Oh, summer in Missouri . . . how I haven’t missed you. Trust me, Missouri possesses virtues you can and should miss, but summer’s simply not one of them. This is one of those sticky states where stepping outside is akin to bathing in simple syrup and forgetting to wash off. Where you keep waiting for Virgil to materialize because this is surely the hottest circle of hell, and we’ve got to get a move on if we want to reach Gluttony by dark. Now, Missouri in springtime? Less inferno, more divine. Missouri in fall? Classic—and the season I miss most when I don’t live here. But the summer inevitably drudges along, and we drudge with it—some of us—ahem—without a pool to warm/cool our spirits between the hours of 6a and 10p….
After leaving Hawai’i, I comforted myself by saying that I took a little piece of the islands with me. While this may strike some as cliché, the actual truth is that I lined my pockets with enough recipes from bakers and chefs I admired to open a satellite location of L&L Drive-In. And the polaroids (we mustn’t forget the polaroids)….
Dear readers, Buttertooth must apologize to all three of you for our recent extended absence. The entire club is back on the mainland and comfortably ensconced in St. Louis: we’ve found new digs, good light for food photography, and several local menus that we’re in the process of eating our way through. Suffice to say, home is where you hang your apron.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming, already in progress….
All of humanity can essentially be divided into two groups:
those who split diverse populations into a reductive dichotomy and those who
don’t those who dip crackers in their chili and those who dip cornbread. While I’ve been a proud saltine for many years, I can no longer resist the undeniable sexiness of freshly baked cornbread. Sop up a soup, dress it down with butter and jam, or use it to line the pathway of your savory spin on a witch’s gingerbread house (I’ve always thought bacon would lure more orphans than gumdrops). …
I don’t know how it happened, but we find ourselves in the last breaths of 2016. This year’s slipped by in a haze of recipes, memories, friendship, and the occasional bout of back pain. My months can’t mark themselves by anything more distinctive than a feeling—for instance, May reminds me of rolling on the floor with a lower back spasm, July’s abs hurt from laughing too loudly, and October, well . . . I can only assume I’ll find October hiding under the couch after watching Hocus Pocus more times than strictly necessary and eating enough candy corn to remind myself why I don’t like candy corn. Sometimes the world moves so quickly that I can’t catch my breath. And when that happens, I force myself to slow down and sit for a minute. I’ll watch the sky moving slowly, pet the dog until her eyes roll back a little, look at pictures from my youth without noticing how much older everyone’s grown. I’ll listen to Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” and marvel at how clichés really do come true. Luckily, I do all my best sitting at the breakfast table….
I pose to you the eternal brunch quandary: sweet or savory, sweet or savory. The debate runs through my head on an endless loop, like cartoon birds circling a knockout, as I pour over the menu. Drinks are easy; just order three (for me—coffee, diet coke, and a mimosa) as they all serve different and necessary functions insofar as brunch’s concerned. I usually make conversation with my companions as though I’m not completely overwhelmed by the prospect of choosing between an egg sandwich with house-cured bacon and its sexy-sounding aioli or the Belgian waffle with mac-nut sauce. And since I pig out in the beverage department (or should I say camel out since we’re talking liquids?), ordering both is simply not an option….
Hey, St. Louis, I see you, lady, with your Cardinals jerseys and your weird food. Never had a slinger? Well, then you’ve probably also never pronounced the word four like “far” (as in “merge onto highway farty-far”) or eaten a Baba Ghanoush pizza. That’s just how we do in the city that often sleeps. Of all the marvelous and strange concoctions St. Louis claims as its own, however, my favorite is—without peer—the gooey butter cake….
Today in outlandish claims with little basis in fact, I present to you a timeless food pairing. While I’m no culinary historian, nor do I have an issue of Bon Appétit within reach that I can shamelessly skim for words like “lardo” or “semifreddo” (It’s a-me-a, Mario!) to lend my argument legitimacy, I’m pretty sure smoked salmon and corn first found each other in the eighties. What a heady time to be alive!!—I picture women with double shoulder-padded blazers and capital B bangs eating smoked salmon on a corn blini while also silently stomaching the wage gap. I imagine Cyndi Lauper writing “True Colors” once she realized pink and yellow go so well together. I see Ronald Reagan in the oval office, ignoring AIDS while insisting that Jelly Belly finally manufacture a savory flavor. I cling to my special edition Cabbage Patch Doll, Sally Cornhole, whose favorite food is listed as a smoked salmon & maize omelet….
Like certain other members of my generation, I tend to dismiss trends without giving them a proper shot. That’s right, I’ve never seen Braveheart, and I think Mel Gibson’s attitude over the last two decades has born my decision out. Choices. But—knowing full well that I’m a slave to the sexy, sexy food blogger aesthetic—I love avocado toast. Fudging love it. Crisp some bread, smear that ripe avo, and add whatever sort of nonsense floats your boat….