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Paula Deen: I Would Like To Thank The Food Network For 11 Great Years

deenfoodnetwork-3Paula Deen has caused a bit of a flap recently with statements made in a deposition last month, which has recently gotten into the hands of the National Enquirer.  By way of background, Deen, her brother “Bubba”, and assorted corporations that own a pair of restaurants in Savannah, GA have been sued by a former employee who claims to have been  subjected to “violent, racist and sexist” behavior while working for Deen’s various businesses over the past five years.

Much has already been written about her testimony, and based on this media coverage, strong opinions have been formed and expressed.  This post does not offer opinion or commentary on the substance of the statements made by Deen – rather, it presents those statements mostly in context, as they were recorded during the deposition.  Although few will take the time to read the whole deposition (except me), it is probably better to understand exactly what she said, rather than relying on a summary provided by the media.  It is up to the reader to draw their own conclusions.  However, it doesn’t seem like this is going to be particularly helpful in defending her lawsuit.

Q Did any of the things that your brother admitted to doing, including reviewing – reviewing pornography in the workplace, using the N word in the workplace, did any of that conduct cause you to have any concerns about him continuing to operate the business?

A No. My brother and I, 25 years ago, quite by accident, each started a business and we each had $200 to start that business. My brother built the most successful long-service business in Albany, Georgia with his $200. My brother is completely capable unless he’s being sabotaged.

Q Now, does his [Bubba’s] sense of humor include telling jokes about matters of a sexual nature?

MR. FRANKLIN: Ever, or what are you —

BY MR. BILLIPS:

Q Sure.

A We have all told off-colored jokes.

Q Okay. Does his sense of humor include telling jokes of a racial nature?

A I’m sure those kind of jokes have been told. Every man I’ve ever come in contact with has one.

Q Okay. Miss Deen, have you told racial jokes?

A No, not racial.

Q Okay. Have you ever used the N word yourself?

A Yes, of course.

Q Okay. In what context?

A Well, it was probably when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head.

Q Okay. And what did you say?

A Well, I don’t remember, but the gun was dancing all around my temple.

Q Okay.

A I didn’t — I didn’t feel real favorable towards him.

Q Okay. Well, did you use the N word to him as he pointed a gun in your head at your face?

A Absolutely not.

Q Well, then, when did you use it?

A Probably in telling my husband.

Q Okay. Have you used it since then?

A I’m sure I have, but it’s been a very long time.

Q Can you remember the context in which you have used the N word?

A No.

Q Has it occurred with sufficient frequency that you cannot recall all of the various context in which you’ve used it?

A No, no.

Q Well, then tell me the other context in which you’ve used the N word?

A I don’t know, maybe in repeating something that was said to me.

Q Like a joke?

A No, probably a conversation between blacks. I don’t — I don’t know.

Q Okay.

A But that’s just not a word that we use as time has gone on. Things have changed since the ’60s in the south. And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior.

Q Okay.

A As well as I do.

Q Are you aware that your brother has admitted to using that word at work?

A I don’t know about that.

Q All right.

A I’m not sure about that.

Q Okay. Were you ever aware from any other — other source prior to — or excuse me, or during Miss Jackson’s employment that Mr. Hiers was viewing pornography in the workplace?

A No. I know that men are really, really guilty of sending inappropriate jokes to each other. My husband would be under the jail if that were a sin right now.

Q Do you understand that there is some conduct that one can engage in outside the workplace that is not appropriate to inflict on your subordinate employees in the workplace?

A One more time, please.

Q Are you aware that there is some conduct that is allowed under the law outside the workplace that supervisors and managers cannot inflict on their subordinates employees inside the workplace?

A Yes. I think I understand what you’re asking, and yes.

Q Okay. And are you aware that Mr. Hiers, in addition to receiving these pornographic images and sexual jokes, would display them to his subordinate employees?

MR. WITHERS: Object to form.

MR. FRANKLIN: Objection. You can answer, Paula.

THE WITNESS: I know that that computer’s in the office and anybody can come in and snoop. What I know about a computer, Mr. Billips, you could slip through an eye of a needle because I think when people sit at that keyboard they become rich, brave and invisible, and it’s just a situation that I never wanted to put myself in.

Q Miss Deen, earlier in your testimony you indicated that one of the things that you had tried to — that you and your husband tried to teach your children was not to use the N word in a mean way, do you recall that testimony?

A Yes.

Q Okay. And could you give me an example of how you have demonstrated for them a nice way to use the N word?

MR. FRANKLIN: Objection.

BY MR. BILLIPS:

Q Or a non-mean way?

MR. FRANKLIN: Objection.

THE WITNESS: We hear a lot of things in the kitchen. Things that they — that black people will say to each other. If we are relaying something that was said, a problem that we’re discussing, that’s not said in a mean way.

BY MR. BILLIPS:

Q What about jokes, if somebody is telling a joke that’s got —

A It’s just what they are, they’re jokes.

Q Okay. Would you consider those to be using the N word in a mean way?

MR. FRANKLIN: Objection.

A Depends on how it’s used in a joke.

MR. WITHERS: Object to form, vague.

BY MR. BILLIPS:

Q You can answer.

A That — that’s — that’s — pardon?

Q He was talking to me, go ahead.

A That’s — that’s kind of hard. Most –most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks. Most jokes target — I don’t know. I didn’t make up the jokes, I don’t know. I can’t — I don’t know.

Q Okay.

A They usually target, though, a group.Gays or straights, black, redneck, you know, I just don’t know — I just don’t know what to say. I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.

Q Okay. Well —

A I can feel out that person pretty good on what would offend them, but I’m not sure, Mr. Billips, what — what the question even means.

Q Well, if you were sitting around at home just with you and your family, would you feel any hesitation in telling a joke that you thought was funny if it had the N word in it?

A I don’t tell jokes, not at my house. That’s —

Q Do the other members of your family tell jokes at home?

A Yes.

Q Okay.

A Yes.

Q And they told jokes using the N word?

A I’m sure they have. My husband is constantly telling me jokes.

Q Okay. And have — are you offended at all by those jokes?

A No, because it’s my husband.

Q Okay. What about your brother, does he tell those jokes?

A I’m sure he has. Bubba’s not good at joke telling, but I’m sure he’s tried to repeat some.

Q Okay. He just does it badly?

A Yeah, he don’t — he doesn’t tell ’em good.

Q Okay.

A Barry Weiner will ruin a funny joke. You know, some people can tell jokes in a funny way and some can’t.

Q Okay. And would you consider telling jokes, racial jokes, to be an example of using the N word in a way that’s not mean?

A Not for me personally. It would not —

Q It wouldn’t be mean for you personally?

A No, it wouldn’t — I wouldn’t tell it.

Q Okay.

A I mean, that’s — that’s not my style of joke.

Q What about racial harassment?

A We don’t tolerate that.

Q Okay. Well, what is it in your mind?

A I would think that – racial discrimination, was that the question?

Q Harassment.

A Harassment. I would think that that would be picking out a certain race and never cutting them any slack. I don’t know, verbally abusing them maybe, I’m not sure.

Q Okay. Using racial slurs in a workplace, would you —

A To them. If you were doing it against a Jewish person and constantly talking about — badmouthing Jews or lesbians or homosexuals or Mexicans or blacks, if you continually beat up on a certain group, I would think that that would be some kind of harassment.

Q Okay.

A I don’t know. We don’t — we don’t do that, I don’t know.

Q Did you consider what Dustin Walls was accused of doing to constitute racial harassment?

A I understand — I understand the pressure that goes along with the restaurant business. When that dinner bell rings at 11:00, it’s like you and your team go to war. You’re fighting a war to get everybody fed, every customer happy, and I know in the heat of the moment you can say things that would ordinarily not be said. Therestaurant business is just so stressful, so stressful.
Q Okay. Do you recall my question?

A Yes.

Q Okay.

A No. Maybe.

MR. FRANKLIN: All of the above.

BY MR. BILLIPS:

Q My question was, would you consider what Dustin Walls was accused of to constitute racial harassment?

A Yes.

A . . . . And I remember telling them about a restaurant that my husband and I had recently visited. And I’m wanting to think it was in Tennessee or North Carolina or somewhere, and it was so impressive. The whole entire wait staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie. I mean, it was really impressive. And I remember saying I would love to have servers like that, I said, but I would be afraid that somebody would misinterpret.

Q The media might misinterpret it?

A Yes, or whomever —

Q Okay.

A — is so shallow that they would read something to it.

Q Were they dressed in white shorts and bow ties?

A No, they were dressed in white jackets.

Q White jackets?

A Dinner jackets.

Q And a bow tie?

A And a bow tie and black trousers, and they were incredible.

Q Okay. And you said something —

A These were men that had made their living off of service and people in a restaurant.

Q Right.

A It was — I was so impressed.

Q Okay. And they were all black men?

A Yes. Professional servers and waiters.

Q And when you described it to Miss Jackson, did you mention the race of — well, you had to have mentioned the race of the servers —

A Of course I would —

Q — because that’s the part that —

A — because that’s what we just experienced.

Q Right. Do you know what word you used to identify their race?

A I would have used just what I just told you.

Q Black or African-American?

A Black. I would use the word black.

Q Okay.

A I don’t usually use African-Americans.

Q Okay.

A I try to go with whatever the black race is wanting to call themselves at each given time. I try to go along with that and remember that.

Q Okay. So is there any reason that you could not have done something just like that but have people of different races?

A Well, that’s what made it.

MR. FRANKLIN: Objection.

MR. WITHERS: Object to form.

BY MR. BILLIPS:

Q You can answer.

A That’s what made it so impressive. These were professional. I’m not talking about somebody that’s been a waiter for two weeks. I’m talking about these were professional middle-aged men, that probably made a very, very good living —

Q Okay.

A — at this restaurant. They were trained. The — it — it was the whole picture, the setting of the restaurant, the servers, their professionalism.

Q Is there any reason you couldn’t have found middle-aged professional servers who were of different races?

MR. FRANKLIN: Objection, relevance.

THE WITNESS: Listen, it was not important enough to me to even fight, to reproduce what that restaurant had. I was just simply expressing an experience that my husband and I had, and I was so impressed.

BY MR. BILLIPS:

Q Did you describe it as a — that that would be a true southern wedding, words to that  effect?

A I don’t know.

Q Do you recall using the words “really southern plantation wedding”?

A Yes, I did say I would love for Bubba to experience a very southern style wedding, and we did that. We did that.

Q Okay. You would love for him to experience a southern style plantation wedding?

A Yes.

Q That’s what you said?

A Well, something like that, yes. And —

Q Okay. And is that when you went on to describe the experience you had had at the restaurant in question?

A Well, I don’t know. We were probably talking about the food or — we would have been talking about something to do with service at the wedding, and —

Q Okay. And it was just you and Brandon and Lisa Jackson?

A I couldn’t — I couldn’t tell you who all was in there because the only reason I would have — they would have come to speak to me in my dressing room is because I was in between takes.

Q Okay.

A Changing clothes and getting hair and makeup —

Q Okay.

A — prepped.

Q Is there any possibility, in your mind, that you slipped and used the word “nigger”?

A No, because that’s not what these men were. They were professional black men doing a fabulous job.

Q Why did that make it a — if you would have had servers like that, why would that have made it a really southern plantation wedding?

MR. FRANKLIN: Objection. Relevance.

BY MR. BILLIPS:

Q You can answer.

A Well, it — to me, of course I’m old but I ain’t that old, I didn’t live back in those days but I’ve seen pictures, and the pictures that I’ve seen, that restaurant represented a certain era in America.

Q Okay.

A And I was in the south when I went to this restaurant. It was located in the south. Q Okay. What era in America are you referring to?

A Well, I don’t know. After the Civil War, during the Civil War, before the Civil War.

Q Right. Back in an era where there were middle-aged black men waiting on white people.

A Well, it was not only black men, it was black women.

Q Sure. And before the Civil War –before the Civil War, those black men and women who were waiting on white people were slaves, right?

A Yes, I would say that they were slaves.

Q Okay.

A But I did not mean anything derogatory by saying I loved their look and their professionalism.

Q But you knew that if you did something like that, the media would pick up on it and have something to say?

A I didn’t — no, not necess —

MR. FRANKLIN: Objection. Asked and answered.

BY MR. BILLIPS:

Q Correct?

A Not necessarily the media.

Q Okay.

A But people around us.

Q Okay.

A No, I knew the media was not covering Bubba’s wedding.

Q Okay.

A But just people around. It just wasn’t worth — it just wasn’t worth it.

Q Okay.

A If I could have brought the restaurant there I would have done that, but I could not afford to do that.

Celluloid Banquet: When Food Intrudes On The Silver Screen

royale-with-cheeseAs film viewers, we keep going back to the movies because we can relate at a basic level to the needs of the characters on the screen – the need for survival, acceptance, revenge, relaxation, sexual gratification, etc.  But one such need that is often sorely neglected in the movies is the need for sustenance – the need to eat, and the enjoyment that comes from eating.  Presumably James Bond enjoys a good meal (he obviously enjoys a good drink), but in his world, food is an afterthought – a room service order of caviar and champagne (charged to Goldfinger’s account, of course) – which he never actually eats because he’s too busy making sexytime and thwarting his nemesis’ attempts to cheat at cards.

Food is most often extraneous to a film’s storyline, except in those rare instances where the story is actually about food (for example, movies like Ratatouille or Big Night).  But occasionally, food – or the act of eating – is used by filmmakers to bring out traits of the characters or themes of the film as a whole.  For example, in Die Hard, John Mclaine unsuccessfully attempts to “fire down” a “1,000 year old twinkie” he finds on an empty floor of the L.A. office building in which he is trapped with murderous international thieves.  He’s been running around in his bare feet dodging bullets and crashing through windows for most of the movie, but it is only then we realize the poor guy probably hasn’t eaten since he first got on the plane in New York.  At that point we actually realize how exhausted, beaten up (and hungry!) he must be.

Inglorious Basterds

In Inglorious Basterds,  Jewish heroine Shosanna Dreyfus finds herself alone at a Parisian restaurant with “the Jew Hunter,” Nazi Col. Hans Landa, who murdered the rest of her family when she was a child.  She looks to get away as soon as possible, before he discovers who she is – but Landa insists she join him in a plate of apple strudel while he interrogates her, and seems to enjoy watching her squirm as she grudgingly nibbles at it.

Annie Hall


Next up, “the lobster scene” from Annie Hall.  Here, Woody Allen and Diane Keaton do battle with a pair of feisty lobsters who do not want to go gently into that good night.  The scene illustrates the fun and frivolity of the early stages of Alvie and Annie’s relationship – SPOILER: there are difficult times to come.  The actual eating of the lobsters is not depicted, although it probably would have been pretty amusing to watch.  There is a second “lobster scene” later in the film (also included in the clip) where Alvie attempts to cook lobsters with a new, post-Annie girlfriend.  Clearly, things are not the same.

The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors is a 1988 “escape to nature”/”annoying in-law” comedy starring the late John Candy and Dan Aykroyd (as the annoying in-law).  Throughout the film, Dan Aykroyd’s character antagonizes, belittles, befuddles and causes grievous bodily harm to John Candy, but the most memorable scene is at a restaurant where he dares Candy to consume “the ol’ 96er,” a behemoth 96 oz. “Paul Bunyan” steak which will result in a free meal for both families if entirely consumed (a feat which has not occurred in the waitress’s lifetime).  This scene has a little-heralded but much deserved place in the holy trinity of competitive eating scenes in the movies, which include the pie-eating contest in Stand By Me, and of course Paul Newman’s excruciating consumption of 50 hard boiled eggs in Cool Hand Luke.  Candy’s delirious “meat sweat” is entirely convincing (but feel free to ignore the weak romantic subplot designed to appeal to teenage viewers).

*note: This is not to be confused with the “escape to nature” comedy Funny Farm, where Chevy Chase breaks the local record by eating thirty “lamb fries,” only to find out they are in fact sheep testicles.

Goodfellas

Goodfellas is chock-full of eligible “food” scenes, so I went with the most famous of all, the “dinner in prison” scene.  As Henry Hill explains:

When you think of prison you get pictures in your mind of all those old movies with rows and rows of guys behind bars. It wasn’t like that for wiseguys . . . . everyone else in the joint was doing real time, all together, living like pigs. But we lived alone. We owned the joint.

Here, Paulie famously shaves the garlic for the sauce so thin that it “liquifies in the pan.”  I would not recommend this for anyone who is not incarcerated, as it is extremely time consuming and doesn’t seem to make much difference anyway.

Five Easy Pieces

Another classic “food” scene, the diner scene in Five Easy Pieces is not so much about eating food as much as ordering food, but really it is about the Jack Nicholson character’s late 60’s-era relationship to the regulated society in which he lives, and his frustration in having never really been able to “get his toast” for most of his life. Much analysis of this scene has been written better elsewhere, so I will leave it at that.

*Note: after the scene,  the clip contains some bizarre remix of the scene – for those who have not seen the movie, this is not what actually happens! People on Youtube love to remix things, even 1970s-era dramatic films.

Oldboy

In Oldboy, Oh Dae-su is kidnapped, imprisoned for fifteen years in what looks like a shabby hotel room, and subsists entirely on a diet of fried dumplings and television.  During this time he learns that his wife has been murdered, his daughter sent to live with foster parents, and he is the prime suspect. He is suddenly and inexplicably released, and soon thereafter ends up in a sushi bar, where he demands “to eat something alive.”  In one of the most memorable scenes from the film, he angrily consumes a wriggling octopus whole and passes out face first on his plate.

I am aware that I have merely scratched the surface of memorable movie “food” scenes. Perhaps I will discuss more in future posts.

Move Over, Padma

For those readers who can’t get enough sexy burger eating, this one’s for you

Shame on You For Studying The Science Behind Food Porn

March 14, 2012 4 comments

Yes indeed, we loves us some food porn here at A.O.D., and not least because it drives substantial traffic to our blog.  But apart from the shameful pleasures and tawdry thrills derived from ogling images and video that display food at its most lustful and succulent, do we really understand food porn? Have we bothered to comprehend the cognitive and biological factors that drive us to stare hungrily at sun dappled images of farm fresh garden veggies, or at Padma Lakshmi devouring a cheeseburger, or at the Disney Food Porn Facebook page?

Well, some scientists have concluded that this is all a result of “supernormal stimuli,” a phenomenon in nature in which the features of an object – be it a parent, a mate, or food – are exaggerated to make animal respond more strongly to them. In her book Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose, author Deirdre Barrett discusses how advertisers and fast food companies exaggerate things that we like in order to hijack our emotions and cravings.  The idea is that viewers will react more strongly to images of a food/product where the enticing features have been enhanced – mainly, color and texture, e.g. crispness, moistness, freshness,etc.  Barret’s hypothesis is that everyone knows that fast food is unhealthy, but because its advertisements (TV, print, etc.) are expertly designed to scratch a particular itch, by manipulating our desire  to feed ourselves, we can’t resist eating things like Big Macs or Arby’s Big Montana.

So – courtesy Of Christopher Mims’ article on the SmartPlanet blog, we can share the ultimate food porn experience – a nearly 3 minute montage (actually a music video by the Amsterdam-based DJ Mason) showing food porn/advertiser manipulation at its finest.  Mims claims the video drove him to make lunch immediately, and promises you will be headed to get a snack after viewing it.  So, see for yourself – be sure to crank the volume.:

Supernormal Stimuli got hold of you yet? No? Well, we understand that for some of you, food porn may be more properly used to satisfy some of the more base biological urges. We don’t want to leave you all frustrated, so here are some of the most titillating advertisements we have come across in our long history of exploiting sexual food imagery. Enjoy!

Image

Here’s one that goes well beyond chicks eating burgers, and will assuredly be never aired in the U.S.  However, it is some pretty optimal food porn.

Next up: Hardee’s Monster ThickBurger.  I don’t know how this one escaped my two previous posts on the subject, but in the interests of completing the oeuvre, here you go:

And that finally brings us to the grand prize winner, food porn commercial extraordinaire, blue ribbon, par excellence (warning: may be an ad before this one).

Allegations salutes . . . The Fat Boys

March 13, 2012 1 comment

Here at Allegations we like food, but we also appreciate a good tune, and we pay special attention when the worlds of food and music converge.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, we sit up and take notice.  Occasionally, it happens in the world of Hip Hop – many rap artists have written songs in praise of their favorite foodstuffs.  A Tribe Called Quest famously sang about “Ham & Eggs” (and other foods).  MF Doom devoted a whole album to the subject of food (“Mm…Food”).  There is, however, one Hip Hop group that predates all these efforts.  This group didn’t just write a song about their favorite foods, they adopted food as their identity- fully embraced it as an expression of who they were.  And so, we present a tribute to The Fat Boys, one of Hip Hop’s pioneering ensembles.

Image

Now, by way of full disclosure – The Fat Boys will always be dear to me because their eponymous album (pictured above) was the third album I ever purchased, at the tender age of 8 (it was preceded by “Pac-Man Fever,” and Men At Work’s “Business As Usual”).  This album came two years after Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message,” and came out the same year as Run D.M.C.’s debut album, just to give an idea of its place in the old-school chronology.

The Fat Boys were (from the right), Prince Markie Dee, Kool-Rock-Ski, and The Human Beat Box.  A particular distinguishing feature of The Fat Boys was the percussive verbal stylings of “The Human Beat Box.”  He wasn’t the first to bust a beat with his mouth, or necessarily the best, but he had a distinctive style and was more than capable of carrying a song when the drum machine dropped out.  Importantly, The Fat Boys were not all gimmicks – they were decent rappers as well, they loved food, and they weighed in at a combined 750 pounds.  For a brief period they were movie stars as well.  Although they may be remembered for their star vehicle “Disorderlies,” they had also chewed up the scenery (literally) in a scene from the old school Hip Hop classic “Krush Groove.”  Here, the Fat Boys are enticed by the all-you-can-eat Italian buffet at the Sbarro on 49th St. and Broadway, which inspires them to burst into song.  The Sbarro is still there, I walk by it every day on my way to work (although the buffet, to the best of  my knowledge, is gone) – an unassuming piece of musical history in Times Square.

Now, the “reflections from jail” song is a tried-and-true Hip Hop archetype, where the narrator reflects on what got him into jail, how tough it is in there, and how he has changed as a result.  Rappers have been recording these songs since the dawn of Hip Hop (for historians, see Slick Rick – “Behind Bars,” Ice-T – “The  Tower,” and, of course, Public Enemy – “Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos.”)  The Fat Boys recorded their own “reflections from jail” song, with their own unique spin.  For those with lots of time on their hands (the song clocks in at over six minutes, including an extended instrumental break and piano solo), the video for “Jailhouse Rap” is below:

The Fat Boys have sadly passed into history, but for some, their legacy remains – a testament to an earlier and more innocent time when rap artists could be severely overweight, could beatbox throughout their records, could poke fun at themselves, could stuff  their faces at Sbarro onscreen and rap about how they got sent upstate for breaking into a pizza place and eating every pizza in sight.  Never again will there be a commercially successful hip hop act like The Fat Boys – but for a brief moment in the mid-1980s, they were the coolest cats on the block.  So, we  present this tribute to the Fat Boys.  You will never see them in the Rock-n-Roll, or even the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame (if such a thing existed), but they are an important piece of early hip hop history and, most importantly, they were not afraid to stuff their faces, film  themselves doing it and sing about it.

Cocktail Spotlight: The Flaming Moe

July 21, 2010 4 comments

The harsh glare of our “cocktail spotlight” falls today on the drink made famous in season three, episode ten of The Simpsons – the Flaming Moe (AKA the Flaming Homer).  No longer just a figment of some TV writer’s imagination, the Flaming Moe is actually concocted (and presumably drunk) around the world, although, as you will see, the recipes vary quite a bit.

The underlying problem is this: The “official” recipe for the drink, as described by Homer, is quite vague:

I decided to mix the little bits that were left in every liquor bottle. In my haste, I had grabbed a bottle of the kid’s cough syrup. It passed the first test:  I didn’t go blind . . .  I don’t know the scientific explanation, but FIRE MADE IT GOOD.

However, there seem to be three essential elements: (1) bits of different liquor; (2) cough syrup; and (3) fire.  The following are several variations of the Flaming Moe recipe, which we will examine in turn in an attempt to determine which is closest to the platonic ideal of a Flaming Moe.

First, we have the 20th Century Fox sanctioned recipe, courtesy of the Official Simpsons “Flaming Moe’s Recipe Pint Glass”:

  • 4 oz. Tequila
  • 4 oz. Peppermint Schnapps
  • 4 oz. Creme de Menthe
  • 2 oz. Grape Soda
  • Mix ingredients into a shaker. Strain into a glass and pray.

BLARGGH!  The grape soda is obviously a cop out for liability purposes, since they don’t want to be encouraging any “off-label” uses of cough syrup.  Also, I have a hard time believing this is a serious recipe, based on the ingredients.  Maybe I’m wrong – really, its the Tequila-Peppermint Scnapps combo that gets me. or maybe its Tequila -Creme de menthe.

The next recipe comes from About.com.

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz brandy
  • 1 oz peppermint schnapps
  • 1 oz sloe gin
  • 1 oz blackberry liqueur
  • 1 oz strawberry juice
  • cough syrup

Preparation:

  1. Pour all ingredients except the cough syrup in a highball glass.
  2. Stir.
  3. Add cough syrup.
  4. Ignite and extinguish before drinking.

Certainly a better effort than the one above, it sounds like it might be drinkable, although the cough syrup is bit of a wild card.  It seems like a bit of an afterthought, actually, thrown in just for the sake of the show. First of all, no amount of cough syrup is specified, which will obviously have a huge impact on the drink.  second, no specific flavor or brand is mentioned – there are numerous diferent flavors and types of cough syrup, each of which will react very differently with the other ingredients. Finally, the recipe seems to suggest that the cough syrup will ignite when lit, where it suggests adding it last, without stirring.  I find it very hard to believe that this will happen (although in fairness I am making an assumption).

Basically, this is a fruity cocktail with the second two essential elements (cough syrup, fire) tacked on in a slapdash manner.  Let’s keep going…..

Courtesy of Yahoo Answers

1 shot Kahlua
1 shot Sambuca
1 shot Baileys Irish Cream
1 shot blue Curacao

Pour Kahlua into warmed cocktail glass. Gently pour half Sambuca over back of spoon so it floats on top. Pour the Baileys and blue Curacao into 2 shot glasses. Pour remaining Sambuca into a warmed wine glass and carefully set alight. Pour it into the cocktail glass with care. Pour the Baileys and Curacao into lighted cocktail glass at the same time. Serve with a straw (when the flames die, obviously)

Wha?? Well, pretty complicated and also, where is the cough syrup?? This one seems to have at least gotten two of the essential elements right, and I have a much easier time believing that the Sambuca will burn.  Unlike the first entry, this seems like it might actually be drinkable.  So, not perfect but a better effort.

Okay, this next one, courtesy of Wikibartender.org .

  • 1 oz. Brandy
  • 1/2 oz. Blackberry Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Creme de Menthe
  • 1 oz. Pineapple Juice
  • 1 oz. Sloe Gin
  • 2 tbsp. Grape Cough Syrup (Krusty Non-Narkotik Kough Syrup)
  •  Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add crushed ice and shake well. Strain into cocktail glass. Light on fire.

    This recipe appears to contain all three essential elements, and also looks like it might taste decent.  It gets points for specifying both a flavor and amount of cough syrup. My one complaint (without actually having tasted it) is that I  don’t think you can just light this drink, particularly after shaking it with ice.  But so far the best entry.

    Finally, courtesy of Boise Weekly, this is not a recipe although, if the description is accurate, the underlying recipe deserves an honorable mention.  Although it does not contain any of the essential elements, think of it as sort of an artistic interpretation: 

    Soon after the episode aired, some Finnish bartenders devised a recipe based on the fictional drink. The cocktail, called Salmiakki Koskenkorva, or Salmari for short, is made with a Finnish vodka flavored with ground-up salty licorice candy named Turkish Pepper. This candy contains ammonium chloride, giving the cocktail a black licorice and cough medicine taste. It has the unique side effect of stimulating the salivary glands, an effect similar to Homer’s ability to immediately drool around anything appetizing. The Salmari cocktail had its heyday in the 1990s, creating somewhat of a cocktail revolution in Finland at the time. Today it is apparently still a popular drink for tourists.

    In conclusion: for all aspiring mixologists and stunt drinkers who are determined to try the Flaming Moe, my suggestion, after my extensive research, would be to go with the Wikibartender recipe above.  However – assuming it won’t light, try pouring 151 or some other bad-ass booze very gently over the rounded side of a spoon onto the top of the drink, and then light that.

    I’m Not So Lovin’ It: McDonald’s Boring-Ass Commercials

    July 12, 2010 1 comment

    Let’s face it, McDonalds commercials are pretty boring these days – typically, they either trying to forcibly graft McDonalds food into some of the important moments of life (e.g., “newlyweds eat McDonalds as they paint their new apartment” or “Mom and daughter share a poignant moment over a value meal”), or else they show young, urban, ethnically diverse individuals enjoying some new abomination, like that Big Mac that comes as a wrap. It is all very thoroughly market-tested to give you that warm fuzzy feeling about your life and your Quarter Pounder (the exception, of course, is this bizarre ad pictured on the right).

    McDonalds is in the business of making safe and dull commercials.  And, frankly, based on their massive share of the fast food market, they can afford to do this.  But things didn’t used to be this way.  The following is a brief tour of Mcdonalds advertising in the past, as well as a few international ads that are a bit spicier than what we get in the states.

    The first ad in our series maintains historical significance as it features an earlier, less refined version of Ronald Mcdonald, sort of a first draft, you might say.  He is super creepy, far more so than the 70s/80s era Ronald that we all know and love.  It doesn’t help that the ad keeps constantly referencing the fact that this crazy clown is essentially a stranger accosting a young child on the street and offering him food.  Obviously, the ad wizards at McDonalds had a lot of work to do…..

    Next up is the famous “rapping mcnuggets,” who will be familiar to anyone who watched TV for any period of time in the mid-80s. Here, the nuggets do some rhyming n’ scratching, then Ronald appears and gets down. It is not clear whether this is an attempt at “minority outreach” by McDonalds or if it was just cashing on the novelty of hip hop music to mainstream audiences in the 80s, or both.  However, twenty years later, it looks pretty silly.

    Next up is an ad for McDonalds “Kiwiburger,” presumably broadcast in New Zealand.  I threw this one in here just because it is so unlike any other McDonalds ad I have ever seen.  Basically, a collage of what appears to be images associated with New Zealand sports (cricket, sheepdog trials, etc.), as well as various food porn shots of the burger itself (which does not appear to contain kiwi fruit, as far as I can see).  It also has a catchy jingle and thick New Zealand accent – all in all, pretty lively.

    This ad is from the 70s, and has a sort of trippy “Alice In Wonderland” quality to it, i.e. two young children being escorted by Ronald through a colorful landscape of anthropomorphic trees and fields of burgers. Oh, did I mention that the accompanying jingle is a straight-up 60s-era psychedelic tune (think Donovan or Strawberry Alarm Clock). Far out…..

    Try our Shamrock Shake, It’ll turn you Irish!  My one comment is that I have replayed this many times and I absolutely cannot figure what is going on at the very end of this ad…..any ideas?

    Finally, I posted this in an earlier post about food porn in fast food advertising, but I am re-posting because it is a perfect example of how international McDonalds commercials tend to be much spicier than our domestic ones.  Also, this is for a Japanese sandwich called the “Tomato McGrand” – which appears to be a burger with twice as much tomato.  Also its DEAD SEXY….

    Top Chef Week 3: Flank Steaks At Mt. Vernon

    Top Chef excitement and intrigue continues into week 3! Whose cuisine will reign supreme? Will Kenny finally settle the score with Angelo?  Is Amanda just all talk or does she actually have something to offer? Who exactly is this Alex guy anyway?

    Regular readers will be quick to point out that we missed Week 2. So, here is a short and sweet recap: The Quickfire is “bipartisan sandwich” – chefs have to wear a silly apron that joins them at the hip, and then make a sandwich together, scurrying around the kitchen in unison while using only one hand.  Angelo and Tracey win for their flounder sandwich, Angelo continues his reign of terror. Then, the elimination challenge involves cooking a school lunch within a budget of approximately $2.68 per child – which obviously puts shopping at Whole Foods entirely out of the question (they shop at “Restaurant Depo”). One chef astutely observes that they are being forced to compromise their food to fit within the budget….and that this must be the same problem that school lunch programs have.  Ummm…..YOU THINK?  Anyway, the dishes of note include Amanda’s “chicken thighs with sherry” – yes, she insists on serving sherry to school children, and not only that, but she blows her team’s whole budget on the sherry. Finally, she cooks gross chicken that no one likes.  Anyway, Jacqueline (who cooked grainy chicken liver mousse in Week 1), makes a banana pudding to which she ends up adding two pounds of sugar (!!) because the bananas are starchy. Jacqueline is obviously not cut out for this, her dish tastes gross and is totally unhealthy, so she is kicked off.  Amanda dodges a bullet, she really should have been the one to go.

    So, on to Week 3! First they meet the pastry chef from Jean Georges, and Padma shills for some new upcoming show called “Top Chef: Just Desserts,” which sounds dull and is obviously another attempt to wring as much money as possible from the Top Chef franchise before everyone gets sick and tired of it.  The Quickfire challenge is “pie,” which is actually great because many of these chefs are thoroughly incapable of making a pie.  At judging time, Amanda makes the excuse that she is not a pastry chef, but Jean Georges guy tells her that’s a cop out, since his grandmother isn’t a pastry chef and she can make a pie. Pwned!!  In the end, Kenny finally wins a challenge, for his Bananas Foster Pie, which admittedly looks pretty good.

    So, on to the elimination challenge, which is relatively straightforward – the contestants must cook a “summer picnic” for the Capitol Hill interns, to be served at Mt. Vernon.  Only in D.C.!!  Alex tells us in a cutaway interview that he is looking forward to the challenge because he has “never taken advantage of an intern.”  We’ll have to keep an eye on him. Then its off to Whole Foods, where Amanda’s motto is  “heaven help any women, children or old people in my way” as she tears around the store grabbing things off shelves.  At this point she needs to put up or shut up, IMHO, this sort of faux swagger makes her look like The Biggest Loser.

    So the chefs start their dishes, most of which seem to be grilled flank steak.  Angelo is sure that his Vietnamese beef will land him in the top, and it turns out he is right.  Tracey tries to make sausage, but runs out of time and settles for sausage sliders, which does not bode well for her.  Alex makes pork butt, but Amanda actually takes his food out of the oven while it is cooking because she claims her name was on the oven.  Well, in the words of Chuck D,  there’s a five letter word to describe her character.

    Meanwhile, Alex describes his pork butt dish enthusiastically, stating that “I could eat the ass out of this pig all day.”  He is turning out to be pretty entertaining, but his skills seem limited and he will probably be gone in a week or two.  Apart from that, everyone else seemingly grills flank steak or maybe some ribs, with the exception of an ill-advised bacon-wrapped chilean sea bass  (I mean, what picnic is complete without one?).

    So, in the top four are Arnold, Angelo, Amanda and Ed.  Angelo seems pretty smug about his Vietnamese beef, but it is Arnold who wins this one for his lamb meatball.  I sort of suspect that this will be Arnold’s solitary Elimination victory, so I hope he savored it…but I could be wrong.  Amanda claims that she doesn’t care about winning, just being in the top 4 is enough, which sounds like some BS  to me.  However, in fairness to Amanda, the other chefs raved about her ribs so she seems to gave put a little substance behind her bad attitude, at least for now.  Also, the  judges/producers seem to like her, since they saved her ass last week after the sherry chicken debacle.

    Ultimately Tracey is kicked off for her sliders, after the judges discuss how a ten-year old could have made her dish.  She says she had a bad day, and it cost her.  She is partly right, although she is kind of out of her league in general – however, she was also pretty entertaining so it is too bad to see her go.

    Finally, something that has been bothering me: what the hell is “Food & Wine” magazine? Does anyone actually read this magazine? Not only do we have to hear about it every episode, but we have to put up with Gail Simmons –
    “editor of Food & Wine magazine,” who is kind of obnoxious and adds absolutely nothing to the show.  I guess it’s part of Top Chef’s cross-promotional agreement with Food & Wine that she has to appear on the show, there’s no other good explanation.  I mean, bring back Eric Ripert!  At least he knows what he is talking about, and he obviously makes the contestants very nervous when they half-ass their seafood or french dishes.

    Well, until next week….when TWO contestants are getting kicked off, apparently. In the meantime, if you read and enjoy “Food & Wine” magazine, feel free to let me know in the comments.

    Top Chef Season 7: “Eliminated By Mousse”

    June 18, 2010 2 comments

    Top Chef Season 7 kicked off on Wednesday night – as you may have heard, it takes place in our nation’s capitol which, according to enthusiastic “cheftestants,” is a great restaurant town, full of chefs, etc.  Well, there’s a few – if you are lucky you might come across Jose Andres whipping up a giant paella on a street corner.

    But D.C. does have its own charms, such as cherry blossoms, lovingly photographed in cutaways on the show.  For those who are unfamiliar with D.C., the cherry blossoms are one of D.C.’s main selling points, although they actually exist for about 2 days in April, during which the time the National Mall (and all other areas containing a concentration of cherry trees) is a complete madhouse.

    The show spent a few minutes introducing us to this season’s contestants, nearly all of which seem to be executive chefs of some restaurant or another, and most of which seem to have been voted “best new chef” in some region, or else have received some sort of James Beard Related award/nomination.  Now, honestly, how many freakin’ awards do these James Beard people give out, anyway?  It turns out they give out dozens of awards, including many regional awards, so you can do the math and figure out there are a hell of a lot of James Beard nominees running around out there.  Anyway, there is a lot of name dropping here too, everyone brags that they worked for Bouloud, or Ducasse, or whoever. 

    Notably, we meet Angelo, from Connecticut, who brags about his Michelin Star and is obviously being set up by the producers to be this year’s big arrogant villain/douchebag (although honestly, this doesn’t seem to require much set-up).  We also meet Kenny, who gets props from his co-contestants and tells us that on a scale of 1 to 10, his confidence is 10.  Also, we meet John, a freaky cat with thick glasses and some nappy white-man dreadlocks who tells us he feels like “a stranger in strange land.”

    On to business – Tom and Padma arrive briskly and the Quickfire begins: This is a “basic skills”-type Quickfire – first, peel potatoes, then, break down chickens, finally, brunoise onions – all at breakneck speed.  Kenny dominates each of these challenges, finishing well before any other contestants on each one, and his competitors seem sort of in awe at how much they suck comparatively. This Quickfire actually works quite well as an exercise in humiliation – we’ve just seen all these executive chefs and James Beard nominees bragging about their resumes and now it turns out most of them can’t even chop and onion or peel a potato – at least, not as fast as they’d like.

    The beauty of it is this: You may have worked for Daniel Bouloud or been awarded Most Promising Chef In The Greater Utica Area – but in Week 1 of Top Chef, you’re just another reality TV contestant trying to avoid the door hitting your ass on the way out.

    Anyway, the Top 4 now have to cook a dish using the chopped/peeled ingredients…and oh yeah! There’s a giant table of other ingredients they can use too!  Honestly, it would be far more interesting if they were just limited to potatoes, chicken and onions, but it wouldn’t sell cookbooks or look good on the Bravo website, so we get the usual stuff.  Out of the four, the final showdown comes down to Angelo and Kenny, but Angelo wins, despite Kenny’s clear domination of the knife skills portion of the challenge.  A rivalry is clearly being set up here, Angelo crows about the number of challenges he will win, Kenny says he views Angelo as an “obstacle” and not a threat.

    On to the Elimination Challenge: here, the contestants will divide into groups and cook a dish that evokes the region they are from, and will compete against others in their group.  The top 4 in the previous challenge get to pick their group members, so there is a nice awkward moment where they all start to pick the contestants they figure will suck the most.  Then off to Whole Foods and we get to hear about the crazy concoctions everyone is coming up with.

    At this point, Top Chef becomes an exercise in “guess the failure” – they will focus in a few dishes that have problems and end up in the bottom, and also will throw in a red herring that seems like it is bad but ends up being good.  Tonight we have two obvious contenders – First John tells us how in Michigan, “the maple runs through the trees,” and therefore he is going to make a maple mousse napoleon.  Now, even without further information, this is a disaster in progress – first, dessert is always a bad idea unless part of a larger meal.  Second, a napoleon is pretty old school, not exactly cutting edge cuisine.  Finally, “maple mousse” sounds questionable, and there is always difficult pastry to work with.  So this is clearly going to be a problem.

    Jacqueline tells us she will be evoking the Hudson Valley region with a chicken liver mousse.  Now, this is a dish that will never win a challenge, but if done properly could at least keep you in the middle and out of trouble.  However, she bungles it horribly – first, inexplicably deciding to make a non-fat mousse (“just some egg whites”), and secondly, declining to strain her mousse mixture to make it smooth.  Really, how long would this take, 30 seconds? To her credit she made cute little apple cups, but it hardly matters when they are full of a stringy, coarse mousse that has no richness to it at all.

    Now, I am rooting for Jacqueline because she is a caterer and one of the few contestants who is not constantly bragging about her resume – and I think it would be fantastic for a caterer to rise to the top and beat the pants off all these “pedigreed” chefs.  However, she has to do better than this.  She was the obvious candidate to be dragged before the judges for elimination.  However, John was called too, as his maple mousse was found to be soggy and lack any maple taste.  A sort of red herring thrown out there was a “deconstructed borscht” – long time viewers know that “deconstructed” dishes almost never work, Tom Collicchio always bitches about them whenever they get served.  This one, however, ended up working okay.

    Through the course of the Judge’s grilling, Jacqueline claims that she had made her mousse “hundreds of times,” although she forgot the recipe this time and that’s why the fat didn’t get included.  However, it is also revealed that John had committed one of the cardinal sins of Top Chef – he had bought the puff pastry that he used in his Napoleon, which means essentially all he did was make a bad mousse and sprinkle some nuts over it.  On top of that, the puff pastry is soggy.  Well, that is enough to get him kicked off, and Jacqueline lives to fight another day.

    Again, Kenny and Angelo make it to the final four, and again Angelo wins for his “arctic char sashimi with bacon foam” and some other crap.  “heh heh heh – I win” he cackles in his post-interview.  Right now he is by far the favorite in this competition, but hopefully some other contenders will emerge, because frankly it is boring to have the same chefs in the top 3 week after week, like whats-his-name Voltaggio last year (although in all fairness, he did not win the final competition – but he almost did).

    Shame On You For Looking At Food Porn – Part 2

    June 4, 2010 2 comments

    Happy Friday! What could be a better way to kick off the weekend than with a disapproving yet titillating look at some food porn?  Our previous post on the topic documented a number of sexy advertisements for food.  However,  as one might expect, food porn is everywhere and there is far more than could ever fit in a single post.  So, to start things off, on my right, Paris enjoys a mammoth Carl’s Jr. Burger – although it looks suspiciously as if she is just resting her face on it, rather than taking a giant bite. Not so sexy, Paris.  She obviously needs to take a page from Padma Lakshmi’s book when to comes to sexy burger consumption.

    So, here we see the trend continue – the convergence of food and sex in advertising.  The question remains – where does it all lead?  What are the long term consequences of intertwining sex and food (particularly fast food) in this manner?  The next time I sit and survey the IHOP menu, will I find myself aroused at the the mere mention of “Rooty Tooty Fresh N’ Fruity”?

    So let’s get into it: First up, this is not an ad, but it is certainly food porn.  And not only is it food porn, it is BACON porn.  For those friends of the author who post incessantly about bacon on Facebook, this is for you.

    Girls, eat those salads because “bac-ini” season will be here before you know it……

    Next up, Auntie Anne’s “Dog Du Jour.”  A different approach here……

    This ad is from the fast food burger chain Steer’s, which I am not very familiar with – however, I applaude them for boiling their commercial down to the bare essence of food porn, with no unnecessary attempts at narrative, commentary or structure.

    In this Burger King spot,  a young man finds out that a greasy chicken sandwich can be quite a turn-on when bestowed with unsubtle phallic symbolism.

    I’m not sure where this comes from, but for those who thought that the “bac-ini” was the last word in food porn, this shows just how sexy vegetables can be (may be NSFW if your employer objects to vegetables being rubbed in a suggestive manner).

    And finally, last but certainly not least, we arrive at “Two Girls One Sub,” brought to you by the depraved minds at Quiznos.  This one delivers pretty much exactly what the title promises.  Just as a note, Quiznos is also responsible for the “Toasty Torpedo” commercials featured in our previous food porn extravaganza – who the heck is in charge over there?