townshend is a smart fella. He’s the Cyrano of rock music, after all.

Speaking of heels, Trump is refusing to let John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and Mike Pompeo testify; even behind closed doors. Clearly, they have nothing to hide. #SARCASM

If the terrible trio had exonerating testimony, Trump would beg them to appear in public. This has nothing to do with executive privilege or national security. It’s defiance in the face of the facts. I suspect Pompeo is pleased not to have to perjure himself. He can stick to lying on the Sunday shows.

Frank Rich wrote a great piece for New York Magazine, What Will Happen To The Trump Toadies? In which he posits that they’ll get their comeuppance sooner or later. Nick Lowe said much the same thing way back in 1983:

Who knew that Pete Townshend and Nick Lowe would prove to be so prescient about the current president*? Not even a fan boy like me.

Let’s finish this potpourri post on a lighter note. It involves chicken, not tigers.

I Yam What I Yam: A contestant on the Canadian version of Family Feud mixed up her food groups; substituting chicken for spinach as Popeye the Sailor’s favorite food:

Love that chicken from Popeye’s.

I wonder if the toon liked yams since he was wont to say this:

His moocher pal, Wimpy, preferred hamburgers, and Olive Oyl seemed not to eat at all; certainly not fried chicken. Where the hell is this going? In the direction of the last word.

Since I originally called this post Monday Morning, the last word goes to Fleetwood Mac and Death Cab For Cutie:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Life Is A Minestrone

Campbell’s Tomato Soup Cans by Andy Warhol

It was a long, weird week in New Orleans. I’m one of the officers of the Krewe of Spank and krewe stuff ate my week. We have an early parade date, Saturday February 8th so the typical tumult and chaos have arrived early. If you’re religious, pray for me. If not, have a drink in my honor. This too will pass.

I selected this week’s theme song because all the talk in my latest 13th Ward Rambler column about Spaghetti Westerns gave me an earworm, which led, in turn, to the Warhol featured image. I seem to be more impressionable than I thought.

Life Is A Minestrone was written in 1975 by brothers-in-law Lol Creme and Eric Stewart for 10cc’s Original Soundtrack album. It’s a cheerful ditty with surreal, punny lyrics so, quite naturally, I like it

What’s not to love about a song whose chorus goes like this:

“Life is a minestrone, served up with parmesan cheese.

Death is a cold lasagne, suspended in deep freeze.”

Now that we’ve had soup and an entree, it’s time for dessert:

I had never thought of those tunes as musical kin before but they are. Surreal food wordplay reigns supreme as we jump to the break.

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Desertion

On January 2, I signed up for two meal-kit plans and two fitness apps due to some seriously unflattering Christmas photos and also feeling generally like hell after not working out for two months and eating like garbage. The apps were free, of course, til I started “unlocking features” and “connecting other apps” and shit, but the meal plans, together, added up to about $160.

For lunches and dinners for about two weeks.

Now, of course that is insane, and it was fueled by more of a desire for convenience than anything else. Even when I’m not getting suckered into questionable things by social media ads and moments of aging-related panic, I still spend on food. I buy perishable fruits and vegetables, I buy ingredients like sausage from a butcher or a high-end meat counter. I eat a $10 salad (downtown Chicago prices for lunch) instead of a $5 burrito or a peanut butter sandwich from home.

On Sunday I prepped lunches and snacks for me and Kick for the week. I filled and stacked little reusable containers of blueberries and carrots and pita chips and salami-cheese rolls in whole wheat tortilla, strips of fresh bell pepper, soy & rice crackers, quinoa and chicken salad. It took about an hour, was about $30 worth of food. I have both an hour, and $30. What would I do for us if I didn’t?

If you want people to eat healthier, to buy from sustainable farms and local farmers, to prepare their own food instead of using processed, to behave like you do, you need to give them what you have. Which isn’t fancy grocery stores. It’s money. And time.

If I get home at 6, I have time to cook dinner for the family (cauliflower rice, salmon, peanut sauce, veg). If I get home at 7, 7:30, 8, and the kids need homework supervised and the stove’s broken and everybody’s hangry GUESS WHAT WE’RE GOING TO KFC, because I can feed five people meat, potatoes and vegetables for $15 and sometimes you solve the problems in front of you.

These things aren’t inherent virtues. I’m not, like, a better person because I can afford to cook for my kid; I’m just lucky. This stuff is math and physics. Give people money and the time money buys, the leisure and mental room to cook and portion and prep (the “leisure” which was once upon a time referred to as “all the stuff mom did” for middle class kids when she didn’t have to work two jobs to pay her student loans), and they’ll eat healthy. Okay, maybe not AS healthy as our cheftepreneurs would like them to, since sometimes you just want some goddamn potato chips, but this isn’t a case of “if only there was a Whole Foods here nobody would have diabetes.”

This is a case of money buys less and less, and wages aren’t going up. This is a case of God forbid you need food assistance, which has been nickel-and-dimed all to shit by people worried about what the poor will buy for their children, and which of course you CAN use to buy oranges and apples, or, like, an entire week’s worth of cereal for the same price. Poor people aren’t idiots and they make the choices in front of them because that’s what we all do.

Food deserts aren’t just created by not having grocery stores. They’re created by the people in them not having any money to spend on food, having to make short-term choices in the little time poverty affords. It’s the people who’ve been deserted, not the landscape, and the problem isn’t getting solved by looking at a map and finding a vacant plot of land on which to plant a Wegman’s.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: Baking Edition

It’s cold and rainy here. You know what that means: It’s gingerbread season, motherfuckers.

Here’s one of my favorite recipes.

Here’s another, which is labor-intensive but results in this fluffy spicy heavenly cake that my little sister used to beg me to make every Christmas.

It’s got all the yum but none of the “ya basic” judgement now shamefully associated with that most heavenly of things, pumpkin spice. Fuck everyone who hates on pumpkin spice, by the way. You can tear my overpriced calorically bloated latte from my cold dead mitten-clad hands, and the same goes for my Pumking beer. I’m sorry you hate joy and love.

A.

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Meet On The Ledge

Rain, Steam, and Speed by JMW Turner.

It’s the final day of one of the greatest musical festivals in the world: Fairport’s Cropredy Convention. Dr. A and I attended the event’s 40th anniversary in 2007. We actually took a tour, which gave us insider access including a chance to hang out with the super-nice members of Fairport Convention: Dave Pegg, Simon Nicol, Ric Sanders, Chris Leslie, and Gerry Conway. Nancy Covey’s Festival Tours organizes tours for people who don’t like tours. It was the trip of a lifetime and we formed many friendships that still endure. End of travelogue.

This week’s theme song was written by Richard Thompson in 1968 for Fairport’s What We Did On Our Holidays album. Meet On The Ledge is a song about death that is somehow life-affirming. It’s often played at funerals and is typically the last song played at every Fairport Convention show. At Cropredy, a cast of thousands joins the band onstage for an epic sing-along.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the Fairport original with Sandy Denny on lead vocals; a solo acoustic version by Richard Thompson, and Fairport and friends closing Cropredy in 2017 with Simon Nicol and Iain Matthews on lead vocals

Now that we’ve met on the ledge and seen all of our friends, let’s jump to the break.

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New Orleans Culture: Lost In The 21st Century?

As you can see above, my latest column at the Bayou Brief has a click baity title that I’m oddly proud of. I hope everyone falls for it.

Since I quote my First Draft tributes to Dr. John and Chef Leah Chase at the Bayou Brief, it’s only fitting that I quote my Bayou Brief piece here. Damn, my head is spinning:

A word about language: I hate the term “culture-bearer” as it sounds pompous, pretentious. and a passel of other P words. I also dislike “icon” or “iconic.” Perhaps it comes from growing up Greek Orthodox, a faith in which icons are religious artifacts to be worshipped. As a writer, I’m a satirist, which makes me an iconoclast. If I see an icon, I want to smash it.

Yet that’s not my reaction to our local heroes. Dr. John and Chef Leah should be loved, respected, and admired, not worshipped. They were unpretentious people; let’s keep them that way after they’ve departed this mortal coil.

The last word goes to Dr. John and Danny Barker with a tribute to Buddy Bolden:

The song was written by Jelly Roll Morton. Now that’s New Orleans culture, y’all.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Estimated Prophet

Le Cirque by Henri Matisse.

It was a difficult week in New Orleans. In addition to the passing of Dr. John, we lost Chef Leah Chase who died at the age of 96. Her family’s Creole eatery, Dooky Chase’s, has fed presidents, civil rights leaders, and freedom riders as well as the hoi polloi since 1941. A reminder: feeding an integrated group such as the freedom riders was against the law in the Jim Crow Era. Chef Leah did it anyway. After her death, Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry wrote a piece about Chef Leah’s role in the Civil Rights movement. She didn’t scare easily, not even when a bomb was thrown at her Orleans Avenue restaurant.

As she aged, Chef Leah was the smiling, welcoming face of this Treme institution but she never stopped cooking. In recent years, she was a sort of secular saint in our community; something most would find burdensome but she wore it lightly. She led a long and eventful life. She will be missed.

Last month in this space I mentioned the Krewe of Nyx’s hare-brained scheme to stage a summer parade. The city government has finally responded. Here’s how Gambit editor and Adrastos crony Kevin Allman characterized it on the tweeter tube:

This week’s theme song, Estimated Prophet, was written by Bob Weir and John Perry Barlow in 1976. It was tested onstage many times before it became the opening track on one of the Dead’s better studio albums, Terrapin Station.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the studio original, then a boss reggae cover by Burning Spear.

Now that we’ve visited the burning shore of California, let’s jump through a hoop of fire to the break. Hopefully, we won’t get scorched.

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Milkshake It Up

The Insult Comedian is in woody old England. He’s already insulted London Mayor Sadiq Khan, endorsed Boris Johnson, and praised Nigel Farage. Trump is a fan of Brexit, which he regards as linked to his own election. His ambassador to the UK is New York Jets (talk about “stone cold losers”) owner, Woody Johnson, who raised a ruckus Sunday by stating that *every* part of the British economy would be on the table in trade talks with the Trump regime including the National Health Service. The NHS is a cow so sacred that it was exempt from the Thatcherite privatization mania of the 1980’s. The Tories, however, may be stupid and/or desperate enough to go for it thereby pulling Labour’s chestnuts out of the fire. Stay tuned.

The reason I went on about Trump’s unstately state visit is that we have a new British import to the former colonies: milkshaking. It made its British debut with Limey wingnuts, Tommy Robinson and Nigel Farage and popped up in the land of Key Lime pie yesterday:

The milkshaker was Amanda Leigh Kondrat’yev who ran against Gaetz in 2016. (Gaetz can be seen in the featured image hitchhiking with Trumpberius.) Conservative media is disgusted and I’m amused. The burning question is what flavor to use whilst milkshaking. If I were so inclined, I’d opt for something that would stain: strawberry or chocolate. The likes of Gaetz are a major stain on the body politic, after all.

The kids tell me there’s a song called Milkshake but I prefer to ride into the sunset with the earworm I came in on:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Wooden Ships

A New Frontier by Alan Bean

Summer colds are the worst. I have one so I’m keeping this introduction brief. This time I mean it.

This week’s theme song, Wooden Ships, was written in 1968 by David Crosby, Paul Kantner, and Stephen Stills. There are two original versions of this song but I’m posting the Crosby, Stills & Nash one first because it was released in May of 1969 whereas Jefferson Airplane’s version came out that November.

Now that we’ve fled planet Earth, let’s jump into the void, I mean, jump to the break. I’m not sure if Kantner, Crosby, and Stills provided parachutes. They were hippies so I have my doubts. I’ll guess we’ll find out on the other side.

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