Maine and Texas

This one came up on Succession, a fave show. (Had to look it up because I wondered if they were doing a double joke where the guy was attributing Emerson to Thoreau)

Usually I’ll approach with tentative openness the pastoralist, simpler times, “trad” adjacent arguments of weirdbeards but Thoreau here WAY off.  Maine and Texas had TONS to communicate!  Who isn’t happy Maine and Texas can check in?  (Saying this as a Maine fan whose wife is from Texas, fond of both states and happy for their commerce and exchange).  Plus, if Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough, I WANT to hear that, that’s interesting goss!

The “broad flapping American ear” there — a snooty New England/aristocrat attitude we haven’t heard the last of.  These guys are the original elites.  There’s really two classes in America: Americans, and The People Who Think They’re Better Than Americans.  Though they’re a tiny minority the second group wields outside power and influence over the first group.  I’m a proud member of the first group though I admit I have second group tendencies due to my youthful indoctrination in the headquarters of these Concord Extremist Radicals, in fact at their head madrassa.

When you hear America assessed by Better Thans / eggheads, wait for the feint toward fatshaming.  It’s always in there somewhere.  American Better Thans adopted this from Europeans, whom they slavishly ape.  It’s a twisted attitude, designed to take blame away from the Better Thans and their friends in the ownership.

As if it’s Americans fault that they’ve been raised associating corn-based treats with love and goodness!  Or that corn-fatted meat is the easiest accessed protein on offer!  You think that’s more the Americans fault, or the fault of the Better Thans, who manipulate our food system with their only goal creating shareholder value?

Is it the fault of the American that a cold soda is the best cheap pleasure in the hot and dusty interior where they don’t all have Walden Pond as a personal spa?

Thoreau.  Guy makes me sick.

In researching this article I learn about Maine-ly Sandwiches, of Houston.

 

 


Menyosi the glutton

The King [Dingaan, of the Zulus] loved display.  He surrounded himself with plump women, jesters and dwarfs.  He liked to show off his famous glutton Menyosi, who could eat a whole goat in a single meal

from

which I’m finding highly entertaining and informative.  Jan Morris, what a boss.

 


Good food

up in Canada. I’d tell you the name of the restaurant but you’d think it was a joke.


Sandwich I’m still thinking about

BBQ Beef:

When you are at Craig’s you are on the Arkansas Pie Trail:


Tchoupitoulas

po’boys at Domilie’s

There are many famous and intriguing streets in New Orleans – Royal, Esplanade, Canal, Basin, Magazine, St. Claude Avenue, St. Charles Avenue, Chartres – but a street that caught my interest is Tchoupitoulas.

Traveled this street while on my way back from Domilise’s, which David Chang once claimed serves the coldest beer in the world.

Could be!

Tchoupitoulas runs alongside the Mississippi.  There is an enormously long, apparently vacant structure that runs along the river and the railroad tracks.

I asked a bartender at Cavan in the Irish Channel about this structure.  She told me it’s a set of wharves and warehouses, many of them still privately owned.  It was said, according to her, that somewhere under this place Marie Laveau had once had her voodoo church.

based on a drawing, now lost, by George Catlin

“The Wild Tchoupitoulas” were a band of Mardi Gras Indians, who in 1976, with the help of the Neville Brothers and some members of The Meters, recorded an album based on their chants.

Viewers of Treme will recall that Steve Zahn’s character and his girlfriend Annie Tee have a discussion when they move in together about whether they need to keep both of their two CDs of The Wild Tchoupitoulas.

Next time I’m on Tchoupitoulas I’m going to visit Hansen’s Sno-Bliz.


Food scene in Papeete, Tahiti

It is one of the world’s great ports of call, comparing with nostalgic and wonderful names like Rangoon, Singapore, Shanghai, Valparaiso and Acapulco.  Yet it is grander than any of these, for at Papeete the ships of many seas dock right along the main street.  From the stern of a Hong Kong junk to the post office is twenty yards.  From the bowlines of a San Pedro yacht to the bank is one city block.  Without qualification I can say that the waterfront of Papeete, with Moorea in the background, is unequaled.

Yet many visitors despite Papeete.  They have no words strong enough to descrive its shanties, its poor water, the crowded alleys, honky-tonks, bootleg opium, wildcat gambling and rapacious prices.  They say, “You hear about the glamorous beaches, but you can’t find one where the average yokel is allowed to swim.”  Such critics leave in a hurry and complain endlessly to friends back home that “everyone who ever wrote about Tahiti from Pierre Loti to Frederick O’Brien is a liar.”  As a much-disappointed frined of mine said, “Papeete?  What a bust!  Tia Juana without tequila.”
There is much to the comparison, for Papeete does resemble a Mexican border town, not so dirty along the main streets, dirtier in the alleys. To those who insist that all picturesque towns look like Siena or Stratford-on-Avon, Papeete will be disappointing, but to others who love the world in all its variety, the town is fascinating.  My own judgment: any town that wakes each morning to see Moorea is rich in beauty.
So says James Michener in:
More:
I like the cluttered streets and the neat parks, the narrow alleys and the wide verandahs, the jumbled stores each with some one unpredictable thing for sale “En Vente Ici.  Dernier Arrivage.  Campbell Soup.”  I like the noisy poolrooms, the perfume shops, the policemen on rickety bicycles, the Chinese dress shops with sewing machines whirring like mad, the dreadful hotels, the worse ice-cream stands and the happy faces.  It has been aptly said of Papeete, “It drives Englishmen, schoolteachers and efficiency experts crazy.”  There is something childishly delightful about every aspect of the place.  One movie house advertises the Hunchback of Notre Dame as “Supersensational, Archiformidable, Hyperprodigieux!!!!” Whereupon the competition states baldly of Rene Clair’s Le Million: “The best motion picture in the world.”
In Michener’s day it was pretty hard to get to Papeete.  He even discusses how hard it was to get a visa.  But in the early 1960s the French, needing an international airport to service their nuclear test site in the Gambiers, built one in Papeete.
Now Tahiti is a direct flight from LA.  The prevailing winds blow from LA towards Tahiti, making this a pretty attractive sail, easy enough that it’s called The Cocoanut Milk Run.

One thing I was surprised by in Papeete was how much I liked the food.  The market is full of fresh, wonderful stuff.

There you can get a baquette stuffed with meat (pork or chicken) and french fries.

At night the roulettes are the place to be.

Peugot food trucks.

The staple is poisson cru, a cocoanut milk ceviche.  Grilled mahi mahi seen here, too.

Further out of town you can buy a boiled breadfruit:

Nourishing but it needs a little something.  Salt’s a good start.

 

 


Breakfast inequality

saw this on Bloomberg, but I don’t think it really tracks.  Maybe just the specific combination of regular milk, one egg, two slices of toast, and one fruit, an ideal of breakfast we can probably say evolved in Europe, is just easier to get in North America and Europe than it is in sub-Saharan Africa?

As Bloomberg notes:

Bloomberg picked the four food items based on widely available commodities that allow for price comparisons globally. What people across the world actually eat for their first meal of the day varies from egg-and-potato tacos in Mexico City to fried pork buns in Shanghai to cooked fava beans in Cairo.

Damn all those sound good.

In my own experience trying to get breakfast in Latin America or Asia, you might not be able to get milk, an egg, two slices of toast, and one fruit, but you can easily and inexpensively get say pupusas or a tasty medu vada or something.

Still, the point they are going for, worth considering:

The 30 cities with the least affordable breakfasts were largely concentrated in South America, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa. Many of these regions suffer from food insecurity, or limited access to affordable and nutritious food, which can lead to additional problems such as disease and even death.

In Accra and Lagos, the two cities with the least affordable food prices, the standard breakfast would take more than 2 hours of work to purchase. The index would show an even more staggering disparity if Caracas were included. However, due to hyperinflation and the complex currency situation, that nation’s capital was excluded from this year’s list.