Sky Full of Bacon

Mother-In-Laws and Road Kill

Left to right: Louisa Chu, coon dinner, Peter Engler.

1. So Anthony Bourdain did his Chicago show, and after the obligatory “Hey, you’re no Second City!” pat on the head every New Yorker seems compelled to offer, it was plenty good, full of weird stuff mostly brought to media prominence by LTHForum foodies.  So a big bow for creating a Chicago defined by, not Pizzeria Uno, Al’s Italian Beef, and Lou Mitchell’s, but Hot Doug’s, Moto and Calumet Fisheries. (As Samuel Goldwyn once said, “I’m tired of the old cliches. Let’s have some new cliches!”)  The only thing I found weird about it was… how green the backgrounds of the driving-around shots were.  It’s like they drove around Bensenville to show us what’s between L2O and Hot Doug’s.

And the Mother-in-Law!  It cracked me up no end to see a TV star dragged on one of Peter (Rene G) Engler’s expeditions to eat the fascinatingly awful Mother-in-Law, cheap Depression food extraordinaire.  Now, how plugged into the zeitgeist is your faithful Sky Full of Bacon correspondent?  Saturday night, I was shooting at a certain dinner in Wisconsin, and two of my dining companions were… Bourdain on-screen guides Louisa Chu and Peter Engler.  And what dinner was it?  The raccoon dinner in Delafield, WI… where Cathy Lambrecht got the raccoon, which she gave to Homaro Cantu of Moto, thus inspiring him to create on the spot the very “road kill” dish seen in last night’s episode (now made with duck, alas).

So prepare to learn more than you could ever hope to about le cuisine raccoon in an upcoming Sky Full of Bacon next month or so.

2. Here’s the most interesting link the foraging podcast has gotten to date:

those aren’t just distasteful shrines to opulence piled up in places like Mountain Village — those are also resources held in reserve for a day not far away when we’ll need all that stored wood, all those spare parts, all that housing space. Just think: that single-family tens-of-thousands-of-square-foot weekend getaway spot my friend squatted in could one day be … a hostel for dozens of trekkers … an indoor village for some future self-styled traveling-buddha-like career-bumming class of wayfarers … or a series of studio apartments for the future dwellers in some Rewilded West.

3. Remember all those stories during the Olympics about how Michael Phelps ate 26 eggs and two rashers of bacon for breakfast every morning, and all that.  Because he was so hungry from… swimming. Riiiiiight.

4. I read that John Robbins, one of the big proponents of veganism going back to his 1998 book Diet For a New America, lost his fortune in the Madoff scandal. I find this weirdly satisfying.  Not that I think there’s an exact analogy between being a pious preacher of radical nutritionism and being a Ponzi scheme operator promising financial miracles, but read this and see if you don’t think Robbins was ripe pickings for a pyramid scheme:

He said that he had a few words for those of us who might be concerned that what we were doing on the planet was not important. He held his hands in a V-form with just the tips of his fingers touching and told us that our job was simply to stand and smile, that each of us who could stand and smile would be holding the wedge open for 10 more vegans behind us and 10 more behind each of them and so on until the wedge could grow big enough and strong enough to move over the face of the earth and help heal the earth.

Just sign here!  As it happens, I’m reading a book which I plan to rip into shortly for exactly this sort of Elmer Gantryesque approach to nutrition, so stay tuned.

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