CHEAP EATS On my last night at my mom's house, Jean Gene the Frenchman brought over a pile of greens from the garden where my sisters live. It was starting to get dark, so I had to wash and chop in a hurry. No electricity. Read more »
CHEAP EATS In the picture she is wearing a loose white gown, and her hair is white, and so are her eyebrows. In one hand, in her lap, she is clutching a white handkerchief, and upon the middle finger of her other hand, a monarch butterfly has landed. My grandmother is holding this butterfly to her puckered lips, as if to kiss it.
We didn't want her to have a heart attack, so I would wear jeans and a loose T-shirt and put my hair in a pony tail. What we talked about was chickens. On the phone, in person ... chickens. Read more »
CHEAP EATS I'm back in the woods! To get here I had to ask my ex-pickup truck one last favor: get me there. Here. It was the middle of the night. We were loaded down with all of my clothes and musical instruments, and I was singing (a capella, of course) that old World War II song "Coming In on a Wing and a Prayer."
Remember: my car dies every now and again for no good reason and stays dead for an hour or more at a time. First gear had been hit-or-miss for many months, then mostly miss. Read more »
CHEAP EATS Fish chili is still chili. Everyone else was wondering or grumbling, but there was never any question in my mind. Fish chili is chili. It just is. If you call a thing a thing, then it is what it is. Ask Popeye.
It was chili because it had chiles in it, or chili powder, and because it was at a chili cook-off and, most important, because the guy who made it called it chili. We live in a free country, and even if we didn't, fish chili would be chili.
CHEAP EATS What's this? I have finally bumped up against something that I can't write about. Well, maybe if I ... Nope, can't write about it. I ... goddamn it! Except to say that I can't write about it, I can't write about it.
So you know it's not sex, because I write about sex. At the risk of desecrating the food section, I have written about my own poo. I have written about my dates, at the risk of not being asked out again. Read more »
CHEAP EATS Gatorgator, my guest for dinner, asked to know some things about the chicken we were about to eat, so I set down my fork and started talking. It was almost like Grace. There was a very simple chicken broth with just pastina and scallions, à la Grandma Leone. And there was chicken pie, à la me. Gatorgator is vegetarian.
As you know, one of my favorite things in life is feeding meat to vegetarians. I love it when their taste buds go ding. Read more »
CHEAP EATS It was a cooking party. The theme was mint. Sockywonk made peppermint ice cream sandwiches. I made bò tái chanh, that Vietnamese raw beef salad that I love. There was minty lamb, minty pork, salads with mint, shrimp cold rolls (with mint), and, of course, mint juleps and mojitos.
Earl Butter brought toothpaste.
The eating happened on a roof in the Tenderloin, and we did not catch the roof or the building or the neighborhood on fire. Although coals did spill. It's the strangest thing. Read more »
CHEAP EATS We sat on a rock wall with our legs dangling over the lake. I didn't have shoes on. Ducks came around, geese flew low over the water, the lights across the way twinkled, and buildings slowly disappeared as we ate that salad.
It was a pretty famous salad, with halved cherry tomatoes and chunked up cheese in it. Unlike a lot of salads, this one had been in a feature story in the Guardian, even before it happened. Not that it was a main player in the story, but it was there: educational, artistic, and conceptual. Read more »
CHEAP EATS They said we could stay and eat, but most of the band already had plans for dinner, and loved ones to eat it with, and East Bays to be in, etc. Me and Earl Butter, city dwellers, poor fucks, hungry, looked at each other. We looked at our hostess, and I popped the question: "What's for dinner?"
By the book, beggars aren't supposed to be choosers. But did I say we were beggars? No. I said we were poor fucks. We were invitees, and you have to be careful at these places. Read more »
At Cowgirlpalooza, I ate four bowls of gumbo. I'm not bragging, just setting a scene a scene featuring the smell of gumbo and the flavor of gumbo, with heart-shaped corn bread and phallic biscuits that were possibly supposed to resemble guitars or banjos or drumsticks but, uh, didn't. Read more »