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November 25, 2008

When Preparing Thanksgiving Meals

i hope you'll pardon me because (and perhaps this is 'cause I'm a wee bit Irish) I'm a bit of a potato snob. I've seen some awful things done in the name of potatoes and I've become a bit of a crusader against those blasphemies. Potatoes are awesome. Not just the watered-down over-used word "awesome", but actually AWE-SOME. They fill me with awe. Potatoes are so cool I've bumped them up a food category into Meat. If you think about it, "meat and potatoes" seems alittle redundant to you anyway, doesn't it?

Wait, we were talking about crimes against potatoes...

Potato crimes. The worst of which is when people interchange "sweet potatoes" for potatoes. First of all, they're not "sweet potatoes", they're YAMS. Potatoes are potatoes, yams are yams, and never the twain shall meet. There's no substitute for potatoes -not the name, not the ingredient. You can't just point to some sugar and say: "Pass the sweet salt, please." No. It is what it is, it's not what it's not. There's no such thing as "sweet potatoes".

Sometimes people will mash their potatoes. They'll peel away that nutrition-packed outer layer, mush the rest up, and then serve it with >ack< some sort of gravy over it. Jeebus. That's an abomination. There's no reason to Throw Away the skin of a potato. Just wash it. No big deal -unless you're some kind of o'phobe. The other best part of potatoes is their texture, the firmness of it. If you want mush, then go eat some babyfood. Adults ap-pre-ci-ate character in their potatoes. The worst of the mashed potatoes though are when people have the gall to use so-called "instant" potatoes. WTF?! Who would disintegrate a potato and then bother reintegrating it unless they were on the Starship Enterprise or the Oregon Trail? Come on! Seriously. Remember: there's no substitute for potatoes -not the name, not the ingredient.

French fries are cool though. Well, french fries are fine if they're thick, but those thin little potato sticks are pretty terrible. And if you're British (or even French), I'd prefer that you started calling them "french fries" instead of "chips". It's in the interest of vegetable unity. When some Londoner or Dubliner calls out for fries, you're going to confuse us if you use the word "Chips". Chips are a different beast altogether.

Actually, most potato chips are terrible -especially Pringles (sorry, Proctor& Gamble Co.). i dunno what it is, but it seems like "chipping" them just drains the life right out of 'em. Apparently i believe that potatoes should be firm, but not crisp. Yes. That's it. Well, there can be, like, a crisp on your Potatoes Au Gratin, but they shouldn't be a dry, crisp husk like a chip or a stick. If you want a chip, you really should be going for a salsa chip or a cracker or something. I'm just saying. Obviously potato chips are pretty popular though, so this one isn't necessarily a rule or anything. I'm just saying. And don't you Europeans call 'em "crisps" either. They're chips. Sure, they Get crisp when you cook 'em, but the nomenclatural idea is that they're Chips off whole potatoes and the synecdoche works pretty well for us in the States. Besides, we eat over three times as many potatoes as Britain and Ireland combined, so... there.

Baked potatoes are the best though. OMG, baked potatoes ROCK. You can make a baked potato into almost anything. There are more configurations of potatoes and complimentary condiments than there are variations in the combination of adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine. Seriously. You can go from the purists who dig butter into the risk-takers who throw in some chili (and beyond). Baked potatoes are the way to go 90% of the time.

A nice, creamy, cheesy potato soup is very nice. Stewed potatoes are pretty nice too. We've already mentioned fries i guess -and Au Gratin. There's more, but you get the idea.

Respect the potato.


P.S. Even forgetting everything else that's wrong with Pringles, their actual potato content is said to be only 42%.

November 18, 2008

No One on the Corner

In my own weird way, I'm a music fiend (think: JohnCusack-in-HiFidelity wannabe). My friends seem cool and some of them are in bands, but i always MISS stuff. They're always letting me down. I'm always one step behind whatever's going on Right Now. Suddenly I'll hear something (radio, the internet, a party, etc.) and I'll dig deeper thinking I've actually Found something -only to discover it's oldmeme. Not only am i not as cool as i should be, I'm afraid that one day some righteous teenpunk is gonna have the audacity to call me Lame to my face.


Anyway, i found something.

It didn't go chronologically. It went backwards. It started with me researching tunes for an upcoming Kwanzaa mix. I was having a hard time figuring out which way to go with stuff celebrating the Seven Principles. It was part American-black-experience, part African music, and (almost inescapably) part BarackObamamania. Eventually i pared down most of the Obama stuff (and set it aside for an upcoming Inauguration Day mix), but i found this one bad@ss tune that i kept playing again and again. Then i dug deeper on the hook and discovered a cool SriLankan/British MC whose music i really dig. -An MC with a flashback to one of the most underappreciated tunes evar. How cool is that. [Be a lot cooler if i weren't the last guy on the block to hear everything.]

Which one of you coolkidz is gonna step and be my CMJ/NMM muse?
Who's gonna be my 120 Minutes VJDJ?
Come ON now.

For the rest of you...
T.I.'s "Swagger Like Us"
M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes"
The Clash's "Straight to Hell"
Check. It Out.