In Chicago, where the Cod will be to the many nice places to eat as Stephen Maturin is to the Galapagos &c. in the Patrick O'Brian books. That is to say, a job that puts me within tantalizing proximity of interesting things, but prevents me from enjoying them. As a silver lining, I do commend the annual convention of the Modern Language Association to anyone who wants evidence supporting Woody Allen's thesis that real life becomes more and more like high school. So, busy in the lifeworld, queuing up for nasty coffee and such, but I can offer a tiny nugget of PHC: If any of your friends runs some smack about how Todd English is vain and self-infatuated, you can set them straight with this sound bite:
"Of the four flats creen monitors at Todd English's Bonfire, only two -- barely 50%! -- are dedicated to Todd English content."
That's right -- the man has videos of himself playing on video monitors at his eponymous airport outpost. Meatmen fans will recognize an affinity with Slammy from Miami. No word yet on when Eric Ripert's Jumbotron will be operational at Le Bernardin.
Hope Christmas brought whatever it was you desired, be it a yard-long Sabatier, or a chance encounter in the all-night grocery. We've talked a little bit about Chunky soups in the context of Sunday Night Soups over to Serious Eats, but there is more to say. At times, parody anticipates real life -- today, one can buy real razors with numbers of blades that existed only in the pages of The Onion a few short years ago. I don't know if there is an
explicit parodic antecedent for Campbell's Chunky: Fully Loaded, but it surely is the first canned soup informed by the Brawndo campaign.* It is, after all, the soup in the black can "packed, crammed and jammed with extreme amounts of meat!"** Curiously, the semioticians at Hormel sued Cambpell's, alleging that the stew did not meet the statutory definition of "stew" and thus harshes Dinty Moore's buzz. Where is Carl Weathers when you need him? In the meantime, new-to-me The Impulsive Buy comes through with an explication of the Chunky/NFL liason, and a withering review of the Fully Loaded Rigatoni:
Some not-awesome news has reached me from a trusted informant in the service industry. At this time of year, people go out and buy stuff. Then, ennervated from this experience, they pay other people to cook and serve food to them. So far, so good. However, sometimes, it appears, people feel queasy about these purchases, and fearful of a Mastercard bill hitting like September Vogue, they are a little bit near with the gratuity. This must stop. Your server does not benefit from the 79" HDTV in the back of your Escalade, Mr. and Ms. Restaurant patron, so you better come with at least 20%, unless your server, like, flips you off or something. If I were as clever as this guy, I would, in fact, make a 3 dimensional tip table, with size of check in dollars, and size of tv in inches, and displacement of vehicles' engine in cubic inches all multiplying the base tip. And while we are on the subject of the service industry, a gift suggestion-cum-another PSA. If you know someone who likes to drink coffee, consider getting them a French press. Or a Thermos. Or encourage them just to roll out of bed on Christmas morning and start hitting the sauce. Or something, but do whatever it takes to keep Starbuckses from opening on Christmas. What the hell, people?
This post is a little late, and gets the dreaded Silica Gel label, but Stephen A. Smith's fulminations against bloggers represent some of the same stuff we've seen from Batali, et al in re food bloggers, cooked down to a rock you can smoke:
Yes, it is alarming that Mr. Smith seems shaky on the meaning of the word "format," but more alarming that a putative journalist who reaches millions of homes every day seems to be operating with a guild mentality. Imagine how different (and better!) the history of our species would be if only people had been properly trained had access to mass media. Milton's just an old blind pain in the ass, and Tom Paine's that guy at your local who bumps into you, spills your beer, and spends the whole night apologizing to you. Woodward and Bernstein are bumping rails in an Alexandria motel, etcetera, etcetera. Hell, in Stephen A. Smith's world, Martin Luther would have had to be thesis-nailing certified before he posted his stuff up.
The point, which is evidently bears repeating, is that access to the medium does not create an audience. An easy way to establish that is to click on the "next blog" link on a Blogspot blog. For every blog that people read, there are hundreds that are ignored by a number that asymptotically approaches everyone. A blog only has an audience if people find it and read it. There are ways to generate that audience, but they involve, primarily, having content that people want to read. If you are credible, you are credible, if you ain't, you ain't, and it does not matter what the medium is. Like Marshall McLuhan said, don't hate the player, hate the game.
And speaking of the title, in case you missed it, it's the 1988 NBA Eastern Finals, and Prince is Dominique Wilkins, and Larry Bird:
The stuff about choosing, holding, and using knives is useful -- imagine a world where Chris Kimball took antidepressants -- but the next 210 pages are how to cut individual vegetables and meats. Seriously. Here on earth, if you are unable to apply what you learned from cutting celery to cutting fennel, you probably should not be trusted with a knife anyway. To make matters worse, each item, mushroom, chicken breast, etc, is repeated for righties and lefties. Let's just say that the Cod has been shopping at the Leftorium for some time, and has, to this point, managed to extraopolate from the illustration to real life. I still have a hard time swiping my card at the gas pump, but the idea that the locations of the tomato and the knife would be exchanged, I've been able to suss pretty consistently.
All that said, the same things that make this a not-great value at $29.95 make it a nice gift -- while it is tough to figure buying it for one's self, but not hard to imagine wanting it for the stuff in the beginning. Paired with a decent kinfe, either utilitarian or fancy, it would make a nice gift for someone who has started cooking, and wants to get serious.
A series of missives from Cod operative Addison reveals that it is a fine line between clever and stupid. On the one hand, now you can shit gold. Yes, actual gold tablets that you eat, for the thrill of having sparkles in your poo. The person who would use this product and look forward to its denoument, has nothing to live for anyway, so why bother.
On the other hand, the twelve bird turducken has the genius of being willing to go further than the other guy.* This is a Christmas centerpiece that weighs more than a healthy third-grader, needs eight hours to cook, and could feed the active rosters and coaching staffs of the Broncos and Chargers after they get done playing on Christmas Eve. *I'm thinking here of Kurtz' excursus on the Viet Cong towards the end of Apocalypse Now. What's more Christmasy than that?