Naive Dame sez: "Oh, relax, Charles...  We're perfectly alone.  What do you think there's some gumshoe outside, listening to all our secret plans?"

Naive Dame sez: "Oh, relax, Charles... We're perfectly alone. What, do you think there's some gumshoe outside, listening to all our secret plans? Why, that's patently ridiculous!"

I woke up at my desk to the sound of the world’s most annoying alarm clock: an angry woman.  The dame had marched in from off the street and directly into my frontal lobe.  She demanded that I take her case, without so much as a “How do you do?”.  I don’t cotton to people ordering me around, even if they do have legs that go all the way up, so I took a drag on my cigarette and thought about it for a minute.  Unfortunately, my wallet was as empty as that clip I poured into the last scumbag I ran into, so I didn’t have much choice but to take her on as a client.  So long as she was paying cash and didn’t expect her feminine wiles to get her any discounts.  After all, feminine wiles don’t buy you perfectas at the dog track.  “So what’s the deal, sweetheart; who done ya wrong, and how bad?”  It turned out that some so-and-so had taken all her dough, and I don’t mean the pizza kind.  He had wormed his way into her heart, and then into her purse, just long enough to get his sticky fingers all over her hard-earned cash.  Though, I’m not sure how hard a dame that looked like her had to work for a living.  “This is fucking ridiculous,” she screamed, “it was my life’s savings!”  Tell me about it, doll face – this economy’s been rough on everyone.  In fact, I hoped this perp didn’t have his sights set on going down swinging, because I couldn’t even afford to put bullets on layaway.  “I’ll take the case, Hon, but I can’t promise you’re going to get your money back,” I told her, and deep down I knew that something wasn’t quite on the up-and-up with this broad.  “You better fucking come up with something, and quick, or I’m just going to go to the fucking cops!”  Dames – always with the cops.  I got her to calm down, and finally she was able to speak rationally – as rationally as any broad can speak, that is.  “Look, I just want my money back, no questions asked.  I won’t go to the cops, I just want all of it back.  I don’t care where it went, or why it was taken, I just want my fucking money back.”  I told her I’d try my best to oblige, right before she left my office in huff, just like how all the broads in my life leave me.

After she sulked out of my office, I poured a double of the cheapest whiskey ever made, and thought for a while about my rotten luck.  It had only been two weeks ago that I encountered my own money problems.  The kind of problems that can’t be solved with quick thinking and a loaded .38.  I had stumbled onto an opportunity that was guaranteed to net me a pile of greenbacks, see, and without my having to lift a finger for it.  All I had to do was provide a little help to someone, and the pennies were sure to come raining from heaven.  It was so easy, I almost felt like one of the criminals I have to chase down and beat some justice into.  Almost.  Unfortunately, for a guy trained to pick out and track down bad guys, I fell victim to one of them easier than a greased-up monkey at a pie eating contest.  It looked like my client and I had something in common – besides hating me, that is.  Hers was going to be a tough case to crack, though, and my landlord’s daily eviction notices informed me of the importance of solving it, and lickity split, at that.  You don’t get to be this grizzled by sitting on your ass waiting for things to happen, though, and luckily I knew just where the type of people who steal from an unsuspecting bird generally hung out.

Carpaccio

Vigo The Carpathian's favorite dish is Carpaccio.  Because they sound kind of alike, that's why!

Vigo The Carpathian's favorite dish is Carpaccio. Because they sound kind of alike, that's why!

The deep mahogany walls, zinc bar, and fine crystal of the restaurant I was sitting in were belied by the nefarious and rough-neck clientele seated all around me in their three-piece suits.  I glanced side-to-side, trying to see if anyone reacted to my presence, but the candles seemed to be the only lighting in the place, which made it a perfect hide out.  Or maybe they couldn’t pay their electric bill, either.  I pressed the waiter into service, but the only tip he gave me was in connection to the wine list – a tip I graciously accepted, as it had been almost ten minutes since my last drink.  I ordered the carpaccio, hoping that they’d cut the price since they didn’t have to cook anything – no such luck, the wiry waiter informed me.  I didn’t trust him.  When it arrived, the beef was paper thin and dressed simply with olive oil, capers, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice.  It disappeared down my throat almost as fast as I did out the bathroom window.

Steak Au Poivre

Cow Chart (chart is to scale.)

Cow Chart (chart is to scale.)

Wandering around the city with only a hip flask of hootch and a hair-trigger .45 soon began to take its toll on my stomach, as well as on my psyche.  A little red meat was in order, and the restaurant I was standing in front of looked like just the type of place where a swindler would come to celebrate after fleecing some poor dame, or maybe even a road weary private investigator.  The maitre ‘d handed me a tie upon my entrance, and though I knew he wasn’t the perp I was looking for, his name shot right to the top of my shit list.  As I waited for someone to take my order, I couldn’t help noticing the sideways glances I was getting from the well-heeled assemblage of potential matchstick men seated around me.  I was on the job for my client, but I couldn’t help thinking that one of these fat cats may have been the mug that took me to the cleaners.  Perhaps our perps were one in the same, just like that he/she I met in the park last night, the lying bitch.  After the waiter took my order and promised to keep the martinis coming, I loosened my new tie and surveyed the room for a possible suspect.  It was hard to differentiate between tables, though, and I was as confused as a kitten at a koala bear convention.  Had I been hired to investigate the robbery of a Brooks Brothers, I would have been in business, but these weren’t the types of cats to slum it with some leggy chick with a killer ass just for a couple grand.  Nor, for that matter, a down-on-his-luck private dick with more bills than hollow points in his gun.  When my steak au poivre came, all those thoughts melted away, as the scent of cracked black peppercorns hit me in the face like a drunk guy who thinks you’re flirting with his girl, just because you accidentally bumped into her, then asked if she wanted to go in the bathroom and make an extra buck.  The steak was rare, and the creaminess of the beef was bolstered by the cognac, cream, and butter of the sauce.  Unfortunately, this restaurant’s bathroom was sans window, so I had to do it the old fashioned way: walk slowly out the front door, then run like I stole something.  Because that’s, actually, exactly what I’d just done.  The characters in the restaurant definitely had skeletons in their closets, but swindling my succubus of a client wasn’t one of them.  At least I got a new tie out of it.

Prime Rib

What prime rib is made of.  (Not pictured: puppy dogs kissing kitty cats.)

What prime rib is made of. (Not pictured: puppy dogs kissing kitty cats.)

Finally, I had a lead.  It seems my client and I weren’t the only ones who had been tricked out of their money by some evil genius.  I had been perusing the discount rum section of the liquor store when I heard another patron complaining about being defrauded by a scheme which seemed remarkably familiar.  In fact, I was more and more convinced that if I found the guy who ripped me off, I’d be led to my client’s guy, as well.  It seemed that everyone was getting the old bait and switch, lately.  The word on the street was that the man in question was a bigwig from overseas.  I knew exactly where bigwigs from overseas like to eat, so I tightened my tie and hightailed it over to one of the fanciest restaurants in town.  The Bentleys and Ferraris in the parking lot told me that I was in the right place.  Also, that I had made a lot of wrong decisions in life.  Blending in with my highfalutin counterparts at the bar, I talked about my thousand foot yacht, my rocket powered helicopter, and the media room in my mansion which only showed the movie Major League , on a continuous loop.  I couldn’t tell if they were laughing with me or at me, but I could definitely tell that I was in the right place.  Once seated, I scanned the room for a professional flim-flam man.  I assumed he’d be wearing rings on all his fingers, and maybe have a scepter of some kind.  I don’t know why I thought that.  Unfortunately, the other customers in the giant dining hall were as boring and unadorned as a Coldplay boxed set.  The waiter soon wheeled out a giant metal serving cart, however, full of wonderful cuts of beef to captivate my fevered mind.  I chose the largest one, and he served it on my plate next to mashed potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, and whipped horseradish, which I was assured was made out of real horses.  The beef melted in my mouth, and was complimented perfectly by the tartness of the horseradish and the richness of the bread.  It’s too bad my suspect wasn’t here, but my now eaten meal felt as good as having him cornered, on the business end of my partners, Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson.  When I was ready to head out, I realized that I had left my non-existent wallet in my non-existent car, and asked to take my leave out the front door before running like I was being chased by a pack of rabid piranhas.

Cheesesteak

This must be the human equivilent of having a female presenting to you in the animal kingdom.

This must be the human equivalent of having a female animal present herself to you during mating season.

In the evening, I looked for what I was convinced was our mutual perpetrator high and low, but mostly in the bottom of a fifth of Jim Beam.  After surveying seedy martini bars and even a scotch tasting in the wrong part of town, I needed to bribe my stomach into holding on to its contents by buying it a rich, greasy dinner.  The place on the corner offering “The Best Cheesesteak In Town” sounded like a winner, though recent history had taught me not to believe everything I read.  Especially in unsolicited e-mails.  After I ordered, I closed one eye, steadied myself against the wall, and noted the ingredients.  The sliced rib-eye had been shaved paper thin and quickly cooked on a flattop.  The onions were sweet and transparent and provided a nice counterpoint to the fattiness of the beef.  The key to the whole thing, though, was the fresh Amoroso roll, which made all the difference – though, the Cheese Whiz spread inside didn’t hurt, either.

The thought of being harassed by missed messages, and the clients who left them, at my office forced me to change plans and swing by my apartment for a nap and some bad coffee.  What I arrived to, instead, was an angry client with a stare that sobered me up faster than than getting stabbed by a junky in the alley behind a strip club.  “Did you get my fucking money?”, she asked in the same manner Bo Jackson used to hit waist-high fastballs.  I sat her down on the stoop and explained to her that she wasn’t the only one who had been taken for a ride recently.  My theory of who perpetrated the crimes was laid out, but I could tell she wasn’t looking for explanations; she wanted revenge.  Cold, unfeeling, bitchtastic revenge.  “YOU GAVE MY BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER TO SOME GUY YOU THOUGHT WAS A NIGERIAN PRINCE BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO GIVE MONEY TO YOU ONCE HE MADE IT OUT OF THE COUNTRY?!?!?!?  I THOUGHT YOU JUST STOLE THE MONEY, YOURSELF!!!  ARE YOU FUCKING RETARDED?!?!?  Clearly she didn’t understand the obvious upside to the plan as it was presented to me two weeks ago.  Oh, well.  I told her that her case was probably unsolvable, and that whoever it was on the profiting end of this scheme had probably absconded long ago with all the loot – both hers and mine.  While she was on the phone, consulting with the cops for a second opinion, I took my cue and leisurely sprinted down the street towards the park at breakneck speed.  As my mind raced about being duped so badly – by a prince, no less – I stopped dead in my tracks.  Instantly, all my problems seemed far away, and I saw the rest of my life flash before my eyes – replete with champagne wishes and caviar dreams.  From the instant I saw the sign stapled to the phone poll, I knew what my future held, and that that future was brilliant: I was going to work from home for upwards of two thousand bucks a week.  And I didn’t even need any experience.  As visions of the good life danced in my head, my exuberance was tempered by only one concern: I just hoped they allowed pearl-handled .57 magnums at the Four Seasons.

Hope you like your new throne, ASSHOLE!!!

Hope you like your new throne, ASSHOLE!!!

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Chris Brown sez: "Food Network was probably askin' for it."

If you happened to catch my previous internet aflame-setting Food Network post (you lucky bastard!), you may have thought to yourself, “If this handsome devil hates the channel so much, why does he continue to watch it?”  Well, to that I say: “None of your fucking business, cabron!”  But, if I were  to entertain such a nefarious and ignorant question, I’m sure I would search the scotch-sodden recesses of my desperate, blackened heart, and come up with the following.  I love food.  I love to cook it, I love to eat it, and I love to smother it on my naked, nubile body in a daily ritual to pacify the culinary Gods.  Cooking has become a passion of mine, even more dearly held than throwing pennies off of tall buildings to see if they’ll actually kill someone.  I cook almost every day, and make weekend meals an event.  Indeed, not counting the times I’m having furry sex, I am most happy when I put on some Paolo Conti, position my huge cutting board on the counter, sharpen my knives, begin to prepare a large meal, cook that meal, set the table, eat the meal, and then contemplate writing a long list of things I just did.  And when I’m not cooking, I am constantly reading cookbooks and cooking magazines, then derisively commenting about their recipes that “I wouldn’t have used that celeriac,” or “This recipe is stupid.  Needs more bacon.”  In conclusion: furry sex, no one likes celeriac, needs more bacon, lists are awesome.

It is with this passion for food and cooking, then, that I approached my last missive about Food Network.  FN remains, after all, the 800-pound stoup-making gorilla in the room when it comes to food programming; which is odd, because many of their shows seem to indicate that Food Network hates food.  For someone like me, who loves and respects ingredients, Sandra Lee’s inclusion in their line-up is an affront to cooking not seen since the last installment of 30 Minute Meals.  And that they insist on putting innumerable “I’m a cook, not a chef” hacks on the air is an affront to good taste, in the opinion of someone who thinks there’s a lot to be learned from real chefs.  And, yes, I did just use “affront” twice in a row, but whatever – did you see that “taste” pun?!?!  Nailed it.  But the fact is, for all their faults, I still like the Food Network.  It is about food, after all, and unless you randomly picked this sentence as a starting point for reading this post, you know that food happens to be something I love.  Unfortunately, though, FN is ruining this ostensibly perfect union by doing the T.V. equivalent of the stereotypical “dude move,” where a relationship is getting bad, but the guy doesn’t have the guts to dump the girl, so he becomes so distant, so non-caring, and so purposefully annoying that the other person is forced to do the breaking up.  But there are still glimmers of hope, though!  There are those moments when it is genuine, and heartfelt, and willing to give me a conciliatory hand job in the back seat of my car.  Naturally, this mostly happens when FN is drunk on cosmos, but I’ll take what I can get.  I don’t regret what I said to the Food Network, last week, and my grievances still stand; but I would be remiss if I didn’t likewise list what I still enjoy about the channel – the better culinary angels of its nature, if you will (and you will.)  So, here you go…

Iron Chef America

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I, for one, welcome our new pot-burning robot chef overlords.

This show has a lot of detractors, and the accusations and criticisms aimed at it may not be altogether undeserved.  However, I still love sitting down for an hour and watching great chefs do their thing*.  What a breath of fresh air to see chefs using cutting edge techniques like sous-vide, infusions, and not using pre-chopped vegetables.  Scientifically speaking, I could not care less about the arbitrary time limit, or the bullshit judging, or the fact that it’s about as much of a competition as a handsome contest in which I’m “competing”.  What I do care about is Morimoto making some heartbreakingly beautiful sushi rolls, or Batali being fucking awesome, or Bobby Flay being, you know, Bobby Flay.  The bottom line is that they make delicious, exotic dishes which look great on T.V., and isn’t that the whole motherfucking point behind this motherfucking channel?!?!?  Seriously, even Cat Cora’s food looks good, and she’s a lady chef!  Outrageous.

Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives

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Drive-In Guy sez: "What?!?! No, Pepsi is NOT alright - I ordered Coca Cola, dammit! Do you guys have them Baconators?"

Fuck and yes.  As a kid who would have run over a nun to get at a Moons Over My Hammy, I love this show.  As an adult who realizes that eating the food featured on Triple D makes you fat, and thus less likely to have a dame allow you to put your bad part in her hoo-ha, I hate watching this show.  It makes me “Robert Carlyle in Ravenous ” hungry, which isn’t a good thing to be when you’re trying to maintain a physique like mine, which looks like it’s been chiseled out of marble, iron, and my boners.  As torturous as watching DD&D may be, the food looks great, Guy Fieri comes off as at least somewhat tolerable, and it manages to feature salt-of-the-earth establishments without seeming cloying or sentimental.  From where I stand, it seems like a show dedicated to spotlighting the most glutinous, lipid-laden food this country has to offer.  It’s like a fat-fingered salute to our culinary heritage, and I’m okay with that.  As long as there’s bacon on it.

Good Eats

Why has this majestic dish not been covered, in detail, on Good Eats?  They could do skits of little colestoral models clogging cloth artery analogs.  Or skits involving your fat ass never getting laid.  You know, whichever.

Why has this majestic dish not been covered, in detail, on Good Eats? They could do skits with little cholesterol models clogging cloth artery analogs. Or skits involving a greasy, overweight guy never getting laid. Or maybe even skits of me not being able to come up with a funny caption for this picture.

Holy fucking shit, a cooking show that actually features advice, tips, and practical instruction.  Quelle novelle!  Good Eats does exactly what I want FN to do.  It tells me how to make dishes by highlighting techniques which are not only useful for making the dish at hand, but any range of other dishes that one may think up in the future.  Good Eats is like teaching a man to fish, whereas most other shows on FN simply give the man the fish, but after they do, they kick him in the nuts and run away, having grabbed his girlfriend’s boob on the way out the door.  I don’t know why they do that, either.  Anywho, while AB would be well served by disabusing himself of all the cutesy bullshit, he at least doesn’t dumb down his demonstrations for the audience.  Plus, I made his beef jerky once, and my house smelled like Jack Links for a week.  That’s a good thing.

Honorable Mention

Little known fact: after defeating her enemies, she rips out their defeat-laden hearts and uses them for a delightful ragut.  Another little known fact: check out the rack on this fuckin' broad, right here, eh?

Little known fact: after vanquishing her enemies, Giada rips out their defeat-addled hearts and uses them for a delightful ragu. Another little known fact: check out the rack on this fuckin' broad! Am I right? Eh? Eh?

Everyday Italian:  Ignoring for a moment Giada’s splendid rack and come hither stare, this show is pretty much the real 30 Minute Meals.  All of Giada’s dishes are simple, look great, and come with a side order of cleavage.  Plus, it gives me ample opportunity to say things like “I’ll grate your Parmesan cheese,” and “I’ll roll out your dough.”  ‘Cause I’m classy like that.

The Barefoot Contessa:  It’s hard to relate to Ina Garten sometimes, seeing as how she has celebrities over for dinner, owns a boat, and lives in a town where every single person is gay and owns a flower shop.  Her food looks really good, though, and the name of the show reminds me of how amazing Ava Gardner looked in that movie.  I’m pretty sure Frank Sinatra is going to punch me through the celestial aether just for saying that.

The Cooking Loft:  I love Alex Guarnaschelli and her enthusiasm for food and cooking.  I also like that she’s an actual chef who happens to use actual chefometrics while cooking, rather than frozen vegetables and store-bought dough.  I could do without the sycophantic mongoloid convention gathered around her, though.

Ellie Krieger

I hate you.

I hate you.

You know how you’ll piss off your girlfriend to the point that you’re pretty sure she’s going to break up with you, so you’ll call her up and grovel and beg until she takes you back?  And just when she’s relented, and you’re feeling happy, you say something stupid like “I mean, you can’t be too mad – you’re the one with the hot friend.  What did you think was going to happen when you went away for a week to go to your grandma’s funeral?”  Neither do I, but that’s pretty much what I’m going to do to the Food Network, right now, after having given it all the anterior praise.

Listen, Ellie, I get it that you’re a healthy eater, or whatever the fuck, but I hate you.  I hate everything about your lifestyle and your fake smile and your annoying voice.  If I was given a mandate that I could only eat “x” amount of calories per day, I would rather cut out an entire normal meal every day than have to eat three of yours.  Plus, I don’t fucking think it’s that healthy to begin with!  “Good fats” still make you fucking fat, genius!  If they didn’t, I’d eat a pound of fucking cashews every hour, on the hour.  I’d eat avocados like your mother solicits truckers.  When I went to a bar, my drink of choice would be a fucking Kettle One and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, on the rocks.  Is it so fucking hard to just make normal food, but eat it in moderation?  I mean, seriously, yours is the saddest show on television, and if I had to cook like you, I’d take up fucking stamp collecting, instead.  And I fucking hate stamps.

But worst of all, Ellie – the thing that makes me fucking scream at the T.V. every time I fucking see you – is your Botoxed-to-shit forehead.  I’m a good fifteen years younger than you, yet your taut visage makes me look like Methuselah, in comparison.  And by “Methuselah,” I, of course, mean “age appropriate.”  Where the fuck do you get off trying to portray this happy, healthy lifestyle, then go and inject botulism in your face?  Seriously, you look like fucking Sam Cassel.

In Conclusion To The Longest Post Ever

Baby, please take me back!  It meant nothing to me, I promise!  It's just that she was way hotter than you, that's all.

Baby, please take me back! It meant nothing to me, I promise! It's just that she was way hotter than you, that's all.

Baby, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean that last part, honest.  Oh, don’t be like this!  I need you, honey.  I only get so mad because I love you so much.  Let’s just watch Good Eats and relax a little bit.  Baby, I hate myself for what I did to you, and I promise it won’t happen again.  Unless you air another season of The Next Food Network Star.  Baby, where are you going?  Come back.

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I mean, come on; these are at least vaguely reminiscent of vaginas, right!?!? (Not pictured: equally obscene fries.)

Hey!  So here’s a fact to which your mother can no doubt attest: I love tactile eating.  Perhaps it’s some primordial impulse that’s satisfied by eating with my hands, thus triggering a vestigial memory of clubbing a woman over the head and dragging her back to my cave by her hair, which would thus have begun an animalistic mating ritual.  Or maybe it’s something else equally weird and misogynistic.  Who knows.  What I do know is that food eaten with my hands often tastes better to me, for some reason, than food eaten with a knife and fork; but that, admittedly, could be because I always have bacon grease on my fingers*.  Of course, I’m not alone in my affinity for this type of food – I mean, when was the last time you used utensils to eat a slice of pizza, a cheeseburger, or a bowl of soup?  And, come on, how fucking awesome is cracking crab legs open with your bare hands, forcing your meal to yield its meaty bounty?  Really awesome, that’s how.

Normally, I hate work in any form.  But having to exert a little energy while eating, I must confess, always seems to increase my satisfaction of any meal.  For example: I’ve never gone hunting before, but I imagine that the feeling one gets in taking down a ten point buck is remarkably similar to the feeling one gets when cracking open a lobster claw and getting that perfect claw-meat bite – you know, the one which leaves not even the faintest remnant of flesh behind?  And going to a baseball game, I’m sure, would be infinitely less fun without the necessary prestidigitation required of cracking open peanut shells at a clip of two pounds per inning.  Actually, that’s not true at all – baseball would still be awesome, because who doesn’t like to drink ten beers at $8.00 a piece on a nice Spring afternoon?  Seriously, I just did the math, and that’s, like, over $100.  I blame it on steroids.  And A-Rod.

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Baseball vendor sez: "Peanuts! Get ya peanuts, here! Limited time 1.9% APR financing on all peanuts, here! Alternate financing IS available, here! Peanuts! Ask about our Bud Light lay-a-way program, here!"

My favorite meal to eat with my hands is the unfortunately French-sounding moules frites.  You do need a fork to get the mussels out of the shells, but that’s a small price to pay for a dish whose deliciousness is matched only by its requisite manual labor and palpable sensuality.  Simple to make and delicious to eat, making moules frites is great as an appetizer or for dinner, but mostly for seducing that girl whose pants you’re trying to get into without the use of GHB or a fake police uniform.  Seriously, you make moule frites for a dame, and there’s no way you later don’t get her to pee on you while wearing a Jason Voorhees mask and a viking helmet, all the while singing the Russian national anthem in an unsettling falsetto.  Talk about a great night!  Here’s how to accomplish it…

For The Putting Of Stuff In The Pot:

Mussels
Russet Potatoes
Peanut Oil
Salt
Garlic
Parsley
Anchovies
Butter
White Wine

For The Making Ready Of To Put Food In The Tummy:

Buy about a pound of mussels from your local mussel monger.  They should all be closed, and try avoid those with questionable characteristics like chips, discoloration, or Aryan Nation tattoos.  Cook the mussels in some white wine until they open, then remove them to a separate bowl.  Keep the liquid in the pot, which is now infused with the bivalves’ liquor, and add some more wine…  Speaking of liquor, you’ve had a hard day – why not take the edge off with a nice, refreshing, bad-thought-removing Knob Creek Manhattan?  Just pour four ounces of smooth, delicious Knob Creek bourbon in a highball glass, over ice.  Add in some some sweet vermouth, a dash of bitters, and a maraschino cherry, and let a little taste of Bullitt County, Kentucky, take your worries away.  There, doesn’t that feel better?  Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon: America’s Native Spirit…  Anyway, on your cutting board chop up some garlic, parsley, and anchovies.  Sprinkle with salt and make a paste using the side of your knife.  Add the paste to the wine/liquor mixture and reduce, adding wine every so often and reducing further.  Divide up your mussels into separate Pier 1 moules frites serving bowls, and when your sauce is done, stir in a happy ending of butter and pour liberally over the moules.

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This post is brought to you by the makers of Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Knob Creek: "Because if you don't remember making out with that tranny, it didn't happen."

As for the fries, you can go the easy route and make the frozen variety, or you can, you know, sack the fuck up and fry your own, Rebecca.  Get out a cast iron Dutch oven, and pour in your peanut oil (unless you’re allergic to peanuts, in which case, that sucks.)  While bringing the oil up to a temperature of 320 degrees, julienne some russet potatoes on your potato cutty thing, and submerge in cold water.  Pat dry until all excess moisture is removed, hopefully by utilizing your Potato Drying ShamWow (“It’ll have you saying ‘Holy fucking shit’ every time!”)  Drop your fries in the oil and cook for a few minutes until they’re pale and pliable, like a Croatian gymnast whose success her parents are banking on so that they can become rich and famous and finally emigrate to the United States where they will open a car wash.  Remove to drain on a cooling rack inverted over paper towels or your special French Fry Oil-Draining ShamWow.  While those are cooling and draining, increase the temperature of the oil to 375.  Re-introduce the potatoes to the oil and cook until golden brown and mouth-scorching.  Seriously, try and resist the urge to bite into these fuckers right after they come out of the oil.  Sprinkle with a little Celtic sea salt and place in a cone of parchment paper cradled in a pint glass.  If you don’t have Celtic sea salt, feel free to substitute with salt cultivated from the Caspian sea.  Put the whole shebang together by pairing your mussels and sauce with a big piece of crunchy french bread and your cone o’ fries.

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If your fries are this pliable after the first frying, they're under-cooked. Sexy (and over 18 years of age, Wikipedia assures me), but under-cooked.

A little while ago, I overheard some dude talking about how he was being made out as “the bad guy” in some undisclosed scenario, and ended the conversation by saying that he wasn’t going to be their scape goat.  Only, instead of “scape goat,” he said “escape goat.”  I can’t remember a time when I’ve laughed harder at anything than I did upon hearing that simple, utterly ridiculous phrase.  I tell you this story because as awesome as this scenario was, moules frite is a good ten to twelve times even more awesome.  And, seriously, once again: moules frite is perhaps the best aphrodisiac in the history of “food that makes people want to bone.”  I mean, come on: there’s juices, and little vaginas, and eating with your hands, and me cooking it in my cowboy boots and nothing else.

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Escape Goat's plan looked a lot better when he was brainstorming it on his iPhone.

___________________
*Also: whore stink.

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I liked their old slogan better: "Because 'Fuck You;' That's Why!"

I don’t have “appointment TV” viewing, anymore.  Since dedicating myself to the life of a sexy Registered Scientist, registered scientisting equations and experiments for hours on end, I no longer have the energy or wherewithal to dedicate a few hours of my day to viewings of The Shield, Friday Night Lights, and That One Girl on The Hills With The Great Rack.  Instead, I prefer to wait until the DVD comes out, then devote myself to numerous weekend hours of season-long episode watching and red wine drinking.  When I do watch TV, it’s generally as a background accompaniment to whatever sultry activity I’m doing after work (mostly quietly weeping.)  The Golf Channel provides hours of entertainment as I listen while cooking, thinking all the while how I would give a month’s pay to punch Sergio Garcia in his douche hole.  ESPN, too, provides much distraction, as I pretend to like watching college basketball in February, when I really just want the football men to come back.  Mostly, though, Food Network provides the balance of my television viewery.  Ugh, Food Network.  You’d think that a network dedicated to food would have some of the best cooking shows on television.  You’d be wronger than a Sandra Lee dinner, though.  Top Chef, the best cooking show on TV is on the Rainbow and Unicorn Network, and America’s Test Kitchen is relegated to PBS, apparently at a time I’m clinically unable to remember.  The third best cooking show on TV is no longer on TV, as Julia Child is now making demi glace for the angels.

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Julia sez: "I once caught a fish THIS BIG! No seriously, I'm holding it, right now. See?"

Food Network started out promisingly enough, and I still watch it on a daily basis, like a crack fiend who knows what he’s doing is wrong, but still has to give hand jobs to elderly executives in bathroom stalls at Union Station in order to feed his addiction.  Or so I’ve been told.  But what was once a celebration of food has turned into a dastardly, ham-fisted attempt to sell us overpriced knives and the notion that all you need to make a good meal are pre-chopped ingredients, thirty minutes, and giving your dish a stupid-ass name.  Fuck that.  What makes cooking so special, and what will serve to be the thesis of this post, is time to experiment, a passion for matching great ingredients, and a desire to make delicious fare at the cost of your free time, calories, and occasionally giving someone the salmonella.  Those of us who love food know the passion involved in cooking.  We therefore are unmistaken when we encounter the constant bullshittery and mediocrity of Food Network.  Like an average Bengals off-season, Food Network seems to endeavour to disappoint.  What follows is a list of the cavalcade of terribleness that the Food Network seems dedicated to cramming down our throats.  So excuse me as I hitch up my angst pants and delve into this “stoup” of nonsense…

Interchangeable Home Chefs

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This motherfucker made the decision to put those fucking hoops in his ears. Do you think I'm going to trust him for ONE SECOND when it comes to matters of taste?!?! The answer is "no," in case you were wondering.

You know, it’s funny; whenever I turn on Playing Tips From the Pros on the Golf Channel, the golfer giving the lesson is never my friend, Pete, who has a 22 handicap and once threw a 3-wood further than the length of my drive.  Instead, it’s usually a tour pro who knows how to hit a plugged ball out of a greenside bunker, among other difficult feats.  This, of course, makes sense, because the tour pro knows infinitely more about golf than Pete does, and thus can teach me things to improve my game, all based upon his vast, tour-tested knowledge and groupie banging.  Somehow this concept is lost on the Food Network.  I’m not saying that every show on the network has to be hosted by Thomas Keller, Fergus Henderson, and the guy who invented the Baconator, but let’s at least get some semblance of tried-and-true cooking talent in there.  Don’t show me how to “make boring chicken breasts into exotic, family-friendly meals;” instead, show me tricks to make the crust on my fried chicken thick and crispy.  Don’t show me how to make a quick and easy soup; instead, show me how to make restaurant-quality stock or broth.  Don’t “show me to the door” after I’ve had too much to drink and have begun hitting on girls by asking them to show me their boobs; instead, you know, show me your boobs.  Until Food Network gets the memo that the “cook next door” bullshit isn’t helping anyone, I fear we’re going to keep getting dumbed-down food, prepared by cooks who learned everything they know by reading cookbooks written by their next door neighbors.  And, seriously, just show me your boobs and I’ll go away.

Rachel Ray

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I call my reaction to this picture "uncomvomeurystic," because I feel so uncomfortable that I simultaneously vomit and have an aneurysm. Seriously, she looks about as natural in this picture as a girl in my basement who's not tied up. And alive.

The matriarch of the INARCAIPOIM (that’s “I’m not a real chef, and I’m proud of it movement”), Ray-Ray has gone from being a source of my infinite and brutal rage to a mere annoyance, as the public backlash against her has picked up the slack in recent years.  Now, I’ll be honest with you, while I’m not one of those knuckle-dragging fuckwits who think Ray is cute and adorable, I do think she’d probably be moderately sufferable (which I just made up, by the by) once she slithered out of the obvious and oppressive patina of TV fakery she dons for the public.  In fact, I wouldn’t even be averse to grabbing a drink with her and eventually, after several scotches, thinking to myself “You know, TCP, she’s not so bad, after all.  Maybe we should ask her to show us her boobs*.”

My problem with Rachel Ray isn’t even with Rachel Ray, herself.  Rather it’s with the cooking show format she inspired which has become so ubiquitous.  She laid out the groundwork for this landscape of culinary mediocrity, and has instilled in her devotees not the inspiration to love, respect, and experiment with food, but rather a spirit of “It really doesn’t matter how shitty this food is – I’ll feel great knowing that at least it’s not McDonald’s.”  Way to aspire to greatness.

A few notes about the host, herself, though.  As a person who, because of his overwhelming senses of humor and charm would need only himself to stay entertained on a desert island, I, too, am not averse to the ol’ self-inspired chuckle (and run-on sentence.)  Giving yourself an obvious courtesy laugh, however, is never acceptable.  Likewise, using catch-phrases-that-aren’t-really-catch-phrases over and over again are similarly frowned upon by those unaffected by Asperger’s syndrome.  And, finally, one generally uses acronyms and catch phrases for the purpose of brevity, because their meanings are familiar to those they are being conveyed to, thus negating the necessity of having to use the whole phrase or series of words.  One would never say, for example, “I’m going to the ATM – the Automated Teller Machine,” because that would be fucking retarded, of course.  I guess what I’m getting at is this: SAYING FUCKING “EVOO” IS ANNOYING ENOUGH ON IT’S FUCKING OWN – SAYING “EVOO: EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL” IS NOT ONLY ANNOYING BUT SUPERFLUOUS, AND UNNECESSARY, AND CAPRICIOUS, AND ARBITRARY.  SEE HOW ANNOYING THAT WAS?!?!  OH, AND WHILE I’M FUCKING AT IT, “STOUP” SOUNDS ABOUT AS APPETIZING AS I’M SURE IT TASTES.  In closing, please knock it off.

Speaking Of Knock It Off, Knock It Off With The Fucking Cake Nonsense

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This cake should win every cake award ever.

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you are no doubt aware that my love of boobs is inversely proportional to my love of sweets.  For those of you who aren’t perfectly bronzed Registered Scientists, that means that I hate sweets.  As such, I’m terribly put off by the plethora of cake shows on a cooking channel.  Baking (what you do with a cake), after all, is much different than cooking (what you do with stuff that actually tastes good.)  If it was just Ace of Cakes, I wouldn’t mind.  But, instead, we have about trelve brillion cake competition shows on, as well, each more boring than the last.  Does anyone really give a shit?  I really could not care less who can make the best Mickey Mouse, Bart Simpson, or Emelia Earhart, or whatever, out of flour and icing.  It’s more sculpting** than anything (except boring), and, frankly…  What was I talking about?  Something about boobs?  Oh, right: cake.  I hate cake.  Knock it off with the fucking cake.

Sandra Fucking Lee

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Katherine sez: "The secret is to drink a lot, then buy all the stuff that you cook. They even have pre-chopped vegetables!"

Is there anything to be said about Sandra Lee which hasn’t already been covered in the Book of Revelations?  I mean, seriously, dudes.  Seriously.

Do you have an older, successful husband who caters to your every whim?  Do you enjoy spending numerous hours and hundreds of dollars remodeling your kitchen to match the theme of your meals?  Do those meals suck?  Do you want to have your own cooking show, but don’t want to do things like “cooking” or “having a soul”?  Are you made of robot parts and Zoloft?  If you answered “yes” to the preceding questions, then you, too, can have your own Sandra Lee show on Food Network.

If she didn’t like booze so much, or have such a great rack, I’d almost not watch this show every time it comes on.  Seriously, though, she’s the worst thing ever.

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*If you’re at all curious as to why I refer to myself in the first person plural, the story goes like this: I have no fucking clue.  We need help.
**Seriously, these cakes cannot taste good.  It’s all I-beams and construction paper and fondit.  What the fuck is fondit, by the way?  I’m almost positive that it’s a mix of Silly Putty and Play-Dough.  In other words, I bet it’s delicious!

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Without one of these, your early morning vodka drinking goes from "socially acceptable" to "we need to have a talk" in a hurry.

Sometimes the best of things are also the simplest of things.  Sometimes the ornate, indulgent, and festooned disappoint because their hauteur is uncalled-for and overbearing.  The simplicity of certain things, rather than being a hindrance to their enjoyment, becomes the very predication for that thing’s beauty.  Modesty and humility are not only attributes I don’t possess, but are also keys to some of the best things in life – and most of the time they serve to mask what is, in a thing’s very nature, a complex and wondrous soul.  Golf, in it’s conception, is a beautifully simple game: hit little ball into little hole.  When attempted, however, one quickly realizes that what was ostensibly, at least, a simple concept belies the true nature of the game as a gut-wrenching, agonizing, frustrating, and infinitely infuriating medium, designed solely to facilitate the hurtling of expensive clubs at innocent trees.  Likewise, a good cigar seems on its face to be a mere cylinder of dried leaves.  Light one up, however, and the smoker experiences flavors like chocolate, resin, berries, and entitlement.

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I like to light cigars with my smoldering gaze. Or matches. Matches work, too.

The culinary equivalent of the above examples, I think, has to be the humble egg.  Scrambled, fried, over-easy, or sunny side up, eggs are as easy to make as your sister is to get in the sack (hint: tell her she has pretty eyes.)  Even the dumbest of chefs knows to heat the pan, throw in some butter, crack in some eggs, then cook until the desired firmness is reached.  But if you’ve ever eaten Rachel Ray’s cooking, you know that even the simplest of dishes can end up tasting decidedly like evil.  Rubbery, runny, or over-cooked eggs are unfortunately not as rare as they should be, given the inherent simplicity of the dish.  Not to mention the fact that people continue to forbid the egg to speak for itself; rather, they load it with onions and meat and cheese and all manner of egg-spotlight-stealing accoutrement.  Eggs, by themselves, are delicious.  And, while certain additions heighten this deliciousness, it’s as easy to go overboard on this as it is for yours truly to go overboard at a scotch tasting.  Take the omelet (please!): what should be a simple meal can easily turn into a breakfast calzone, with eggs serving as an ersatz crust, playing second-fiddle to its obnoxious cohabitants.  The true omelet is a celebration of the egg.  It is a simple meal made with care and respect for its ingredients.  Actually, forget about all that “simplicity” bullshit I wrote back there, because really good omelets are fucking time consuming and difficult to make correctly.  To wit:

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Rachel sez: "What's an omelet? Oh, you mean a 'breakfast calzone'? Oh, yeah, I make a great one that's really healthful because it has four kinds of cheeses and three kinds of sausage. I cook it in a pot with a bunch of other shit, because that's how I cook everything! I'm rich."

Support The Economy And Buy This Stuff:

Eggs (if you use substitute I will punch you through the internet)
Butter
Chives, or some other herb
Cheese
Salt
Pepper

Support Your Tummy By Cooking This Stuff:

You’re going to need to pre-heat your pan over low heat for, say, ten minutes.  This should provide ample time to make a bloody Mary and/or masturbate five times.  Crack three eggs and scramble them in your Tiffany’s diamond egg-scrambling bowl with some salt and pepper.  When your pan is heated, crank it up to medium-high, throw in a pat of butter, and toss in the eggs.  Things are going to get pretty fucking real, right here, so try and keep up.  Scramble your eggs in the pan for about thirty seconds or so.  Let your omelet cook until it’s just a little bit runny on top, then immediately remove from heat.  I’m not kidding when I say that you have about a twenty-second window to do this, or else your omelet will suck harder than Transformers.  Throw on your toppings and let sit for another half a minute, off the heat.  I’ll let you decide how to turn out your omelet, whether folded-over, french style, or in a tetrahedon.  I like to pair my omelet with potatoes fried with bit of chorizo.  In terms of toppings, remember that less is more.  I prefer a little gruyere cheese and an herb of some sort.

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Jack Bauer needs you to shut up and concentrate during the fast-paced omelet preparation. Don't worry, he'll talk you through it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve left off some important steps that make my own omelets better than having sex with Salma Hayak while the ghost of Otis Redding sings you a song.  Experiment a little, though, and I’m sure you’ll figure out your own recipe to serve to that chick with low self-esteem you brought home last night.  On to more important stuff: omelet/cocktail pairing can be dicey, as a Bloody Mary is generally too strong for the delicate dish, and a scotch on the rocks at ten in the morning will cause your mom to give you disapproving looks.  I prefer a Salty Dog, stirred with fresh ice and grapefruit juice in a shaker.  Make your omelet right, pair it with a perfectly poured drink, and your morning will be better than those when you were a kid and you woke up to a snow day.  Though an eight hour Nintendo playing session is still highly encouraged (the Metroid dude was a chick?!?!?  All that work for some kind of NOW propaganda?!?!?  Oh, fuck that – where’s Tecmo Bowl?)*.

Nice rack, tough guy.

Nice rack, tough guy.

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*Spoiler alert if you still haven’t beaten Metroid yet.  The dude’s a chick.