Even when reading a cookbook, you can get a sense of why the Chinese had their revolution. You’ll learn that during the Qing Dynasty, for the rich folk a “light” meal consisted of over 40 courses, while dinner offered well over 100. This during a period when most of the citizenry subsisted on rice and a little soya. Rulers then were fond of dishes such as Jade Chicken, which required cooks to patiently peel mountains of grapes, or Bird’s Nest Soup, which necessitated employment of a stable of young girls “with perfect vision,” tasked with but one job: removing feathers and fluff from the nests of sea swallows.
But of course nowhere on the planet today are things quite so decadent and outre. Right?
Wrong. As Lance says in Apocalypse Now: “Jim, it’s here. It really is here.”
Here in the June 22 edition of the New Yorker, in a dotty little review of a Park Avenue tapas joint, La Fonda Del Sol:
Among the tapas . . . lamb dressed with hot peppers and roasted on a bed of grass from the field in which the lamb once grazed. The dinner version of this dish is stewed in yogurt made with the milk of the lamb’s mother.
I don’t think any more needs to be said.
Published June 28, 2009
I haven’t felt much like cooking for several months now. Fogged in ennui. It happens. Problem is, I’m the one who cooks in this house. So if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.
When recently I cleaned out the car after a week’s worth of dreary commuting and discovered several discarded Burger King bags, I realized Something must be Done. It may be true, as mi compenara once said, that Chicken Tenders are well nigh irresistible, even to a vegetarian, but you can’t live on them. Or shouldn’t, anyway. Not unless you’re acting out a death wish. Apparently I had been eating these things on a fairly regular basis without really thinking about it. Wrong.
So slowly I’ve been reacquainting myself with the stove. Preparing meals that, unlike industrial fast-food fare, are not cheerily intent on killing me. But also meals that don’t require a lot of time or energy. Cooking For The Weak, as it were.
On the jump I share seven recipes for those similarly enervated. Or for those who just like good food.
Published June 27, 2009
This is just great.
The autopsy surgeon had yet to apply the saw to the suddenly vacated corporeal container of Michael Jackson, and there were all the rats in his camp, squeaking and squealing, scrabbling all over each other in a frenzied attempt to alternately assign and escape “blame.”
Out ahead of the pack Friday morning raced Brian Oxman, a “Jackson family attorney,” who scurried over to the UCLA Medical Center, where Jackson’s corpse had been belatedly transported on Thursday afternoon, after Jackson’s “live-in physician” and an unknown number of other panicked rodents skittered around his house for over an hour trying fruitlessly to revive him.
“I have warned,” keened Oxman, “that one day Michael Jackson would wake up dead, and that I would not be silent if that was the case, because of the misuse of medications.”
The newly outspoken Oxman disclosed that Jackson’s medication situation had seriously buggered Jackson’s rehearsals for an intended UK tour. Oxman hastened to add that “I do not know the extent of the medications that he was taking.”
Oxman next scampered onto the set of CNN’s American Morning, where he declared: “I talked to his family about it, I warned them—I said that Michael is overmedicating and that I did not want to see this kind of a case develop.”
Oxman has yet to explain why he did not publicly thump the tub about Jackson’s dire dope jones while the man was still alive.
Published June 24, 2009
War On Women
Early Monday morning, Ray Taliaferro of KGO-AM, dean of the left-coast lefty talk-show hosts (profiled briefly here), was prompted by recent events in Iran to launch into a four-star tirade against “nasty men” who, based on nothing more than “plumbing,” believe themselves serenely entitled to subjugate women.
Ray’s rant will be available in audio for the next two weeks here; a transcript of some of his remarks appears below.
Civil rights, civilian rights, mean an awful lot to me. And I’m troubled when I see that there are places in the world where they don’t practice individual rights. And I don’t know why not. Except generally it’s because we have a bunch of nasty men—and I mean this—nasty, backwards . . . and I could use a couple of swear words, because those are the only words that I could use to properly identify these people who like to call themselves ayatollahs, and supreme beings, and all this nonsense. When all they really are, are just like the rest of everybody else. They came out of a womb. They weren’t supreme when they came out of that womb. And if they happened to have had a vagina instead of a penis, why, they would be under subjugation as well. And not be able to practice their freedoms and liberties.
So it was just a matter of birth, for goodness sakes. It was a matter of plumbing. And that’s what just drives me up a wall.
There is no reason for women to be treated in an inequitable way by men, for pete’s sake. No reason. No reason for women not to have full and total equality with men. Everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. And if they’re not there yet, believe me, at some point they’ll get there.
Published June 23, 2009
Rutting For Office
This cannot end well.
Last Thursday South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford left the Governor’s Mansion, climbed aboard a black Suburban SUV belonging to his security detail, and drove off, alone, without security personnel, or anyone else. In the days since, his family and staff have issued various conflicting stories as to his whereabouts, but it is not at all certain that any of them have actually spoken to him.
One of the stories spun by staff to cover Sanford’s mysterious disappearance emerged Monday, and had him hiking the Appalachian Trail. This tale blew up like an exploding cigar when it was discovered that Sunday on the Trail was “Naked Hiking Day.”
The New York Times this week dispatched a reporter to Hawaii to determine whether the fear merchants of North Korea and the American right had succeeded in scarifying the islanders.
Seems a Japanese newspaper, Yomiuri, reported on June 17 that, according to an “analysis” by the Japanese Defense Ministry, “it is believed” North Korea “might” fire a long-range ballistic missile “toward” Hawaii, “maybe” around July 4.
The shadowy, assumption-riddled Yomiuri piece seems primarily geared towards instilling fear in the Japanese people, spinning scenarios of the missile landing near the Japanese island of Okinawa, or dumping a first-stage booster over the Chugoku or Shikoku regions of Japan. But it was the Hawaiian speculation that was immediately latched onto by US-oriented fear limpets—despite the fact that the article explicitly states that any missile must land at least 500 kilometers short of the main Hawaiian islands.
And so, people prone to flogging and/or feeling fear having been in a flap for nearly a week now, the Times set out to discover if the Hawaiians themselves were wringing their hands and running for shelter.
Published June 21, 2009
Children can be a trial to their parents, but that’s fair, because parents can certainly be a trial to their children.
The hellion Johnny Cash, as an example, certainly could have been a better father. But then he also got his from his daughters. Step-daughter Carlene Carter, during a 1979 live appearance at a New York club, introduced her tune “Swap-Meat Rag,” a celebration of her orgy adventuring, with the memorable line: “If this song doesn’t put the cunt back in country, nothing will.”
Unbeknownst to her, Johnny and mom June Carter were in the audience. Cash told Carlene’s sister Candy: “Carlene looked right at me and said that.”
None of them ever really lived it down.
But we know that Johnny was at heart a good father, and at heart his daughters good daughters, because of what daughter Rosanne Cash made for him after he passed: “Black Cadillac.” A live video version of the song, recorded for the BBC, is below: the cameraperson is without a clue, but the song isn’t. Lyrics here.