Merci France, pour les déssins rigolo Friday, Jan 9 2015 

A tribute to balls cartoonists. Nope, Charlie Hebdo is not dead.

A tribute to ballsy cartoonists.
Nope, Charlie Hebdo is not dead.

I can’t say for sure if the dozen who lost their lives this past Wednesday in the merciless attack on Charlie Hebdo are heroes;  at least by French and European standards.  Personal heroes perhaps.  They did their jobs, aware of the consequences –particularly the editor in chief and the cartoonists- but there is nothing heroic about enjoying and using the expressive liberties bestowed upon the French.  Courageous perhaps in their resilience after condemnation from extremist threats and firebombs and while they were proponents of freedom, they certainly didn’t save any lives.  By contrast, in America, too often the pasty notion of a hero  is a commoner who died,  passively maybe, statistically probably shot, and their legacy –whatever it may be- is emboldened with the coronation of a flimsy hero’s ribbon crown and sensationalized salute by special cable news drama. Americans think the caricature of French surrendering is a good rib-tickler, but US media is a blue ribbon pussy by comparison.

Oui nide iou.

Oui nide iou.

When Charlie Hebdo poked our abhorrent collective enemy in the eye with a pencil, the only camaraderie we can muster  is to shit our pants and paste pictures of dead people on the front page, though yes, we allow assholes to speak their mind on the back page, with Ziggy trying to get a break in between.


The members of Charlie Hebdo were champions of the freedom of expression which we seem to value just as much over here, but the dingle-douches on the Supreme Court  have obstensibly hobbled freedom of speech with US$ shackles and we use it to oppress others rather downhill rather than goofing on those who rule and threaten us (Mitch McConnell turtle jokes nothwithstanding) .  In America, freedom of speech is about money, using it to vilify the 99% and the repulsive cowardice of the American media at large in saluting and defending the liberties which people died practicing is a spineless bow to executives fearful of losing advertising dollars, be they on the NYTimes, CNN, WSJ, Comedy Central (censuring South Park) , MSNBC, etc…  Those vile outlets could have published any one of the more mild cartoons as a noble gesture of compassion and brotherly support, but instead that splashed pictures of a wounded officer seconds before he was shot in the head, and if you have something electric it is in video.  It is important to understand that Charlie Hebdo wasn’t goofing on Islam in particular just for sport.  They lampooned the extremist fringe’s revered yet invisible icon that they demands subjugation and the killing  of innocent thousands. Charlie Hebdo has social merit but no seething hatred

"Laughing Kills"

“Laughing Kills”

If there were a cartoon to lampoon the courage of American freedom of expression, it would be a quixotic fat cowboy with an assault rifle riding a dollar sign straining under the weight.  And that fat cowboy would be charging towards abortion clinics.  We use freedoms to pummel what is otherwise plenty acceptable in the rest of the civilized world.

"Communism soon... so we can laugh a bit."

“Communism soon…
so we can laugh a bit.”

We censure breasts  and “shit” on standard TV but footage of senseless violence with the bright red “discretion”  lure is just as American as processed reduced fat gluten-free apple pie.  In this case the press celebrated the dead with graphic neon head shots of how they died rather than, ironically, not publishing the pictures of their very little foreign brothers’ cartoon paper.

No comment...

No comment…

I’ve always been an incorruptible,  steadfast wet-panties cheerleader for Francophilia (except matters concerning their clumsy grasp of the internets) and while saddened by the events which will no doubt foment and ferment already sour relations between a majorly peaceful Muslim population and the secular French, the patriotic call to arms against tyranny,  rebellious satire’s “theme song” and France’s national anthem “La Marseillaise” always gives me exhilarating chair de poule. France has an epic tradition of food culture, but comics also rule the day, notably the goofy, sexually irreverent scribbles like Édika, Gotlib, Reiser, and the triumphant Fluide Glacial that are the hallmark syllabi of mine and every other’s Gallic youth.


Merci France, pour les déssins rigolo et bandant.

Un Crime Contre les Dessins de Charlie Hebdo Thursday, Jan 8 2015 

Charlie Hebdo

Ducks (French slang for newspapers) will fly higher than guns.

Ducks (French slang for newspapers) will fly higher than guns.

Media outlets in the US who consider themselves to be noble, almost essential stewards of the news were far too happily to show video up until the moment wounded Muslim police officer Ahmed Merabet was executed on the sidewalk, then blurring the shot to the head for a second, and then continuing.  What the cowardly major news dispensers were reluctant to do, was to shirk away from journalistic solidarity and publish the scribbled sophomoric cartoons that perpetuated the murders.  Well, except for the HuffPo, which is just news flavored junk-food.

Stéphane Charnonnier.   Charlie Hebdo editor in chief.

Stéphane Charnonnier. Charlie Hebdo editor in chief.

It is appalling, infuriating, an injustice and affront to those who proudly preserve the fundamental right, since antiquity of satire and more recently, free speech as it relates to goofing on the king, queen, God, Jews, Italians, Obama and even Mohammad in the spirit of provoking thoughtful laughs.  Though crude, irreverent, hilarious and out of context nonsensical, political cartoons are critical parodies intended to question the status quo rather than senseless efforts to offend the self righteous.  Even Nazi sympathizers got a shout out.

Lucille Clerc

Lucille Clerc

If the extremely fundamentalist Islamic dipshit misanthropes sought to snuff out Charlie Hebdo with their triggerfinger expedition, they didn’t think it through and cut the starfish.  Instead of a 60,000 circulation, next Wednesday’s will be printed 1,000,000 times and what was once a somewhat obscure, esoteric  comedy newspaper  now a world-wide cause célèbre.  Suck it Al Qaeda.  It blew up in your face.

Charlie Hebdo needs a veil!

Charlie Hebdo needs a veil!

Having been a senior writer for the pioneering DC based literary-ish ‘zine of sorts “Gluttony Digest”  in the mid 2000’s, we were fortunate enough to have the charmingly perverted pencilwork of Trenton Duval (no relation to Robert Duvall).  In his 2007 oeuvre “A Quaker feels his oats”, the Quaker Oats guy is sodomizing a gimp with a ball gag, drinking whiskey and shooting a clearly labeled box of live puppies.  Eagle-eyes art enthusiasts will notice the shock lines emanating from the gimp, and appreciate the smooth, synergetic ying-yang thing going on where the Quaker’s belly meets the gimp’s butt.  Not sure if we were ahead of the curve, or the fray, or behind it, or what that curve/fray is/was, but we lived through the Quaker fury and praise their decidedly unbelligerent ethos.

A Quaker feels his oats.

A Quaker feels his oats.

So lets see what the all the Allah-Hubbub is all about.  (Editor’s spoiler alert note: if you don’t speak French they probably aren’t very funny, save for the cartooney googly eyes on Mahomet. So I translated them and you can prepare to chuckle.)

100 lashes if you don't die from laughter.

100 lashes if you don’t die from laughter.

Mohammad overcome by the extremists. "its hard to be liked by assholes."

Mohammad overcome by the extremists.
“its hard to be liked by assholes.”

"Killing in Egypt" The Coran is shit; it doesn't stop bullets.

“Killing in Egypt”
The Coran is shit; it doesn’t stop bullets.

"And my butt cheeks, so you like them?"

The movie that embarrasses the Muslim world.  “And my butt cheeks, so you like them?”

"Charlie Hebdo please". "Take off your mask Mohammad, he recognized you."

“Charlie Hebdo please”.
“Take off your mask Mohammad, he recognized you.”

And for the Christian zealots who shoot up abortion clinics and feel left out, there’s even a few cartoons for you.

The father, the son and the holy spirit.

The father, the son and the holy spirit.

Dinner of Jerk. "Dinner is served!"

Dinner of Jerks.
“Dinner is served!”

Mohammad and satire Jesus- "you'll see, you get get used to it."

Mohammad and satire
Jesus- “you’ll see, you get get used to it.”

A la Dèche Entre DC et New York. Thursday, Jan 1 2015 

Down & Out in DC and New York


This blog burgeoned 7 years ago in an effort to better myself as a professional (paid) cook and amateur shutterbug.  It forced me to document fabrications, to be accountable, creative, and as with all theory & practice, trials & flubs, all the muck ups and successes that helped define the thresholds of culinary science –the limits and proportions of heat, time, water,  faith, salt, fat, protein, starch, hope, expectations and confidence.  I made some good things. With passion and soul. At times consistently delicious and a satisfying measure of technique and skill.  And some were awful shit salads, more so after comparison to the work of others, notably those with a finer control of the shutter and access to some of the best product.

Joe Henderson's Randall-Linebacks.  Berryville, VA.

Joe Henderson’s Randall-Linebacks. Berryville, VA.

I was grateful to have been the 1st and so far only American to have been selected as a finalist for the World Pâté Croûte Championship in Tain l’Hermitage, France.  It was the proudest I’d ever been of my work, being chosen.  Validation of sorts, even if it cost me a fortune to get there and I had the misfortune of making 3 pâtés at once in my home oven.  I didn’t do that well, but learned a tremendous amount and since am very confident of my fabrications thereof, though its been a while since I’ve made them on a regular basis.  I put all the effort I could muster in presenting a worthwhile offering for the Cochon 555, but didn’t get any credit and lost to a someone who bested me by making dopey T-shirts and deli hats.

Tubesteaks at Biancardi's.  Arthur Avenue; The Bronx, NYC.

Tubesteaks at Biancardi’s. Arthur Avenue; The Bronx, NYC.

I don’t think there are too many people making whimsical pâté en croûte, crepinettes, pressed ham in aspic, stuffed shad, a proper aïoli (garlic and olive oil, little else.  Its not a mayonnaise) in the DC area, if any, and it is either a testament to it being hopelessly outdated, not enough cooks who are interested in making it or consumers don’t care for it. Too few know what a real bisque is, or the trifecta of cassoulet, true brandade, and a few other tales of culinary history and folklore.  Never sold too many boudin either, or jambonneau. I spent a great deal of time and energy making telegraphs in an age of cell phones. I was often told that hard work would pay off. I had some decent reviews as a bona fide chef, but the one in the paper was a favor from a used up crony critic to the owner who he is chummy with and barely ate anything of note.  And praise from friends is exactly what you’d expect, from friends.  The bosses weren’t making the money they had hoped for and I was presented with the non-negotiable option of changing course, cutting staff and limiting the menu, or else.  Rather than compromise on my standards and repertoire I chose “else” and jumped ship, swimming, or at least treading water, in the direction of integrity.  I went to Mexico with a dear friend and got the chance to go home for Jewish/Swedish-Christmas.

Soppressata ceiling.  Calabria's, Arthur Avenue.  The Bronx, NYC

Soppressata ceiling. Calabria’s, Arthur Avenue. The Bronx, NYC

So all the hard work never paid off.  I’ve begun to come to terms with it.  Maybe it wasn’t my time and I made bad decisions.   I begin 2015 somewhat unemployed, relegated to a temporary prep-cook job for a NYC empire making 15 gallon batches of chili and soulless soup for a brand name that fraudulently sells commodity feedlot beef as “grass fed“.  I’ll go back to DC in a fortnight with some hay in the loft but no job prospects.  If I am reduced to line cooking at age 40 I’ll have to start all over again since that kind of dip on a résumé for a chef job is more likely to inspire caution rather than excitement.  What I’d really want is to run a food shop though, and sell my wares with pride and integrity, but that requires partners and people with capital, neither of which I have.

Split lamb.  Arthur Avenue Market.  The Bronx, NYC.

Split lamb. Arthur Avenue Market. The Bronx, NYC.

Maybe I should have sold out earlier and taken a higher paying higher profile job with a PR company to boot which would keep me at the forefront on all the gossipy dribble and StarChefs starfuckers.  Or perhaps I’m just bitter, because my fish pie didn’t make the rising star cut and something out of a can with raw onion and peanuts did.  I should follow trends more closely and highlight such unsavory food qualifiers on menus that conjure food that is inedible as “burnt”, “fermented”, “sour”, “foraged from a vacant lot”, etc… I’m not motivated to make things at home like I used to be.  The kitchen is smaller and more cluttered and I’ve made just about all that I wanted, and whatever was worth the effort.  I might just apply to art school after all.

5 Deciembre fish market.  Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

5 Deciembre fish market. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

It is easy to be cynical, albeit emotionally draining. DC has a 20% poverty rate and is littered with trash; America’s public transportation system, crumbling infrastructure and energy grid is 30 years behind Western Europe (at least); about 1% of the US population is in prison (we have 25% of the world’s prison population); we have more fat people; more guns; too much pollution; religious zealots in elected office; college education is by and large unaffordable; the food system is all fucked up; campaign finance reforms only benefit the wealthy; the Supreme Court has bigots on the bench (which is a good representation of overall American bigotry); commercial real estate landlords are greedy parasites who deserve syphilis; there is only 1 independent quality bakery in the nation’s capital (in a city of 600,000); the poor are vilified by a majority of elected officials; the right to vote is infringed upon with absolute impunity; wealth disparity is the highest it’s ever been and we elect people who plan on keeping it that way; we don’t know what quality is outside of electronics that are obsolete in 6 months; we are cheap, impatient, shallow and overall prefer the reassurances of an awful chain food store/restaurant rather than the Mom & Pop local whatever that the same want, in theory, but won’t pay for in practice. And our interwebs is slower and more expensive than in western Europe.

Thank you to the few, lonely, random visitors and perverts who came up with blog with the intentions of learning a thing or 2 about making fancy meatloaf and getting me to click on SPAM.  I’ve been on vacation for the better part of the last 2 months and will reflect on the better parts of that time.  In the upcoming year I resolve to be more judgmental and ornery.  I’m going to do more bicycling, read some historical stuff and catch up on crappy TV.

Thanksgiving 2014, as seen through 1914 spectacles.

Turkey consommé Dubarry.

Turkey consommé Dubarry.

Turkey Wellington.  Breast and forcemeat, bound in collard greens.

Turkey Wellington. Breast and mushroom forcemeat, bound in collard greens.

Pasty English pastry.

Pasty English pastry.

A golden bird.

A golden bird.



Turkey salmis, Jansson's temptation, oyster stuffing.

Turkey salmis, Jansson’s temptation, oyster stuffing.

Roasted turkey leg salmis.  Picked, with gizzards, turnips, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and kabocha squash.

Roasted turkey leg salmis. Picked, with gizzards, turnips, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and kabocha squash.