Friday, April 22, 2011

Everybody's a Critic

We have a potluck occasion coming up, and after the usual amount of excessive online and offline research, agonizing, changing my mind, and considering the problem from all possible angles - you might think I was trying to broker a peace agreement in the Middle East - I decided on my version of Chicken Brunswick Stew.

I was determined it was going to be all chicken, because my friend and co-counsel, Charles, eats neither beef nor pork, and somehow most of my recent contributions to the office luncheon contained beef and pork.  So Brunswick stew it was going to be.  Until the menu changed, and I had to start thinking in terms of side dishes, things to accompany pizza.  I love pizza.  So I'll have to do some additional agonizing this weekend, but in the meantime, I'm still hooked on Brunswick stew.  So I decided to make it anyway for my home boys.

Before I moved down south, I had never tasted Brunswick stew.  The first Brunswick stew I ever tasted was my own, from Paula Deen's recipe.  I tweaked it a bit to my taste, and I've used that recipe ever since.  The first time I ever tasted Brunswick stew cooked by someone else was at a restaurant on Long Island, and I decided mine was better.  I couldn't begin to comment on the authenticity of either recipe, I just knew what I liked.

So in preparation for buying the necessary ingredients, I pulled up Paula Deen's original recipe on my iPhone, and made the mistake of reading reviews that had been posted at the Food Network site.  Most of the negative reviews had to do with what they considered to be The Lady's lack of authenticity.  Since it has never been absolutely determined if Brunswick stew originated in Brunswick, Georgia, or Brunswick County, North Carolina, or even New Brunswick, New Jersey, I don't think there is such a thing as "authentic" Brunswick stew, but these people carried on like Paula had sullied the reputations of southern cooks everywhere.  By the time I was done, I had read a whole bunch of variations, corrections, and resurrections, and feeling puckish, I used all of them.  Once I had the stew heating on the stove, I spent the better part of an hour tasting, seasoning, re-tasting and re-seasoning to get what I wanted.  I got Rob in on the tasting, as he's got a good palate, and finally got it the way he liked it.  I think I prefer my original version, but Rob said he likes the new one a little bit better.  So I'm going to give you both of them, and you decide. Check the recipe site later today or early tomorrow. One thing I can absolutely assure you is that neither one of them is authentic.

In other news ... the Eleventh Doctor is growing on me.  I still think he's weird-looking, but his acting isn't half-bad. 

Yesterday, the temperature in my car hit an all time high:

We are still under siege from The Attack of the Wild Turkeys:

And "Americans are more pessimistic about the nation's economic outlook and overall direction than they have been at any time since President Barack Obama's first two months in office, when the country was still officially ensnared in the Great Recession, according to the latest New York Time/CBS News poll."

So, are we now unofficially ensnared in the Great Recession?  Has the Great Recession been downgraded to a Good Depression?  I still don't understand how economists have concluded that the Great Recession is over.

And from the "better late than never" department:

"President Barack Obama announced Thursday that his administration will investigate to see if fraud or manipulation in oil markets is behind the sharp increase in gasoline prices.

"We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain," Obama said at a town hall meeting in Reno, Nev.

He said a government task force under Attorney General Eric Holder would "root out any cases of fraud or manipulation in gasoline prices, "and that includes the role of traders and speculators.""    

What was he waiting for?  By the way, I remember what the gas prices were in January when we drove to New Orleans and Dallas ... guess what, the prices have gone up a dollar a gallon in the past 3 months, not just the past year.  We are bleeding out here, and he's taking a walk in the Rose Garden, so to speak.  Mr. President, it is about time you did something about this!  Of course it is fraud and price fixing and all other sorts of illegal stuff.  Have you looked at oil company profits? Hello, wake up and smell the coffee!

And speaking of coffee, I think I just barely have enough caffeine in my system to allow me to open my eyes and breathe.  Breathing is good, eye opening highly overrated ...

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