The Observer, July 22 

Having lunch last weekend at a cafe in Conway, The Observer was witness to the first get-together of the Culinary Historians of Conway. So far, there are only two of them; they seem to be struggling with an inefficient advertising department. Their inaugural meeting was to start at 2:30, but by a quarter till 3, when the society was as yet a duo, the show was forced to go on.

A young woman wearing a T-shirt that declared "Philosophers do it Ponderously" took charge. Introducing herself to her audience of one, she expressed her dismay at the small attendance but said she planned to hold a meeting at least once a month. The next date was tentatively scheduled for Aug. 14. Though only one person (and this reporter) was there to hear about Conway's foodways, she spoke as if there was a crowd. That is, a little more loudly than was necessary for the two of us and the others in the cafe, the usual weekend patrons, one reading a book, another on a laptop, a couple in the corner, another sipping coffee and keeping to herself.

First topic of the day: food politics, a favorite of twenty-something ideologues. "The way we look at food depends on our social class," the Historian announced. "Everyone has access to good food, and they should use it." On she went to say something about farmer's markets and to make a general criticism of McDonald's and factory farming.

We have a few Michael Pollan books on our shelf, and we're always game for a discussion of how people eat, but the Historian made us wince. It's nice to see people get riled up about practical things, but her passionate appeal to everyone in earshot was a bit much. It wasn't just the substance of the shaky claims ("Consolidation of schools is a terrorist attack on farmers") but the volume in which they were delivered.

It was tremendously awkward, and customers were gradually leaving. Sensing the room would soon be empty we quickly finished our meal and got up to pay.

As we were leaving, a waiter came by to deliver the Historians their food. Hamburgers, crimped fries. All it takes to patch a bleeding heart, apparently.

From The Observer's mailbag:

"Reading the usually fine Observer (July 8, 2010), I was struck by a couple of things. First, The Observer referred to several diners at a 'nice steakhouse off the Financial Center Parkway' as being in their 60s. As someone who just turned 63, I wondered what those folks looked like through the eyes of The Observer — Aunt Bea types or Jane Fonda look-alikes? But, when The Observer went on to exclaim the disgust of having to look at one of the '60s' person's 12EEEE feet (not so cool!), I was reminded of a recent dinner with friends where I had to sit across the table from someone eating rare, practically raw prime rib. Now, THAT is disgusting!

"Further down The Observer wrote about a vampire kit with a wooden 'steak.' Is that perhaps what The Observer felt like he/she was eating after seeing those disgusting feet?" (No, but The Observer is beginning to feel like a heel.)

The Observer also got advice from a reader. "Seek out the ugly, lumpy ones. If you spot any dark purple or blackish really horrid-looking ones, buy all you can afford." Our reader wasn't referring to discalced seniors at a restaurant, but tomatoes, in response to last week's diatribe in this column. "I don't know all the names, but these are sometimes called Cherokee Purple, and are delicious, like the taste you remember from childhood."

To show that The Observer is not all gripe, we will say that this summer's corn has been excellent.


From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Show and tell

    The Observer is an advocate of the A+ method of integrating the arts and using creativity to teach across the curriculum, an approach that the Thea Foundation, with help from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, is offering to schools across the state.
    • Feb 25, 2016
  • Yawp

    The Observer has been in a funk lately for a number of reasons: revulsions and slights, both foreign and domestic. We get that way most years as the winter drags on, once the tinsel and colored lights of Christmas drop into the rearview, soon after we come off the New Year's Day hangover.
    • Mar 24, 2016

Most Shared

Latest in The Observer

  • Dumb and smart, at the same time

    The Observer spent the week at a bar and thought a lot about a joke and its writer.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • -30-

    A newspaper died up in Atkins a few weeks back, not with a bang or a whimper, but with the sound of change jingling in a pocket, just too little of it to keep the printing presses rolling.
    • Jul 13, 2017
  • Does she know?

    Did Kim Walker-Smith, when recording "Throne Room" for her new record "On My Side," truly understand the power of her music? Does she now know that her song was the one that played on the radio as Michael Reed thumped into the Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol grounds and brought it on down?
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: 1983 - Jacques and Suzanne

    • The cognac is better served in a glass separate from the souffle. It is vulgar…

    • on July 25, 2017
  • Re: Ruth Coker Burks, the cemetery angel

    • I'm only 31, still quite a young lesbian by some standards. Born in 1986, I…

    • on July 24, 2017
  • Re: Up and running

    • INTERESTING - However the idea isn't new.........a Major Technology Park was planned for the old…

    • on July 24, 2017

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation