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Seriously are you kidding me?

Archive for the ‘Food & Wine’ Category

Thomas Wood

Why I’m Allergic to Mint

November 5th, 2009
by Thomas Wood

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-

I used to tell people the simple truth:  that I just don’t like mint.  The ensuing conversation was never simple.

“What?  Wait—you mean, like, mint, like the leaf?”

“Yes.”

“How can you not like mint?” (more…)


Matthew Gavin Frank

Red Beard’s Silent Deal

October 29th, 2009
by Matthew Gavin Frank

ALBA, ITALY-

In Alba, Italy’s rain, my hair flattens wet against my skull. Hugging the shopfronts of Via Vittorio Emanuele, I see a white triangular peak in the distance. It could be anything—a downed mountain bowing to commune with this street, the cobblestone river that carved it—except, glowing with rain, it looks to be made of canvas. I know.

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Erika Rae

Harvest Time! Or, My Democratic Carrots Have Genitalia. What Have Yours Got?

October 25th, 2009
by Erika Rae

BOULDER, CO-

This year, being the proud Obamabot that I am, I eagerly followed the left wing conspiracy all the way to my garden. Never mind the fact that I live at 9000 ft in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and get exactly 11.3 weeks of contiguous summer. The White House grounds currently survive an inordinate measure of chill under the scrutiny of the GOP. If Michelle could do it, I reasoned, so could I.

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Amy Shearn

Disparate Housewives

October 17th, 2009
by Amy Shearn

BROOKLYN, NY–

I come from a long line of unenthusiastic housekeepers.  My maternal grandmother was known for blowing up kitchens (a particularly awkward situation as my grandfather was a clergyman and they were therefore always residents in church-owned homes).  My paternal grandmother’s culinary ambitions began and ended with Jell-o mold, albeit the dressed-up variety with fruit cocktail bits suspended within like edible gems.  Growing up, my house was a preferred place to play among my friends because you could make a mess, which made it ideal for craft projects of all sorts.

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Rob Bloom

Invasion of the Giant Plates

October 7th, 2009
by Rob Bloom

PHILADELPHIA, PA -

There’s a serious problem in this country and, for the life of me, I don’t know why we aren’t doing something about it. Where is the news coverage? Where is the media outcry? Where is Al Sharpton? Well I, for one, have had enough! No longer will I sit in silence and watch as this miscarriage of justice continues! It’s time to take a stand! It’s time to fight!

IT’S TIME TO BAN TAPAS!

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John L. Singleton

Chicken Wing Floozie

October 5th, 2009
by John L. Singleton

LOS ANGELES, CA—

I left home when I was in high school without a diploma and shacked up with a floozie. I call her a floozie not just because my mother called her that, but because she was a floozie. She was a floozie to end all floozies. If being a floozie was anything like being in the Army she’d have been a general. And instead of painting skulls on her helmet to represent vanquished opponents, she’d have painted dicks, to represent vanquished dicks. And to accommodate all the dicks she’d need something like a million helmets and a whole convoy just to transport them.

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Rebecca Adler

My Life in Istanbul, So Far

October 5th, 2009
by Rebecca Adler

ISTANBUL, TURKEY

Basak meets me at the airport shuttle drop off point in the busy city center. We hail a cab and we’re off to my new apartment. She shows me how to get in and gives me a tour of the apartment. I drop my bags in my room and then we’re off again. She wants to show me the neighborhood so I won’t be lost when I’m all alone at home during the coming weeks. We walk, and walk, and walk. Where we’re going, I don’t know. She shows me her workplace, says I can come there anytime if I need help with anything. And then our destination is in sight: Cevahir, the biggest mall in Europe.

She shows me to the grocery store so I can stock up on a few necessities. I feel awkward shopping in front of her so I try to make healthy choices. I throw a couple of nectarines and bananas into the handbasket, then I head toward the dairy section. Without having to tell her what I’m looking for, and before I can reach for anything, she stops me: “That’s not milk.” (more…)


Matthew Gavin Frank

The Truffle of the Barn

September 29th, 2009
by Matthew Gavin Frank

TORINO, ITALY-

The fluorescence of one room bleeds into another with only minor differences: a blinking flicker here, a snoring hum there. I sit again beneath these flickers and hums, just past 9:00 pm, in the salamina da sugo workshop, ready for the gentle myth, ready for some anarchy. This is the Salone del Gusto, the Slow Food Movement’s Salon of Taste and, while this is also Torino, Italy, the rest of the world, via its respective culinary delights, trickles in through the cracks in the mortar.

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John L. Singleton

At a Waffle House on the Edge of Florida

September 23rd, 2009
by John L. Singleton

LOS ANGELES, CA—

After we passed through the hinterlands of Florida, we stopped at a Waffle House, maybe ten miles before the border. As a kid, my mom had worked at the Waffle House, and sometimes I’d come to work with her and sit at the counter all day, eating hash browns and talking to the customers.

It was a skeezy joint but I loved it there. There was something about the endless parade of anonymous faces that floated in and out of there that made me feel at home. Every day there were different people, a few regulars, but mostly truckers and other travelers that stopped in off the highway on their way to somewhere that wasn’t here.

Celeste ordered the steak and eggs and I had a Coke and a double order of hash browns. While we waited for our food we sat in silence, listening to other people’s conversations. We were too tired to make conversation for ourselves and we’d already been talking for too long. Talking about god knows what. Mostly how we hated Florida and wanted to leave.

“I don’t know why the hell people wanna come retire here. It’s worse than already being dead,” she said.
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Anne Walls

One Fish, Two Fish: The Plight of the Pescatarian

September 18th, 2009
by Anne Walls

LOS ANGELES, CA-

Part I: Always Use Your Napkin

I didn’t mean for it to end up this way. I really didn’t want to be standing at a rather nice wedding reception, glass of semi-expensive white wine in one hand, and napkin full of half-chewed, hastily spit out stuffed mushroom in the other. Sure, I knew my friends, the now-hitched earthy couple, erred on the side of unconventional and wanted their wedding to reflect that as well. It was taking place in what used to be the old Ojai Jail, a cluster of tiny, ramshackle cabins in the mountains above Santa Barbara. And yet, in the middle of this somewhat rugged mountain setting, my friends had imported stunning orchid arrangements, enough wine to baptize the whole city of Santa Barbara, and (my personal favorite) a wicked cheese platter.

There were even waiters gliding around, passing out tiny, delicious treatsies on trays. And after hurriedly hauling myself to Santa Barbara, surviving the van ride up the mountain with a driver who may have very well had one eye closed, and quickly pounding two (okay, three) glasses of the aforementioned very nice wine, I was starving. Add to the mix that fact that my ex-boyfriend and his new ladyfriend were not only in attendance but also in very close physical proximity, and you could maybe see how the wine would be priority Number One, followed by food.

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Ari Phillips

From One Frozen Pizza to Another: Changing Eating Habits in a Changing World

September 1st, 2009
by Ari Phillips

PORTLAND, OR-

Frozen Pizza

In middle school I stomached through a stage where I consistently craved pepperoni bagel pizzas and marshmallow-laden cereal for dinner. I would come home from soccer practice, microwave a few bagel pizzas, pour some cereal and milk, grab a glass artificially-flavored juice – usually Hi-C or Sunny-D – and sit down to enjoy my delicious repast in the company of my favorite dining companion, the television.

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Ronlyn Domingue

Fowl-Freak Out: A Vegetarian’s Tale

September 1st, 2009
by Ronlyn Domingue

AROUND 91 DEGREES LONGITUDE-

If I’d known the word vegetarian when I was a kid, I wonder if the shift would have happened sooner. Back then, there was no Lisa Simpson giving pop culture credence, no easily available information, and no role models in my social circle.

I was an unusual tyke in that I liked almost every fruit or vegetable I tried. Steamed artichokes, smooth avocadoes, fresh cherries with pit and stem, even maligned Brussels sprouts.

However, I did like meat. It’s what was for dinner, after all. My mom made a well-seasoned skillet-fried hamburger, which I’d amply top with standard accoutrements, except for cheese. Summer Sundays featured my grandfather’s barbequed chicken, covered in a sweet sauce he mopped on in layers. When the mood struck him, my dad stood for a good hour poking garlic slivers into a roast he’d cook with potatoes and carrots. My grandmother made braciolone (brucelloni, colloquially), a recipe from my Sicilian great-grandmother–a thin round steak filled with chopped boiled eggs, parsley, celery, and seasoned bread crumbs, tied with string, seared on all sides, then simmered in thick tomato sauce. Cue gurgles of gastronomic glee.

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Matthew Gavin Frank

Evolution

August 24th, 2009
by Matthew Gavin Frank

BAROLO, ITALY-

At the end of Via Crosia, at least a kilometer past the Macelleria, but before the vineyards, the street’s rose cobblestone is cracked with anthills.  Surely these bugs are, right now even, communing under the town, perhaps under a single block, waiting to bore holes through the bathtubs of Barolo.

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Joi Brozek

“Toto, I’ve a Feeling We’re Not in Brooklyn, Anymore,” or The End of My New York Life

August 19th, 2009
by Joi Brozek

LAWRENCE, KS-

“Joi, I hear you’re moving! Where ya going?”

“Kansas.”

Kansas?!” they would shriek. “Why are you moving to Kansas?!” As if I had said, “Siberia,” or “New Jersey.” Why, even banshees cry, Kansas, don’t they?

I’d have to go through some variation of the above several times a night in the months prior to leaving New York City. Most often, this would be shouted across a bar. Typically this would be one of the two bars I was tending at the time, but it just as easily could have happened when I was on the other side of the bar, already halfway done with my Hendricks martini, or Hendricks Collins, or hell, Hendricks and tonic if I knew the bartender was inept at making a 2- or 3- step cocktail. I had developed quite the Hendricks habit once I started my drinking-for-free career in New York. It’s inevitable once you are a bartender. Ok, not the Hendricks habit per se, but definitely a top shelf habit.

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Elizabeth Collins

Life Lessons at the Literary Agency

August 13th, 2009
by Elizabeth Collins

PHILADELPHIA, PA–

Fresh out of college in 1993, I landed a job with a literary agent. Don’t ask me how.

The job, however plummy it seemed, was actually insane. Every day was a lesson in Real Life.

The first thing I learned was: Don’t let the bike messengers use the bathroom.  They’re usually shooting up in there. 

I got screamed at, reamed out, when I let the messenger use the bathroom. 

“Don’t you know what they do in bathrooms!?” My new co-worker was horrified.

I could imagine it, yes, because it is hot in NYC in summer, and bike messengers must drink a lot of water.

“Heroin!” she shouted. “Smack! They’re junkies!”

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James D. Irwin

A Thousand Words: When I Think of California, I Think About Her

August 12th, 2009
by James D. Irwin

SOUTH COAST, ENGLAND-

Goddamnit woman!’ I remember thinking. ‘SQUEEZE! YES! But for the love of God please shut the hell up!”

I hadn’t travelled all the way out to California to hear a rubenesque Midwestern woman squat out a deuce. We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert, and this, apparently, was log country. I was not sat in a glamorous and expensive convertible — clearly. I was on a coach, heading to Las Vegas. I had the good fortune to be seated in front of the chemical toilet at the back, able to hear the whole dirty performance.

Whilst chewing on cold curly french fries, an ill-advised purchase from a stop at Arby’s, I had an horrific and horrendous thought: What if she’s pleasuring herself?! She’s been in there a damn long time! How can I know for sure? How can any of us know? And will the mental scars ever heal?

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David S. Wills

Fleeced Like a Rube on the BBC

July 26th, 2009
by David S. Wills

BUSAN, KOREA -

“I’ll never trust another old person,” Bart Simpson once said, and for that nugget of wisdom I’ve always half-respected him. The fact is the elderly are as capable of screwing you over as a menacing looking teenager, or a hardass, stoneface punk twenty-something. Worse, the elderly won’t just take you for a ride… They’ll say they ‘fleeced’ you and call you a ‘rube’. Of course, if you trust the elderly, you can have no complaints about being called a ‘rube’. That’s just exactly what you are.

And that’s exactly what I am. A rube. A pure-bred, plain-as-day rube. I met an old man and let him have his wicked way, and he damn well did it on national TV. No, not Korean national TV, which is of interest only to Koreans, and which is so backward, racist and pedophilic that no one could seriously give a fuck what is said there… but the BBC!

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Reno J. Romero

A Thousand Words: Lost in Hollywood

July 22nd, 2009
by Reno J. Romero

LAS VEGAS, NV-

I called Brad Listi from some sleepy little suburb in Sacramento. We chatted. I think I strong-armed the poor fellow and told him that I wanted to read at TNB’s first L.A reading. He’s too kind. Dear and charming.

I got the gig.

So, L.A.  I had to go. Haven’t seen my birth city in years. Memories of crowded streets and concrete buildings tumbled through my head. 

I gassed up and hit I-15.

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James D. Irwin

The Most Evil Square Foot, or: How to Humiliate Hitler With Spandex

July 13th, 2009
by James D. Irwin

SOUTH COAST, ENGLAND-

The Frankenstadion in Germany was a venue for the 2006 World Cup.

It is where England managed a 2-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago, where Mexico thrashed Iran 3-1 and the USA were defeated by Ghana.

The stadium is much older than it looks. In its current state it looks like a very modern soccer stadium, but this is the result of several rounds of renovation.

Its original purpose gives a clue as to the evil that lies directly behind it.

The Frankenstadion was built in 1928 as a marching ground for the Hitler Youth.

The soccer team that now plays there is 1FC Nuremberg.

And behind the Frankenstadion lie the Nazi Rally Grounds.

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Erika Rae

How I Learned That Drinking Brings People Closer to God

July 9th, 2009
by Erika Rae

BOULDER, CO-

I am a huge fan of fermentation. There are few things I enjoy more than a glass of red wine in the evening. Especially merlot. Yeah, that’s right I said it. Despite the best efforts of the writers of the movie Sideways, I am still in love with the “M” word. Give me a glass with a nice bowl to roll it around in and I am one happy chick. And while I am not an addict, I have come to look forward to this experience with at least some measure of regularity. For me, the hardest part of pregnancy is not the back pain, difficulty of sleep – or even the labor. No, it is the necessity to cut back from that sublime burgundy in the glass.

Unlike most of my peers within the conservative Evangelical church in which I grew up, I was not taught by my parents that the drinking of alcohol is a sin. Rather, my training was of a more subtle nature. It wasn’t that drinking alcohol itself was a sin – unless of course it crossed over to drunkenness, at which point it ranked fairly high in the seven deadliest. It was more that drinking in front of somebody else who might be inclined to have a problem with it was.

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