The Wonders of Homewood Vol. 8 Issue 6

Have you had a gyro at Sam’s Deli & Grill? It’s not life changing but there is no such thing as a life changing lunch. There is such thing as day changing lunch.

I go out of my way, plan meetings, and otherwise shirk responsibilities to eat there. Move about for the chance of this wrap. It’s fabulous.

Just yesterday I woke up at 6:03 AM and the damn thing was on my mind. They open at 9:00 so I had to wait, but it was worth it.

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P.O.E.T.S. Day! That One I Still Remember From Second Grade Or Whatever!

“One bright day in the middle of the night…”

A lot of you of a certain age and Catholic education will recognize that line from a poem. It was required curriculum, at least in my diocese growing up and I doubt there was much variation reaching outward.

It’s a stupid poem to anyone with an ounce of sense, but kids have nothing approaching such. I memorized this ditty almost forty years ago and still remember it. There wasn’t even an assignment to learn it. I just loved it. So did my friends and we’d race through it by rote, trying to see who couldn’t recite it quickly and then descend on that poor child like those bat eared things from Galaxy Quest that were out for Guy’s blood. But that was the early eighties: stupid funny poems, lawn darts, pit bulls, and Africanized honey bees. Kristy McNichols though… dude. There was an upside.

So it’s P.O.E.T.S. Day!

Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday! Get your ass out of work. Lie, cheat, steal, fake minor (don’t go overboard or there will be required explanations) injuries. I don’t think pit bulls or killer bees are going to work but a lawn dart injury to a near relative is pretty special and not outside the realm of possibilities. If there’s a temptation to lie to the higher ups by pretending you need to leave for a date with McNichols I’m in your corner and so would most people that remember Madonna’s debut album, but it’s been a long time since Little Darlings. Know your audience.

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P.O.E.T.S. Day! The Angry Version Full of Spite and Misery… Soooo… Poe?

P.O.E.T.S. Day pablum first. Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday. That should get your blood going even if you already knew what the acronym stood for. Get out. Get here.

It’s not quite the weekend but it can be if you make it Picardism. Escape the office. Don’t claim anything that’ll come back and bite you, though. Tell your boss you have a raging case of herpes and yeah, you’ll get out of work early but you’ll also never get to double dip a corn chip at the office Christmas party without a full and total realization of what a gossip your boss is. Also, what if your boss is hot? Don’t burn an a bridge unnecessarily.

Better the simple. We all hate a sniffle and COVID has everyone on tenterhooks and there is no “How did the flare up go?” questions around the water cooler on Monday. A fever can be faked with nothing more than a thermometer held near a light bulb, but not too near. I still remember my mom telling me to get dressed for school despite the thermometer registering 110° F. I tried but mom’s are clever.

Back to Poe

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I’m Anticipating a Pizza

I’m anticipating a pizza. There are three of us sharing it and it’s not what any of us would have were we given free reign.

I’d have gone vegetable. Maybe anchovies.

My son is easy to predict. He wants pepperoni and black olives.

Our friend is harder to predict. He likes a variety of bell peppers and bread crumbs on top.

You would think that a compromise would include a bit from me, a bit from my son, and a bit from our friend. It turns out that it just my son got one from his wish list on the pie. Pepperoni and sausage. We colluded, and came up with something simple and spectacular.

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P.O.E.T.S. Day! Byron, and No, I Won’t Concede to Call Him Lord

I won’t call him Lord because of this painting.

File:Byron 1813 by Phillips.jpg

He looks like a goof – a runner up on Star Search goof. This is the first superstar? That’s no Lord.

I almost forgot the required stuff. Back to the goof in a sec.

It’s P.O.E.T.S. Day! Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday! Get thee from thy workplace verily!

You can’t help but see all before you covered in blood and random Lego pieces. Obviously that’s not true, but if you tell your boss about the blood and Lego gambit it’s bound to get you out early and the weekend can begin.

Not up for the psychiatric follow up? Try a cold. We’re in the end stages of COVID but the least of viral symptoms still gets you an overblown license to absenteeism.  Go Rahm on this. Never let a crisis go to waste.

Alternately there’s car trouble, gas leaks, emergency vasectomies, and all manner of other excuses. Bottom line: Get out of work early and sit yourself at my bar. I’m a heavy pourer.

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La Sonriente Garnacha – Truth in Advertising?

La Sonriente is not a bottle we carry at the restaurant. It’s a Trader Joe’s pick and not half bad. If you factor in the $7.00 price tag it’s damn near amazing, punching way above it’s weight. I had it at a family dinner Sunday night and during a lull when my sons and their cousins were grousing about having to clear the table and do the dishes (aside from lawn mowing that is why you have children,) I noticed the blurb on the back of the bottle.

“The best vineyards of Calatayud are situated high on the hillsides, where, despite the poor gravelly soil, the vines produce the finest grapes possible in this arid and desolate region. Only the ripest clusters are chosen, thus producing a wine of considerable depth and finesse including intense aromas of sweet cherries and dark plums.”

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Happy P.O.E.T.S. Day! The James Matthew Wilson Edition

In snuck up on you didn’t it? Another week passed. Think of all the opportunities squandered, inspirational quotes ignored, and occasions for brilliant self-expression overlooked. You’ll never get that time back. That week is gone. On the bright side you probably got a nap in here and there. Good for you.

On the really bright side, it’s P.O.E.T.S. Day, Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday. It’s your weekly clarion call reminding you that life is not all work and toil. Life is joy, wonder, and a bit of hot sauce should you like it. So seize the mid to late afternoon and sneak, bully, or connive your way out of work a few hours before closing. Fake thrombosis. Invent a minor ailment – psioreminces has promise. Do what you have to. Join us at the bar and start the weekend early with an ice cold Good People Pale Ale or a moderately cold Stella Artois (the cooler repairman is on route so that should be taken care of shortly… assuming the repairman doesn’t take a P.O.E.T.S. Day himself.) I prefer a nice vermentino at the end of the week myself, but to each his own.

Just get here.

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Cookbook: Marcella Cucina by Marcella Hazan

This is currently my favorite cookbook. It has been for quite a while and I’m usually pretty capricious.

Marcella Hazan (Her Name Be Praised) earned her place in the Italian cooking pantheon with Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Originally published in separate volumes as The Classic Italian Cookbook in 1973 and More Classic Italian Cooking in 1978 – combined, updated, and revised in the current single volume in 1992)

As wonderful as it is, Essentials is as advertised. It’s the essentials. It resembles in style and layout, Rombauer’s The Joy of Cooking. I assume that was an intentional and successful attempt to claim staple status among Italian cookbooks in the same way Rombauer had general European-American books. It’s a broad overview. Her later, shorter books are more adventurous. They have a sharper focus and capture the mood and culinary fetishes she’s entertaining at a given moment. She’s more fun after she laid the groundwork.

I’ve got my mother’s copy of Marcella Cucina (1997.) Most of Mom’s cookbooks are heavily annotated. I remember a veal dish in a non-Hazan book exed out in pencil with the words “Never Again!” scrawled in the margin. Not so this book. There are a few notes here and there, but I get the sense that Mom thought Marcella did a pretty good job.

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Chicken Chicanery: A Discourse (Kinda) on the National Origins of Chicken Parmesan and Why on Earth It’s Called Chicken Parmesan in the First Place

Chicken Parmesan carved out a place on Italian restaurant menus around the middle of the last century. The thing is, it’s not from Parma and by all evidence it likely originated outside the Italian borders. Most recipes call for mozzarella and/or provolone with a slight few tossing in Parmesan as a finisher. Shenanigans! It’s half-truths and misappropriation nestled in a lightly salted bed of al dente angel hair.

There are people with what sounds like a marvelously fun job if you’re into musty old books and getting shushed by librarians because you’re cursing at the disorder neglect has imposed on the obscure corner of the research wing you inhabit regularly fun. They scour old cookbooks and menus, literature, and diaries looking for the first mention of a particular dish. Imagine these food historians as a better fed version of Oxford English Dictionary etymologists.

Those slightly overweight sneezy people have pinned the first appearance of Chicken Parmesan in Italy as being somewhere in the mid-1950s. That’s two or three years after it popped up roughly simultaneously in the US, Argentina, and Australia – the three top destinations of the 23 million people fleeing miserable poverty beginning after the end of WWI and ending around the mid-1950s. It’s what’s know as the Italian diaspora.

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It’s P.O.E.T.S. Day Again! The Robert Service Edition

I haven’t written a damn thing on this site since last week and here we are Friday. I’m a little embarrassed to have two P.O.E.T.S. Day posts in a row, but I was busy. I’ll pepper this thing with all manner of stuff next week and then go to my other blog to explain that I didn’t post there very much because I was busy. I’ll hit equilibrium eventually.

Back to the great tradition of P.O.E.T.S. Day, Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday. Hit the bars early. Live freely. Lie to the boss, start coughing in class and excuse yourself, “car trouble” is a great reason for cancelling afternoon sales calls or meetings. Don’t feel that it’s ignoble to exploit the fact that you have kids. They get sick and need parental attention all the time. Why not today?

Wrest yourself from obligation and come have a beer or glass of wine with us. You’ve earned it. It’s sort of the weekend.

Today’s P.O.E.T.S Day is brought to you by Robert Service (1874 – 1958), a claimed Canadian who was born in England, partially schooled in Scotland, worked as everything from a banker to a ranch hand in Canada with nomadic stints taking him to the U.S., covered WWI for the Toronto Star and was mistaken for a spy and nearly executed, spent time driving an ambulance around battlefields, and joined the literary set in France. He got around.

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