Labor Day Weekend means RAIN

  • Happy 4th of July Weekend. If you live near me–and I feel safer knowing you probably don’t–then you’re having rain with more to come. After some of the news we’ve been seeing, I should probably say, “Rain, well that figures.” 
  • Note to those of you in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. It’s past time for y’all to declare independence from England, the U.K, the empire, or whatever it is these days. Don’t wait.
  • Author Keith Willis, a long-time friend of mine, will soon be releasing the next book in his swashbuckling, dragon-filled Knights of Kilbourne fantasy series. Stolen Knight, the 4th in the series, will be out soon. Keith and I met when I was an instructor and he was a student at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. He was better at being a student than I was at being an instructor. My excuse is that I got the job a few days before the first class and had to move down to Georgia from Minnesota in my half-broken town Jeep. No time to prepare for the kinds of courses I wanted to teach.
  • A few days ago, I wrote a post about author Thomas Savage.  At least one reader has commented on the autobiography’s high price. That, unfortunately, is the way of things for University Press books. I don’t understand the thinking unlesss it comes from ther expectation that the book will be sold to other colleges and univerities with plenty of money. I meant to suggest a book you might start with if you’re new to Savage. A good place to start, I think, is with The Power of the Dog which Jane Campion made into a film by the same name in 2021.
  • For those of you who keep wanting to make stuff like chickpea salad, I should remind you that I don’t consider that kind of thing to be food, especially for a holiday weekend. It reminds me of the kind of stuff the cooks make on the TV show “Chopped.” Look at those judges for the show and ask them if they think the chefs who compete on the show are really cooking normal food. Hmm, I don’t think the judges are that blurry in “real life.”
  • Speaking of food, I’m preparing Kraft Mac & Cheese of supper. I’m glad the company has finally updated their packaging to display the product as we refer to it. If they’d asked me, I would have suggested they add the words “comfort food” somewhere on the box. 


Are professional chefs nasty?

If you watch “Hell’s Kitchen” with Gordon Ramsay or “Chopped” hosted by Ted Allen, perhaps you’ve noticed that a fair number of the contestants on both shows present themselves as badass competitors who will wipe the floor with the scum they’re competing against.

Ramsay, of course, is well known for his volatile, profanity-filled approach to the show while the “Chopped” host and judges are unfailingly polite.

What my wife and I wonder is this: in “real life” away from the TV shows, are the chefs who appear nasty, or are they simply posturing like school-yard bullies on TV? For all I know, maybe the shows’ producers force them to act like people raised in a bad-neighborhood gang.

I know one thing for sure: If I go to a fine restaurant, I don’t want any of these chefs getting close to my food. As best I can tell, Gordon Ramsay and the judges on chopped really know how to cook, though they do like meat that’s too rare for me. Many of the contestants, who hold chefs’ jobs around the country, seem to know how to cook as well.

But the language, the arrogant posturing, and the excessive number of tattoos are a turnoff. Yes, I know, at my age I’m out of sync with everyone who’s 40 years younger.  But I do know how to cook without making what happens in the kitchen sound like a gangland activity.


Pat Conroy knew how to cook, and you can find evidence of that in his novels. I can’t cook at Conroy’s level, though I still hope you enjoy my books.