"So then, just when the midget starts to pinch my nipples, I'm goint to need you to start slapping me in the face and call me 'Dr. Goebels.'    Don't ask why, just do it."

"So then, just when the midget starts to pinch my nipples, I'm going to need you to repeatedly slap my face as hard as you can, all the while saying 'Take it, Dr. Goebbels!' Don't ask why, just do it."

We’ve all been there before*: you’re doing everything right in a relationship, yet not getting the physical appreciation you feel you deserve.  You’ve bought her flowers, taken her to fancy restaurants, repressed the urge to kill her annoying fucking Pomeranian, and even went all-out on Valentine’s Day.  But your subtle, yet overbearing, advances have all been halted, well short of anything resembling knockin’ dem boots.  “Why?!?!,” you wonder, your heart filled with frustration, “Hast thine vagina forsaken me?!?!”  I hate to break it to you, but the reason you’re not gettin’ any is because you’re going about it ass-backwards, and not in the sexy way.  You’re not putting in the real work that all girls’ vaginas seem to appreciate.  You’re simply checking off the requirements from the Gettin’ Some Handbook, one chapter at a time, with no passion or enthusiasm.  Either that, or your girlfriend is allergic to fuckin’ ugly.  But, even if that were the case, a sure-fire way to ingratiate yourself to her bad place is to show her you are truly enamored of her, through no less than the ancient and sacred art of cookenometry.  Cheferate a truly delicious, sensual meal and, in no time, you’ll be in bed with your girl giving her a new reason to never want to have sex with you.  You sexy, disgusting animal.

I don't care if you're dating Helen of fucking Troy, and she's allergic to not giving blowjobs - if she has one of these un-Godly fucks you run the other way.  YOU'RE A TINY DOG, YOU PIECE OF SHIT!  FUCKING ACT LIKE IT!

I don't care if you're dating Helen of Troy and she's allergic to not giving blow jobs - if she has one of these un-Godly fucks, you run the other way. YOU'RE A TINY DOG, YOU PIECE OF SHIT! STOP ACTING LIKE SUCH A DICK!

Food, by its very nature is sensual.  Thirty seconds ago, I didn’t know food even had a nature, but I wrote it, so it must be true.  When you think about it, though, food just kind of is sexy.  So much of what’s on the Food Network is referred to as “food porn,” certain foods require the licking of fingers, many dishes are thought to be aphrodisiacal, bacon makes one orgasm pure energy, and zucchinis and my wang share similar dimensions.  So food and sex just kind of go hand-in-hand (job.)  The best way to parlay this food/sex symbiosis is, of course, to cook for your lady.  Not only does this give you a chance to wear your “No Bitchin’ in my Kitchen” apron, but it also gives you an opportunity to provide for your better half in a deeply personal and butter-laden way.  And it couldn’t be simpler!  Put on that rare 1956 recording of Sinatra singing to Ava Gardner at the Copa, to set the mood.  Pop open that bottle of 1985 Chateau Le Fete and toast to passion.  Spoon feed each other bites of beluga caviar while whispering sweet nothings to one another in Russian.  Then, just when the seduction reaches a crescendo, fire up some pans and whip up a gourmet meal with the fury and precision of a ‘roided-up tiger chasing down a gazelle covered in chicken grease.  If this shit doesn’t get you laid, you might as well turn in your junk.  The following are some dishes that are absolutely guaranteed to get you some lovin’.**

Seared Scallops With Micro-Green Salad

This isn't a picture of the dish I made.  I tried to take one, but the glare from God's celestial and eternal love bouncing off of it ruined the picture.  That tends to happen with all my dishes.

This isn't a picture of the dish I made. I tried to take one, but the glare from God's celestial and eternal love bouncing off of it ruined the picture. That tends to happen with all photographs of my dishes.

Scallops are pretty fucking rad, not least of which because you can cook them fairly rare, and rare stuff is the jam.  But, writing more to the thesis of this post, scallops with micro-green salad is not only light, pretty, and delicious, but also makes you look like a professional chef who totally won’t give anyone a bacterial infection by under cooking seafood – and isn’t that the ultimate turn-on?  This recipe is a perfect starter to your meal, and couldn’t be easier (unless, of course, it was your mother.)  Sear your scallops over medium heat in butter and oil.  While those are cooking, whip up a vinaigrette with rice wine vinegar, chili oil, Sriracha, olive oil, salt, pepper, freshly grated ginger, and meyer lemon zest and juice.  Here’s where you put in the panty-droppin’ magic: make your dish look all profesh-like by making a little puddle of the dressing on the plate, then smearing it across like they do on Top Chef.  Place two scallops on either side, and a tiny micro-green salad in the middle, flourishing with a drizzle of vinaigrette.  Simple yet elegant, the ol’ ball and chain will think you went to no shortage of trouble to please her palate, which will instantly make her wonder what ecstasy-making lengths you’ll go to in order to please her vulva.

Oyster And Absinthe Dome

The last time I drank absinthe I woke up six days later in a Oaxacan prison.

The last time I drank absinthe I woke up six days later in a Oaxacan prison. Call me, Juan!

N’awlins immediately conjures images of exotic, sexy days and sultry, languid nights (also, people stealing television sets and George Bush not caring about it because of its indigenous black people population.)  It’s no surprise, then, that this dish hails from the Crescent City.  Oysters have always been considered the culinary aphrodisiac, but when you pair them with absinthe, bacon, and puff pastry, they’re sure to make even the most demure of women act like “the slutty one” on the Rock of Love Bus.  Actually, that’s probably bullshit, but whatever; this dish is delicious.  Sweat shallots and garlic in butter, add in the absinthe and some cream.  Toss in oysters, tarragon, bacon, and artichokes, and let simmer.  Top with a round of puff pastry***, and your significant other will feel even sexier than she does while fantasizing about Ryan Gosling wooing her in canoe made out of Manolo Blahniks.

Fettuccine Alfredo

You're eating it wrong.

Pasta - you're eating it wrong.

“But, The Chef’s Prerogative, fettuccine Alfredo isn’t sexy.  It’s just an ordinary ol’ pasta dish!”  Oh, that may be true, but I think you’d feel differently if you knew the story behind the dish’s romantic beginnings.  You see, the classic dish was invented in 1915, by chef and restaurant owner Alfredo Mozzetti.  That year, Alfredo was headed off to The Great War, to fight against those damned Austro-Hungarian land-grabbin’ bastards, even if it meant leaving his new fiancee.  The night before he shipped out, he promised his dear, sweet Gianetta one final, romantic night together.  He racked his brain for the most romantic meal he could muster, but war rationing tied his brilliant culinary hands.  At dinner, he explained to his love that though he didn’t have many ingredients at his disposal, he put the same passion that he had for her into the dish he was about to serve.  He then got down on one knee and proposed, knowing it may be his last chance to do so.  She said “yes,” of course, and his dish was as delicious as anything she had ever eaten.  She never forgot its simplicity and wonderful aroma.  She didn’t forget about Alfredo, either, even when he failed to write or return home for months, then years, after his departure.  In an effort to assuage her heartbreak, Gianetta moved away, vowing never to return to the place that reminded her so much of her beloved Alfie.  Nearly a decade after the Great War had ended, Gianetta returned to her hometown to attend the funeral of her grandmother.  On her first night back, after being seated at a dinner table in the same restaurant Alfredo used to own and work in so many years earlier, a silver platter was placed in front of her.  Before she had an opportunity to inform the waiter that she hadn’t yet ordered, the aroma of the dish instantly transported her back to that night, fourteen years earlier, when Alfredo had proposed to her and they had shared this same meal.  Gianetta ran to the kitchen and threw her arms around her long lost love who, shocked to see her enter his restaurant, knew of only one thing to do – cook a dish he hadn’t prepared in more than a decade.  He had returned in 1918, and didn’t know where to find his precious Gia, even after searching all over the countryside.  But here they were, together once again.  And soon after, they were finally man and wife.  This simple dish stands as a tribute to their abiding love.

...And they all lived happily ever after.  Except for Germany, of course, whose post-bellum socio/politico/economic climate never improved, eventually plunging it into ruin, then, finally caused fertile ground for Hitler's rise to power and another crushing defeat at the hands of the Allies.  I guess that means the Jews didn't fare to well in this story, either.

"...And they all lived happily ever after. Except for Germany, of course, whose post-bellum socio/politico/economic climate never improved, eventually plunging it into ruin, then, finally, creating fertile ground for Hitler's rise to power and another crushing defeat at the hands of the Allies. I guess that means the Jews didn't fare too well in this story, either. Oh, well, at least these two idiots are in love."

See, you probably feel like an ass for not thinking this dish was romantic or seductive.  You’ll probably feel like even more of an ass when I tell you that I just made all that shit up.  But don’t be mad, baby!  Just do like I did and spin a romantic yarn to your lady, and tell her that your love will someday be the stuff of epic love stories on retarded, misogynistic food blogs.  It will make any dinner romantic, and will be sure to get you some play.  And don’t worry if you’re not good at making up stories – chicks will fall for anything!****  This particular meal actually is pretty sexy, though.  All you’ve got to do is slice a stick of butter into pats and place them on a serving dish.  Put the fettuccine on top with a little pasta water, add on a bunch of Parmesan, and  toss in seductive, circular (or heart-shaped, you sappy bastard) motions, and you’re done.  Thanks, fake Alfredo!  So there you have it – a humble guide to the facilitation of culinary-aided coitus.  There are few things more romantic than a thoughtfully prepared dinner, and you’re too lazy to do any of them, anyway, so just stick to the kitchen, Casanova.

___________________
*Totally never been there before.
**I don’t not refuse to not guarantee it.
***If you’re not a fan of cooking shitty food for your girlfriend, maybe go here to get the actual recipe.  Half the fun of cooking it is drinking most of the absinthe by yourself, then deciding whether or not to add in those pink elephants running about your kitchen.
****I’m just kidding, chicks; everyone knows you’re smarter than us.*****
*****See, they totally just bought that.

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THAT'S the Chicago Way!

Sean Con sez: "If he comes at you with thin crust, you make yours as thick as possible; if he puts his cheese on top of the sauce, you put your sauce on top of the cheese; if he uses bacon as a topping..., well, you go ahead and use bacon, too, because it's delicious - THAT'S the Chicago Way!"

In the interest of full disclosure, I would like to start this entry off with a disclaimer: in the great New York v. Chicago pizza war, I stand firmly on the side of my Big Apple brethren (and not just because I like getting hand-jobs from trannies while riding the subway.)  It’s not that I don’t like Chicago-style pizza – quite the contrary, actually – it’s just that a thin, foldable crust seems to better fit my culinary predilections, for whatever reason, than the deep dish variety.  But, really, who cares which style anyone prefers?  Any competition between two styles of pizza is more an academic exercise than anything, after all; a battle not between culinary styles, but rather of the geographic pride from which those styles sprang.  Chicagoans like Chicago-style because they’re proud of their town and how the deep-dish has come to symbolize it.  New Yorkers like New York-style because “What?  We gots’ta explain ourselves to you, you fuckin’ mutt?  I think fuckin’ not, paisan.”  But, much like a murder-suicide pact between the Octo Mom and Bernie Madoff, the great pizza battle is win-win.  It’s like having to choose to snort coke off the ass of either Marisa Miller or Brooklyn Decker – I mean, either way, you get to snort coke.

I would, no joke, stab a puppy if it meant getting an opportunity to make out with Marisa Miller.

No joke, I would stab a puppy if it meant getting an opportunity to make out with Marisa Miller.

My predilection for thin, New York style pizza notwithstanding, I have a much richer history with its hefty, mid-western counterpart.  Having grown up in a land of intolerable humidity and the constant fear of cow-hurtling tornadoes, I often made trips to the Windy City with family and, later, my best friend, Pete.  A Cubs game, listening to blues, and taking three bottles of wine to that one Italian restaurant that didn’t card and had no corkage fee always seemed to soothe the 17-year-old soul.  But it was all prelude to a huge-ass dinner at Gino’s East, where one slice seemed to do the job that six normal-sized dinners used to.  Chicago holds a special place in my heart, and even though I decided not to go to Registered Scientist school there, I always reminisce about staying at the Palmer House Hilton and walking down the Miracle Mile, or napping next to the lake in front of the Shedd Aquarium, or mugging that Northwestern student so I’d have enough money for my next eightball.  The fact is, Chicago makes me happy, as do loads of cheese, meat, sauce and a rich, flaky, butter-infused crust.  Unfortunately, in order to make Chicago style pizza in your very own home, you’re not only going to have to get a special deep dish pan, but you’re also going to have to make dough, which, as previously discussed on this blog, makes going to the moon look like a fucking walk in the park.

Stuff That Goes In The Food You’re Making

All those dough ingredients, which I will describe shortly
Cheese
Sauce ingredients, which I will describe shortly
More cheese
Toppings

"I've got something else you can make by hand, if you know what I mean.  I mean breadsticks, of course.  I mean, if you've already got the pizza dough, it should be pretty easy for you."

As opposed to those new-fangled pizzas, which are all made by robots. Nice gams, though.

Make The Good Kind Of Pie

I ain’t goin’ over the dough procedure, because I don’t feel like giving myself bread baking flashbacks for the next two hours, but suffice it to say that this particular dough involves yeast, water, oil, flour, corn meal, salt, and frustration.  It’s also going to need an ass-load of time to rest, because God forbid it has to get up off its ass and fucking do something, for a change.  Once you’ve got your dough all set up, the rest is pretty simple (which is pretty much like saying “Once you get the whole Israel/Palestine thing figured out, the road to peace in the Middle East is pretty simple.”)  Place your dough in the pan and press down on the bottom and at least an inch up on the sides.  At some point, a Chicago area chef got the mind-blowing notion of putting cheese on the bottom of the pizza, and the sauce on top.  I’m assuming this was some Freudian protest to his wife’s insistence that they always have sex in the missionary position.  Good for him – the missionary position is, like, the Godfather III of positions (in both cases you’re constantly asking yourself “What is Andy Garcia doing here?”).  In any event, slap a layer of cheese down on the crust – I like fresh mozzarella and sliced provolone.

Next, start in on the sauce.  I like scotch, but pick out whichever spirit manages to pick yours up (holy shit did that sound awesome; I should have been an ad man.)  In terms of the sauce for the pizza, sweat some onions and garlic in a pot.  Add in tomato sauce and some tomato paste.  Throw in dried oregano, basil, and a bay leaf.  Salt and pepper that bad boy to taste, and simmer for an hour.  Boom!  Pizza sauce.  Pour your sauce on top of the cheese, add any toppings you want (bacon), and finish with a blizzard of finely grated Parm.  Put the pizza in an oven pre-heated to 450 degrees and cook until the crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Hope you don’t have anything planned for the next two days, because this pizza is definitely going to give you a monstrous case of The Bloat.

Telling the pizza delivery girl that I guaranteed my delivery in thirty seconds or less did not have the desired effect.

Telling the pizza delivery girl that I guaranteed my delivery in thirty seconds or less did not have the desired effect.

Patton sez: "You're going to back to the kitchen, boy.  You may get burned, you may cut yourself, but you're going back to the fighting.  Either that, or I'll stand you up in front of a firing squad."  Jeez, all the guy did was make a tofu salad.

Patton wants to puke his fucking guts out whenever you eat tofu.

Now, I want you to remember that no poor bastard ever made a dish great by “putting love in it.”  He made the dish great by putting bacon in it.  Men, all this stuff you’ve heard about America not having its own cuisine, not having good food, is a load of horse dung.  Americans traditionally love good food.  All REAL Americans love the sting of a hot pan.  We have the finest food and culinary techniques, the most passion, and the best chefs in the world.  You know, by God, I actually pity those poor bastards that have to eat foreign food every day.  By God, I do.  We don’t just cook animals in this country, we cut out their living guts and and use them to grease our cast iron skillets.  Now there’s another thing I want you to remember.  I don’t want to hear any messages that we’re cooking things like crepes or paella.  Let the socialists do that.  We’re making steak and potatoes and we’re not interested in fusion cuisine.  Our food’s going to grab the diner by the nose, then when he takes his first bite, it’s going to kick him in the ass.  It’s going to kick the hell out him, and when he’s done with that, we may even cook him a goose.  There’s one thing American chefs will be able to say when they get back home.  And they may thank God for it.  Thirty years from now when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks what kind of food you cooked, you won’t have to say “Well, I cooked pasta at the Olive Garden.”  Alright now, you sons of bitches, you know how I feel.  Oh, and I’ll be proud to lead you wonderful people on the line – anytime, anywhere.  As long as you’re not making sushi.  That’s all.

I don’t know about you, but I’m fucking fired up.  I’m ready to run head-first through a brick wall and cook the shit out of something.  Something with meat and carbs and butter.  Something that my grandma would have referred to as “stick to your ribs.”  Now that I think about it, I’m ready to eat some fucking ribs.  America may not have the culinary cache of France, Spain, or Italy, but those places don’t have In-and-Out Burger, so it’s a bit of a wash.  Defining “American cuisine” is kind of tough, considering it has been shaped, much like the country herself, through immigration and its attendant assimilation of cultures, most of which revolve around stealing jobs and my wallet.  So who’s to say what’s truly American?  Me, that’s who.  I’ve lived in this country for nigh on 28 years, and I think I know a thing or two about stuff we’re good at cooking.  So join me, won’t you, as we take a tour of culinary patriotism.  This shit may not be what Escoffier cooked up, or what Epicurean had in mind, or even what the guy who invented rice might deem as worthy but, dammit, this here’s America, and if there’s one thing we do well, it’s rock ‘n roll.  We also do food pretty good, which, I guess, is where I meant to go with the last part of that sentence.

Cheeseburgers

Padma obviously hasn't had much practice eating cheeseburgers.  Said another way, "Eating Cheeseburgers: Ur Doin It Rong."

I honestly don't know which one I'd rather have in my mouth.

One could make the argument that hamburgers were really a product of Hamburg, Germany, but there’s no place in Deutchland called “Cheeseburg,” so we’ll focus on that incarnation of the inveterate classic (never thought to put cheese on it, did ya, Jerry!).  Perhaps the quintessential American food, cheeseburgers are as liable to be found in upscale restaurants as they are in greasy spoons.  Gussied up or dressed down, cheeseburgers offer a delicious meal, and also a way to make bad feelings go away by eating three of them in one sitting.  Holy shit, do I want a cheeseburger right now.  There are myriad ways to make a cheeseburger, but I would like to impart you with a few general rules: (1) after putting the patty on the grill, don’t press down on it; (2) for God’s sake, don’t over-cook the fucking thing; (3) melt the cheese on the meat while it’s still on the grill; and (4) while the bun is important, don’t let it play the leading role – and for Christ’s sake, don’t use one with a thick crust.  There are a lot of people who don’t like mayonnaise on their burgers, but they also rooted against the U.S. hockey team in 1980, so fuck them.

If you don’t really feel like cooking one yourself, I’m pretty sure that if you look hard enough, you may be able to find an establishment which serves them up at an affordable price.  The aforementioned In-and-Out seems to be the consensus winner of the “best burger” award, and I can’t really disagree with that sentiment.  I would like to say, however, that the best single cheeseburger I’ve ever had was at Fatburger, and that, even though I’ve had it only once, The Baconator from Wendy’s continues to haunt my dreams, in a seemingly relentless attempt to make me fat.  You should take my recommendations with a huge grain of salt though, because I’ve literally never had a cheeseburger that I didn’t like.  They’re kind of like boobs, that way.

Macaroni and Cheese

If this really is a "macaroni," I'm instantly suspicious about this Yankee Doodle chap, and the things he's sticking in his cap.

If this really is a "macaroni," I'm instantly suspicious about this Yankee Doodle chap, and the things he's sticking in his cap. And other places.

This dish couldn’t be more American if it was made from pieces of the constitution and tiny Abraham Lincolns.  Growing up, Mac & Cheese Night all over this great land wasn’t just an evening when mommies couldn’t handle it anymore and wanted something simple for dinner so she could enjoy her six glasses of Chardonnay.  It was also a night when kids would rediscover their ability to projectile vomit streams of neon yellow sick after eating three pounds of cheese-covered noodles.  I think I just heard heard a bald eagle cry from excessive pride.  There are lots of ways to make this wonderful dish, and many restaurants pride themselves on rich, decadent interpretations of the classic.  My Persian friend, Ali, and I are in agreement, however, in our assessment that the best mac and cheese remains the tried and true blue box version from Kraft.  Sure, we may have had a dalliance with the “shells” variety, which favored a packet of creamy cheese product over the cheese cocaine packaged in the original.  But we always returned.  The only other interpretation I’ve found that comes close to matching the original in downright deliciousness is the dish I made with Gruyere cheese and black truffles.  I made it a year and half ago, and I’m still full.  In closing, I’d like to do something that I often feature on this blog: make sweeping, ill-informed generalizations about people, based solely on their very subjective, and often widely held, opinions.  Having said that, the people that bake their macaroni and cheese with breadcrumbs on top called me the other day and told me that, while watching The Neverending Story, they cheered when Artax died in the Swamp of Despair.  What a bunch of assholes.

Chicken-Fried Steak

Nice steak.  Call me when you've breaded it, fried it, and smothered it with gravy.  You can go ahead and replace them flowers with biscuits, while you're at it.

Nice steak. Call me when you've breaded it, fried it, and smothered it in gravy. You can go ahead and replace them flowers with biscuits, while you're at it.

Guy No. 1: “So, we’re going to get a steak, right?  Then we’re going to bread it and deep fry it!”
Guy No. 2: “That sound’s a little rich, doesn’t it?”
Guy No. 1: “I haven’t even told you about the gravy, yet!”
Guy No. 2: “You have really pretty eyes.”

I remember the first time I ever had chicken fried steak.  It was on vacation, sometime around 1988, and I was wearing an Indiana Jones hat without the slightest hint of irony or embarrassment.  Needless to say, the dish was so good that I demanded that all of our meals be eaten at that same restaurant so I could re-live the delicious dish over and over again.  I also liked that the cute waitress called me “darlin’.”  Now, all these years later, I make chicken fried steak about once a month, and that cute waitress and I are married.  Just kidding, she probably died of a meth overdose.  Anyway, while the breading and the tenderizing of the steak are, of course, important, the accompanying white gravy, to me, always serves as the highlight of the meal.  The key is to make a roux with the steak fry drippings, then adding the cream and lots of salt and pepper.  Some effeminate people who like Sex and the City think you should only use white pepper, but, as I previously implied with those homophobic stereotypes, those people are probably homosexuals.  Also, if you think this dish comes dangerously close to being German weiner schnitzel, I want to garrote you with an American flag.

Meatloaf

Obviously, I was thinking about posting a picture of "Bat Out of Hell" singer, Meat Loaf, here.  Instead, here's Lucy Pinder, for no reason at all.

Obviously, I was thinking about posting a picture of "Bat Out of Hell" singer, Meat Loaf, in this space. Instead, here's Lucy Pinder, for no reason at all.

Here, again, we see an American classic which has been embraced by every strata of our socio-economic make-up.  From upscale eateries, to me having to scrape together a meal after spending the last of my paycheck on scotch, meatloaf is truly a dish that all Americans love.  Except for vegetarians, I guess, but they aren’t really Americans.  Now that I think about it, I’ve never seen a vegetarian at the same time, or in the same place, as a minion of Satan.  Coincidence?  Probably.  Anywho, it’s a loaf of fucking meat, which should tell every real MMA-loving, red-blooded American all they need to know.  The only thing better than meatloaf smothered in ketchup is a meatloaf sandwich in my tummy.

So, as you can see, the American culinary landscape is as varied and sundry as her populace.  You know, if her populace was made up of different kinds of meat.  Because the indiginous cuisine of the United States is so vast, I was forced to leave off any number of other meals, from hotdogs to barbecue to frito pie, which have also served to make this the Greatest Country Ever (especially since we got that whole race relations thing figured out.)  So go grab some lunch, and remember that our forefathers brought forth onto this continent the dream of a more perfect union, a union which most likely pairs beef and bacon together in a lesson in harmony we can all take to heart.

These colors don't run.  Unless there's a spider around, in which case, get the fuck out of our way!

These colors don't run. Unless there's a spider around, in which case, get the fuck out of our way!

I'm going to sue the South for intentional infliction of deliciousness.  Then I'm going to subpoena all their fried chicken.

I'm going to sue the South for intentional infliction of deliciousness. Then I'm going to subpoena all their fried chicken. For me to eat.

If there’s one thing I have in common with the Oraon tribe of western Bengal, it’s that I love a good ol’ human sacrifice to mark the beginning of the Festival of Sarhul.  If there are two things I have in common with the Oraon, it’s a good ol’ human sacrifice, and the love of a post-ritual meal of fried chicken.  This is somewhat odd for me, though, because I typically try to avoid chicken in the meals I cook, and will almost always opt for duck or goose if I’m in the mood for fowl.  I was going to write the last part of that sentence as “…if I’m in a fowl mood” but, luckily for you, I’m feeling generous today.  In any event, the shining exception to this general poultry rule has always been fried chicken.  Indeed, fried chicken is one of my most favorite meals ever, and would almost certainly play at least a small role in any death-row meal I’d have to put together after they found all those hooker parts in my basement.  In fact, fried chicken satisfies several criteria which any great food must have: (1) deep fried; (2) involves eating with your hands; (3) is often served in a bucket; (4) can be just as good, if not better, the next day, straight from the fridge; (4) actually, that “bucket” requirement didn’t make much sense at all, back there – feel free to ignore that one; and (5)  after eating, one is able to look at the mangled carcass of his consumed chicken and pretend that the bones strewn about the table are actually those of a tiny, yet formidable, vanquished foe, dispatched on some ancient and hallowed battlefield, the name of which will no doubt echo through all of time, as will the legend of your valiant heroism.

a

Oh, sure, he looks cute now. But just wait until the salmonella he's carrying around turns your guts into mush and makes your eyeballs melt.

Unfortunately, getting to this pinnacle of skin-, fat-, and oil-based deliciousness is a time-consuming endeavour, filled with perilous culinary balancing acts and the omnipresent threat of dastardly salmonella.  Salmonella, which sounds like the name of a hot Latina chick who would cut you if you forgot to pay her wireless bill like you promised to, is the world’s most insidious enterobacteria.  Let’s see what the Centers for Disease Control has to say about it:  Once infected, the skin of the unfortunate ingestor begins to crawl and itch, much like that of a junkie coming down from his high last weekend while trying to mellow out by watching golf.  Shortly thereafter, the person becomes gripped with stomach cramps, resulting in vomiting and doo-doo butt.  The worst is yet to come, though, and salmonella’s final salvo occurs when the victim’s organs begin to liquefy, his eyeballs fall out of his head, and his genitals spontaneously combust.  It’s a real motherfucker, in other words.  Yikes; sounds serious.  And, if you listen to anybody on TV discussing raw chicken, you’d think that any errant drop of poultry juice, any contact with the carcass, or even the slightest bit of under-cooking will subject one to the above-described horrors of the poultry-based menace.  I don’t know about all that, but I do know that I don’t want my junk to explode, nor my eyeballs to fall out, so I like to marinate my chicken in bleach before breaking it down, all in a portable Haz-Mat lab I got at a government auction.  While you don’t have to take the precautions I do, it is best to practice common sense when butchering a chicken and subsequently cooking the shit out of it.  I’m not going to re-hash stuff you’ve already no-doubt heard, but suffice it to say that cross-contamination, much like a Spike Lee movie about race relations, is a bad thing.  Use plastic cutting boards, throw away your imported chef’s knife after using, and always wash your hands in boiling water.  If all else fails, avoid contracting salmonella by committing seppuku after your meal, thereby avoiding a nasty case of mud-butt, while simultaneously honoring your family name.

Get:

Fryer Chicken
Buttermilk
Smoked paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder
AP flour
Crisco, vegetable oil, or whatever
Frank’s Red Hot
Clover Honey

Do:

a

"Are you not entertained?!?!" No.

Breaking down your own chicken is pretty easy, and makes you feel like a real, honest-to-goodness chef.  However, it’s pretty difficult to describe, in words, how to do this, so I’ll let Ming Tsai take over.  Once you’ve gone all Green River Killer on your chicken, place the pieces in a gallon-sized zip-top bag and pour in the buttermilk.  This is a dicey step, because at some point you’re going to think to yourself, “Hey, I like milk.  I also like butter.  Maybe I should drink some of this buttermilk.”  I want to caution you to avoid this temptation, but the only way to learn, unfortunately, is the hard way, just like I did.  Place the bag in a dish of some kind, and stash it in your fridge, overnight.

Alright, here’s the deal.  Making fried chicken is not easy.  You’ve got to get the temperature of the oil right, you’ve got to play a tight-rope act by cooking it through, but not so much that you burn the crust, and you’ve got to make sure you flour the meat precisely, or else all that delicious brown crust is going to fall off the chicken.  And that’s not even taking into account that even a successful frying will leave your kitchen covered in a thick miasma of grease.   If you want to cut your losses right here, I’ll completely understand.  Albertson’s has surprisingly great fried chicken, perhaps the best I’ve ever had, so feel free to take this opportunity to drive over there and get you an eight-piece and some potato wedges.  If, however, you feel the need to finish what you started, let’s get to cooking…

a

Trying to maintain proper oil temperature makes trying to keep a bus at 50 mph seem like an acting job by Keanu Reeves, in comparison. By that, I'm implying that Keanu Reeves is simple. Simple like a fox.

Pour the contents of the bag into a colander to drain.  Season liberally with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.  In a cast iron skillet (much like with making a proper roux, or hitting a cartoon character in the face with, cast iron is the only pan fit for the job), fill with enough shortening or vegetable oil to come about an inch up the side of the pan.  Bring the oil up to 360 degrees, and don’t be a smartass like me and simply wave an empty pan around in a circle and tell everyone you’ve done it.  Coat the chicken with the flour, shake off the excess, and place in the oil.  Here’s where shit gets tricky: you’ve got to somehow maintain the same heat throughout cooking, but I have no idea how to do this.  My oil generally jumps up to 385 for a minute or two after I’ve dropped in the chicken, then backs down to 320 or so.  I’ll crank the heat a little, and will be baffled at how the temperature continues to drop.  Thinking I’ve encountered some anomaly in the physical  and quantum makeup of my very own kitchen, I’ll call NASA, only to later discover that my deep fry thermometer accidentally got nudged out of the oil.  Cook until golden brown, then flip.  I forgot to mention this, but always have a splatter guard covering the pan.  This won’t keep anything clean, but at least feel like you’re doing something proactive.  Remove the chicken to a rack (no, not the sexy kind) and let sit for longer than you’d think.  I like to eat mine by applying honey and Frank’s Red Hot to every bite, then waiting a couple of hours to see if my insides start to melt.

I'm including this picture of Diora because writing about fried chicken reminded me of the Fuzzy Zoeller/Tiger Woods imbroglio at the '97 masters.  Diora, here, has a golf club in her hand.  See, it all makes sense.

I'm including this picture of Diora because writing about fried chicken reminded me of the Fuzzy Zoeller/Tiger Woods imbroglio at the '97 Masters. Diora, here, has a golf club in her hand. See, it all makes sense.

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!!!

a

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

a

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

a

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.

a

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.

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*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.

______________________
*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.

cigar

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.

Smokey The Kitchen Bear also hates it when people go over-board with the cilantro.

Smokey The Kitchen Bear also hates it when you go over-board with the cilantro.

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.

Oh, please, Van Der Meer; everyone knows that entropy flux through a null hypersurface (with everywhere non-positive focusing parameter of Omega) is bounded by A/4, where A is the area of a spacelike cross-section of the null hypersurface (or "light-sheet")!!!  Call me when you figure out why Sandra Lee has a cooking show, then I'll be impressed.

Oh, please, Van Der Meer; everyone knows that entropy flux through a null hypersurface (with everywhere non-positive focusing parameter of Omega) is bounded by A/4, where A is the area of a spacelike cross-section of the null hypersurface (or "light-sheet")!!! Call me when you figure out why Sandra Lee has a cooking show, then I'll be impressed.

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

"...So I says to him, I says, "that hooker was dismembered when I got here.  But about that other thing, yeah, quit it with the fuckin' sauce."

"...So I says to him, I says, "that hooker was already dismembered when I got here. But about that other thing, yeah, quit it with the fuckin' 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

Sure, you can ignore my advice, but are seriously going to question Bob Schwartz's judgement?  Not if you know what's good for you, that's why.

Sure, you can ignore my advice, but are you seriously going to question Bob Schwartz's judgement? Not if you know what's good for you, homeboy.

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

Unfortunately, the addition of sexy mermaids to a martini is similarly frowned upon.

Unfortunately, the addition of sexy mermaids to a martini is similarly frowned upon.

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.

Had this steak been cooked just thirty seconds less, it would have been perfect.

Had this steak been cooked just thirty seconds less, it would have been perfect.

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!

See, if her tie fell six inches lower, I'd never even have started fantasizing about her hitting my genitals with that book while trying yelling at me in German.

See, if her tie fell six inches lower, I'd never have even begun fantasizing about her hitting my genitals with that book while yelling at me in German.