Friday, July 22, 2016

Arkansas Times Recommends: The Food Edition

Posted By , , and on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 4:02 PM

Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.

click to enlarge Brandon McManus, kicker for the Denver Broncos and fan of TAG Restaurant's flash-seared hamachi. - BRONCOS WIRE
  • Broncos Wire
  • Brandon McManus, kicker for the Denver Broncos and fan of TAG Restaurant's flash-seared hamachi.

Check out this story from The Ringer on Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus, who’s taken up a side job as a food blogger. Here’s an excerpt:

“After some discussions with local outlets and magazines, which he turned down because he wanted to write about food more than once a month, he decided to publish on Denver’s team website. Like everyone else who writes for the site, his job title is listed after his byline: ‘Brandon McManus, kicker.’ He read food blogs not to study the reviews, but to search for inspiration for a good name for his own blog. He ultimately settled on McManus’ Mile High Menu, and readers ate it up: He said that his first post, about Guard and Grace (try the Bangs Island mussels, the best he’s ever had), netted 40,000 page views in short order.”

It’s the kind of oddball story that’s been typical of The Ringer since its launch in June. Here are a few personal favorites from the site: the unimpeachable perfection of Mark Wahlberg, an oral history of Tim Duncan told by his clothes, and the search for a Republican celebrity.

-Tom Coulter

click to enlarge EVAN AMOS
  • Evan Amos

Did you know that William Carlos Williams wrote more than one plum poem? These are not the plums filched from the icebox ("so sweet/ and so cold"). These are lesser known plums (unjustly, it seems to me). I am captive to this delicious moment, which Williams describes without flourish. The precision of Williams' diction and the "munching" movement of the meter make my mouth water. Can you taste the plums? Do you see the poor old woman? We are voyeurs to her joy—a joy amplified, it seems, by her distress: her poverty, her hunger for this sweet solace. 

To a Poor Old Woman

munching a plum on   
the street a paper bag
of them in her hand
They taste good to her
They taste good   
to her. They taste
good to her

You can see it by
the way she gives herself
to the one half
sucked out in her hand

Comforted
a solace of ripe plums
seeming to fill the air
They taste good to her

You can hear the poet read it here, if you're into that sort of thing. 

-Ashley Gill

click to enlarge weird_al.jpg

No artist has done more than "Weird" Al Yankovic to make music delicious. And never forget, it was Al who created the Twinkie-Wiener Sandwich. 

So here is the ultimate food playlist, courtesy of the man himself:

I Love Rocky Road
Fat 
Eat It
My Bologna
Addicted to Spuds
Foil
Girls Just Want to Have Lunch
Grapefruit Diet
Lasagna
Livin' in the Fridge
SPAM
Taco Grande
Waffle King
Trapped in the Drive-Thru
The White Stuff

-Michael Roberts

click to enlarge tomatoes-1.jpg

Once, when it was so blisteringly hot that eating anything warmer than room temperature seemed risky at best, a mentor of mine served me a wide, shallow bowl of chilled cantaloupe soup with some mint on top. Having grown up on a chicken farm in the Ozarks where we take our soup hot or we take no soup at all, the coral orb of cold fruit and cucumber in front of me seemed rather exotic. In fact, it might have been the very first chilled soup I ever had. Even if it wasn't, that day marks for me the beginning of a long, slow dissolution of my mental association of soup with winter. 

So, here's to food you can sip when it's so hot that eating seems unthinkable. Here's to not turning on the oven during the month of July. Here's to having grown wiser about chilled soups, at least enough to have landed myself squarely in the "smooth and silky" camp when it comes to opinions on how gazpacho should go. (If you fall elsewhere, I wish you and your spoon salsa all the best.) And here's to.....well, here's my recipe for gazpacho. 

a cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and de-seeded (unless you're bankrollin' with those seedless mini-cukes, you Daddy Warbucks, you)
four or five of the best tomatoes you can muster, cut in half
a red or yellow pepper, also de-seeded
a palmful of almonds
a small onion, chopped (or 1/2 a bigger one) 
a mild pepper, like an Anaheim or a shishito, also de-seeded
a clove of garlic
two tablespoons of white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
two tablespoons of the nicest olive oil you have in your kitchen
salt
cracked pepper

Put everything expect the salt and pepper into a blender and puree until smooth. Add salt and cracked pepper until it tastes right. If more than one adjective precedes the words "olive oil" on your bottle of olive oil, drizzle some on top. 

-Stephanie Smittle


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