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betsuni

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Member since: Sat Nov 30, 2013, 04:06 AM
Number of posts: 3,941

Journal Archives

Samantha Bee: Eroding Electoral Confidence; Fake News, Real Consequences; The Big Lie






Writing about food: Groucho Marx, from "The Essential Groucho"

"After our week's board had been paid in advance ... there was not a nickel ... in the troupe. Oh, the things we wanted to buy as we walked along the boardwalk from our boarding house to the theater! There were ice-cream cones; rich, juicy hots dogs, and popcorn -- beautiful molasses-covered popcorn. It was the molasses-covered popcorn that cast the most powerful spell. For three days I walked by the popcorn stand, each time pausing for a look. On the fourth day I had not the strength to walk by. I went through my pockets, although I knew very well that my only treasure was a fountain pen, which had been given to me on my thirteenth birthday. I adored this pen; it was the first gift I had ever received. ... 'I'll give you this fountain pen for some popcorn,' I heard myself saying to the man who presided over the stand. ... I watched the pen leave my hand. ... It was food for the gods; it was ambrosia for a child actor. I ate it slowly. But that night ... I missed the fountain pen. And even now I would give anything to have it back.

"I can never look at fish without thinking of that cheerless week in Atlantic City ... . The salary for the act was forty dollars a week with board. And, while the board was certainly plentiful, it consisted of nothing but fish. That wasn't because the theater manager ... regarded fish as brain food and healthful. He happened to keep a huge fish net right below my bedroom window, and at night I could hear my breakfast, lunch, and dinner swimming into the net. By Wednesday I detested fish. I wanted meat. By Thursday I was spending all my leisure hours in front of a roast-beef counter, sniffing at the luxurious meat which I could not buy. ... On the following week I ate nothing but roast beef.

"We inquired about Xmas dinner. ... Mrs. Abernathy said she always had it after the matinee as the actors were then more in the mood. ... All through the matinee we thought of nothing but the turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie that awaited at Mrs. Abernathy's. ... At 5:30 a big dish arrived and on it was a huge baked mackerel and a dish of cranberry sauce. At first we suspected Mrs. Abernathy of having turned comic for the moment and that pretty soon this offensive dish would be removed. ... And then with a bitterness too deep for violence we realized that the turkey was for the regular boarders. The local theatergoers must have been slightly bewildered that Xmas night to see and hear five acts give a complete performance about mackerel. ... After the show we returned to the boardinghouse and sneaked into the kitchen, broke into the icebox, and found the carcass of a cold turkey and cranberry sauce. So there we sat, five vaudeville acts grouped on the floor of a cold dark kitchen, ravenously eating a belated Xmas dinner."

Stephen Colbert: Trump and Carrier; Kellogg's; Gold Bucket Thief


National Apple Pie Day: Garrison Keillor, "Lutheran Pie" (from "We Are Still Married")

"One fall day I went to the kitchen and got out a bag of flour and made the first apple pie I made in my life. Made it from scratch, including mixing butter with flour to make a great crust, and loaded it with sour apples and brown sugar and nutmeg, baked it to a T, and of course it was delicious. My guests for dinner were a couple who seemed to be coasting from a bad fight. We ate the pie and sat in a daze of pleasure afterward, during which the wife said that it reminded her of pies she ate when she was a little Norwegian Lutheran girl in Normania Township on the western Minnesota prairie. 'We had love, good health, and faith in God, all things that money can't buy,' she said, glancing at her husband, apropos of something. 'This time of year, we were always broke, but somehow we made it. We'd fix equipment, feed the animals, and sleep. My mother made apple pie. One year she made thirty in one day. My dad was sick and thirty of our neighbors come in with fourteen combines and harvested his three hundred acres of soybeans. It took them half a day to do it, at a time when they were racing to get their own soybeans in, but out there, if your car broke down in the country, the next car by would stop. My mother baked thirty pies and gave one to everybody who helped us.' Naturally I was pleased, until later, when it occurred to me that I would never bake another one as surprisingly good, having hit a home run on my first try. (They are still married, by the way.)"

Writing about food: Ernest Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast"

"All of the sadness of the city came suddenly with the first cold rains of winter ... . It was a pleasant cafe, warm and clean and friendly, and I hung up my old waterproof on the coat rack to dry and put my worn and weathered felt hat on the rack above the bench and ordered a cafe au lait. The waiter brought it and I took out a notebook from the pocket of the coat and a pencil and started to write. ... I closed up the notebook and put it in my inside pocket and I asked the waiter for a dozen portugaises and a half-carafe of the dry white wine they had there. ... As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

"The trees were sculpture without their leaves when you were reconciled to them, and the winter winds blew across the surfaces of the ponds and fountains blew in the bright light. ... I brought mandarines and roasted chestnuts to the room in paper packets and peeled and ate the small tangerine-like oranges and threw their skins and spat their seeds in the fire when I ate them and roasted chestnuts when I was hungry. I was always hungry with the walking and the cold and the working.

"You got very hungry when you did not eat enough in Paris because all the bakery shops had such good things in the windows and people ate outside at tables on the sidewalk so that you saw and smelled the food. ... There you could always go into the Luxembourg Museum and all the paintings were sharpened and clearer and more beautiful if you were belly-empty, hollow-hungry. I learned to understand Cezanne much better and to see truly how he made landscapes when I was hungry. ... I should have bought a large piece of bread and eaten it instead of skipping a meal. I could taste the brown lovely crust. But it is dry in your mouth without something to drink. ... Hunger is healthy and the pictures do look better when you are hungry. Eating is wonderful too and do you know where you are going to eat right now? Lipp's is where you are going to eat, and drink, too. ... There were few people in the brasserie and when I sat down on the bench against the wall with the mirror and a table in front and the waiter asked if I wanted beer I asked for a distingue, the big glass mug that held a litre, and for potato salad. The beer was very cold and wonderful to drink. The pommes a l'huile were firm and marinated and the olive oil delicious. I ground black pepper over the potatoes and moistened the bread in the olive oil. After the first heavy draught of beer I drank and ate very slowly. When the pommes a l'huile were gone I ordered another serving and a cervelas. This was a sausage like a heavy, wide frankfurter split in two and covered with a special mustard sauce. I mopped up all the oil and all of the sauce with the bread and drank the beer slowly until it began to lose its coldness and then I finished it and ordered a demi and watched it drawn."

Happy Birthday Mark Twain, food in "A Tramp Abroad"

"A man accustomed to American food and American domestic cookery would not starve to death suddenly in Europe, but I think he would gradually waste away, and eventually die.

"Then there is the beefsteak. They have it in Europe, but they don't know how it cook it. Neither will they cut it right. It comes to the table on a small round pewter platter. It lies in the center of this platter in a bordering bed of grease-soaked potatoes; it is the size, shape, and thickness of a man's hand with the thumb and fingers cut off. It is a little overdone, is rather dry ... . Imagine a poor exile contemplating that inert thing; and imagine an angel suddenly sweeping down out of a better land and setting before them a mighty porterhouse steak an inch and a half thick, hot and sputtering from the griddle; dusted with a fragrant pepper; enriched with little melting bits of butter of the most impeachable freshness and genuiness; the precious juices of the meat trickling out and joining the gravy, archipelagoed with mushrooms; a township of this ample county of beefsteak; the long white bone which divides the sirloin from the tenderloin still in its place; and imagine that the angel also adds a great cup of American home-made coffee, with cream a-froth on the top, some real butter, firm and yellow and fresh, some smoking hot biscuits and a plate of hot buckwheat cakes, with transparent syrup -- could words describe the gratitude of the exile?

"It has now been many months ... since I have have had a nourishing meal, but I ... have made out a little bill of fare as follows:
Radishes. Baked apples, with cream.
Fried oysters; stewed oysters.
American coffee, with real cream.
American butter.
Fried chicken, Southern style.
Porter-house steak.
Saratoga potatoes.
Broiled chicken, American style.
Hot biscuits, Southern style.
Hot buckwheat cakes.
American toast. Clear maple syrup.
Virginia ham, broiled.
Blue points, on the half shell.
Cherry-stone clams.
San Francisco mussels, steamed.
Oyster soup. Clam soup.
Oysters roasted in the shell -- Northern style.
Soft-shell crabs. Connecticut shad.
Roast turkey, Thanksgiving style.
Cranberry sauce. Celery.
'Possum. Coon.
Boston bacon and beans.
Bacon and greens, Southern style.
Hominy. Boiled onions. Turnips.
Pumpkin. Squash. Asparagus.
Lettuce. Succotash. String beans.
Butter beans. Sweet potatoes.
Mashed potatoes. Catsup.
Sliced tomatoes with sugar or vinegar. Stewed tomatoes.
Green corn, on the ear.
Buttermilk.
Apple dumplings, with real cream.
Apple pie. Apple fritters.
Pumpkin pie. Squash pie.
Fresh American fruits of all sorts, including strawberries which are not to be doled out as if they were jewelry, but in a more liberal way.
Ice-water

"Foreigners cannot enjoy our food, I suppose, any more than we can enjoy theirs. It is not strange; for tastes are made, not born."

Happy Birthday Louisa May Alcott: food in "Little Women"

"'Jo! Jo! Where are you?' cried Meg at the foot of the stairs. 'Here!' answered a husky voice from above, and, running up, Meg found her sister eating apples and crying over the Heir of Redclyffe, wrapped up in a comforter on an old three-legged sofa by the sunny window. This was Jo's favorite refuge, and here she loved to retire with half a dozen russets and a nice book, to enjoy the quiet ... .

"There never was such a Christmas dinner as they had that day. The fat turkey was a sight to behold, when Hannah sent him up, stuffed, browned, and decorated. So was the plum pudding, which melted in one's mouth, likewise the jellies, in which Amy reveled like a fly in a honey pot. Everything turned out well, which was a mercy, Hannah said, 'For my mind was flustered, Mum, that it's a miracle I didn't roast the pudding, and stuff the turkey with raisins, let alone billin' of it in a cloth.'

"Then ... Meg ... put on a big apron, and fell to work ... with more energy than discretion. While the cooking mania lasted she went through Mrs. Cornelius's Receipt Book as if it were a mathematical exercise, working out the problems with patience and care. Sometimes her family were invited to help eat up too bounteous feasts of successes, or Lotty would be privately dispatched with a batch of failures, which were to be concealed from all eyes in the convenient stomachs of the little Hummels. Fired with a housewifely wish to see her storeroom stocked with homemade preserves, she undertook to put up her own currant jelly. John was requested to order home a dozen or so little pots and an extra quantity of sugar, for their own currants were ripe and were to be attended to at once. ... Home came four dozen delightful little pots, half a barrel of sugar, and a small boy to pick the currents for her. ... The array of pots rather amazed her at first, but John was so fond of jelly, and the nice little jars would look so well on the top shelf, that Meg resolved to fill them all, and spent a long day picking, boiling, straining, and fussing over her jelly. She did her best, she asked the advice of Mrs. Cornelius, she racked her brain to remember what Hannah did that she left undone, she reboiled, resugared, and restrained, but that dreadful stuff wouldn't 'jell.' ... If John had not forgotten about the jelly, it really would have been unpardonable in him to choose that day, of all the days of the year, to bring a friend home to dinner unexpectedly. ... In the kitchen reigned confusion and despair. One edition of jelly was trickled from pot to pot, another lay upon the floor, and a third was burning gaily on the stove. Lotty, with Teutonic phlegm, was calmly eating bread and currant wine, for the jelly was still in a hopelessly liquid state, while Mrs. Brooke, with her apron over her head, sat sobbing dismally."

Writing about food: Anita Loos, "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"

"So it seems that Munchen is practically full of Germans and the lobby of the Kunst theater was really full of Germans who stand in the lobby and drink beer and eat quite a lot of Bermudian onions and garlick sausage and hard boiled eggs and beer before all of the acts. So I really had to ask Mr. Spoffard if he thought we had come to the right theater because the lobby seemed to smell such a lot. I mean when the smell of beer gets to be anteek it gets to smell quite a lot. ... So then Dorothy spoke up and Dorothy said, 'You can say what you want about the Germans being full of kunst, but what they are really full of is delicatessen.' ... So then Dorothy got to talking with a young gentleman who seemed to be a German gentleman who sat back of her, who she thought was applauding. But what he was really doing was he was cracking a hard boiled egg on the back of her chair.

"I mean Mr. Spoffard and I spent one whole day going through all of the museums in Munchen, but I am really not even going to think about it. Because when something terrible happens to me, I always try to be a Christian science and I simply do not even think about it, but I deny that it ever happened even if my feet do seem to hurt quite a lot. So even Dorothy had quite a hard day in Munchen because her German gentleman friend, who is called Rudolf, came for her at 11 o'clock to take her for breakfast. But Dorothy told him that she had had her breakfast. But her gentleman friend said that he had had his first breakfast to, but it was time for his second. So he took Dorothy to the Half Brow house where everybody eats white sausages and pretzels and beer at 11 o'clock. So after they had their white sausages and beer he wanted to take her for a ride but they could only go a few blocks because by then it was time for luncheon. So they ate quite a lot of luncheon and then he bought her a large size box of chocolates that were full of liqueurs, and took her to the matinee. So after the first act Rudolf got hungry and they had to go and stand in the lobby and have some sandwitches and beer. But Dorothy did not enjoy the show very much and so after the second act Rudolf said they would leave because it was time for tea anyway. So after quite a heavy tea, Rudolf asked her to dinner and Dorothy was to overcome to say No. So after dinner they went to a beer garden for beer and pretzels. But finally Dorothy began to come to, and she asked him to take her back to the hotel. So Rudolf said he would, but they had better have a bite to eat first. So today Dorothy really feels just as discouradged as I seem to feel, only Dorothy is not a Christian science and all she can do is suffer."

PBS: "Giving Tuesday" -- charitable gift giving (how one company turns bombs into bracelets)



Writing about food: Anais Nin, "Ladders to Fire"

"Lillian was always in a state of fermentation. ... When she cooked, the entire kitchen was galvanized by the strength she put into it; the dishes, pans, knives, everything bore the brunt of her strength, everything was violently marshalled, challenged, forced to bloom, to cook, to boil. The vegetables were peeled as if the skins were torn from their resisting flesh, as if they were the fur of animals being peeled by the hunters. The fruit was stabbed, assassinated, the lettuce was murdered with a machete. The flavoring was poured like hot lava and one expected the salad to wither, shrivel instantly. The bread was sliced with a vigor which recalled heads falling from the guillotine. The bottles and glasses were knocked hard against each other as in bowling games, so that the wine, beer and water were conquered before they reached the table.

"What was concocted in this cuisine reminded one of the sword swallowers at the fair, the fire-eaters and the glass-eaters of the Hindu magic sects. The same chemicals were used in the cooking as were used in the composition of her own being: only those which caused the most violent reaction, contradiction, and teasing, the refusal to answer questions but the love of putting them, and all the strong spices of human relationship which bore a relation to black pepper, paprika, soybean sauce, ketchup and red peppers. In a laboratory she would have caused explosions. In life she caused them and was afterwards aghast at the damage. Then she would hurriedly set about to atone for the havoc, for the miscarried phrase, the fatal honesty, the reckless act, the disrupting scene, the explosive and catastrophic attack. Everywhere, after the storms of her appearance, there was emotional devastation. ... The next day she herself was amazed to see friendships all askew, like pictures after an earthquake."
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