"Socrates taught Plato and Plato taught Aristotle and Aristotle taught Alexander the Great, who founded a city that would house the most voluminous library of the ancient world – until it was burned, until forgetting came back into vogue. The great minds come down through the years like monkeys defending from high branches. Always, a leopard is waiting to greet them – in the tall grass, among the magnetic berries, in the place they should have checked." - Charles Rafferty, The New Yorker, Feb 17 & 24, 2014
The other day on Facebook I posted about the Martin Walker book I was just cracking, number eight in the Bruno, Chief of Police series, The Patriarch. His main character, Benoît "Bruno" Courrèges, is a passionate cook and, not surprisingly, the response I got was mostly centered around Walker’s descriptions of purchasing, cooking, and savoring the foods of Bruno's region, the Périgord, and the amazing produce of his idyllic town St. Denis. The murder investigations in each book almost seem secondary to good eats!
From The Shooting at Château Rock:
"Bruno had brought Pamela a dozen eggs from his chickens when he arrived to exercise the horses, and Miranda had hard-boiled them before rounding up the children for their bath. In the kitchen Bruno peeled the eggs, cut them in half and spooned out the solidified yolks. He chopped some allumettes, thin strips of smoked bacon, and fried them in their own fat while Pamela passed him some mayonnaise she’d made. He used a fork to crumble the hard egg yolks, added salt and pepper and two spoonfuls of Dijon mustard and then stirred in the bacon bits and the mayonnaise before spooning portions, the size of walnuts, into the halved egg whites. He set them out on a large plate and sprinkled a small amount of paprika onto the oeufs mimosa before taking them out to the terrace and putting the dish in the center of the table. He draped a dishcloth over the bowl to keep away any flies."
Martin Walker has created an amazing website where you can find Bruno’s recipes, wine information, other culinary delights. And here’s an informative article from 2017 about the author published in the New York Times.
Not to be outdone, the books of Louise Penny were also discussed as was the food descriptions from the fictional town of Three Pines south of Montreal, usually involving Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of Sûreté du Québec, the provincial police force for Quebec.
From Still Life:
“They ate by candlelight, the candles of all shapes and sizes flickering around the kitchen. Their plates were piled high with turkey and chestnut stuffing, candied yams and potatoes, peas and gravy.”
From A Fatal Grace:
A steak frites was placed in front of Beauvoir, sizzling from the charcoal fire, the French fries thin and seasoned, a small dish of mayonnaise waiting for them on the side. Beauvoir sipped his wine, swirling the dark liquid around lazily and looked into the fire. This was heaven. It’d been a long, cold day but it was finally over. Now he and Gamache could talk and chew over the case. It was Beauvoir’s favorite part of the job. And if it came with a charcoal steak, fries, wine, and a lively fire, so much the better.
And from A Rule Against Murder:
"The guests watched the sun set ... and enjoyed course after course, beginning with the chef’s amuse-bouche of local caribou. Reine-Marie had the escargots à l’ail, followed by seared duck breast with confit of wild ginger, mandarin and kumquat. Gamache started with fresh roquette from the garden and shaved parmesan then ordered the organic salmon with sorrel yogurt. ... 'And for dessert?'...'For Madame, we have fresh mint ice cream on an éclair filled with creamy dark organic chocolate, and for Monsieur a pudding du chômeur à l’érable avec crème chantilly.'*... Finally, when they could eat no more, the cheese cart arrived burdened with a selection of local cheeses made by the monks in the nearby Benedictine abbey of Saint-Benoit-du-Lac."
Here are the Walker books in order: Bruno Chief of Police, The Dark Vineyard, Black Diamond, Crowded Grave, Devil’s Cave, Resistance Man, The Children Return, The Patriarch, Fatal Pursuit, The Templer’s Last Secret, A Taste For Vengeance, The Body In the Castle Well, The Shooting at Chateau Rock.
And Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache series in order: Still Life, A Fatal Grace, The Cruelest Month, A Rule Against Murder, The Brutal Telling, Bury Your Dead, The Hangman (an easy-read novel), A Trick of Light, The Beautiful Mystery, How the Light Gets In, The Long Way Home, The Nature of the Beast, A Great Reckoning, Glass Houses, Kingdom of the Blind.
Once again, Republican lawmakers are making shit up and their voting base accepts the whole enchilada, the full nine yards, lock, stock, and barrel, root and branch, the whole kit and caboodle. The full monty, as it were.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and a group of Republican lawmakers were in El Paso this week trying to distract the public once again. “It’s more than a crisis; it’s a human heartbreak,” McCarthy said, noting that his members spoke with a family from Honduras that had been traveling for 22 days. “The sad part about that is this didn’t have to happen. This crisis is created by the presidential policies of this new administration.”
Where has his display of crocodile tears been for the kids in cells the last four years?
He goes on to say that border agents he had met earlier that day issued dire warnings that suspected terrorists are trying to cross into the United States via Mexico. "You saw it in their eyes," McCarthy said, referring to the agents. "They talked about, 'They're on the list.' ... The terrorist watch list."
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), a Marine who served in the war in Iraq and who chairs a House Armed Services Committee panel on intelligence and special operations, said that he considers it "weird" that he hasn't "heard anything about" terrorist-watch-list members trying to enter the country through the southern border.
I kinda like this dude better when he was focused on Dr. Seuss, Potato Head dolls, and a Muppets disclaimer.
Some good news: On Wednesday, The U.S. House of Representatives voted 244-172 to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act which will close the deadly ‘boyfriend loophole' that allows convicted domestic abusers to access guns, and will expand the jurisdiction of certain tribal authorities over non-Indian perpetrators who commit crimes on tribal lands.
The updated legislation aims, in part, to expand protections for older survivors of abuse by creating additional support programs in rural areas. Some of these protections will come in the form of extending unemployment benefits to those who voluntarily leave their employment because they were victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or sexual or another form of harassment.
The bill also provides protections for abuse survivors staying in federally-funded or assisted housing, allowing them to more easily move locations, maintain housing, or terminate a lease early after a perpetrator leaves.
And, of course, the National Rifle Association, voiced concerns that banning individuals convicted of misdemeanor crimes infringes on their right to bear arms. Take away their muskets, take away their freedom.
Photograph by Joseph Kayne
Some more good news! You already know by now that Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) was confirmed as secretary of the Interior Department by a 51-to-40 vote in the Senate, becoming the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history.
NPR reported that, “Her confirmation is as symbolic as it is historic. For much of its history, the Interior Department was used as a tool of oppression against America's Indigenous peoples. In addition to managing the country's public lands, endangered species and natural resources, the department is also responsible for the government-to-government relations between the U.S. and Native American tribes.”
During her confirmation hearing Haaland said, "There's no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come. The department has a role in harnessing the clean energy potential of our public lands to create jobs and new economic opportunities. The president's agenda demonstrates that America's public lands can and should be engines for clean energy production."
Haaland also tweeted after Biden announced her nomination, “A voice like mine has never been a Cabinet secretary or at the head of the Department of Interior,. I’ll be fierce for all of us, our planet, and all of our protected land.”
In sharp contrast, the orangeman’s white dude, David Bernhardt, who held the post for two minutes after Ryan Zinke resigned in 2019 was ‘probed’ for his involvement rolling back wildlife protections, which would benefit his former farming industry clients. I say the probe didn’t go deep enough, if you catch my meaning. Zinke also faced federal investigations into his travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest. So much to grift, so little time.
Always worth a watch!
“The most important thing to do in your life is to not interfere with somebody else's life.” – Frank Zappa
Have a great weekend everyone…and now, a dose of Twitchy Intrepid Pudding.