Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My vegetarian friends will excuse me...

If you've read this far but you practice a vegetarian lifestyle, you have my total respect and admiration, but the rest of today's blog will not interest you at all, as it concerns wardrobe choices for Matthew McConnaughey's training staff, a helpful sampling of ideas for mixing paint colors at home, and a couple of dozen photographs of Richard Nixon, from gridiron glory to White House disgrace.  Pretty boring stuff, and I'm going to write it as soon as I can and then take a nap.  We'll see you tomorrow, ok?
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They add butter just because butter.
All right, carnivores.  We've talked before about Joseph Mitchell, the great writer for The New Yorker who wrote about a dream that somehow eluded him and then quit writing about anything from 1964 until his death in 1996, although he still went to work every day.  Very sad story, but in his better days he wrote marvelously about all sorts of things, one of which is the New York custom of "beefsteaks" - not a piece of steak, but a party devoted to the avid consumption of grilled meats.  I recommend that you read the article, reproduced on the smokinjoesbbq website, remembering, as you read, that it was written in the different world that was 1939...

I just stumbled across this article from The New York Times from 2008, and so we know that the custom survives in New York and New Jersey (insert Chris Christie joke here.)  In Baltimore, we call them bullroasts, and they might also feature oysters fried, steamed or raw, but the concept is still the same...you get together with some friends and family, and for 50 bucks you chow down in royal fashion.

Happier than they would appear to be
In spring and fall, Baltimore is also the place for turkey and oyster dinners at volunteer fire companies, church halls, veterans' posts, and "wherever particular people congregate," as the packs of Pall Malls used to say.  "In Hoc Signo Vinces" is how they said it in Latin, but I don't know that they'd have a Baltimore-style bull roast in old Rome.  And speaking of ancient days, Mr Mitchell points out that men would wear their older suits to these affairs, because they used no silverware, the meat being served in slabs on lightly-toasted bread, and so grease spots on the old herringbone were inevitable. Now, of course, if a guy gets beef goo on what he wore to the bullroast, why, he can always get another T-shirt that says, "Without ME, it's just AWESO!"

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