Category: Food and drink

Trash, White Trash, and REAL Trash

Writing in Oxford American, Chris Offutt’s Trash Food almost gets it right:

My thoughts and feelings were completely irrational. I knew they made no sense. Most of what I owned had belonged to someone else—cars, clothes, shoes, furniture, dishware, cookbooks. I liked old and battered things. They reminded me of myself, still capable and functioning despite the wear and tear.

and

Nevertheless I’d felt compelled to mislead him [my Oxford friend] based on class stigma. I was ashamed—of my fifteen-year-old Mazda, my income, and my rented home. I felt ashamed of the very clothes I was wearing, the shoes on my feet. Abruptly, with the force of being struck in the face, I understood it wasn’t his judgment I feared. It was my own.

The road to getting over this is simple:  stop worrying about what other folks think and trust your own judgement.  Only a fool yuppie pays full price for goods that rapidly depreciate.  Tricks like eschewing $75 shirts and shopping at the resale store, the day-old bread store, and the discount market where no English is spoken have netted me enough cash to buy a gently-used BMW Z4.  OUTRIGHT. That car is now 12 years old, squeaky clean, well-maintained, and payment-free.

Offutt worries about the kind of folks labeled “white trash”

The term “white trash” is an epithet of bigotry that equates human worth with garbage. It implies a dismissal of the group as stupid, violent, lazy, and untrustworthy—the same negative descriptors of racial minorities, of anyone outside of the mainstream. At every stage of American history, various groups of people have endured such personal attacks. Language is used as a weapon: divisive, cruel, enciphered. Today is no different.

BUT, he needs to remember that there are plenty of folks who we white trash label as real trash: stupid, violent, lazy, and untrustworthy for starters,, But also whining, wheedling drug-addled grifters.  By their unkempt surroundings, undisciplined pets, garish grooming, tats, cigarettes, and pawnshop jewelry you will know them.

The sin of the white elites is their failure to make distinctions.  The racial stereotyping they so decry is exactly what they apply to working class whites.  Offutt, to his credit, knows how to deal with these smartasses:

When strangers thought I was stupid because of where I grew up, I understood that they were granting me the high ground. I learned to patiently wait in ambush for the chance to utterly demolish them intellectually. Later I realized that this particular battle strategy was a waste of energy. It was easier to simply stop talking to that person—forever.

Trash Food is good food for thought, go read the whole thing.

Tip from Vanderleun at American Digest, where he dishes some real pearls.

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The Urban Chicken Movement Turns Dark

This is what happens when city folk “play country:”

Live poultry in backyard flocks are linked to several multistate outbreaks of salmonella infections that have now sickened 212 people in 44 states, federal health officials warned Monday.

ChickenSicken

Health officials advise washing with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything nearby. They also advise not letting live birds inside the house, especially where food or drink is prepared, served or stored. Also, no kissing or snuggling with birds only to then touch your face or mouth.

You shouldn’t have to tell people this.

Tip from Drudge, who don’t permalink nuthin’.

My Ultimate Margartia

Texas is awash in margaritas, both frozen and on the rocks.  Most are made with some sort of evil bar mix, shaken by hand or machine, and dished up in glass with a salted rim.  As Dan Jenkins wrote about chicken-fried steak, “Pretty good.  But not real good.”

Inspired by reading a recipe on the back of a liquor bottle, I’ve concocted a Better Margarita, for folks who want to go beyond the mediocre.

MargartiaMakins

Ingredients (to make 2 doubles)  In a large shaker half-filled with ice, add

  • 4 shots of good (not excellent) white tequila
  • 1 shot of triple sec or orange liqueur (I prefer Patron Citronge)
  • 1 shot of lemoncello (the secret ingredient)
  • fresh juice of 8 limes
  • juice of one small orange (see prep below)
  • one or two of the lime peels from the juicing

Preparation for serving

  • for each drink glass, cut a thin slice from the center of a fresh orange, juice the rest
  • use a piece of lime peel from the juicing to moisten the rim of each glass
  • set each glass, inverted, into a shallow dish of margarita salt (kosher salt works OK)
  • into each salted glass, place an orange slice

Do the deed

  • Cap the shaker and shake until the shaker is covered in condensation
  • Pour into the prepared glasses, filling almost to the rim

TheStraightUpMargarita

Caution:  this recipe makes TWO DOUBLES.  Do not plan on driving or operating machinery after drinking one of these.  Do not plan on inciting a revolution in Mexico after drinking two of these.

Silicon Valley meets the Urban Chicken Movement…

and does it in style.

ABlow-DriedChicken

It’s not uncommon here to see chickens roaming in their owners’ homes or even roosting in bedrooms, often with diapers on, according to Leslie Citroen, 54, one of the Bay Area’s most sought after “chicken whisperers,” who does everything from selling upscale chickens and building coops to providing consultation to backyard bird owners. Her services cost $225 an hour. Want a coop and walk-in pen (known as a run)? You can expect to pay $4,000 to $5,000 for a standard setup.

Fools and their money.  But as Kid Creole and the Coconuts sang “Whatcha gonna do when the money’s all gone?”

Tip from the Instapundit, where not everyone is willing to just give in to the absurdity.

Artichoke and Shellfish Soup

So I was suddenly confronted with a windfall of canned shellfish when our local WalMart Neighborhood store closed this month.  I decided to get even more serious about recipes based on McIntosh’s Tin Fish Gourmet.  She gives a simple recipe for Oyster and Artichoke Stew, which I embellished beyond all recognition into this rich, creamy (and low-carb) soup:

  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery rib, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, halved
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 oz butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 or 2 tins of diced clams, smoked oysters, mussels, or whatever
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large avocado, quartered and (you guessed it) thinly sliced

Saute the carrot, celery, and red onion slices in oil until the onion is transparent, then add the artichoke hearts, reserving the liquid for a bit later.  When everything is nicely sauteed, set these vegetables aside.  Add the butter and flour to the pan, and whisk into a roux.  When the roux is bubbling and starting to darken, add the liquid from the artichoke hearts and any liquid from the tinned shellfish to make a sauce.  Once it comes to a boil, add the sour cream and enough milk to get a creamy soup consistency.  Add the sauteed vegetables and the shellfish, and bring to a boil.  Then turn off the heat.

Serve in shallow soup dishes, topped with 3 or 4 slices of avocado and some of the green onion.  This cries out for a dry white wine on the side.