Tag Archives: Barbecue
Notes Day 1:
Rotier’s: Jason orders the meat and two, roast beef, thick hunks of tender meat in thick gravy, tastes brown and beefy, coleslaw, very crunch in sweet sour cream, and hashbrown casserole, a recipe out of Fanny Farmer or a spiral bound church cookbook, iced tea, grilled buttery French bread. Emily orders fried chicken, green beans, hashbrown casserole. Beck orders steak dinner, fries, beer-battered cheese sticks. The interior is dark, smoky as though viewed through crackled microfilm, booths, a tv showing the LeBron, college kids bound in coats drinking beer, a waitress with a tired chubby face and a tired smile, thin brown hair, pay at the register to a gristly man graybearded. Neon signs outside read STEAK, SEAFOOD, it looks like a pit but is a friendly cavern.
A car packed with suitcases packed with printed articles, new news magazines, text books, Krugman, Nye, Okun top the shelf, boxes and boxes of granola bars, bottled water, clementines. We make pit stops at Love’s gas station, drink coke and watch the Tennessee sunset, listen to the Black Keys’ El Camino and Nirvana’s In Utero taking highway 24 down south. Then we cross into Nashville a great city of glittering light in the dark south (you can see the motherfucking constellations out the car window). Beck and Emily chat about television shows (Gossip Girl, Project Runway) and gossip about debaters on the national circuit. I sag in the backseat, trying to reach that nirvana of half-wakefulness rocking into the seatbelt and sleeping to the Black Keys’ “Sister.”
We’re staying at the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt, which is really almost swallowed into the campus. There is a towel folded in the shape of a swan on each bed. Debaters stroll the lobby lugging big suitcases overstuffed and carrying plastic tubs. There is a discrete taxonomy of debaters. It is easy to identify the policy debaters by their masculine affect, square jaws, tousled hair, cigarette stained teeth, beanies, fat cheeks, laptop dazed donut glazed look, and coffee swilling slump across lobby couches just chilling and shooting shit. The extempers by their careful grooming and intense walk. Extempers walk fast and with a purpose. They are pointy, driven, intense, aware of their intention and ready to fulfill it. There are less of them and they all know each other, so it’s like a perverse family. The LDers are the most attractive, impeccable, smooth and sly, genuinely nice or just plain slimey, and always white toothed and scrubbed nosehair plucked Gillette Max or whatever shaved smooth close to the cheekbones, giving their blue steel looks and ready for rebuttals. And then there are the debate coaches. The men have bottlebrush gray mustaches and craggy blue eyes, carry battered leather briefcases, smoke cigarillos. The women are either homemakers of the 1950s stereotype gotten old with platinum blonde hair and excess makeup around the lips, rouged and tanned cosmetically, or young women who are looking for or escaping from likewise boyfriends.
It is 10:30 and Emily has begun to file. In the connecting room I hear the punctuated click click click of a stapler sampling hundreds and hundreds of newspaper articles. Continue reading
Here’s the music that inspired the review.
Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
“Mid-August at Sourdough Mountain Lookout” by Gary Snyder
This summer, I injured my iliotibial band. From June to August, I walked and swam to maintain my cardiovascular fitness while I went through withdrawal. Running is an addiction like any other; it requires regular feeding. After adopting an extensive stretching and strengthening routine, I finally began to build my mileage. Although I had been injured previously and taken time off from running, I had never been forced to curtail my activity so dramatically. Back at square one, I had my moments of weakness: I insisted that I was done with running, that I would never run again, that I was finished as a runner, that I needed to move on with my life and forget the joy of running. But once a runner, always a runner. Continue reading
Sunday morning, we rubbed down a pork shoulder, started a fire, and let smoke slowly coax meat into submission. With all afternoon to while away (over Scrabble games, teen garden party supervision, and other such petit-bougie tasks), we prepared a skillet cornbread (complete with sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms on the top) and steamed a head of cauliflower. When dinner takes all day, anticipation reaches a breaking point. As the carving knife slid through bark and smoke ring and collagenous flesh, I could barely contain my appetite. In this video, we demonstrate how to make Sunday dinner last from morning till night, no sweat necessary.
Look for our short documentary, In the Most Unlikely Places: Eating Somewhere South, coming soon to a computer near you.
This summer, I took a class on “Reading and Writing Food” at Columbia. Over the next few weeks, I will post a sampling of essays composed for that class.
The package came wrapped in enough duct tape to keep a stool pigeon quiet for days. After a breakfast of ribs and slaw, I walked it from Madison Square Park to Chelsea Market. 17th Street feels forlorn before the Sunday brunch crowd descends; I staggered, bleary-eyed and bellyful, watching the corners for hoppers and their crews trying to lift my sauce. Jake was my connection: his name scrawled in blue pen on cardstock, no further instructions. Dodging doughnuts, rent-a-cops, and their unhappy glances, I limped past the Market’s perfunctory security with well-earned confidence. I made my bones in North St. Louis, where hipsters need more than finger mustache tattoos and a Bed-Stuy walk-up. If you want that artisanal, hand-dipped milkshake at Crown Candy Kitchen (and, if you’re a hipster, you do), you’ll have to stare down the crackheads trying to boost your car and your stash. Dear Jake: I meant business. And I brought some serious heat with me, too. Continue reading
“Barbecue is getting big baby.” Outside Ed Mitchell’s traveling sideshow, two cooks go at it with cleavers. As bits of pork fly in a flurry of pornographic flesh, the cashier grins and points down the avenue, still quiet at 10:20 a.m. “In 30 minutes, the line will be to Madison,” he predicts, and when the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party 2011 starts, 200 fanatics are already waiting for a taste of Ed Mitchell’s meat. I arrived an hour early and finagled a prime position near the front. Clad in overalls and plaid—his “Farmer John” outfit, the cashier explains—Mitchell presides over his stand with dominating charisma. He is the Santa Claus of barbecue, a man with a big smile and a bigger belly. Poking a turkey to check for doneness, Mitchell nods, makes the slightest gesture to his team, and the biggest barbecue show on Earth begins. Continue reading
During the Bush administration, Garry Trudeau’s cartoon Doonesbury took the Texas saying “all hat, no cattle” literally—President Bush appeared as an empty cowboy hat, all talk and no action. Thanks to Trudeau, this idiom now possesses a decidedly political valance. But cowboy hats have captivated the political imagination since Teddy Roosevelt. President Johnson gave the German delegation 50 hats at his ranch, a gesture of friendship, gratitude, and appreciation. As Peter Tamony writes in “The Ten-Gallon or Texas Hat,” receiving a hat “from a friend was a symbol of real acceptance—a nullification of any anxiety that might lurk in thought of the Indian crypticism, ‘Big hat—no cattle.’”
Unfortunately, Hamdel often flaunts sandwiches without any substance. For instance, the Tex-Mex sounds like a brisket bonanza: hot roast beef, cheddar cheese, hot peppers, onions, and barbecue sauce. While the shredded beef hints of juicy Texas barbecue, the sauce and “Mex” elements taste more Jersey than El Paso. Continue reading