What with some years at a day job 'Fessering, the Cod has many grasshoppers to be proud of. One familiar to regular readers here is Penny Pascal, noted for her Peerless Photoshopping. Ms. Pascal has found a far more worthwhile project than putting Alice Waters' head various places as the Cod directs. Having stumbled across The Playboy Host & Bar Book, our intrepid hostess is in the midst of a mixthrough of each and every cocktail described therein. Among other things, our hostess will likely consume more blended whiskey than any 20-something bachelorette this side of Jinx Kragen, and how could that be bad? Follow along here.
Eater drops a fluffy Friday list of favorite chef bars, which seems even more mailed-in than it deserves, which is saying something. Some interesting choices -- good to see love for Boston's Drink from Jose Andres, who also likes to drink at Versailles, in Miami (and why not)? But! Massamo Bottura offers the (private) Honeycomb Hideout on top of the Spotted Pig, because, I guess, it's inconvenient to carry around that Christmas card he got from Mario Batali to show to people? And Cod fave Sean Brock shows some aligator arms w/ a spot across the street from his place, but in the Gin Joint's defense, it's a solid bar, and "stumbling distance" is an big selling point for any bar. But Suzanne Goin -- remember her? -- pops up on the list w/ a plug that is compellingly shameless:
If Gawker is actually paying folks to run articles like Drew Magary's response to a five year old Regina Schrambling piece, then Nick Denton is throwing his money away. With minimal programming skill, one can have a computer cut and paste an article by someone else, and then interpolate insults after every paragraph. We tried it w/ Gail Collins' most recent op ed piece in the Times:
We’re currently having a big debate about the Senate filibuster. It is possible you hadn’t heard, what with the onset of the holiday season, the fiscal cliff and several unexpected plot turns on “Homeland” to worry about. There’s just so much a person can handle.
Gail Collins? What kind of name is that? And BTW, fuck Claire Danes!
In Washington, it’s all people talk about. O.K., not all. But there’s a lot of rancor. John Cornyn, the new Senate minority whip, predicted to Politico that if Democrats went forward with their plans to change the filibuster rules, “It will shut down the Senate.”
If the Senate did shut down, the country would not necessarily notice much difference. This week, there was a herculean attempt to pass The Sportsmen’s Act, a large, bipartisan mix of hunting and conservation provisions that has been waiting around for ages. The bill seemed to be sailing toward success when it got entangled in a fight over the price of duck stamps — a kind of hunting license and collector item the federal government sells to raise money for conservation.
"Herculean"? WTF is wrong with you?
“It gives the Department of Interior, unelected bureaucrats, power to decide how much to charge for a duck stamp,” announced Jeff Sessions of Alabama. This was certainly a powerful argument — first, the duck stamps; next, the death panels. But supporters suspected that the real issue was partisan ire over the filibuster fight.
The bill took a swan dive on a parliamentary motion. Life went on.
Ducks and Swans, huh? Very clever. Fuck you.
If you'd like to do a Turing test, the version ostensibly written by a human is over here.
Now and again, one of the grasshoppers will ask me about cooking. In response to a concern about originality, I suggested the following:
Pick up something like Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking, and see what inspires. It is a very unoriginal cookbook, and that is its strength. Learning to cook is more like playing in a wedding band than being a jazz solost. Do I know The Hustle? Check. Can I make a roux? Check.
Was this good advice, people who read this and are smarter about cooking than I am?
In an effort to counteract a naturally grinchy predisposition, the which is exacerbated by living through Xmas season these last years with a childless orphan as a biological host, the Cod has sought to spread a little pre-Solstice sunshine with The Twelve or So Days of Crassmas. The principle is simple - each post will feature one absolutely worthless gadget, and a organization for good works you could support instead. So, then, you can tell your gift list, "Hey, bro, I know you had your heart set on that Bluetooth-enabled French press coffee pot, but I sent that $75 to and organization that teaches autistic kids to train rescued dogs to be support animals for disabled vets."
These examples are made up, but I hope readers will send real examples. Do so in comments or at fesser at gmail. Thanks!
The folks at Williams-Sonoma have really stepped up their game for the holidays.
The home cook wants to be able to see the receipt (more on this later) that is being cooked, and maybe to jam out some tunes. (The Cod suggests early 90s bounce music for your more challenging meal preps.) You could, you know, look in a cook book, or, perhaps, print out a receipt from the news paper. (A recent innovation chez Cod was taping these to cabinet doors w/ blue painter's tape.)
Or! You can bring your cherished personal electronic device into the hottest, wettest, and stickiest part of the house. But how will you maintain your iPad at its proper angle? Our friends at Williams-Sonoma come to the rescue with a $50 iPad tee!
But! you say to yourself - "That looks like a grille on the bottom - for $50, the iPad tee has an integrated speaker? Sos's I can listen to Sporty T while I peel chestnuts?" Wrong! The speaker is sold separately! For $149!
So you say to yourself: "Well - for $200 I can not only prop up my iPad, but also listen to music in the kitchen, an hitherto technologically impossible feat? OK. But won't my iPad become all engravied and stuff, which is kind of an insult to those hard-working eleven year-olds who built it?" No sooner do you i
dentify a problem than W-S has a solution! They also sell an iPad merkin, for only $15! Is said shield, given that it "resists water and grease" thin and sensitive enough to permit the operation of said several-hundred dollar boombox/cookbook? I did not have the heart to ask. Play us off, Sporty T!
More importantly, are you aware that there are those who have conducted similar prose experiments on a larger scale? Have you read The Interrogative Mood? Were you aware that Padgett Powell has written a novel that consists entirely of questions? Would you be interested in reading a novel like that?
In a different vein, do you think this is the first review published in a major NY publication thus punctuated since Lester Bangs' classic "Sham 69 is Innocent"? Are you familiar with this review? Did you know that Bangs did the thing you did w/ Guy Fieri and question marks, except with Sham 69 and exclamation points? Are you familiar with Sham 69? Do you think they would enjoy Guy Fieri's restaurant? Do you suspect that Guy Fieri might play "Borstal Breakout" in his kitchen? Or is Fieri's populism utterly notional? Would you like to hear my favorite Sham 69 song?
File under "no brainer." If you are Gothamically challenged, the Cod his own self will be celebrating the birthday of his biological host by shucking 100 Island Creek oysters at Nick's, in Clemson, SC. There will be a jar for Rockaway relief.
So, this is what the gentlemen in the digital camo are fighting for? Sounds like Guiteau Monday to me. On a somewhat related note, Papa John's is threatening similar measures. In the case of Applebee's and Papa John's, shitty fast casual riblets and shitty pizza is no great loss. Recently, however, Aziz Ansari pointed out that the problem w/ the Chick-fil-A vs gays situation is that Chick-fil-A is very tasty - as he observed, if it were Long John Silver's nobody would care.
More generally, it's interesting to the Cod that 2012 has been a year where fast food has become politicized, but in terms of gay marriage and health care, rather than on its own, rather dubious, terms.
Sarah Sprague, who writes the only football and food stuff on the internet you should be reading, mentioned that she was looking forward to The Cod's annual spate of Grinchy posts about shit you don't need, variously bundled as The Twelve or So Days of Crassmas, or, more generally as Williams-Sonomadness. But like Target or my nieces, it's hard to wait for it to be Christmastime, especially when FOC Ms. Skeen drops some knowledge something like the Pancake Plate.
It's not just a solution to a problem that does not exist; it's a solution to a problem that's almost impossible to understand. They are pancake plates. You may have been bumping along eating pancakes off of regular plates, but, you see, these have a little reservoir for excess syrup.