6 February 2009
There are certain things in life that are unassailable in their logic, inarguable in their consensus, and inalienable in their inherent veracity. These are things we can always count on, never worried that we’re going to turn on CNN one day to find out that, behind closed doors, they like to text message pictures of their privates to underage pages. In this ever-changing world, we can count on them to stay staid and true. Among these are included the assertion that The Third Man is the most criminally underrated Film Noir of all time; that, while certainly delicious, Chicago-style pizza is bested by its nemesis from the Big Apple; that one’s perception of “time” can change dependent upon his relative motion in space; and, of course, that guilty feet have got no rhythm. Indeed, these “truths” extend to every category of American thought: Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame; Simon Van Der Meer never deserved that Nobel Prize in the first place; East Coast girls aren’t as “hip” as originally thought; and, if you ask my father, it all started to go wrong when I quit football. As an intelligent people, we know that those of us who don’t agree with the intractable truths listed above are “stupid,” “dumb,” and probably “Puerto Rican.” We can use these agreed-upon notions to weed out those among us with bad taste, inferior deductive reasoning, and addresses in Michigan.
Indeed, there are many truths in the culinary world, as well. These maxims serve as litmus tests for those people who know, love, and live for food, and those of us named Rachel Ray. Oh, sure, reasonable people may disagree on some of the following, but those people probably also liked the movie Crash, so fuck them. To be sure, we’re not talking about mere predilections and opinions based on taste – anyone can argue ad nauseum about their favorite dish, the most overrated chef, or if I’m “extraordinarily” handsome or merely “amazingly” handsome. What can’t be debated, however, is the fact that Frank’s is the best commercially available hot sauce. You see, to say that Cholula or Tabasco is the best would mean that you’re as dumb as a sack of rocks, worthy not of our pity, but of our mocking. These are the truths I’m talking about. These are the concepts which, if not agreed with, result in unrelenting derision from those of us in the culinary “know.” So, without further ado, feel free to peruse the following food truths and keep score to determine how big of an ass you are (hint: if you disagree with more than “zero,” you’re an enormous ass.)
Less Is More When It Comes To Pasta Sauce
There’s an old Italian saying which states: “Aaaaayyyy, what the fuck are you doin’, ova here?!?!? Knock it off with the fuckin’ sauce, you rat bastard, befores I’s gots to knock your fuckin’ head off!” Generally attributed to Herodotus, modern culinarians are wont to follow his sage advice. Pasta, after all, should be about, oh, I don’t know, pasta?!? The sauce should be an accompaniment, not the main attraction (unless your sauce is made of Beyonce, because good luck giving that trilling whore second billing.) And, as much as I love a Sunday dinner of spaghetti with homemade ragout, I don’t want to have to eat it like it’s marinara soup. As a general rule, the home chef should heed the advice of another wise Mediterranean thinker, Epicureus, who said “Oh, for fuck’s sake, just toss the pasta in the pan with your sauce, use tongs to transfer to a serving dish, and be done with it – it ain’t like it’s a fuckin’ soup, after all.” See, told you so.
No Ketchup On Hot Dogs, Ever
For starters, let me state that I love ketchup. I love it on burgers; I love it with meat loaf; I, of course, love it with fries; and, when I’m feeling especially frisky, I even love it with my fried egg sandwich. Ketchup is an essential ingredient in thousand island dressing and indispensable in many barbecue sauces. But, inasmuch as I respect the ubiquitous crimson condiment, I must insist on one rule regarding its usage: ketchup, for those of us over the age of ten, does not – cannot – belong on hot dogs. Why I am adamant about this rule I can’t say, as it’s more of an irrational pet peeve than a well thought out culinary maxim. And please do not think I mean to exclude all condiments from the list of acceptable hot dog toppings. Perish the thought! My yearly visits to my hometown would be wasted were it not for Skyline chili dogs, and who could visit chicago without getting a traditional dog loaded with whatever the fuck it is they put on hot dogs there. No, I’m speaking more to the baseball fan at the ballpark or the fourth of july party-goer: if you put anything other than mustard – yellow mustard – on your hot dog, anyone witnessing such an act of nitrate desecration is vested with the authority to repeatedly round-house kick you in the larynx. It’s in the Bill of Rights.
Martinis Are Not About The Vermouth
We American people take our drinks very seriously. We invented the tailgate solely for the purpose of imbibing for hours before athletic contests, during which we will subsequently drink fifteen $8.00 Bud Lights; we regularly participate in “Happy Hour,” which, despite its name is woefully inadequate when it comes to hand jobs; and we created a special lunch predicated on the notion of drinking three of the most favorite of American libations: the martini. Simple in its ingredients, a martini is not a cosmo, nor an apple-tini, nor that neon-colored concoction I just poured that GHB into. A martini is a humble mixture of Gin (or vodka) and vermouth, garnished with olives and a wondrous glow of intoxication. Unfortunately, many bartenders who keep 86ing me from their establishments insist on treating the quintessential cocktail as a mixed drink. They pour in vermouth, rather than merely bless the drink with it, thereby desecrating the crisp taste of the concoction. As a general The Chef’s Prerogative rule, please make martinis as follows: pour a small amount of vermouth in a shaker, add ice and a good gin, and stir for thirty seconds, strain into a martini glass and garnish with olives. There is, of course, some lee-way to this one: some prefer to merely coat the glass with the vermouth, some to coat the shaker and subsequently pour out. Either are fine alternatives, as they adhere to the general rule that one should never drown a martini in dastardly (yet regretfully necessary) vermouth. Indeed, as Winston Churchill once said of his method of martini mixology: a martini is best made by drinking a glass of gin while looking at a bottle of vermouth. I prefer to look, instead, at a picture of Megan Fox, but whatever.
Beef Is A Dish Best Served Cold. I Mean “Rare.” Beef Is A Dish Best Served Rare.
Outside of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, there are few things more disappointing than beef that’s been over-cooked. I know that the government says that meat not cooked to, like, 500 degrees is going to give you worms, or whatever, but the government also says that if you smoke pot you’re going to kill little kids with your car, so fuck them. Beef, whether in burger, steak, or Philly cheese form is best when served as far from “well done” as humanly possible, while still being fit for human consumption. We’re not talking Chili’s “rare,” here, either. I’m talking Ruth’s Chris rare, where you’re a little alarmed at how rare it is (and at how you’re paying $40 for some cook to put a steak under the broiler for two minutes, total.) Truly rare steak melts in your mouth, tastes indescribably delicious, and is reason No. 2,384 why we’re better than the Hindus. After all, so what if you get the Mad Cow disease and have to go to the hospital for a month? Just apply to the know-it-all government for a bail out, and everything should be A-OK.
When Dressing Up For Dinner At A Nice Restaurant…
…Please, for the love of Karl Lagerfeld, tie your tie so that its falls no further than your belt. If your tie reaches your zipper, I can assure you that it will be the only thing approaching your crotch all night, if you get my drift. If you don’t get my drift, I’m trying to imply that the girl you’re with will be so put off by your sartorial faux pas that she will not want to touch your penis. You want her to touch your penis, don’t you? Don’t You?!?!?!? Do it for your penis, man!