The Stath likes his fish & chips with a healthy dose of malt vinegar and smoldering gaze.  P.S.  You're welcome, ladies (and The Chef's Prerogative's penis.)

The Stath likes his fish & chips with a healthy dose of malt vinegar and smoldering gaze. P.S. You're welcome, ladies (and The Chef's Prerogative's penis.)

When I was a wee lad I, like everyone else on the planet, read the book Angela’s Ashes. For those few among you who haven’t read it (or seen the movie I forgot that I saw, until just now), it tells the story of Angela, a secret agent in MI-6, and follows her through Europe as she exacts revenge for her murdered partner, one bad guy at a time, until she’s finally able to scatter her fallen comrade’s ashes in his hometown of Ankara.  At least that’s what I wish the book was about, because the actual novel was more depressing than an average Cincinnati Bengals season.  A well written book, it nonetheless made me feel sad every time I picked it up – perhaps so sad that I will one day write a harrowing memoir about me reading it, which will no doubt surpass the original in out-and-out depressing subject matter.  One thing the book definitely had going for it, though – aside for Frank McCourt’s writing – was his description of the hunger he and his siblings endured, as well as the attendant joy and sensory overload which accompanied the  occasional sussing-out of a real meal.  In particular, he glowingly describes how he would occasionally have the pleasure of fish & chips, that most iconic of British pub food.  And, man, does that motherfucker make fish & chips sound good.  Listen to this part, after our tiny, hungry, kleptomaniacal hero steals fish & chips from some courageous, passed-out drunk: “[I] thank the drunken man in my mind for drowning the fish and chips in vinegar and smothering them in salt and then I remember that if I die tonight I’m in a state of sin for stealing and I could go straight to hell stuffed with fish and chips but it’s Saturday and the priests [all right, that’s enough]…”  See, aren’t you craving some fish & chips, right now?  And commas?  I don’t know if I’d had fish & chips until I read this book, and I am eternally grateful to it for making the dish sound too irresistible not to try.  In other words, I guess I’m saying that Frank McCourt’s terrible, impoverished childhood was probably worth it.  I’m just glad he could pull himself up by the bootstraps and build enough wealth to finally buy the Los Angeles Dodgers.

I'm including this picture of Sohpie Howard because she comes from the land of fish & chips.  I'm also including it because I think it serves as a reminder of how disgusting the fur industry is.  The sexy, sexy fur industry.

I'm including this picture of Sophie Howard because, well, you ladies got The Stath, up there. I'm also including it because I think it serves as a reminder of how disgusting the fur industry is. The sexy, sexy fur industry.

I was recently looking at a map (of the world, no less) and discovered that true fish & chips are located very far away from me.  The British pubs around my neighborhood make delicious versions, sure, but it’s just not the same unless your meal is interrupted by some Man U fan hitting you in the face because he takes your blue jeans as a sign that you’re a Chelsea supporter.  I think those are soccer teams – did I do that right?  Good fish & chips, though, does not require a first-class ticket on a Virgin Airlines flight, a stay at the Savoy, or thinking Eddie Izzard is funny.  No, fish & chips can be made right in your very own home, after you’ve drunk eight pints of Guinness and four shots of Bushmill’s.  So let’s get to it, mate, an’ cook some chips, yeah?

Stuff To Put In Your Lorrie

Oil
Cod pieces (or, “cod fillets,” if you don’t want to be hilarious about it)
Flour
Spices
Potatoes
Other stuff I’ll list once I think you’re ready to read it

Fish

Fresh Fish!  Fresh Fish!  Fresh Fish!
Fresh Fish! Fresh Fish! Fresh Fish!
Cod has been the go-to fish for this meal ever since they signed an exclusivity contract with the dish in 1924.  I’m glad they did, because cod is a perfect counter-part to the richness of the batter and chips.  It’s light and flavourful, and more flaky than me when I promise that I’ll totally go see that play with you.  But the cod is only one part of what makes this meal great.  Like most things that are awesome, the best part comes from the batter.  In our case, the batter is made from flour, baking soda, salt, pepper, and glorious, wonderful beer.  Dredge the fish in the flour, dip in the batter, then gently submerge in a pot full of oil (heated to 160 degrees, Celsius.)  remove to drain while you’re finishing your chips and thinking how maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if the English had won the Revolutionary War, after all.  Sorry, General Washington!

Chips

Not pictured: jokes that aren't unfunny and obvious.  Also not pictured: not using double negatives.

Not pictured: jokes that aren't unfunny and obvious. Also not pictured: not using double negatives.

Oh, french fries, your temperamental nature reminds me of a woman.  Or a cat.  Or of a half-woman-half-cat vindictive beast, that I would still probably have sex with, even though I knew what I was getting myself into.  Why you seem to burn at a temperature just five degrees higher than that at which you’d cook perfectly vexes even the most patient of chefs.  That you are so delicious makes us forgive (and devour) you.  The bottom line is this: I could write a long instruction manual about how to make great fries from scratch, but I just don’t think it would do you any good.  Much like making a ten-foot putt to save par or staging a political or military coup in a country hostile to America’s pecuniary interests, making fries is much more about feel than academics.  For our purposes, cut your fries thicker than you think you should, fry them once at a low temperature, then let them rest while you fry your cod.  Cook them once more at a high temperature, remove to drain, and sprinkle with salt.
Heny Kissinger sez: "Coup?  What coup?  I have no idea what you're talking about.  Those chips sound good, though."

Heny Kissinger sez: "Coup? What coup? I have no idea what you're talking about. Those chips sound good, though."

Our Harrowing Conclusion
I would tell you to serve your fish & chips on a newspaper, in the traditional fashion, but because those don’t exist anymore, I guess you’ll have to serve it on your laptop while you display the online version of your favorite daily.  And, like the young Frank McCourt would say: “Oy, mate – serve ya fish & chips wit a noice helpin’ ‘a salt and mawlt vinega’.”  I like a side of tartar sauce, as well, but that’s mostly because I’m a fan of Eurasian ethnic groups.  However you serve your fish & chips, enjoy.  Then punch anyone in the face who dares to say that British cuisine is gross.  Unless they’re talking about haggis, in which case they may or may not be wrong.
New sous-chef, Ella Chairman Meow Who Dey, sez: "All your pants are belong to me.  Did I hear someone mention fish?"

New sous-chef, Ella Chairman Meow Who Dey, sez: "All your pants are belong to me. Did I hear someone mention fish?"

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"Whoa, whoa, whoa...  Before you get all blame-y about the job market you're entering, let me tell you about the Hope distilleries and Change factories we plan on staffing in the coming months to fulfill my campaign promises."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa... Before you get all blame-y about the job market you're entering, let me tell you about the Hope distilleries and Change factories we plan on staffing in the coming months to fulfill my campaign promises."

Class of 2009: Congratulations on your graduation day!  You’ve worked hard for this moment, and you’ve earned it.  I can only imagine your excitement, as I look out upon your smiling, hopeful faces.  Actually, I can’t really imagine it, because you idiots seem to be happy about the fact that you’re leaving a situation where your schedule revolves around Wasted Wednesday and going snowboarding.  Are you guys fucking for real?!?!  You should be applying to grad school, right now, in hopes of extending your four-year, post-high school vacation.  Seriously, all the girls here are under 25, and will probably have sex with you if you give them coke!  They don’t do that in the real world – you have to buy them expensive jewelery for that!  And, trust me, when you get an actual job you’re not going to be able to wake up on a Tuesday with a hangover and just decide, “Oh, well, I can probably just stay home this morning.”  Unless you get a Union job, of course.  Seriously, what the fuck are you smiling about?!?!

But fear not, morons, because you’re about to get smacked dead in the junk with the cruel whiffle ball bat of reality.  They say that graduation is not an “end,” but a “beginning.”  Well they’re wrong, because it is most assuredly a fucking end.  An end to fun; an end to finals being the biggest worry of your life; and an end to drinking on a week night for fun, rather than for the purpose of forgetting, even if just for a moment, that you’ve become the man of “quiet desperation” described by Thoreau.  And you pathetic bastards have it doubly as bad – you’re entering one of the worst job markets since every time I’ve ever tried to get a job, and the economic landscape is just plain rough, in general.  The lucky among you will have a nice reprieve from the real world while getting drunk and pretending to be disappointed about being unemployed.  However, there are some of you out there who, for whatever reason, actually applied yourselves for the last four, glorious years, and will unfortunately land some generic office job at a non-descript corporation with a name like “Lexonix” or “Invectco” or “Invectronix.”  I just hope you like hearing “Only x more days ’til Friday” at least ten times every day of the week until Friday mercifully arrives, at which point they’ll invariably say “Ugh, at least it’s Friday.”  Do you know why they say these things?  Because they’re assholes, of course, but also because, unlike the inspirational quote above the entrance to Dachau, work is most assuredly NOT freedom.  It’s, like, the exact fucking opposite of that.  And for those of you thinking “That won’t be me – I’ll get a job that I love,” I’ve got news for you: no one is advertising an opening for “Lap Dance Recipient,” and you’ll never see a Want Ad reading “Full Time Scotch-Taster and Belligerent Wall-Puncher Needed.”  Trust me, I’ve looked.
 
Regardless of your individual circumstance, it’s a tough economy out there.  You’re going to have to scrimp and save and maybe even buy blended whisky.  You’re going to have to hawk your stuff and sell your plasma just to make rent.  You’re going to have to roll tourists on the boardwalk just so you can fix before the hallucinations start.  It’s going to be tough, and I don’t envy you one bit.  I know it sounds depressing, but I would like to leave you on a happy note, as I do have some good news: I’ve banged, like, four co-eds this weekend, and I’m proud to report that The Chef’s Prerogative’s stiiiiiilllll got it!  Anyway, I’m out, suckas; chuch.

In an interview I recently conducted with world-renowned economist, Milton Friedman, for this blog post, he concluded that “We’re all fucked!!!  Run for your lives!!!”  This is in marked contrast, however, to the informal poll I took of the ten other people working in my Registered Science lab, all ten of whom reported that they were currently gainfully employed.  Whoever is right, I thank God that registered scientisting and obscene blogging are recession-proof industries.  What’s not recession-proof, though, is making expensive meals in your home.  So say goodbye to your suckling pig.  So long to your pate de foie gras.  Don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out, eating five steaks in one sitting.  But, while wallets may be a little light, right now, there’s no excuse for resting on your laurels and making bland fare solely for the purpose of saving money.  Indeed, there are numerous meals, humble in their prices, yet delicious in their execution, that can serve to help you ride out this economic down-turn in style.  The following are some of the meals I’ve come to turn to when my side-business as a gigolo slows down, which is never.

Red Beans And Rice

As this photo indicates, red beans and rice can be made for a mere nine dollars per serving.  Red beans and rice is gooooood.

As this photo indicates, red beans and rice can be made for a mere nine dollars per serving. Red beans and rice is gooooood.

Red beans and rice pairs up two of the most common – and cheapest – staples the world has to offer (not so fast, Africa.)  But, like most humble foods, when made with care and attention, RB&R is absolutely delicious.  Plus, it’s got a ham hock in it, so you know it’s good.  Not only that, but this delicious dish is actually, dare I say: good for you!  Beans are high in fiber and protein, and rice is…  well, rice is what sake is made out of, so it’s good for making bad feelings go away.  While simple to make, RB&R is, however, a time-consuming endeavor, taking up to three hours to cook.  But, again, you’re probably sitting at home all day, anyway, so why not cook while you’re playing Worlds of Warcraft and listening to your fourth hour in a row of Sportscenter?  Saute onion, bell pepper, and celery in a cast iron pot.  Add in the ham hock and some minced garlic.  Sort the beans and remove any pebbles, then add to the pot, along with enough water to cover everything by a couple of inches.  In terms of seasonings, I always add a bay leaf, Cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, a little cumin, and red pepper flakes; but in these dire times, feel free to throw in whatever you may have in your pantry, as well as grass, dust, and kitty litter.  Simmer for two to three hours then remove the lid and let the liquid reduce to the desired consistency.  Pour over a bed of rice and enjoy with a cross-cultural tortilla.  P.S.  This meal is seriously, like, eight bucks to make, and will keep you fed at least until your dignity wears down and you finally pawn that watch your grandpa gave you.  P.P.S.  Wow, that last sentence was way more sad than funny.  Sorry.

Pasta – Imagine That!

See?  That shit's cheap.  Plus, it pairs my two favorite things: pasta and shame.

See? That shit's cheap. Plus, it pairs my two favorite things: pasta and shame.

Making pasta is about as cheap & easy as the sorority girl at the frat party who’s doing kegs stands, and who will, later in the evening, let you film whatever dirty thing you want to talk her into.  But, then again, you already know this because (a) you’ve made pasta before, and (b) it is your sister we’re talking about, here.  You can get a pound of pasta for a buck, and you don’t need much else besides oil, seasoning, and maybe some veg to make it taste great.  For an easy dinner that won’t hurt your wallet, simply saute vegetables and garlic in oil.  Add pasta and toss.  Please be aware, though, I invented this recipe, and have copyrighted it under the name TCP’s Lotsa Pasta Madness (beat ya to it, T.G.I. Fridays!).  So if you make this thing, please understand that you will owe me royalties, and I will exact my recompense by expropriating the hopes and dreams or your children.  Or you can just send me a check – whichever.

Ramen

Dave, does this ramen taste like crazy fucking broad, to you?

Does this ramen taste like straight-to-video, to you?

Continuing with the carb theme that I’m just now noticing, is perhaps the most awesome meal ever devised by hungry, fourth-century Chinese college students.  Ramen is chinese, right?  Anywho, grocery store Ramen, on its own, isn’t exactly haute cuisine – it’s freeze-dried noodles with packets of MSG cocaine for flavoring, for Christ’s sake.  What the fuck ever, though, because Ramen is cheap, comforting, delicious, and cheap, and if you eat enough of it, I’m pretty sure you’ll probably get scurvy, which will make you sound like you’re a pirate.  And, while Ramen may not be the most stylish of fare, who’s to say you can’t dress it up on your own?  Boil that shit in some store-bought stock to add flavor; add some chicken you grilled on your George Foreman right before snorting that Ativan; forego the Ramen altogether, tell your mom and dad you need money for books, then spend that money on an enchilada dinner at The Blue Iguana and three forties of Old English.  It’s all good!  I have fond, fond memory of late night Ramen dinners, and though pleasuring the entire Spirit Squad sapped me of the strength needed to add any non-packeted accoutrement to the dish, your own Ramen adventures are limited only by your imagination and the contents of the food isle at your local gas station.  Get some nachos while you’re there, you deserve it!

Well, there you have it: a woefully inadequate guide to eating on the cheap.  I apologize that I didn’t have more recipes for you, but I’m pretty busy, right now, lighting fifty-dollar cigars with conflagrant hundred-dollar bills.  Hopefully, though, this humble guide has inspired you to understand that even the most pedestrian of foods can be delicious, so long as the cook is willing to take his time to impart as much flavor as possible to it, and also to ignore anything and everything that Rachel Ray says.  I generally try to add extra flavor with fresh black truffles and saffron, but garlic powder works, too, if that’s all you’ve got in your mobile home.  In conclusion, college is awesome, “red beans” sounds like it should be offensive to both Native Americans and Latinos, I still eat Ramen once a week, paying for pasta at a restaurant is stupid, and Britney Murphy’s career is not going as well as planned.

Did I include this picture of Christina Hendricks because I mentioned "saffron" back there, and she used to play a character named "Saffron;" or did I refrence saffron back there just so I could include this picture of Christina Hendricks for you lucky readers?  It's a question as old as time, my friend.

Did I include this picture of Christina Hendricks because I mentioned "saffron" back there, and she used to play a character named "Saffron;" or did I refrence saffron back there just so I could include this picture of Christina Hendricks for you lucky readers? It's a question as old as time, my friend. Perhaps we'll never know.

"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.

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!

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

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.

a

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

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

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

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

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

Support The Economy And Buy This Stuff:

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

Support Your Tummy By Cooking This Stuff:

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

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

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

Nice rack, tough guy.

Nice rack, tough guy.

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

*Unless you’re a Bengals fan, in which case, there’s not.

This was bound to happen when the Hindenburg switched from a 3-4 to a Cover Two.

This was bound to happen when the Hindenburg switched from a 3-4 to a Cover Two.

Remember when you were a kid and August rolled around, and you knew that Summer was almost over?  So you’d try to enjoy the remaining free days of vacation, but you’d still have a little sadness over the fact that you’d soon be returning to school?  So your dad would take out that rubber hose from his dresser drawer and beat you with it to really give you something to cry about?  And then your mom would console you by saying something like “You really shouldn’t test your father like that, he already thinks the wrong son died in that river”?  Yeah, that’s kind of how I feel every year at this time when my beloved NFL is only two weeks away from leaving me for another interminable hiatus.

I love the NFL, and the off-season always marks a desolate, lonely, depressing time in my year.  No more excuses to start drinking at 9:00 a.m.  No more being able to let off steam by throwing remote controls and punching holes in walls and innocent bystanders.  No more having to curl up in the fetal position, crying myself to sleep after another Bengals loss.  Ah, how I’ll miss it…   But, much like that fifth grader who tries to squeeze as much enjoyment as possible out of those last weeks of summer, we still have the Super Bowl to look forward to.  As everyone expected at the beginning of this season, Super Bowl XLII will feature the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Cheating Cocksuckers Who Also Probably Don’t Believe The Holocaust Happened.

"Can you believe this is my life? Will you pity me when you're back in your funky New York apartment and I'm still in Shittsburgh? I need to get more glamorous films."  I couldn't have said it any better.  Unless I was I said it while my mouth was buried between your boobs.  Then it would have been better.

Sienna, matron saint of Pittsburgh hate, sez: "Can you believe this is my life? Will you pity me when you're back in your funky New York apartment and I'm still in Shittsburgh? I need to get more glamorous films." I couldn't have said it any better. Unless I said it while my mouth was buried between your boobs. Then it would have been better.

Like most right-thinking Americans, I hate Pittsburgh with a raging intensity that makes even my boners jealous.  This, of course, is going to mean that watching the Super Bowl will be insufferable, especially since I’m pretty sure the Steelers will be adding another ring to their collection.  They can put it right next to the one they got in ’05 after insidiously taking an ACL-crushing cheap shot against Carson Palmer in the wild card game.  I’m picking the Steelers to win this game, mostly because I looked in-depth at the stats surrounding both competitors and discovered that the other team in the game is fucking Arizona.

There's really no point to this picture, other than the fact that it was inexplicably present in a Google Image search for "Kurt Warner."  You're welcome, readers' penises.

There's really no point to this picture, other than the fact that it was inexplicably present in a Google Image search for "Kurt Warner." You're welcome, readers' penises.

Pittsburgh’s inevitable collection on some pact it made with Satan notwithstanding, the Super Bowl, regardless of the teams involved, offers an opportunity for one last Sunday of gluttonous snack food consumption and wonderful booze drinking.  Whether you’re at home, alone, making the commute to Black-Out Island, or at a friend’s house, trying your hardest to ensure that you get every ounce’s worth of free hootch, the Super Bowl truly is a great booze holiday.  But it’s not just about the sauce, my friends!  No, there are numerous fatty snacks to wolf down, as well.  Because, let’s face it – when else are you going to make pigs in a blanket?  If you said “every Tuesday evening before Gossip Girl,” you’re my kind of person.  And a homo.  What follows is a humble list of some of the spirits, snacks, and other accoutrement that will be sure to make any Super Bowl party a success.

Potato Skins

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There's something almost subliminally sexual about this picture, right? No? Just me?

I don’t know what brilliant son of a bitch invented these things, but I hope he’s now somewhere in heaven, punching Robert Atkins in the face.  When I was a little kid, I held T.G.I.Fridays in the same esteem  I currently hold such restaurants as The French Laundry, merely because I considered potato skins to be the height of the culinary arts.  Oh, sure, is the combination of carbs, cheese, bacon, and sour cream a bit gouche, in reality?  Aren’t potato skins merely bar food?  Yeah, they are, but they still rule your face, so shove it.

Margaritas

That's either a tiny hot chick, or an enormous margarita.  Either way, I'm horny.

Gulliver wasn't long at the bar before he found Lilliput's town hussy.

Most booze has a built-in deterrent in the form of the treacherous and insidious hangover.  Margaritas, the nefarious bastards, also like to mix in their own special kind of evil in the form of wicked, unrelenting heart burn.  And they’re fucking worth it!  No superbowl party is complete without a giant pitcher of margaritas (tequila, triple sec, and lime juice), ice, and salt.  Not only will margaritas get you so fucked up that the mere sight of Hines Ward no longer makes you want to fire bomb that Vietnamese Soul Food restaurant down the street, but, in addition, the dames will flock to them like the salmon of Capistrano.  They’ll probably get so drunk that you can save your roofies for next weekend!

Nachos

If I were the head of Peta and wanted to woo people to vegetarianism, I would simply use as a slogan “Vegetarianism: You Can Still Eat Nachos!”  Boom!  Everyone’s a vegetarian.  Nachos (or, as I like to call them, “Mexican Bruschetta”) were invented by some dude with the eerily similar-sounding name “Ignacio,” in 1947.  Some white guy was going to invent them first, but Ignacio did it for half the price.  While there are many ways to make nachos using myriad cheeses and sauces, I like my nachos simply with a demure drowning of cheese product – you can save the real cheese for your viewing party when Milk comes out on DVD, Liberace.  For our purposes, drown the chips in fake cheese, top with jalapenos, and then, all of a sudden think to yourself: “Holy Fucking Shit…  What if we made these nachos with…  Doritos?!?!?!?”  No need to thank me when you win the Nobel Prize.

Not Jagermeister

Are you going to trust a booze with a crucifix on it?  Plus, that deer looks down-right shady.

Are you going to trust a booze with a crucifix on it? Plus, that deer looks down-right shady.

its_a_trap2

Seriously, it's a trap.

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I have drunk about everything known to man, in my time: absinthe, mescal, actual moonshine, the blood of my vanquished enemies, sweat from a Japanese girl’s underwear that I bought on-line…  But nothing has offended my palate quite like the unholy union of anise and ass funk that is Jagermeister.  I honestly don’t get it when a guy brings a bottle of this swill to a party and expects everyone to be grateful.  “Oh, thanks, Jared (they always have the worst names), good to see you brought the Jagermeister!  And I was worried that we were all out of emetics!  What?  What’s that?  I can’t hear you when I have my foot on your throat.”  Seriously, is there any reason to like a person who likes the Jag?  I’m not going to say something derivative like “You know who else likes Jagermeister?  Nazis!”  But, seriously, people who like Jagermeister probably want to kill Jews and burn their corpses in ovens.  Then lose a war because of bad strategic decisions made in Berlin, rather than allowing those decisions to be made close to the front lines.  In other words, they’re a lot like Nazis.

Miscellaneous

Another great excuse to brave the douchebag menagerie that occupies most Super Bowl parties is the myriad dips that most assuredly await you.  Hummus, french onion, salsa, and hummus are all delicious additions to any party buffet.  As are those little cocktail franks one sets afloat in a sea of smoky barbecue sauce.  Finally, if you don’t have one of them big ass sandwiches from the deli at your Super Bowl party, it’s a known fact your favorite team will go at least four games under .500 next season.  Way to go for the last 18 seasons, Bengals fans!  Finally (Part II), I have omitted Buffalo wings from this list, because their inclusion in it should be self evident.  If you don’t have Buffalo wings at your house this Sunday, you should immediately kill yourself.  Do us all a favor and take a Steelers fan out with you.  Or five.

I hope you're taking notes, Goodell.

"Fifteen yard penalty - 'Sexy Hands to the Face'." Have a fun Super Bowl everybody! Except Steelers fans, of course. Go get fucked, Steelers fans!

Oh, I know Yakov, is Russian, not Hungarian, but when was the last time you saw this dude?  You need a little Yakov in your life.

Oh, I know that Yakov is Russian, not Hungarian; but when was the last time you saw this dude? You need a little Yakov in your life, and you sure as shit ain't going to Branson.

The Midwest, United States of America.  A shocked public was shocked this past week by the shocking news that beloved chef, blogger, and inventor of the HAM radio, The Chef’s Prerogative, had passed away while visiting his parents in the Midwest over the holidays.  Details were sketchy at first, and initial reports of excessive Skyline Chili consumption as the cause of death proved exaggerated, if only slightly.  It was only today that Midwest coroner, Dr. Kenneth Noisewater, delivered the details surrounding the demise of the internet sensation and notorious woman-pleaser.  “Unfortunately,” Dr. Noisewater concluded, “The Chef’s Prerogative, though handsome and virile, succumbed to an acute case of ‘Holy Shit, It’s Really Fucking Cold Here.'”  Noisewater answered no questions at the press conference, but did end the proceedings with a final, cryptic, note: “One wonders,” he ruminated, “why such a handsome and virile chef, so adroit at concocting delicious and delectable fare, would not have attempted to steel himself against the cold with a fortifying dish of stew or soup.”  Then, after a lengthy pause, continued: “Well, now I’m really hungry for soup.”

"Yes, we're still looking into whether or not excessive handsomeness played some part in TCP's untimely demise."

"Yes, we're still looking into whether or not excessive handsomeness played some part in TCP's untimely demise."

Interviews with witnesses to the comings-and-goings of the Doug Beard award* winner were less than helpful in painting a picture of the chef in his final, bone-chilled days.  “I saw him in here at the pool hall the other day,” said one heavily tattooed man, “and I don’t know how that pretty-boy cooked, but he sure could play a mean game of 9-ball.”  “You know that movie The Color of Money?” the man continued, “Where that guy goes around with that broad and that old guy, hustling people?  Well, I can tell you right now that The Chef’s Prerogative was even prettier than that broad.”  When reached for comment, the people who knew him best, his parents, were introspective.  “I’m sorry, who are we talking about, now?” said his father, before being apprised of the situation.  “Does this mean we can stop sending him money?” His mother was more optimistic, and looked towards the future: “At least now he has an opportunity to fulfill his dream of becoming a zombie samurai.  And not one of those slow George Romero zombies, either; I’m talking a 28 Days Later, Usain Bolt-speed zombie.  With a samurai sword.”  Fans and deciples of the blogger no doubt eagerly anticipate his zombie reign.  His sweet, sweet zombie reign.

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If the above scenario frightened you to your very core, then I have done my job – I have adequately warned you of the dangers of what the NOAA calls “Freezing Your Balls Off.”  Tens of millions die from this affliction every year, and while there’s no known cure, there are some simple steps one can take to ensure that one won’t end up a statistic**: (1) moving to Malibu; (2) drinking scotch; (3) if you’re a pretty lady, putting your hands somewhere warm, like down my pants; (4) killing yourself; and/or (5) fortifying your constitution with a hearty meal of meat, gravy, and meat.  Since you’re already on a food blog, let’s explore that last one in depth, shalln’t we?

Speaking from experience, living or visiting cold environments, while not without its charms, is far from ideal.  Sure you get drunk more quickly when you’re up in the Rockies, but if you pass out on your walk home from the bar, you die.  Likewise, Christmas in Chicago is a treat for the senses; or at least it would be if your senses didn’t have frostbite.  And, while Michigan gets to enjoy watching an actual college football team once a year every November, they also have to live knowing that the cold they experience is God turning its back on their terrible state.  Regardless of the location, being in the cold requires special maintenance through dress, drink, and, more pertinent to the interests of this blog, food.  A good, hearty meal goes a long way toward not only fortifying the body, but also soothing the soul weary of bone-chilling temperatures.  And, as a registered scientist, I can rightly say that goulash, of all the hearty recipes I know, scores highest on the “Food-Based Physiological Fortification” scale.

How God sees the United States.  I, too, am puzzled as to why He doesn't like Oregon.  Probably has something to do with sodomy - he hate that shit.

How God sees the United States. I, too, am puzzled as to why He doesn't like Oregon. Probably has something to do with sodomy - he hates that shit.

If you’ve ever been to Hungary, you no doubt have an acute awareness as to why goulash became the country’s national dish.  Gray skies, sub-freezing temperatures, and killing tourists for sport all cry out for a stick-to-your ribs meal at the end of the day.  And, if the cold weather and specter of Communism aren’t enough incentive to make goulash, the fact that its main ingredient is pork butt should.  Plus, are you really going to argue about food with a country named “Hungary”?***

Russle You Up Some Of These Here Ingredients:

Pork butt
Onion
Chilies and Peppers
Seasoning: smoked paprika, Nick Caraway seeds, Oregano, Salt, Pepper
San Marzano tomatoes
Red wine vinegar
Rice (basmati is good, mostly because “basmati” is fun to say)
Sour cream
Lemon
Parsley

Commence With The Making Warm Of The Belly:

I don’t know why I keep subjecting you to recipes which take a brillion hours to make, but it’s not like you have anything better to do, Mr. I’ve-Watched-The-ShamWow-Infomercial-Twenty-Five-Times, so maybe simmer down a little, mkay?  Make yourself a pitcher of martinis, put on some Count Basie, and while away a few hours on a cold, cloudy day by manufacturing a big pot of delicious.  The first thing we need to do is score the fat on the pork.  I give mine a “9.8,” but feel free to assess yours according to its own individual characteristics.  Once your pork is scored, season it with salt and pepper, and put it fat side down in an oiled dutch oven, all the while thinking about how dirty that sounded.  Cook for about 15 minutes on medium, then remove the pork and set it aside.  Toss in your other seasonings, along with diced onion, and cook over low heat for ten minutes.  Put the pork back in the pot and add the peppers and tomatoes.  Add enough water to just cover the pork, and bless it with a little vinegar.  Bring to a boil, put the lid on, then throw the pot in an oven preheated to 177 degrees, Celsius.

Paper towels?!?!?  What, are you some kind of motherless fucking douchebag?!?!?  You gettin' this, camera guy?

Paper towels?!?!? What, are you some kind of motherless fucking douchebag?!?!? You gettin' this, camera guy?

In about three hours or so, you’re going to realize a few things: (1)  vodka martinis are fucking delicious; (2) your home is now perfumed with the wonderful aroma of pork and peppers; (3) you definitely should not have called your ex girlfriend after all those martinis; and (4) the movie Major League is maybe the best movie ever made about the Cleveland Indians and their ex-showgirl-turned-owner, Rachel Phelps, and their improbable run to the 1989 AL Pennant.  Make some rice in a pot (unless you have one of those fancy rice cookers, in which case, go punch yourself in the face – only because I can’t do it through the internet.)  Make a flavor-packed condiment by taking some sour cream and adding lemon zest and parsley; this will not only give your goulash a nice, creamy texture, but will also make it taste like sour cream, lemon zest, and parsley.  To plate, take your pulled-apart meat, the rice, and your sour cream mixture, and throw all that shit on a plate (after all, hungary is to stylish plating as I am to not calling ex girlfriends after too many martinis.)  Then sit back with a nice big helping of your goulash, stoke the fire, and give your tummy a great, big food hug.

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*James’ lesser known brother.
**Unless you’re going to be included in a statistic like “Number of People Who Died By Drowning In A Sea Of Gravure Models.”  Because that would be an awesome statistic to be.  In fact, One out of every one The Chef’s Prerogative believes that this very scenario is the best way to die.
***You’ve gotta be kidding me if you thought this blog was above such an obvious and unfunny joke.  After all, I majored in “obvious and unfunny” at blog school

Yeah, "death by gravure models" beats "death by Baconator OD" by a landslide.

Yeah, "death by gravure models" even beats "death by Baconator" by a landslide.