Category Archives: Food and Drink

Saturday Odds & Sods: Up Above My Head

Trout and Reflected Tree by Neil Welliver.

The weather rollercoaster continues unabated in New Orleans. We’ve gone from air dish weather to heater weather and back again. One day of the French Quarter Fest was rained out, which resulted in wet tourists whining about the wash-out. It was a day I was glad to no longer be a shopkeeper. Dealing with drowned Quarter rats was never any fun.

One of Grace’s colleagues gave us fancy club seats to the Saenger Theatre’s Broadway series complete with free food and valet parking. Thanks, Ritu. We saw Rent, which I liked a lot. The best part of the evening was a bossy African-American woman usher who combined sternness and politeness.  One patron was confused about how they ordered the rows and the usher said, “You’re in row H. It’s the alphabet, m’am. It’s the alphabet.” Fuckin’ A.

You’re probably wondering why an agnostic is posting a gospel tune as this week’s theme song. It’s because Sister Rosetta Tharpe was an amazing singer, songwriter, and character.  Up Above My Head is also a real toe-tapper. What’s not to love about a church lady with an electric guitar? We have three versions: Sister Rosetta, Rhiannon Giddens, and the Jayhawks.

Now that we’re imbued with the spirit, let’s jump to the break.

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The Americans Thread: The Baby Spy Blues

There’s so much food chat in Urban Transport Planning that was I was tempted to call this recap Puckett and Pizza. Puckett after the Minnesota Twins great and pizza after, uh. the doughy delicacy. Glenn the arms control dude is a huge Kirby fan and his Twins were headed to a world’s championship in 1987. Other cuisines mentioned included Chinese and Russian but we’ll get to that after the spoiler break. Hint: the dishes involved are neither chow mein nor borscht. Here’s Puckett without pizza:

Glasnost era tensions continue to fill the Jennings ranch house. Philip is pro-Gorbachev whereas Elizabeth is the hard liner’s hard liner. They bicker about what people think back, back, back in the USSR until they realize the absurdity of the argument since neither has been home in 20 years. The key difference between them is that Philip likes being an American but Elizabeth hates it. It’s spy vs. spy, married couple edition.

A brief pre-spoiler break musical interlude. Macca live at Red Square in Moscow. Woo:

And yes, that *was* Putin in the crowd at the 15 second mark. Rock on, Vlad. Woo. Continue reading

Saturday Odds & Sods: In The Mood

Swing Landscape by Stuart Davis.

It’s crawfish season in New Orleans. I’m talking about eating, not catching them. I leave that to the experts. We went to our longtime boiled crawfish restaurant, Frankie & Johnny’s, with some friends from Richmond this week. Several of them were uncertain they’d like the mudbugs but they did. It may be hard work peeling them but it’s worth it. Mmm, berled crawfish.

We’re attending a benefit crawfish boil tomorrow. It’s in support of Team Gleason, a group dedicated to helping ALS patients and their families. It was founded by former Saints player Steve Gleason who has ALS but keeps on fighting the good fight. He’s a remarkable man and it’s a worthy cause. Plus, there’s crawfish and beer involved.

I’m in a swing mood this week so it’s time to break out some Glenn Miller. We have two versions for your musical amusement: Glenn Miller and his orchestra in the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade and the Brian Setzer Orchestra’s Gettin’ In The Mood with lyrics by Mike Himmelstein. The tune is the same. Oh yeah.

Now that I’ve got you Lindy Hopping, it’s time to jump to the break but try to do it on the beat.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: The Irish Rover

High Spring Tide by Jack Butler Yeats.

The Irish Channel Saint Patrick’s Day parade is on the day itself this year. I’m not sure if this will increase drunken revelry but I plan to do some day drinking. Dr. A and I have been going to our friends Greg and Christy’s open house for the last 11 or 12 years. It’s hard to be precise since whiskey and beer are involved. Whiskey, of course, is the devil.

The big local news is the death of New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson at the age of 90. The local media has done some cringeworthy coverage of this gruff car dealer whose demeanor and voice reminded me of Archie Bunker. The hagiography is a bit much given Benson’s attempt to move the Saints to his *other* hometown of San Antonio as the region reeled from the Katrina and the Federal Flood. He sent his image to rehab with donations to charity, the Super Bowl win didn’t hurt either. He was also a supporter of the GOP and other dubious conservative rich guy causes. As Archie would surely say at this point, goodnight nurse.

This week’s featured image is by the Irish painter Jack Butler Yeats. And, yes, he was related to the poet William Butler Yeats: he was his kid brother. I’m uncertain as to whether he was a pesky one. It would be poetic justice if he were…

Our theme song is a traditional Irish folk song. The Pogues and the Dubliners recorded The Irish Rover together in 1987. It was a hit in Ireland and the UK.

Now that we’ve taken a trip on a ill-fated ship, let’s jump to the break and hope we land in a lifeboat.

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The Dotard & The Dictator

I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry over the news that Trump and Kim Jong Un may meet. It beats the hell out of a nuclear exchange, but we seem to be giving the diminutive third generation communist dictator what his family has always wanted without getting anything in return. So much for the art of deal.

The Insult Comedian probably thinks he can “win” any negotiation whereas I fear his ignorance. The State Department’s top Korea expert just retired so who, if anyone, is Trump asking for advice? I’d almost prefer a return to the days of Wormplomacy. Rodman knows what he doesn’t know. This president* doesn’t know shit from shineola but thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room. Oy, just oy.

It’s a good thing Trump doesn’t drink since soju might be on the agenda. Here’s how Charlie Pierce describes that lethal Korean beverage:

An aside: during my brief time in South Korea in 1988, I had an encounter with soju, a kind of high-intensity Korean poitin. If these cats were drinking soju by the bottle, it’s a wonder that they all didn’t get up on the tables and dance 60-odd years of hostility away.

My friend Clay turned me on to soju. It could be rocket fuel for Rocket Man for all we know.

The Dotard and the Dictator in the same room. What could possibly go wrong? Everything.

Tuesday Foodblogging: Kitchen Design Edition

While Mr. A and I were looking for houses, we saw lots of places with completely open kitchens. Like, somebody had taken a perfectly normal house and blown open the entire first floor so that you were basically cooking in your living room.

It drove me wild, because then what happens? You make fish and you smell it for hours while watching TV. You can’t shut the door on the mess and just sit and talk without being judged by the dishes and pots and pans on the stove and crumbs on the counter.

I was pleased to read there’s at least some diversity of opinion as regards designing all homes with this horrendous feature: 

Audrey Brashich, a real-estate writer, defended her decision to keep the original kitchen in her Craftsman bungalow the way she found it, in the face of pressure from an architect. “To me, they aren’t isolated and inconvenient but rather refined and gracious,” she said. James Fenton, the poet and critic, retained his Harlem brownstone’s original layout rather than opening up the kitchen. By imposing modern floor plans, he observed, “you’re giving an unsympathetic treatment to the idiom of the building. The history of taste is full of these moments when completely stupid, destructive misbehavior takes hold.” The notion that having fewer rooms means having more space clings stubbornly in the face of mathematical reality.

A.

Tuesday Foodblogging

Everything doesn’t suck.

So in 2004, some Eagle Corn seeds were sent to Nebraska. “The Pawnee had grown this corn here for 600 years, and they’d been trying to save it since they were forced to Oklahoma in the 1870s. Now we were trying one last time to see if it would grow here again,” O’Brien says.

The first crop didn’t take, but the next year, the last 25 seeds were sent in a desperate effort to keep the Eagle Corn from extinction. That time, O’Brien watched in astonishment. “It was just amazing—I’ve never seen plants just burst from the land like they did; they jumped out of the ground.”

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Fever

The Grand Jatte Hibernators by Max Ernst.

We’ve put Carnival in the books and my repentance comes in the form of a cold. Mercifully, it’s not the flu, but I’m still going to keep it extra snappy since I might get the vapors at any moment.

There was sad news for New Orleanians Thursday night. Arthur Robinson, better known as Mr. Okra died at the age of 75. I’ll let Advocate food writer Ian McNulty tell you a bit about him:

For decades, Arthur “Mr. Okra” Robinson provided one of the distinctive sounds of a city famous for its music, but he didn’t play the trumpet or the piano.

He was a roving produce vendor, traveling the neighborhood streets in a heavily-customized pickup truck and using a loudspeaker to sing the praises of his oranges and bananas, his avocados and, of course, his okra.

<SNIP>

The young and old alike knew Robinson as Mr. Okra, and he was a frequent sight across many different neighborhoods. In his trade, he was a link back to a different era in New Orleans when everything from ice to charcoal was sold door to door. For Robinson, the job was actually part of a family tradition, one he picked up from his father, the late Nathan Robinson.

It was a pleasure to hear Mr. Okra’s voice echo through my neighborhood. I couldn’t always catch up to him, but when I did I enjoyed chatting with him and squeezing the odd piece of fruit. He will be missed.

Since I have one, I selected Fever as this week’s theme song. We have two versions for your entertainment: Peggy Lee and the Neville Brothers.

I have very little gas in the tank right now, so that’s it for this week. I’ll be back with a full-blown Odds & Sods next Saturday. Let’s finish up with one of my favorite bat memes from 2017: the Spitting Images Genesis puppets.

 

 

Tuesday Foodblogging

By and large, Kick prefers her father.

It’s not all that surprising. He is warm, patient and personable whereas I am prickly and exacting (look, if there’s a saving grace to living inside my head it is that I know the territory intimately). He is also around a hell of a lot more than I am, since I started a demanding job last year. His days with Kick lend themselves to routine, whereas she and I are feast or famine: An all-Mama weekend at the nearby nature center versus the regular “pop into Dad’s home office any old time to say hi.” Kick prefers the latter.

In certain things, however, I am her chosen partner in crime. Books? Oh, yes. Fantastic feats of daring from great heights? I’m her girl. And food? We may not look anything alike but damned if she doesn’t eat like me. Salty, spicy, sour — she’s all over it. When she was two she demanded an egg roll and I handed one over thinking sure, this’ll work, toddler + cabbage. She horfed it down and ate half of mine. Pickles with Tabasco sauce? WHY NOT. We diverge on olives but she agrees with me that mushrooms are the devil.

Two months ago I put a plate of shrimp in front of her. Her father does not like shrimp and therefore we rarely ate them all together; he was out of town and I was taking full advantage. She was in a picky, persnickety place so I didn’t have hopes. She ate one, considered the experience, and then hoovered up the rest of the plate so fast I was frightened for her windpipe.

Since then she’s been my “scrimp” buddy and I deliberately plan recipes so that we might outnumber Mr. A the shrimp-hater, who just eats some chicken on the side.

A.

Kevin McCarthy: Candyass Candyman

In 2015, I wrote a funny post about how House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy blew his chance to replace Speaker Boner. It had a classic title if I do say so myself and I do, Untrustable in Hungria: The Kevin McCarthy Story. McCarthy has trouble with the language, which may be one reason Trump likes him; that and his obsequious toadying:

President Trump and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) were alone in the presidential suite on Air Force One, flying east toward Washington in early October, when the president reached for a handful of Starbursts, the square-shaped candy fruit chews.

But instead of unwrapping all the treats, the president was careful to pluck out and eat two flavors: cherry and strawberry, McCarthy noticed.

“We’re there, having a little dessert, and he offers me some,” McCarthy recalled in an interview. “Just the red and the pink. A bit later, a couple of his aides saw me with those colors and told me, ‘Those are the president’s favorites.’ ”

Days later, the No. 2 Republican in the House — known for his relentless cultivation of political alliances — bought a plentiful supply of Starbursts and asked a staffer to sort through the pile, placing only those two flavors in a jar. McCarthy made sure his name was on the side of the gift, which was delivered to a grinning Trump, according to a White House official.

First, Starbursts are nasty. I thought only small kids and teenagers ate that sticky and nasty shit. It makes sense that the arrested adolescent president* would like them. Ick. What is it with Republicans and nasty artificial fruit flavored candy? Reagan was a jelly bean freak. Now it’s the Insult Comedian and Starburst. One would think that a man with orange hair would favor that flavor instead of pink and red. Is it a subliminal message that he’s a pinko? His pal Vladdy used to be a red, after all.

Second, having a staffer sort Starbursts is an example of your tax dollars at work in the  Trump era. Admittedly, it beats the hell out of taking away health care from millions of Americans, but it still sucks. Plus it’s icky and sticky. Perhaps the staffer in question will quit and write an expose: I sorted Starburst  for Trump. I guess Kev didn’t know you could buy the red kind separately…

Kevin McCarthy is a dolt and  a world-class sycophant. His head is so far up Trump’s ass that the president* calls him “my Kevin.” That’s as sickly sweet as Trump’s favorite treat.

Writing this post has given me dueling earworms from an unlikely pair: Sammy Davis Jr. and the Grateful Dead and they’ll get the last word. We’ll go with the hit first:

Shithead Says Shithole

Today on President’s* say the darndest things:

President Donald Trump on Thursday asked lawmakers why the United States allows people to immigrate “from shithole countries” like Haiti and African countries, the Washington Post reported.

The Washington Post reported, citing two unnamed sources briefed on Trump’s meeting with lawmakers, that Trump asked, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

According to the report, Trump made the remark in reference to Haiti and African countries, and then suggested the United States should allow more immigrants from countries like Norway instead. Trump met with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Wednesday.

The MSM is having the vapors right now over having to say shithole. That’s half the fun of this latest flow of rascist diarrhea from the Insult Comedian. We already knew that he hates people of color and thinks African is full of cannibals like in cheesy old B-movies. All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.

Past potty-mouthed presidents had the good sense not to curse in big meetings, and their staffs were loyal and did not leak stories wherein presidents used what the failing NYT would call “off-color language.” We didn’t know what a foul mouth Tricky Dick had until the White House Tapes were full of expletives deleted to my unexpurgated delight. Truman and LBJ were known to swear like sailors too. It’s not the language, it’s the unvarnished bigotry.

As to the Norwegian  comments.  (ICYMI, I’m half-Norwegian: my darling mother was one of them very white white people.) Has Trump ever had Norwegian food? Lutefisk and Pickled Herring should be banned from the country. Ack. Barf.

I think it’s time to have a cuisine test: only immigrants from countries with good food can be admitted. It’s one way to keep Nigel Farage from immigrating.

It’s just another day in Trumpworld where Shitheads say shit like shithole everyday.

Quote Of The Week: Trump Wine Edition

I like wine but Dr. A is the wine drinker in the family. I’m more of a beer, bourbon, and whisky kinda guy. Neither of us is an oenophile although I like the word. Words that begin with O are often funny even the medical ones: try saying osteopathic five times without giggling. End of marginally relevant opening paragraph.

Donald Trump is a teetotaler, which makes it odd that he bought a winery in Charlottesville. It was really a chance to swallow prime real estate in Albemarle County on the cheap. Believe me. Number two idiot son, Eric, runs the place.

This week’s quote comes from food writer Corby Kummer who explored the world of Trump wines in the company of an oenophile:

What about the 2015 Trump Meritage, a blend of red grapes that are “sourced,” meaning trucked in from the West Coast. The label calls it “American red wine”; it sells for $30 on the Web site. My guest tasted the Meritage: “Welch’s grape jelly with alcohol. A terrible, fumy, alcoholic nose. If I served you that on an airline you’d be mad.” (A buyer at a well-known Washington wine shop I later asked to evaluate the wines—he once sold Trump vodka, produced from 2005 to 2011, because he liked it—took one sip of the Meritage, wanted no more, and said, “Grocery-store wine.”) My guest went on, “They’re lying about the alcohol on the label.” He knew this, he explained, by a strange method of marching his two front fingers down his chest after he swallowed, saying that when he could feel the alcohol down to his belly button he knew it was 14 percent alcohol, which is what the label said. But this wine pushed his fingers below the belt. He knew the Meritage was 15 percent—and a 1 percent variance, oddly, is permitted on labels. “This’ll rip you,” he said.

Party on, Trumpy.

I bold-faced the best bit but the paragraph was too good to omit.  This oenophile knows his shit as well as his shitty wines. I’d be pissed if I paid good money for wine best suited for drinking out of a paper bag under an overpass. Trump swill wines, of course, aren’t as cheap as chips: they retail from $18 to $54. It’s what happens when a greedy teetotaler owns a winery.

I cheated a bit and posted a picture of the 2012 Meritage. Why? Because I have no idea what the hell a Monticello red wine is other than a marketing ploy to capitalize on Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson fetish. Jefferson was not a teetotaler and he never wore a dead nutria atop his head like the Insult Comedian.

What happens when a greedy teetotaler owns a winery? Welch’s grape jelly with alcohol.

Since Trump wines should be poured out, not consumed, I’ll give Eric Burdon and War the last word:

 

The False Choice

Ugh, stop it: 

Even by the loose standards of the hospitality business, where rowdy drinking sessions after shifts and playful sexual banter are part of the culture, employees described Mr. Friedman’s restaurants as unusually sexualized and coercive.

Ten women said that Mr. Friedman, 56, had subjected them to unwanted sexual advances: groping them in public, demanding sex or making text requests for nude pictures or group sex. Many others also said that working for him required tolerating daily kisses and touches, pulling all-night shifts at private parties that included public sex and nudity, and enduring catcalls and gropes from guests who are Mr. Friedman’s friends.

Look.

I have worked lots of places in my life. Most of them environments where people were under stress. Most of them “unconventional” workplaces. Most of them glorified foxholes where everybody was filthy and exhausted and boundaries got blurred and we all spent too much fucking time together convincing ourselves we were under siege.

Newsrooms. Kitchens. Tiny nonprofits where literal disease outbreaks were taking place and the ceiling was literally falling in. Larger nonprofits where the hours were beyond scary and there was a new crisis every three days.

At those places, under those circumstances, people said things that would not pass muster at a white-shoe law firm. People slept with each other, broke up and got their drama all over everything. People were mean sometimes and dumb sometimes and people got overly invested in things they didn’t have standing in which to invest.

And at no time, in any of those places, did anyone take out his dick.

Not for nothing but men pretending not to know when they are being creepy is the oldest dodge on earth. Women, you see, can actually tell the difference between an off-color joke and “show me your tits, I want to come all over them.” A few people will react to the former but absolutely nobody wants to be told the latter in a meeting about quarterly returns.

“Loose standards” doesn’t cover A RAPE ROOM in the back.

We are setting up a thing where the only two possible workplace environments are “terrible sterile Intertrode cubicle hell” versus “constant drunken orgy of dubious consent,” and since no one on the planet wants the former it’s assumed they’ll cheerfully accept the latter. It’s a lot harder to reject the premise entirely and say there is also “being a fucking grown-up and not bullying or touching anyone don’t wanna be touched” as an option.

I know that seems like crazytalk but there are “loose standards” and then there are “rape standards” and maybe we can just keep the loose part.

A.

Tuesday Foodblogging

I love sweet potato fries and kept fucking them up in the oven until I found this recipe. I made them for Thanksgiving and even Kick, who will not suffer a sweet potato to remain in her presence, gobbled them right up. They actually crunched.

Tangentially related: I cannot abide a thick, mushy french fry. I know people love those big fat steak fry things and I don’t get you, steak fry people. It’s a baked potato, basically, so why not just eat that? I like a baked potato but I do not like a large baked-potato-basically thing masquerading as a french fry on a menu. Give me the thin ones, and make them super crunchy, and call the steak fries something else besides fries.

A.

Now Be Thankful

Adrastos’ late mother in her Chicago heyday.

The holidays are hard for me. I like Thanksgiving’s gluttonous aspects but it’s still hard for me. It’s when I think of my mother who died 16 yeas ago. My mother was the sort of person who took in strays for the holidays. We’d have up to 20 people around the table; some of whom were friends of friends of friends. Mom believed that everyone should have a home cooked meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many of our guests for Christmas dinner were, in fact, Jewish. No Chinese food for her Jewish friends.

Mom spent the day before Thanksgiving and the day of cooking away. She was a perfectionist when it came to entertaining: no holiday buffets for her. We had to gather around the table and it had to have a starched white table-cloth. There were no paper plates or people eating whilst milling about: fine china, silver, and crystal were mandatory for the holidays. She was informal the rest of the year but holidays were state occasions when, as my father was wont to say, we put on the dog.

When I got old enough, one of my jobs was to set the table. I made sure that Mom had final approval: she wanted everything just so. I recall feeling triumphant one Thanksgiving: I’d set the table perfectly on the first try. There were usually changes but not that year. I was inordinately proud of myself but she admonished me not to get too cocky. It was the Midwestern Norwegian Lutheran in her coming out. She left the bragging to my dad. It’s what Greeks do, y’all. Not me, of course, other Greeks…

I also helped make a fresh cranberry/orange sauce from the recipe on the back of the Ocean Spray bag. We had a venerable hand-cranked grinder that had to be attached to the kitchen table. We spread newspaper around it because it was messy. There was a bucket at my feet to catch the bitter red cranberry drippings. Mom was not sentimental about her kitchen gadgets: she bought a food processor the first time she saw one. I was away from home and past the cranberry grinding, table setting phase of my life by then.

My favorite part of the traditional turkey dinner was the stuffing. I looked forward to it every year. It was loaded with herbs as well as pine nuts and chestnuts. We didn’t exactly roast them on an open fire but I helped shell the bastards. They were uncooperative, downright surly, actually. When I was really young, I was convinced they were alive but my no-nonsense mother disabused me of that notion. She informed me that I’d seen the Wizard of Oz one too many times. As usual, she was right.

Unfortunately, there was often conflict at the dinner table during the holidays. I’m the youngest of three by thirteen years. My sisters were off living life and I was raised more like an only child. I admit to liking it that way. My oldest sister thrives on drama and conflict. There was always one big row per holiday, which drove my poor mother crazy. She was always the woman in the middle. When she died, so did our nuclear family for reasons too complex to go into. The good news is that holidays are more tranquil but I miss the glue of my family.

Thanksgivings in Louisiana had a familiar feel when I moved here. It’s all about the food, y’all.  I married into an old Louisiana family and learned some new traditions. What’s not to love about oyster dressing? I still missed my mom’s stuffing. It was a part of me.

My first wife was a petite, feisty, beautiful, and brilliant spitfire. She took the idea of being a redhead seriously: she had a temper to match my own. Her mother took me in as one of her own but made it clear that when we moved to Baton Rouge, we’d have to tie the knot. Unfortunately, my wife’s family tree was a witches brew of genetic maladies and she died of cancer during what should have been her final year at LSU Law School.

She passed away a week before Thanksgiving so the holidays were rough sledding for me until I met and fell in love with the tall, feisty, beautiful, and brilliant woman known to you as Dr. A. The good news is that Dr. A and my mother-in-law instantly hit it off and she was admitted to the Louisiana family post-haste. It was Dr. A who started calling our Louisiana family the outlaws and the nickname stuck.

We spent many holidays with the outlaws in Red Stick over the years and are about to do so again. My mother-in-law has left the comfortable house that she shared with her late second husband Eddie to whom I pay tribute every Memorial Day. She’s 96 now and lives at St. James Place, which is a somewhat posh retirement community. We’ll be eating in the dining room but it’s still pretty darn homey: we’ve gotten to know many of the residents over the last decade. I am lucky that Dr. A and mother-in-law #1  get on so well. She is also a howling liberal (to use her own phrase) so there will be no Trump-driven conflict.

In recent years, we’ve expanded our Thanksgiving plans exponentially to what amounts to a triple-header. We have lunch in Red Stick, then it’s back to New Orleans for dinner with our friends Jennifer and Will and finally, unless we’re too wiped out, a nightcap with our de facto family: Cait, Dave, and the child army. It’s a sticky end to a long day and now I’m committed. I hope Dr. A won’t be too vexed with me but I fear the wrath of Cait as well as retribution from the child army of darkness.

I sat down to write a brief, nostalgic food-centric post and ended up explaining my tangled family tree. So it goes. I never hide the fact that I was a widower at a young age but I only tell people when asked how I came to the Gret Stet of Louisiana from California. It’s a long and painful story but I’m fortunate to have married well twice.

Family by choice are the best family of all but I still miss my mother. She could dance on my last nerve, but I miss our long conversations and teasing her about her crazy dog Brutus.

Mothers are powerful. They have the ability to make you revert to childhood. I know that many of your mothers get on your nerves. It’s what they do. Shrug it off and remember that they won’t always be with you. Around the holidays is when I miss my mom and Dr. A misses her charming, beautiful, and eccentric mother. Mother-in-law #2, however, was not a good cook and expected us to consume the radishes she’d lovingly cut. I hate radishes but her company was the best.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The last word goes to Fairport Convention with the gorgeous Richard Thompson song that gave this post its title:

Here’s another one from the songwriter. It’s a day for gluttony, after all:

Pulp Fiction Thursday will return next week.

Putting The Dope In Papadopoulos

The first time I wrote about my disgraced countryman, I gave y’all a pronounciation tutorial: DOUGH, NOT DOP. A reader comment improved this lesson in linguistics. Repeat after me: DOPE, NOT DOP. That’s right, Georgie puts the dope in Papadopoulos.

In case you’re wondering about the featured image, allow me to indulge in some self-quotation from the same post:

… the most popular mass market cookies in Greece during the dictatorship were made by the Papadopoulous bakery. Greeks who disliked the junta were prone to say in a loud voice “I don’t like Papadopoulous” before lowering their voice and whispering “biscota” aka biscuits aka cookies.

They’re still around and even sold on Amazon. I wonder if one can buy a used Greek dictator named George Papadopoulos there? Probably not, as far as I know Jeff Bezos isn’t a resurrection man who traffics in corpses. He’s no Boris Karloff, y’all:

Now that I’ve made an old horror movie reference, let’s return to the horrors of George Papadopoulos: Incompetent Con Man.

There’s a fabulous piece at TPM by Tierney Sneed about Georgie’s whereabouts during the 2016 campaign and the early days of the misadministration. Georgie flitted hither and yon. He was here, there, and everywhere but on the campaign trail. It’s unclear what he accomplished but he was a busy boy.

Georgie spent a good deal of time schmoozing Greek politicians and Greek-Americans. He told them what they wanted to hear: that he had Trump’s ear and that Cyrpus and other issues of Hellenic import were, uh, important to the Insult Comedian. In short, Georgie is a flim flam man whose main interest is power, not money. Now he has neither.

The Papadopoulos biscuit people bake a wide range of products. I think Georgie might be in need of these as he contemplates testifying and being cross-examined by defense lawyers:

Just remember, Georgie, if you lie on the witness stand, no cookie for you.

Tuesday Foodblogging

I used to think I couldn’t make bread. Then I got this book. Bread and pasta are the best things to make because everyone assumes they’re really hard and you must be some kind of genius if you make them from scratch, when if you have the right recipe they’re so, so easy.

(It’s not really five minutes a day, and you have to babysit it a bit in the oven, but overall it’s much easier than most bread recipes.)

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

Swing Landscape by Stuart Davis.

We finally had a chilly day this week. New Orleanians tend to overdress when it cools off so there were many coats, sweaters, and scarves about town. This cold-ish snap is another example of how extreme the weather has been this year: the first cold weather doesn’t usually arrive until around Thanksgiving. I am opposed to turning on the central heat until November but dragged out the space heaters. It warmed up yesterday, but it’s going to be cold today. We’re back on the autumnal weather yo-yo. So it goes.

The big local story is the precipitous fall of celebrity chef John Besh. Picayune restaurant critic Brett Anderson spent 8 months investigating charges of sexual harassment in Besh’s empire. The story landed last weekend and Besh has resigned from his company and lost two casino based locations. I’d heard that he was a hound and a creep but hadn’t heard how systematic the problem was. The timing couldn’t have been worse for Besh since it followed the Weinstein revelations.  I am trying out a new word to describe the outing of sexual harassers: Beshed. It probably won’t catch on but if it does, you heard it here first.

Another big local news story popped up as I was Oddsing and Sodsing. It’s a flap involving  mayoral frontrunner LaToya Cantrell, her use of city credit cards, and the heavy-handed intervention of District Attorney Leon Cannizzarro who is supporting her opponent. So much for that campaign being dull. It’s New Orleans politics in all its seedy glory but I’m going to save it for the Bayou Brief. I’ll let y’all know when my column drops. I’m uncertain if it will be Ionic, Doric, or Corinthian. Corinthian leather?

Now that I’ve incited the wrath of Khan, let’s move on to this week’s theme song. It was composed by Charles Mingus in honor of his friend the great jazz sax player, Lester (Prez) Young.

Here are three versions for your enjoyment. First, Charlie’s original instrumental followed by Joni Mitchell who added lyrics for her Mingus album in 1979. Finally, a guitar driven version by Jeff Beck from his Wired album:

Now that we’ve tipped our pork pie hat to the great Lester Young, it’s time to say goodbye and jump to the break or something like that. Sometimes I even confuse myself.

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