Get Me Off This Roller Coaster!

I get up in the morning and while shaving I start contemplating the tax code. I know I’ve mused on this before, but what would we base our government’s income on if we started fresh in 2011 rather than based on accumulation through the centuries?
Yes, this is how I start my day. This is the basis for a blog post. I wake up wanting to write this sort of nonsense.

Then my day goes on and the freedom of thought I woke up with has seized. It’s the natural way of getting through the day.

So then I looked up a primer on a Value-Added Tax (VAT) tonight, just to jump-start the process.

My brain popped. Now I’m going to go eat some leftover pie.

My Pie.

Mmm… pie…

Supreme Talent

I have been catching up with the second series of Top Chef Masters. It is a fundraiser competition starring very high-profile professional chefs. They are already renowned experts in their field. Even as the competition gets tighter, these amazingly talented ladies and gentlemen harbor so little animosity toward one another and lack in overt self-boasting. There is some, but I have a feeling it is egged on by the factors of reality television producers.

It reminds me of times when I was an undergrad. I worked as stage and concert manager for a couple of years, which gave me the opportunity to interact with very, very high-level musicians regularly. And what always struck me was how humble and kind these artists always were.

I never experienced being looked down upon as a little music student. They were more often than not, enjoying being able to perform for an appreciative audience, usually as a fun favor to work their friends, my professors.

I remember the nasty, catty nature of art students. I wanted no part of it, but I succumbed occasionally. The pettiness is abundant. There is a competitive nature to it, music especially seems to strive for that lead position.

But these pros are happy to see one another’s work, enjoy experiencing more, participating more. They don’t bother wearing an “I’m Awesome, Bugger Off” badge around. I just watching in Top Chef, one guy was over his money for ingredients, but even at the end of the competition, other chefs were willing to pitch in their leftover cash so he could get what he needed.

It strikes me that upon reaching that upper echelon, all that petty nonsense disappears. You’ve made yourself, made your career, so now all that’s left is the pleasure of life. How wonderful to be in that place.

Can you be in that place while journeying to the top or not? I don’t know.

Mark Twain on Local Food

A great article about Mark Twain and his love of region specific food:

Whether he was in San Francisco savoring Olympia oysters, rafting down Germany’s Neckar River with a cold beer, or in Hawaii tasting flying fish for the first time, Mark Twain had a love of food that was inseparable from his love of life. Remembering the fried chicken, cornbread, and fresh garden vegetables served on his Uncle John Quarles’s prairie farm, he wrote, brought him nearly to tears. Whenever he recorded in his journal that he’d enjoyed a trout supper, it was certain that he’d ended the day content. And when he recalled stage coaching through the Rockies, he reflected that nothing helps scenery like “ham and eggs … ham and eggs and scenery, a ‘down grade,’ a flying coach, a fragrant pipe and a contented heart—these make happiness. It is what all the ages have struggled for.”

But the joy Twain took from food was most vivid in a long fantasy menu of favorite American dishes he composed towards the end of his 1879 European tour . Having suffered through more than a year of dismal hotel cooking, he wrote down the 85 dishes he said he wanted waiting for him the moment he arrived home. The menu ranged from fresh American produce like butter beans, asparagus, pumpkins, and “green corn, on the ear” to meats like porterhouse steak and broiled chicken to regional dishes like Southern-style hoe-cake and “oysters, roasted in the shell, Northern style.” But of all the fresh, local dishes of his imagined feast, the most deeply rooted , the most inherent to specific American places, were wild.

(Found via The Atlantic Food Channel.)

Any Way You Slice It…

Take a fresh bagel. Slice it in half.
Heat up a small non-stick pan. Put some butter on.

When the butter is bubbling, take a slice of bagel and press it face down in the butter and hear it sizzle.

Once the first slice is done (your call) add a little more butter and press in the second slice.

Eat the bagel.

That’s what I did, and I am happier for it.