Mexico City Travel Report II

Flew in on Air Canada, Seattle to Vancouver — six hour layover — to Mexico City.  I chose this roundabout route not because it’s cheaper — it’s $30 more, one-way — but because Air Canada is my airline of choice and I wanted to try a Japanese-Italian restaurant in Richmond, BC, Wasatu Pasta, a 10 minute taxi ride from the airport.

Wasatu Pasta  

I consider Japanese cuisine the best because it uses the widest range of ingredients and cooking methods, and it’s the least wasteful.  Shrimp shells and heads, for instance, are appetizers instead of discarded.

Fried shrimp heads is what you get when you order live spot prawn sushi. Crunchy and yummy.  My favorite version of this in Seattle is at Shiki Restaurant in Queen Anne.

Japanese cuisine has always been quick to adopt foreign influences. Katzu, for example, is the Japanese version of Portuguese pork cutlet.  Ramen is a Chinese dish that the Japanese improved on and popularized throughout the world.

I ordered the Fettuccini Scallop Uni Cream Sauce Pasta and the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio.

Don’t remember what the greens in the middle are. Pieces of radish, focaccia bread, arugula, capers, fish eggs, and sprinkles of parmesan. Beef was sliced thin so it was tender, but it doesn’t look marbled enough to be Wagyu.

Fettuccini in Uni Cream. 

I enjoyed what I had well enough, but I prefer to get Chinese food in downtown Richmond or Japanese food on the West End of Vancouver.  Both are accessible by rapid transit from the airport, 18 minutes to downtown Richmond, 30 to downtown Vancouver.

The Uni Fettuccini is good but I’d rather have it (and pasta in general) as an appetizer instead of a main.  It was too rich and creamy for me after four bites, it was a burden to finish.  Flavor-wise, it’s milder and a hint sweeter than typical alfredo fettuccini.  The portion is large enough to be shareable as an appetizer among four people. Same with the carpaccio appetizer.  Except for the fish eggs and miso seasoning, the carpaccio wasn’t noticeably different from standard carpaccio I’ve had.  Ultimately, I prefer meals served tapas style (small plates) typical at Japanese izakayas — you can create more balanced and interesting meals that way.  And I prefer no more than three or four bites of something.

Mexico City

Second visit — read about first one here —  this time as a launching pad to visit other cities I might want to move to.  Main difference I noticed since my last visit a year ago is that there are more Americans living in the city, more construction (gentrification), and everything is more expensive.  Locals blame Americans for driving up the prices.  And I’m not surprised many Americans in their 20s who work remotely are moving to Mexico City.  You can live an upper-middle class lifestyle here on $50,000/year, which would make you poor in NYC.

Stayed at the highly rated and touted Red Tree House,which is $100 less per day I paid to stay at the Sofitel (French hotel chain) next to the US embassy.  Here, you get free breakfast (fruit, yogurt, bread, and daily hot special) and happy hour, this is great for those who want to socialize with other American travelers.  (I didn’t).  No pool or fitness room, which is fine because I wanted to force myself to learn Spanish by going to a local gym.  I didn’t like my room — so small that there’s no room for yoga and the low (7 ft) ceilings made it feel smaller; shower was unpredictable; and the bed felt old and cheap.  But people love staying at this place for its charm and service.

Red Tree House is located in Condesa neighborhood, which reminds me Park Slope, Brooklyn.  It’s as bougie — yoga, pilates, pole dancing, Belgian restaurants that serve 15 USD waffles, vegan churrios, coffee shops everywhere, lots of dogs getting walked to the dog park — and 20% of its residents seem to be Americans.  It’s a pleasant neighborhood, just not interesting to someone trying to take a vacation FROM America and Americans.  I was in a restaurant and for awhile, all patrons were Americans.  So much English spoken in Condesa makes it difficult to learn Spanish.  Also, there isn’t a subway line in the neighborhood.

I spent three nights and days in Mexico City and I had a pinched nerve, so I didn’t venture far.  Below are a few videos of Condesa:

Doesn’t that look like Park Slope, Brooklyn?  Here’s a shot of Park Slope:

There’s a nice park in the neighborhood with a spacious dog park.

It’s full of restaurants that serve food that look like this:

I don’t recall what that was, I only remember thinking that I was in Park Slope, Brooklyn while eating it because the scene looked and sounded just like it.  Below is what I imagine old Condesa looked like, photo I took on this trip:

Patches of Condesa look like this.  The building on the right is being renovated and I’m assuming the one on the left will soon be demolished or renovated.

I spent the second day at the Soumaya Museum in Polanco neighborhood, considered the poshest and most prestigious in Mexico.  Like homes start at a million so I don’t think many Americans live there.  Whereas in Condesa, $250,000 will get you a nice two bedroom.  And Polanco looks sterile, though I didn’t explore it thoroughly.

Anyway, Soumaya Museum is iconomic for its architecture and interior design.

Lots of construction in Polanco too.  Costco is an upper class brand in Mexico.  (Middle to upper-middle in the US).  There’s a shopping mall next to the museum I wanted to explore but my leg was hurting so much that I headed back to the hotel.  Anyway, the interior of the museum below.

It’s cool looking, but that’s an extravagant use of space.  I wonder what the architects and interior designers were thinking.  Notice that Rodin’s The Thinker is here?  I had no idea, that was a fun surprise!

Back in Condesa, I looked for a traditional taqueria — tacos and beer.  Not many of them left in the neighborhood and oddly, there’s not a lot of street food.  I finally found one, and it was 2-1 taco pastors.

Six tacos and a liter of tasty Mexican dark beer for 6 USD!  So it’s still possible to eat well in Mexico City for under $10/per person.

I also tried a ramen place — Diego Ramen — that had a line out the door every time I passed it when I was in Mexico City a year ago.  This time it was nearly empty.  Here’s what I had:

Regular tonkatsu ramen.  Not bad, decent balance of protein and veggies.  This bowl costs 12 USD, while in Seattle, I pay $15 for ramen at Muto Izakaya.  I wonder if the price is why there’s no longer a line, or if I went at a typically slow time.  I seem to remember paying around 6 USD for a bowl of ramen the previous time I was in MC.  I also had gyozas, which they make well (in house) but then fuck up by frying the entire thing.

The skin isn’t too thick, it’s made well, but don’t fry the entire piece.  Either don’t fry it all, or only fry the bottom.  The contrast between the slightly crispy bottom and the billowy top all in one bite is partially what makes pot stickers enjoyable.

That’s all the time I had, the third day was spent at the gym and then to the airport to pick up a rental car.  Next stop would be Santiago de Queretaro, two and a half hour drive away.

 

Rabbits, So Many Rabbits! available on Kindle

 

 

Are you afraid your kids will grow up to be whiny dipshits who complain about stupid shit?  Has their school gone Woke?  Do you live in Woke Zombieland?  Then this is the children’s book for you and your kid(s)!  Rabbits, So Many Rabbits, explains basic economics to  kids and adults because those who don’t understand basic economics turn into dumbfucks who smell like Satan’s ass and look like this:

Apu understands basic economics, that’s why he owns a successful business. Dipshit Doug Evans doesn’t, that’s why he’s an envious loser who has never had a career other than being the village laughingstock.

This book will teach your kids why some people become poor, while others become wealthy, and the risks it takes to become so.  This is the first book in our non-Woke education series, and it aims to teach kids that:

  • economics is NOT a zero-sum game, where for every winner there has to be a loser
  • resources are NOT limited because human ingenuity is infinite
  • the economy is a pie that some people grow larger, while others make smaller.

Those who believe that economics IS a zero-sum game and that resources ARE limited are likely to advocate all sorts of asinine policies, to become zombies, really.  Don’t let your kids turn into zombies, buy this book on Kindle today!  It’s free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Check out the entire book on our YouTube channel.  This version lacks the illustration details that the Kindle version has, which means you’ll miss out on the jokes.  Remember to subscribe as we’ll soon be adding  new and quirky content.  The next book in the series is tentatively titled: Where Have All the Rabbits Gone?  It’s about what happens when dipshits implement their dumbfucking policies.

If you find this video offensive, call our Woke communication coordinator: (859) 536-2378

Quebec City Travel Report

 

 

Ever looked at a Christmas Village and wondered what it’d be like to live in one?  If you have, then you should visit Quebec City during its Christmas festival season (mid-November to end of December).

To begin with, Old Quebec City, founded in 1608 by the French, is the most  European and Christmas Village looking city in North America.  Check these out:

 

The last video above is especially romantic: small rustic restaurant named “Lapin Saute” (The Jumping Rabbit), steady falling snow outside, and they even use a real fireplace so you hear the wood crackling.

Before you romanticize the scenes above too much, keep in mind that Lapin Saute specializes in serving furry and adorable rabbits.  I had the kidney and liver rabbit salad:

Quebecoise cuisine is rednecky.   Game meat  — deer, rabbit, guinea fowl, and duck — is on the menu at most restaurants in Old Quebec City.  Deer tartare (my first time) at Le Clan, a modernist restaurant (there are six of them there I’m aware of), below.

I also had deer tartare at a diner, and in both cases, the deer didn’t taste gamey, it’s more of a lighter version of its beef counterpart.  Guinea fowl, which I tried for the first time, is a bit denser and stronger in flavor than chicken.  Rabbit is also similar to chicken, but denser and earthier.  Duck is fattier and more flavorful than chicken.  Below is duck confit drumsticks with veggie (beets, yams, and potatoes) fries, from Sam Bistro.

 

Above is pan seared foie gras from La Buche (the log) a redneck diner that plays music from Quebec Redneck Bluegrass Project.

Main difference is that the redneck foie gras is sweeter than usual because it has so much maple syrup.  And they added bacon to it.  On the fish side, Salmon — smoked or served as tartare — is most common.

When to go

I went the last week of November for nearly a week.  Temperatures ranged from 40F to 10F, which is typical, and it snowed for a few of the days.  If you go in mid December, when the temperatures rarely get above 30F and will sometimes dip below 0F, but the toboggan rides next to the Saint Laurent River and the Frontenac Castle Hotel are open!

It should also be cold enough by then that you can visit the construction of the Ice Hotel outside of Old Quebec City.

It’s cold but at least they provide open air fire pits for you to warm up to.  Here are a few at the German Christmas Market that’s open over the weekends.

At the German Market, you can buy small hand crafted gifts and food, including fondue, homemade candy, and hot (as in temperature) tomato wine and hot ginger shots.

Where to stay

I stayed at the Fairmont Frontenac, supposedly the most photographed hotel in the world.  I’d stay there again, even though I did research boutique alternatives for the same cost ($200/night).  First, it’s a great location especially if you’re there during the toboggan ride season starting in mid December.  The river is there, as is the funicular to visit the lower part of the city, which is also where the art galleries are.  Unlike comparably rated hotels, it has a gym and a pool, great to have in case there’s a cold snap or because the the sidewalks are difficult to walk on.  WARNING: they surprisingly don’t do a good job of shoveling and salting sidewalks so bring snow shoes, hiking shoes aren’t good enough.

It’s a big ass hotel, with several wings and up to 17 floors.  Inside are cute and pricey shops and four restaurants, so there’s enough going on in there to keep you busy for an entire day if you don’t feel like going out.

DON’T stay at a low rated hotel, where safety measures will be lax and guests are more likely to do stupid shit like start a fire.  That’s what happened a few blocks away, and it shut down power on several city blocks, including at the Frontenac for two hours.  Imagine standing outside in the cold for hours, waiting for the fire department to finish working.

Since it’s a famous hotel with a couple of well known restaurants, it’s busy with tourists.  The lobbies will be crowded and noisy.  If that bothers you, then consider a comparably priced boutique hotel where you’ll probably get more intimate service.  Oh, and don’t expect Frontenac to look like a Fairmont.  My basic room with city view was perfect size — large enough for yoga and there’s a desk to use as a workstation.  But perhaps because the hotel opened in 1893, it feels a bit dated and some of their updates are questionable.  The shower head, for instance, is great for residential use, but too complicated for hotels.  Otherwise, everything works well, as expected from a Fairmont.

Language

Quebec City isn’t just the capital of Quebec, it’s the cultural capital of French-Canada.  Most everyone who works in the Old City speaks English in addition to French so English speakers don’t have to worry about language barriers.  Those of you who want to practice French, Quebec City is better than Montreal.  People in QC were more likely to help you practice French than in Montreal, where French speaking folks aren’t as protective of the French language and they all seem to speak English perfectly.

Cost

Bacon and two eggs breakfast is $18 CND.  An IPA is $9 CND.  Take 20% off and that’ll be your cost in USD, so prices are comparable to what you’d find in the US.

Overall Impressions

Clean, no visible drug users, street whores, and homeless.  A lot more tourists than expected, Saturday evening was shoulder to shoulder.  Has a Disney atmosphere except everything is real.

Restaurant food could’ve been more varied, seemed like most restaurants served the same ingredients — game meats, poutine, fondue, fish and chips.  I suspect locals have a more varied diet, as there are a bunch of ramen places just outside of Old Quebec.  I saw a Japanese restaurant, but it was closed, for some reason.

Next up, Mexico City and Queretaro.  Followed by Guanajuato and then Lima, Peru.

Art of Being Mean (excerpt from upcoming book, Good Fucking Manners)

Link to book description and intro:  New etiquette book available for pre-order

This book will be for sale in store sometime in January 2023.

Chapter 10

It’s okay to be mean, really.  Even Jesus Christ was a mean motherfucker when people fucked with his shit, flipping tables and all.  From the book of Matthew 21:12-13:

(12)And Jesus entered the temple[a] and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. (13) He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

That’s right, anyone who thinks Jesus was a nice dude not only hasn’t read the Bible, but probably thinks Pedro the priest doesn’t jerk off to biddibongbiddibing.

It’s human nature to be mean, though some are naturally meaner than others.  Those are details best left for another treatment, let’s start with the premise that there are good and bad ways to be mean.  You can be mean in a way that’s bad for your mental health, for instance.  Which implies that there are ways to be mean that’s healthy for you.  You can also be gratuitously mean.  You may not be mean enough, or at least not mean in an effective way.  And you can be mean in a way that’ll attract those who can make your life better, and drive away those who’ll make you miserable.  In summary, the art of being mean is worth thinking about.  So let’s examine how most people are mean in Anglo cultures (eg. US, UK, Canada) since I’m writing for the Anglo audience.

Sarcasm 

Anglo cultures (eg. US, UK, Canada) love sarcasm.  It’s everywhere and most are proud to be sarcastic.  Here’s the dictionary definition of sarcasm:

the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.

Here’s the Wiki definition:

a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter gibe or taunt

Here’s the Greek etymology of sarcasm:

Greek sarkasmos “sarcasm,” from sarkazein “to tear flesh, bite the lips in rage, sneer,”

Which means most Americans, without realizing it, are bitter people who prefer to express contempt in a joking manner so as to not take ownership for feeling and expressing it.  And people wonder why middle-class America is the most medicated demographic in the world.  When people dress feelings they’re uncomfortable with — hate and anger — as “harmless, sassy wit,” they become emotionally corrupt. One can’t be nice AND sarcastic, just as one can’t be a nice rapist.  Pick one or the other, one can’t have it both ways.  Trying to have it both ways is how batshit crazy begins.

And just how mean does one need to be?  Usually, not mean enough to warrant using sarcasm to express what’s bothering you, the razor blades sarcasm brings to most fights are gratuitous and excessive.  Check out this opening line from an Emily Warren music video:

Good news Riley, looks like you’re going to be working the entire weekend

That’s a typical sarcastic remark Americans make. How is that funny?  It isn’t funny to Riley, who was looking forward to having the weekend off. Maybe it’s funny to those who really really hate Riley and wish the worst for her? Is the speaker marveling at his own so-called wit, at Riley’s expense?  Wouldn’t it be kinder if he’d said this instead:

Riley, I’m sorry.  I know you were looking forward to taking this weekend off, but we really need you to work this weekend. I’ll make it up to you.

Point is, a lot of people make sarcastic remarks when it’s inappropriate to do so.  This creates negativity that’s somehow packaged as funny to those who delight in other people’s follies and misfortunes.

If the intention is to be bitter and mean, then fine, continue with the sarcasm.  But don’t tell everyone how nice you are because that’s about as honest as American foreign policy.  Save the sarcasm for when you’re really really pissed, like ready to choke that person out pissed.  Here’s how Jesus used sarcasm to taunt a mob that wanted to stone him:

They picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” – John 10:31–32

Ouch. Here’s another example of sarcasm used appropriately, someone asked Moses if he was fucking up after he led his wandering Jews out of Egypt:

Was there a lack of graves in Egypt, that you took us away to die in the wilderness?” Exodus 14:11

Another example from Hamlet Act 1, Scene 2, in which Hamlet gets pissed about his mom marrying his uncle way too soon after his father has died:

“Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral bak’d meats did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.”

In the above three examples, sarcasm is used only in dire situations and its purpose isn’t to joke around, it’s to elucidate what’s really happening. To use sarcasm to joke about everyday situations is to use it inappropriately, with disastrous consequences.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling contempt and taunting another person. Even Jesus felt contempt toward the Pharisees and had sharp words for them.  It’s the dishonesty about one’s intentions and sense of self that’s toxic.  If you’re going to be mean, be unabashedly mean and take responsibility for it instead of dressing it up as a joke.  This is how Tucker Max, New York Times bestselling author of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell and Assholes Finish First, introduces himself:

My name is Tucker Max, and I am an asshole.

Which he is, read his books if you don’t believe me. But at least he’s not emotionally corrupt and batshit crazy because he’s *honest* about his meanness.  And his meanness has a point – he’s calling out posers, self-righteous dipshits, really.  His meanness is a gratifying counterpoint to the humorless, passive-aggressive narratives that losers chirp around to virtue signal their moral superiority when in fact, they are cruel, vile, and incompetent.  Tucker Max is mean and he makes the world a better place.

“Dangerous Faggot” Milo Yiannapoulos also lauds the virtues of being mean, to be a “virtuous troll” as he calls it.  For him, the game of political and moral discourse is no different from a game of football – to not be mean is to forfeit the game.  One must speak with teeth instead of being muzzled by political correctness.  That’s because:

The progressive Left is dedicated to the annihilation of America and every surviving libertarian and conservative person in it. The Left’s gratuitous vandalism of American institutions and its hostility to the principles that have made this country great cannot be fought with essays in magazines. The Left can only win by forcing us onto the uneven playing field of political correctness. I choose war.

Play the fucking game right – land your punches — or go home, okay?  That means avoiding euphemisms and describing what you see with succinct precision.

How to mean the correct way

First, take responsibility for being mean, what’s the point of hiding that you’re a mean person?  In other words and again, be honest, be authentic and sincere.  When you announce your intention to be mean instead of hiding it in a pile of fake good intentions and lame jokes, you’ll feel better about yourself, and your meanness might make the world a better place.  I mean, do you want to live intentionally or not?  Because if you’re not living intentionally, then you’ll have no idea when you’re being mean.  You’ll be mean *while* you think you’re the nicest person in the whole wide world, perhaps because your job title or degree (BS in Social Fucking Justice!) says so.  That’s the most treacherous type of meanness because it’s driven by hubris and detachment from social reality.

Paul Graham, the billionaire co-founder of the start-up accelerator, Y-Combinator, once tweeted, “The most surprising thing I’ve learned from being involved with nonprofits is that they are a magnet for sociopaths. One’s naive reaction is “Why would nonprofits attract them? Nonprofits do good!” But the defining quality of nonprofits is to make no profit, not to do good.”  Those with good manners virtue signal, those with good fucking manners get shit done.

Euphemisms
They’re a waste of time, dangerous lies really.  But Anglos love them because they think it makes them high sounding, as if their shit don’t stink.  Example: in Chinese, the restroom is “stinky room.”  In Anglo nations, the “stinky place” is the “restroom,” reality scrubbed clean.  Think about that.

Other examples: secretary has morphed to “administrative assistant” to “project coordinator.”  “Janitors” became “custodians” and now “custodial engineers.” You think the title change confers upon them more respect or does the pretentiousness of it all make them more look pathetic, even though I doubt many of them requested the title changes.  Then there’s self-aggrandizement, where people start some bullshit business, no employees of office, and call themselves a “CEO.”  In the American socio-cultural world, Black people went from “nigger” to “negro” to “African American” in less than 100 years with nothing to show for it, unemployment rate for Blacks has consistently been double the rate for Whites since they started to keep track of that data in 1950, regardless of who is in office.  What are fat people called now?  How about those pronouns, are they a source of freedom or dysfunction?  People wonder why so many Americans suffer from identity crisis and are thus the most medicated demographic in history.

Still don’t think euphemisms are dangerous lies?  How about “quantitative easing” for “printing a shitload of money to fund stupid shit”?  “Friendly fire” for “deadly accidents in the name of war.”  “Collateral damage” when a bomb misses and takes out a village of civilians.  A friend of mine who works for a major weapons manufacturer is required to call the bombs he designs “ordnances”?

The flip side of softening the blow of reality is to exaggerate the trials and tribulations of those you don’t like. In the West, the Tiananmen Protests became the “Tiananmen Massacre,” blending elements of truth – deadly city-wide riots and a large student protest – to create a helluva story since discredited by WikiLeaks[1] and Western journalists such as Gregory Clark.[2] Russian invasion of Ukraine as “unprovoked,” even though Pat Buchanan and University of Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer have warned about US aggression toward Russia since the late 1990s.  The moral certitude and self-righteousness of the Anglo mainstream is breathtaking.  George Orwell on the source of this madness:

Our language becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.[3]

Euphemisms make people stupid and emotionally lame.  So stop using them if you want to have good fucking manners.  Dipshits will call you mean, which you are.  George Orwell, one more time:

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s desired aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms.

Be mean by being honest, transparent, and concise.  And save the sarcasm for when you’re justifiably

[1] Link to Wikileaks regarding Tiananmen Square is broken (interesting).  So, try https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8555142/Wikileaks-no-bloodshed-inside-Tiananmen-Square-cables-claim.html

[2] https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2008/07/21/commentary/birth-of-a-massacre-myth/

[3] https://saharareporters.com/2010/11/25/george-orwell-%E2%80%93-politics-and-english-language#:~:text=The%20decline%20of%20a%20language,us%20to%20have%20foolish%20thoughts.

 

 

New etiquette book available for pre-order

 

 

Book Description
Do you have good manners, or good fucking manners?  Have you ever thought that the manners you were taught are fucktarded?  Do you not trust polite people?  Wonder if there’s a correct way to be mean?  Want to remake yourself into a paragon of efficiency, transparency, and good fucking manners?  Then this is the etiquette book for you!  The Juice Nazi and his Head of Secret Police, Roxanne G., are back, angrier than ever and ready to impose their will on dipshits who dare oppose them.  In this book, they dissect American middle-class manners to reveal an etiquette system rife with genteel bullying, moral grandstanding, and narcissistic delusions.  They offer, in its place, an alternate etiquette system that doesn’t tolerate anything that’s fake, senseless, and wasteful. This book profanes the sacred and will make anyone who identifies as a middle-class American in morals and manners, squirm.  Misanthropists will be delighted.     

 

Introduction
Most people think they have good manners.  Most of these people are wrong, they don’t know jack shit about good fucking manners.  

To begin with, anyone who thinks good manners is about following a set of arbitrary and sometimes asinine procedures is a boorish ninny who can’t think.  One can’t be well mannered without having  considered the meaning and purpose behind and effectiveness of each action, okay?  Well mannered people are *aware* – they’re sensitive to context and purpose – and they’re curious.  It’s the insolent and lazy who use the same pick-up lines regardless of the situation, despite consistently obstructive consequences.  It’s the awkward and brainwashed who can be convinced that bitch slapping someone can be a polite greeting in another culture, just because the ethos of multiculturalism says so.  These are the people who take up two parking spots and aren’t paying attention when the light turns green.      

One needs to understand why “good manners” are good manners to be well mannered.  If you don’t wonder why a certain act is “good,” then there’s a swell chance you have bad manners because etiquette is often slow to adapt to the changing world.  For instance, what’s the point of the handshake?  Are we showing that we aren’t carrying a dagger, that we come in peace?  Is it still more egalitarian and warmer than tipping the hat (that few wear nowadays) and curtsies, as the Quakers believed?  Does the transfer of germs make more people sick or does it facilitate herd immunity?  Will the handshake survive the 2020 pandemic?  Should it?  

What’s the purpose of having good manners and what’s its relationship to etiquette?  From what I’ve seen, most of the Anglo cultured world equate “good manners” with one’s knowledge and ability to follow prevailing etiquette.  In other words, “good manners” is a matter of social access and the implication is that it’s the upper class that determines the codes of good conduct.  Here’s a definition of etiquette from Merriam-Webster dictionary that reflects that ethos:

the conduct or procedure required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be observed in social or official life.

Etiquette here is delineated as a top-down mechanism, “prescribed by authority,” and/or by those of “good breeding,” which I take to mean the upper class.  Not all dictionaries agree with this definition, let’s look at Oxford Language’s more egalitarian definition of etiquette:

the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.

This definition implies that each social class has its own set of rules and none are intrinsically superior to others.  And these codes can be developed organically, bottom-up, rather than from sources of authority.    

This tension between egalitarianism and elitism pervades American social life, resulting in ludicrous habits that get passed off as “good manners.”  So many Americans – left-wing Americans especially – want it all, they want to stick up for common folk AND be recognized as elite.  The inherent contradictions from wanting it all results in an etiquette system that encourages manners that are fake, senseless, and wasteful.  Parodies, really, performed by people who act and sound like muppets.   

It doesn’t have to be that way.  The aim of this book is to suggest an alternate etiquette system that encourages people to be authentic, transparent, and efficient.  The basis of this etiquette system – Part I of this book – is the title of the first chapter, Don’t waste people’s time.  Well mannered people don’t show off their good breeding – that’d be narcissism at work and it’s a waste of time – they’re focused on making other people’s lives better and easier.  Chapter two is a test of how well mannered you are in the alternate etiquette system proposed in this book.   

Part II is about the Secondary principles one should abide by to be well mannered.  These include Save other people time, the title of chapter three.  To save people time, Don’t lie, the title of chapter four.  Yes, not lying will hurt people’s feelings, but well mannered people care more about truth than feelings, okay?  Chapter five, Less is best,  will also save you and other people time, it shows how to be minimalistic in interactions.   Chapter six, Don’t show off, is a reminder to resist the urge to equate good manners with good breeding, that’s how narcissistic delusions begin.  Show, don’t tell is the title of chapter seven.  Well mannered people say less and do more because actions and results mean more than words.  

Part III, Situations, applies the above principles in specific situations.  Chapter eight, Phone etiquette, shows the proper way to call and answer phone calls.  This is especially important if you’re in sales, good phone etiquette will increase your sales, guaranteed, or Dipshit Doug Evans Dickhead will grow a dick that’s not on his head.  Chapter nine, How to be mean, explores how to be mean to someone with style so you don’t look like a dipshit dickhead.  We pivot to How to be nice in Chapter ten because so many people who think they’re being nice are actually acting like a Dipshit Doug Evans Dickhead.  Chapter eleven, Embarrassing situations, shows you how to act confidently when the situation gets weird.  Restaurant etiquette is the subject of Chapter twelve, so you don’t act and look like a Dipshit Doug Evans Dickhead when you’re dining out.  Chapter thirteen, Constructive criticism, shows you how to dish it properly and effectively so you don’t waste anyone’s time.  Managers especially should read this chapter.    

Part IV is about Why manners matter.  Chapter fourteen explores the Purpose of good manners, which is to make people better and their lives easier.   Chapter fifteen, Suggested readings, reviews our favorite etiquette books we think people should read instead of those by Emily Post and Gloria Vanderbilt.  These books, especially Paul Fussell’s Class: a guide through America’s class system, have influenced this book!  Chapter sixteen is another test to see if, after reading this book, you have good fucking manners.  

After you’ve read the first seven chapters, you can skip around.  You need to understand the principles behind my etiquette system before you can understand how they work in everyday situations. 

Send comments, including hate mail and death threats, to foodyap@gmail.com.  Write in the subject line: Dipshit Doug Evan is a Dickhead and we’ll get back to you.  Enjoy!       

Closed from Nov. 21 to end of year. REOPEN New Year’s Day

We’ll use this time to deep clean, organize, and explore.  Some recipes will change, and there’ll be a couple of new items.

First trip will be to Quebec City, which looks like a Christmas village starting last week of November.

Quartier Le Petit Champlain

Frontenac Hotel, overlooking St. Lawrence river.

 

There’s an ice hotel in Quebec City! Unfortunately, it’s not ready until January for viewing and stays. But I don’t want to be in QC in January because sub zero temperatures aren’t unusual during that time.

 

There’s even a bar inside! Someday I’ll check it out, maybe on a layover.

And since this is a business trip, we’ll check out restaurants for ideas and inspiration.

Next stop is Mexico City, an underrated and safe metropolis of 9 million, to explore some museums, restaurants, and neighborhoods I missed last time I was there.  Hopefully we’ll dine at Pujol, which according to Restaurant magazine, is the 9th ranked restaurant in the world, and Quintonil, to see what modern Mexican cuisine is about.

From there we’ll rent a car to drive to Santiago de Queretaro, a city of a million that’s 2 hours northwest of Mexico City.  They say it’s a prosperous and beautiful city, with its 17th century aqueduct still intact.

Panoramic View of Santiago de Queretaro Aqueduct in Mexico.

Two nights there and then it’s off to Guanajuato, my favorite city in the world.  It may be small — population of 200,000 within the municipality and 70,000 in the city — but it has the amenities and events of much larger cities.  A symphony, two theaters, and two international festivals, for instance.  And there’s a nice balance of tourists from around the world, instead of mostly form the US and Canada.  Food there is as good though not as varied as what you’d find in Seattle.  I had amazing French and Italian food last time I was there, but you won’t find dim sum, ramen, or stinky tofu.

Then to Lima, Peru, primarily to explore its famous cuisine.  Many chefs tout Peruvian cuisine as one of the best in the world, and everyone who has traveled South America says Lime has the best food on the continent.  Especially excited to try Nikkei cuisine at Maido, ranked the 11th top restaurant by Restaurant magazine.  I’m curious about the climate: Lima is a desert (two inches of rain per year) in the tropics with high humidity (80%).  Yearly temperatures range from 45-80F.  And for six months our of the year, it feels like it’s about it rain but never does.  Bizarre!

Nikkei cuisine at Maido.

Lima sits on cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

From there, back to Everett to prepare for opening on New Year’s Day.  Will post regularly about travels, so follow the blog, Facebook and Instagram for photos and videos.  Happy holidays everyone!

Wage Stagnation is a stupid myth that makes people fat and crazy

According to some dipshits, American wages — adjusted for inflation — topped out in 1972. I call bullshit.

The median wage in the US was $7134 in 1974. According to inflation adjustment app www.dollartimes.com, that’s equivalent to $48,394 in year 2021. According to http://www.policyadvice.net, the median wage in the US for year 2021 is $51,480. So where the fuck do they get the idea that wages topped out in 1972, or at least haven’t risen much, if any, since then?

Wages have gone up by 700% since 1972, while housing and “all items” have gone up by 600% in same period. So wages buy more in 2022 except for medical care and college education, which have gone up by 1900%.

Part of it is that medical care and education costs have gone way up — 1900%, significantly outpacing inflation — that’s why people are freaking out. Part of it is because so many more Americans now have useless college degrees plus school debt, which significantly reduces their purchasing power and job mobility. Most of it is because most American journalists and politicians are ideologically driven dumbfucks.

Despite record high gasoline prices, driving is still cheaper today than it was in 1972 because autos today are twice as fuel efficient. Clothes and everyday technology (eg. laptops, tvs) — are much cheaper and in the case of technology, significantly better. Porn is free as long as you have access to the Internet. Foreign language lessons, academic tutoring, documentaries, all free as long as you have Internet. From personal experience, airfare seems a bit cheaper when you adjust for inflation, but data shows it has outpaced inflation by a bit (8% more). Domestic long distance is free if you have a phone plan. The price basic grocery items haven’t gone up when you adjust for inflation, and egg costs the same today as it did in 1972. I bet the street whore that just walked by isn’t any more expensive today, after we adjust for inflation, than she would’ve been in 1972.

Housing costs have spiked over the past year and a half, and it’s a concern, but they’re coming down and may well settle closer to where it should be, which is seven times more than it was in 1972. We’ll see.

Solution to high school costs

That leaves medical care and post-secondary school costs as significantly outpacing wage inflation, around three times more. But college is as useful and dangerous as cocaine, especially since you can usually find better and free instructors on Youtube nowadays. And according to behavioral economist, Bryan Kaplan, education after 8th grade has no effect on personal income outcomes. The kid who gets into Harvard on merit will make the same whether he graduates or gets kicked out for forcing a drunk coed to brush her teeth with his penis. Another economist, Thomas Sowell, has shown that affirmative action has no effect on income outcomes for those excluded by affirmative action, and a negative effect on income outcomes for recipients of affirmative action. Which suggests that it’s not where one goes to school that makes a person, it’s the person that makes the person, okay?

Solution to higher school costs? Stay away from that shit, you don’t need it, just as you don’t need to wear Valentino and drive a Tesla.

Solution to high medical costs

Medical tourism. Americans have raved about the quality of healthcare in Mexico, for instance. Root canal in Mexico is 80% cheaper than it is in the US, partially because Mexican dentists get free education in exchange for serving poor areas for a few years. While you’re there, enjoy the restaurants, a basic one will cost $10 for two people, two drinks included. Or $50 if you want a fancy one. $100 if you want high end that’s comparable to high end Micheline star restaurants in the US. And learn a new language, it’ll prevent Alzheimer’s.

Don’t want to travel? Fine, then figure out a way to stay healthy. Stop eating anything with added sugar. Exercise 7 days a week. Try acupuncture. It’s those with underlying conditions who are paying themselves broke for medical attention.

We could get medical costs down by reducing the number of people — about 50% according to the NIH (and I think that’s an undercount because it doesn’t include the batshit crazy on meds) — who suffer from underlying chronic illness like obesity. But that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Or get the government out of the business of student loans, which inflates the price of school. How about getting rid of the American Medical Association, a union that drives up the price of medical care. Or get rid of the college degree requirement to get into medical school? If someone can ace the MCAT without college — everyone who does can — that person should be able to apply to medical school. Less student debt and more competition might mean lower medical costs.

I anticipate medical care costs coming down once more medical procedures are automated.

Solution to high housing costs

And if foreign buyers and hedge funds keep buying property, inflating its value? If housing inventory remains low because dumbfuck school counselors told students to get a bullshit degree from a bullshit college instead of learning a trade? Keep in mind that in most parts of the world — from Hong Kong to New York City, Mexico City to Paris, it’s common for many families to fit 4 people in 600sf of living space. In fact, that was closer to the norm in the US until recently. For instance, the average size of an American house was 983 sf in 1950, and 2657 sf in 2014, even though the size of a typical American household declined from 3.37 per in 1950 to 3.13 in 2014. Americans are acting spoiled when they demand a 600 sf one bedroom apartment, no roomate.

If you want prices to come down, tell the government to replace property taxes with land-value taxes, liberalize zoning, and make it easier to obtain building permits. If you want prices to go way up, implement rent control, which significantly reduces inventory.

Random review and comparison of prices

  • Cost of a dozen eggs in 1972 was $.52, which is $3.17 in today’s dollars
  • Typical landline phone service — mobile service didn’t exist — was $30/month (includes phone rental, you couldn’t buy your own), only local calls are free. Long distance was typically $.10 per minute. That’s $203/month in today’s cost, just for local calls. Meanwhile, in 2022, you can get basic mobile service that includes long distance and internet for $15/month. A new smart phone starts at $100.
  • Personal computer in 1972 cost $750, which is $5008 today.
  • Basic laptop significantly more powerful than the $3500 Wang 2200 personal computer (1973) costs $200 today. $3500 in 1973 is worth $23,000 today.
  • Penthouse magazine from 1972 cost $.75, which is ~$5 today. Photos of naked women are free if you have internet in 2022.
  • Use of phone booth in 1972 was $.10/call, two minute limit? That’s $.68 for a two minute call today.
  • Pleated shirtdress in 1972 was $15, or $102 today. Shirtdress from H and M costs $30 today.

Life has gotten a lot better, but people are as ungrateful as ever

Would you prefer to make a $100,000/year — you’d be in the top 1 percent — in 1972, or $50,000 a year today, 2022? Who is wealthier, the average person today, or the top 1 percent in 1972?

Some of the pandemic related price spikes are temporary, they’re due to provisional supply chain problems. Some of the price spikes will get worse if we implement dumbfucking polices like rent control. A lot of prices, like medical care and food prices, will go way down if we stop whining about stupid shit and start thinking about how we can build and implement better technology. The world isn’t falling apart, it’s individual people who project their personal batshit crazy onto the world who are.

Frequently Asked Questions #26

 

Hours and Labor

Q: You said you were going to open for lunch during the week.  What happened?
A: Sorry about that.  Late night delivery business (Doordash/Uber) has built up enough that it’s taking up a lot of time — taking delivery orders to 11pm most days.  We’re also still doing delivery orders (delivered by owner, not Doordash/Uber) in the early morning to customers to our old neighborhood.  And the owner is enjoying this schedule — eg. going on morning hikes, eating out for lunch, and taking a nap before opening at 4pm.  He’s going to wait until January 2023 to open for lunch, and only if he can find labor.

Q: Hey, can owner deliver to my place.  I’m in Shoreline/Edmonds/Lynnwood.
A: Yes!  Message him on Facebook or Instagram.

Q: Is he having trouble finding employees?  
A: Yes, he’s going to wait until there are more international students and immigrants available.  Again, he’s not in a rush to hire.

Q: Did the owner really fire an eight year old.
A: Yes

Q: Why?
A: He couldn’t figure out what to do within the training time-window.

Q: Wait, did he really hire an eight year old?  
A: Yes, he was younger brother of 11 year old who worked here.

The Economy

Q: Are you worried about recession?
A: No, looking forward to it.

Q: Why?  Aren’t you afraid it’ll hurt you?
A:   The economy and culture needs a correction.  Supply chain problems (due to inflated demand?) should go away during this recession and it’ll give businesses time (finally!) to update and automate processes.  Recessions tend to hurt high end businesses (though I don’t think that’ll happen this time around), while bolstering fast casual establishments that have been around for over 10 years.

Q: Who will the recession hurt? 
A:  Those who spent much of the pandemic sitting on their asses and wantonly spending their stimulus checks.

Thanksgiving Dinner and Autumn Break

Q: Are you offering Thanksgiving Dinner Meals this year? 
A: Yes!  It’ll include a 20 lb. turkey, coconut mashed potatoes, garlic green beans, yams, homemade cranberry sauce, gravy from scratch, and stuffing.  Most likely $120.

Q: What about dessert and bread?  
A: We don’t offer that.  Customers have found that making dessert and bread gives them just enough work to keep them busy but not overwhelmed.

Q: When are you closing for vacation?  
A: From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve

Q: Where are you going?
A: Quebec City for a white Christmas, French-Canadian cuisine, an ice hotel, and a stay at the Frontenac hotel, which I’ve always wanted to see.

Then back to Everett to deep clean the store.  Then off to Santiago, Chile.  From there, a road trip to Bariloche, Argentina (Patagonia region).  Then fly to Mexico City and bus it to Guanajuato and Leon.

Then we’ll open on New Year’s Day!

Why We Eat What We Eat

Thorstein Veblen publishes Theory of the Leisure Class: an Economic Study of Institutions in 1899. He’s trying to figure out what makes people act like douchebags by studying their consumption habits. Like why Sara buys clothes at this store; Marty drives that car; Vivian drinks obscure coffee. Pre-test:

1. Who owns a Corvette?
a) Vascular Surgeon
b) The commercial plumber
c) The tenured college professor

2. Who owns most amount of clothes?
a) White trash girl living in trailer park
b) Old money girl attending exclusive boarding school
c) Middle-class girl living in middle-class cul-de-sac

3. What does middle-class woman eat on her birthday?
a) Surf and turf
b) Sushi and tempura
c) Raw oysters and beef tongue

4. What is upper-class woman eating Friday evening?
a) Cocktail shrimp and beef tenderloin steak
b) Acai bowl with quinoa, kale chips on side
c) Grilled beef tongue and fried shrimp heads

5. Who is most likely to have read a violent pornographic novel (eg. Georges Bataille, Pauline Reage, Marquis de Sade)
a) Upper-class woman, undergrad from Wellesley and PhD in Comparative Literature
b) Middle-class home economics teacher with enormous porn collection.
c) White trash who beats the shit out of his girlfriend.

Answers:
1. b
2. c
3. a
4. c
5. a

Surprised? Oblique explanations in main text.

Why People Act Like Poseurs and Douchebags

For our purposes here, the only thing we need to take from Theory of Leisure Class is that imitation is the driving force of American capitalist consumerism. In Feudalism, social mobility is limited by birth and the serf works for subsistence, not social mobility. Capitalism, promising unprecedented (upward and downward) social mobility, makes imitation possible, accessible, and encouraged by the logic of economic growth.  “Keeping up,” as Americans put it.  The capitalist “Leisure Class” signifies not only Old and New Money, but anyone with discretionary income, or at least anyone with a credit card.

Whom do people imitate?  Those they *perceive* as just above them.  What do people imitate? The *imagined* sensibilities and habits of those they *perceive* as just above them. Pay attention to the choice of words: “perceive” and “imagined” because people from all social classes tend to have trouble at not only figuring out what those outside their social circles are thinking and doing, but also a person’s social status. That’s why the not-quite-middle-class teen thinks the woman with a deep tan and a tit job is high society. The Old Money woman thinks the young tow truck driver is being ironic when he’s not. The woman who reads The New Yorker has no idea who Jimmie Johnson is. The guy with collection of Jimmie Johnson autographs can’t imagine an Ivy League college professor who listens to Outkast and has tickets to Venus in Furs and The Vagina Monologues, both of which the Time and Oprah magazine reading home economics teacher with tickets to The Nutcracker Suite finds dirty and offensive.  Which is why all this imitation looks more like self-parody than “faking it till you make it.”

History of American Cuisine: Colonial Era

Pick:

6. What’s most likely on the menu at a two year old casual fine dining restaurant in New York City that just won its first Micheline star?
a) Lobster alfredo with chantrelle mushrooms
b) Bone marrow with jerk spiced duck hearts
c) Wagyu tenderloin served with roasted rosemary potatoes

7. Who sucked the most dick by age 18?
a) Working middle-class Tina who attended Catholic school
b) Upper-middle class Siobhan who attended exclusive boarding school
c) Working middle-class Anthony who attended public school

8. Which family is most likely to own Emily Post books on etiquette and send children to etiquette school?
a) Conservative middle-class family, mom is homemaker, dad is bank manager.
b) Old Money family, mom is art curator, dad is opera singer.
c) New Money Google millionaires, Mom and Dad are executives

9. Who sucked the most dick by age 28?
a) Working middle-class Tina who attended Catholic school
b) Upper-middle class Siobhan who attended exclusive boarding school
c) Old Money Sarah who attended public school

10. What vehicle does single Korean man who runs with his parents an established Teriyaki store drive?
a) Toyota Camry
b) Ford Mustang
c) Porsche Cayenne

Answers:
6. b
7. a
8. a
9. b
10. c

Seventeenth century, White Europeans from varied backgrounds started moving to The New World. The English soon became dominant, assimilating the Dutch and the Swedes after kicking their asses, but they couldn’t reach a deal with the French (Acadians in Nova Scotia) so the English told them to fuck off, relocating some of them to Louisiana where they begin Cajun culture. Point is, American cuisine began as variant of British cuisine, and in contrast to the French, who adopted Native American hunting and cooking methods and incorporated indigeneous ingredients into their diet, the Americans used Old World Methods to prepare New World ingredients and tried to grow Old World ingredients in New World climate, with mixed results.  Where reliable trade with British Empire was established, Old World ingredients were imported, making American (New England especially) cuisine intentionally British.

There were lots of regional variations that cut across socio-economic lines — American cuisine has never been monolithic —  with, for instance, upland Southern Rednecks eating possums and squirrels with cabbage and potatoes, and African and Caribbean ingredients and cooking methods influencing the pork based lowland Southern diet.  Pennsylvania Germans brought sausages, sauerkraut, and beer from the Old World. But colonial British mercantilist policies that limited American trade to within the Empire ensured that British traditions would dominate until the Brits began taxing alcohol starting with the Molasses Act of 1733 and the Sugar Act of 1760, and then luxury goods with the Quartering Act of 1763 and tea with the Tea Act of 1773.

The Brits soon learned that when you fuck with people’s alcohol and caffeine supply, there’s going to be a revolution. Americans began boycotting British goods and finally went native out of frustration with British laws. Whiskey had been looked down on by American high society types, who preferred Old World British goods and habits. Now Northern whiskey, made of rye (non-native European ingredient), was becoming fashionable, and Southern whiskey was considered patriotic due to its use of corn, an indigenous ingredient. Rum was out, as it was seen as a symbol of British power.

Another significant change was the shift from tea to coffee.  John Adams wrote to his wife in 1773: “Tea must be universally renounced and I must be weaned, and the sooner the better.” When word got out that a group of housewives in Massachusetts united to serve — as a fuck you to the Brits — only coffee, many were inspired to do the same.

It’s been said that you can tell a lot about a person by what he or she eats.  We can probably tell a lot about a nation by what its people eat.  Shifts in eating habits aren’t accidents and they’re an index of what’s to come politically. You can smell a revolution that’s waiting to happen.

Independence – Immigration Act of 1924

Independence achieved, Americans stopped shitting on French cuisine, which they had disdained during the seemingly never ending conflict between the British and the French. Before the War, cookbook writer Hannah Glasse, wrote in Art of Cookery: “the blind folly of this age that would rather be imposed on by a French booby, than give encouragement to a good English cook!” On French recipes: “an odd jumble of trash.” Those insults disappeared in the first *American* post-war edition of her cookbook, probably because the French had helped with American war effort. The French-American alliance also led to French chefs migrating to the States during the French Revolution, which would’ve been unthinkable under British rule.

Free from the constraints of British mercantilism, American cooks gained wider access to foreign goods.  As an expanding industrializing nation requiring more White people (1790 Act limited citizenship to White people) to populate conquered lands and to work in expanding factories, the US began to accept more and a wider range of White immigrants — now including many from Eastern and Southern Europe — who further diversified American culinary habits. By 1924, Americans are eating all kinds of peasant-redneck-soul food — pig’s ears, raw oysters, raw beef, possums, ram testicles, squirrels, chicken gizzards, cow brains, pig’s feet, and blood pudding.

I use year 1924 as a bookend because it marks the end of liberal immigration policies and the beginning of the modern kitchen.  Growing concern about the “Whiteness” of some European immigrants — Italians, Slavs, and Eastern European Jews — the Immigration Act of 1924 limited the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the US. It was a way to ensure that the US remain a White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant (WASP) nation, not overrun by Irish and Italian Catholics, Jews, Slavs, and other undesirable not-quite-White European “races.”  And by severing the flow of people and cultural habits from undesirable parts of Europe to ethnic US neighborhoods, the not-quite-White people of the US would finally lose their immigrant heritage and assimilate to become fully White and American.

And it was around 1924 that modern refrigeration was becoming common in middle-class America, which led to the rise to mass produced industrialized foods such as frozen meals.  Refrigeration in rail cars meant farms no longer had to be located near population centers and more land could be farmed, resulting in lower prices of prestige items such as beef.

The Federal government and academia were also getting involved in what Americans ate.  Nutritionists and home economics professors introduced a scientific approach to nutrition and eating. They began telling Americans which meals and cooking methods are safe and proper.

Modern American Cuisine

Why did some American ethnic and regional foods become popular nationally, while others remained marginalized or disappeared?

Test break!

11. Who sucked the most dick by age 45?
a) Working middle-class Tina who attended Catholic school
b) Upper-middle class Siobhan who attended exclusive boarding school
c) Old Money Sarah who attended public school

12. It’s 1973, in some middle to upper middle class suburb. What do the Johnson’s have in their kitchen?
a) A dead body, cut up, probably neighbor’s daughter
b) White Wonder bread, margarine, and Tang.
c) Pickled beets, sauerkraut, and offals.

13. Where has Old Money Sarah never eaten?
a) McDonald’s
b) Harold’s Chicken Shack
c) Red Lobster

14. Who lost a toe while on vacation?
a) Upper middle-class Ginger
b) Lower-middle class Tiffany
c) Upper-class Wes

15. Who spends the most on nails and tan?
a) Old Money Sarah
b) Upper middle-class Jimmy
c) Lower-middle class Tiffany

Answers:
11. a
12. b
13. c
14. c
15. c

By 1965, the year immigration was liberalized, the US had finally developed a national cuisine and palate. Coca Cola, orange juice, hamburgers, fortune cookies, peanut butter, apple pie, fried chicken, hot dog, steak, pizza, french fries, spaghetti…these are some regional foods that went national (a few, like Coca Cola, went international).  Why not mutton, smoked salmon, collard greens, pig trotters, fried gizzards, baklava, gyros, Philly Cheesesteaks, and knishes?

Some food became less had because eating them was a sign of low status.  Offals (organs) and possum, for instance.  Perhaps fried chicken made the cut because it was special occasion food for the poor, and fried gizzards didn’t because that’s what the poor ate everyday.  Those who grew up poor traded liver, horse meat, and beef intestines for ground beef when they finally could.

Some food became more popular because they represented modernity and science. The middle-class household in 1970 drank space-age Tang to be modern, used margarine instead of butter to be health conscious, and ate canned soup to be family-on-the-move efficient. Now Tang is one step above kool-aid, margarine is for out-of-touch geriatrics relying on out-of-date info, and canned soup is for the lazy.

Other food and preparation methods became rare because of warnings from government agencies.  “You shouldn’t consume raw seafood or meat of any kind,” warns the FDA. So most stopped doing so, even as steak tartare was served throughout Europe, as it had for centuries, and sashimi throughout Japan, as it had for centuries.  You’re supposed to drink cow milk and eat cereal and bread and cheese…everyday “we’re told by USDA food pyramid. So we did, even though 70 percent of the people in the world are lactose intolerant.  “Cook poultry at 350 degrees,” taught the home economics teacher.  We did and learned to make overcooked and dry meat palatable by adding to it extra extra gravy.  “White meat is healthier than dark meat,” announced the nutritionist.  So we became one of the few nations in the world to prefer white over dark, even though dark is more flavorful and moister.  (And then we make white meat better tasting by frying it or drenching it in gravy, making it even more calorie dense than its dark counterpart). Americans were being taught to distrust their immigrant heritage, to become more modern (American) and less ethnic (backward). American cuisine was narrowing palates and limiting the range of cooking methods. American cuisine was becoming a disaster.

Thesis: government meddling and the loss of immigrant heritage fucked up American cuisine.

Postmodern American Cuisine

If Modernity is about living as one imagines one would in the future, Postmodernity is about living as one imagines someone had in the past.

—————————————————————————–

The Japanese, not Julia Child, saved American cuisine.

It’s the 1980s and the Japanese are on a roll. Americans are starting to think the Japanese are going to take over the world.  They show up in Manhattan to buy all sorts of vanity properties, their cars run better than American ones, and they make Americans feel lazy, and stupid. One could smell the power shift when business between Japanese and Americans was conducted not at Peter Lugar steakhouse, but in a basement level izakaya.

The growing popularity of Japanese cuisine in the US during the 80s and 90s gave Americans an opportunity to reconsider everything they’d been taught about proper cooking and proper meals.  Sure sure, there were American servicemen who loved Japanese cuisine before the preppy douchebags got to try it, but these were working class types everyone ignored, not the preppies middle-class kids emulated during the materialistic Eighties. The preppies made Japanese food cool and eating it became a sign of sophistication and high social status.

Soon Americans are watching Iron Chef Japan. Eating raw fish. Now they’re trying eel and loving it. A few even develop a taste for natto and live sea urchin.  Everything Americans were told not to do they were doing when they were eating Japanese food. For some, it was exhilarating.  Trying “weird” food became a legitimate hobby, and a new brand of foodie emerged.

By the start of the 21st century, Japanese cuisine had gone mainstream and Japanese cooking shows like Iron Chef inspired American versions of them, transforming chefs into rock stars, Ivy League graduates into line cooks working to become chefs, and cooking into a hobby instead of a chore. Sushi was no longer for Wall Street pricks and Californian champagne socialists, you were not middle-class if you didn’t eat and like sushi (even though sushi is a small portion of Japanese cuisine, and not had very often in Japan). Soon we had Japanese food for the masses: conveyer belt sushi, all you can eat sushi, even Chinese people serving (disgusting) sushi.  And as Japanese food ceased to be the new in thing, White Americans, now accustomed to trying “weird shit,” became interested in rediscovering their European roots because being White wasn’t cool anymore.  More restaurants started serving dishes that would’ve been unthinkable in the mainstream 70s, from raw oysters to bone marrow, duck hearts to steak tartare; using cooking methods, such as sous vide, that freaked out health inspectors. Underground dinner parties featured beef tongue and shrimp head. Eating such dishes became a sign of sophistication and American cuisine was becoming not just an archetype of postmodern nostalgia, but also vibrant and challenging. For the first time in a long time, American palates and culinary repertoire were expanding and a new generation of American chefs wanted to show the world that there’s more to American cuisine than McDonald’s.

Why We Eat What We Eat

Some think that the standard middle-class American cuisine is based primarily on proper nutrition (as determined by government agencies) and ethical behavior (as determined by soft science academics).  It is not.  If it were, we’d be eating crickets instead of beef for protein and we wouldn’t let ourselves get suckered by the latest health fad that confers an ingredient undeserved powers and fucks up another nation’s ecology.  Some of us would like to believe our cuisine is *proper* because it justifies our personal preferences (built on habit) and confirms our sense of self as belonging to a righteous nation. Those unhappy with status quo want to make American cuisine *proper* — nutritious and ethical (eg. localvore movement) — so we can feel like we belong to a righteous nation.

If American cuisine is, as argued earlier, built on political intrigue, social maneuvering, and economic brinksmanship, then there’s a good chance that its present is an expression of our competing political beliefs and anxiety about our socio-economic future.  Reading the food we eat as such makes it possible for us to see ourselves as tools when we drink orange juice every morning for its Vitamin C content, douchebags when we order kobe burgers for the prized fat that’s cooked off, cranks when we promote acai berries as ethical superfood, and human when we binge on McDonald’s fries.

Perhaps in the end — weary of reading all those conflicting articles about what’s healthiest and what’s more ethical and what’s better for the economy and environment — eating well has less to do with what we eat than how we explore what’s possible to eat. If only God can determine the righteousness of a nation and its citizens, the best we can do is build a spirited cuisine that challenges and expands, rather than accepts and limits, our palates and imagination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Years Old

Forgot about 11, was too busy to mention it.  Anyway, we made it to 12, Alive Juice Bar is the third oldest existing juice bar in the Puget Sound region, terrorizing customers since 2010!  The Soup Nazi Kitchen — terrorizing zombies since 2021 — is a bit over one year old.  Both have been in downtown Everett for a bit over a year, so this is a significant anniversary that marks a major move and build-out.

New logo design.  

We’re not completely settled.  In fact, we made a mess of the place today by moving in a bunch of stuff and it’s going to take us a week to sort out.  But we’re almost there — Soup Nazi Kitchen website should be up by end of the month.  And newly designed blade signs for Alive Juice Bar and The Soup Nazi Kitchen will be put up sometime this summer.  The patio is open and we finally have heat and AC, so sit some.  Free WiFi if you want to work, or browse our library full of books some people don’t want you to read.   There’ll also be a desktop computer workstation for customers to use.

Aliens for sale, $5 for small, $6 for large.  Available in grocery area. 

Always wanted a patio, now we have one!  An herb garden too!!!

Our toilet rooms are as creepy as ever.  

Elves Lives Matter mural.  

We’ve also settled on a workflow process so most everything is running smoothly now.


Cheers to all our new friends and enemies (enemies are important to have, you need a foil to create a good story and they’re better at motivating you than are most friends).  Actually, not much has changed, still mostly see old faces.  Eighty percent of the walk-in business are customers from Shoreline location.  Many moved to Everett area and some drive up to visit on the weekends.

     Old friends…

And new enemies…Doofus Doug Evans Dickhead, some minor league antifa loser who had been vandalizing the store.  His e-mail is doug.evans419@gmail.com if you want to send dick pics and such to him.  

What’s next?

Find labor, it’s been difficult.  International students are back, but there aren’t many at Everett Community College and many of them have on-campus jobs.  So we’ll wait until we find a few international students to hire.  Until then, we’ll keep limited hours during the week, but open most of the day during weekends.

Thanks for the support and we look forward to at least another 4 years in downtown Everett.  Remember to be rude, everyone, it’s more efficient.  xoxo

Masks on sale, $5

Our new logo!