Thinking and writing about food. Not always in that order.

Q & A: Getting Tasty with James Franco

In Uncategorized on December 19, 2017 at 11:31 am


Editor’s Note: This is the latest in a series of interviews in which I, as James Franco, interview myself about topics of interest to me and James Franco. But mostly me. James Franco has appeared in 146 motion pictures. Most recently, he is the director and star of “The Disaster Artist.” I am a lazy person. 

Q: North End or South End?
A: I guess that depends. Do you mean as a place to live or are you asking which has better restaurants? Or maybe which is overall more appealing to me?

Q: Seaport or Kendall Square?
A: Again, I don’t know what the context is.

Q: What three condiments do you always carry in your purse?
A: I don’t carry a purse.  

Q: C’mon dude. I know you have a man purse.
A: Yes. My family bought it for me in Italy and it’s really nice leather.  I wouldn’t carry sauces in it. Why are you asking such stupid questions?

Q: Because it’s almost 2018 and that’s the way we do it.
A: What does that have to do with anything?

Q: In 2018, you’re supposed to have funny, timely, revealing, and self-deprecating answers carefully curated and ready when I ask my insanely cute and clever questions. Now, do it.
A: I don’t know. Fish sauce. Heinz Ketchup. And something from the kimchi bar at H-Mart. Like that?

Q: Did that kill you? At least one is supposed to be a combined artisanal hot sauce and a Beyoncé reference, but whatever.
A:. James, I thought you cared about exploring big, complex questions and seeking answers that take more than three words. You’re a sensitive and thoughtful guy who’s made like 50 movies about poets. Don’t you care about depth?

Q: No. Poke bowls, Cara Delevingne’s eyebrows, and printed cookbooks — fuck, marry, kill?
A: I won’t answer that.

Q: Red Line or Green Line?
A: None of this is very interesting, nor does it have anything to do with food. Who could possibly be interested in my answers to this question? Any of these questions. And both the Red Line and Green Line suck anyhow.

Q: If you were a chili pepper, what would your Scoville Rating be?
A: I just don’t see the point of this. I thought the reason for having a conversation is to connect with another person, exchange thoughts, make new discoveries, learn something. That’s how we’re exposed to new ideas and how we gain an understanding of other perspectives on the world. Learning about what people eat and why they eat what they do are great for learning about culture and tradition, history, human conflict, science, economics, psychology. Plus these stories are endlessly personal and fascinating. Food is a universal interest that connects all people, despite our differences. Those stories need time and space to unfold.

Q: Jesus Christ, gramps. Why don’t you just type up that long-ass answer on your fax machine and snail mail it to me.
A: I don’t need this.

Q: Yes you do.
A: Yeah, you’re probably right. So anyway, I’m thinking I should Instagram more in 2018 and have been kicking around the idea of starting a podcast called “What You Ate Yesterday?” It’s a podcast where I ask people what they ate yesterday. Just people I know. Maybe some famous people.

Q: There might be hope for you yet.
A: I’m not so sure. 



New Feature: Ask a 70s housewife humorist

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2017 at 2:41 pm

Ima Bombast: 70s humorist & hair curler enthusiast


EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of guest columns in which long-dead or never-alive authors answer real food questions that I stole  that are inspired by real listener questions from real food podcasts.

Long before Americans turned to YouTube celebrities and social media trolls to provide terrible answers to life’s most important questions, we had humorous housewife essayists to fill that need. From the black and white pages of newspaper Lifestyle sections in the 70s (which were an actual thing with lots of pages), these cranky but cuddly gals told it like it wasn’t about waxy yellow buildup and cream of mushroom soup.

At the top of that cantankerous laundry heap was Ima Bombast, beloved columnist and author of the best-selling book, “A Home Cooked Meal is Like Shangri-La (My Husband Will Never See Either of Them.)” Sadly, Ima pulled a Richard Simmons and disappeared from public life in 1980 when her stash of Canadian saccharine and Jello 1-2-3 ran out. But she’s back and ready to answer your questions.

TODAY’S QUESTION: “I want to talk about cooked salsas”


Dear Ima,

I want to talk about cooked salsas. Part of my frustration is that everything I buy from the store tastes like canned tomatoes. The tastes are flat, the textures are flat. I love fresh salsas, but I’m looking for something that can last a little longer in the fridge but still have a depth of flavor and textures that pop.

— Derrick from Decatur, Georgia


Dear Derrick,

Well, you certainly know your way around the kitchen big fella.

But Chrissy-and-Janet-on-a-cracker, I haven’t heard a man complain so much about things being flat since my honeymoon. As I told Husby just yesterday, if big boobs are what turn you on, go watch the Watergate hearings on TV.  Just don’t tell me about it afterward.

I may not know what salsa is (and I’m not positive what all those knobs on the stove are for either), but I do know a thing or two about tomatoes in the can. After bridge club today, I found that the 3-year-old had picked a ripe Big Boy from the neighbor’s garden across the street and was hiding in the bathroom to eat it. I gave him a good talking to for that.

“If only you had thought of this an hour ago,” I said. “I’d have had more than half a bag of mini marshmallows and a bottle of vermouth to serve the bridge club. Next time, don’t forget to pick a bottle of Italian dressing too.” Then I asked, “Are you going to finish that?”

Let me tell you, tomatoes in the can are not so bad.

Now If you want something with depth of flavor that ages well in the fridge, I recommend a box of baking soda. Mine’s been there since 1958.

I hear that was a very good year.

– Ima, still in the bathroom

Too many zucchini? Here are 7 foodie hacks you can use right now. (You won’t believe #6!)

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2017 at 12:38 pm

dreamstime_xs_29504590I saw the first plea today on Facebook: “What should I do with all the zucchini coming from my garden.” There’s really only one answer. Throw them in the motherf’ing garbage.

Zucchini are the Donald Trump Jr. of the garden. One appearance is one too many. But those persistent little bastards just don’t get it and keep coming back for more.

No one has ever said: “The thing I look forward to most about summer is a vegetable with a weirdly bitter peel and interior flesh that tastes like a wet paper towel. And best of all, they just keep metastasizing until I simply can’t take it anymore.”

That’s zucchini. They’re the cockroaches of the squash family. They’re rats with a bit of chlorophyll. On the plus side, eating one does provide slightly more Vitamin A than an actual cockroach or rat.

If you’re dumb enough to sow these seeds of despair in your garden willingly (and why people do this is beyond comprehension), please know that NOBODY wants to share in your misery. If you give someone a bag of these freshly picked nightmares, they may say, “Thank you.” They may say ,“You’re too kind.” But they’re thinking, “I can’t wait until I find a motherf’ing trash can.”

No one has eaten a zucchini by choice. Not grilled. Not raw. Not roasted, smoked, dried, candied, or shredded into a slaw. Not wrapped around a weiner or fried into a fritter. Not baked into a quiche, buried under eggs, or pulverized into a dip. When a restaurant says their vegetable of the day is “summer medley” you know it’s 98% zucchini and 100% inedible. It’s just one more way to dump zucchini on an unsuspecting audience. What about those cultures where zucchini are a dietary staple? They must love it? There are also places in the world where people eat rats and “Chilis on the Go.” But  everyone knows they’d really rather be anywhere else, eating anything else.

So this summer, If you find yourself buried alive by nice corn on the cob, lovely heirloom tomatoes, super-fresh green beans, or crispy radishes, you’ve grown in your garden, share away. But if you’re overrun by kudzuchini, know that you inflicted that on yourself.

And you need to go it alone.

F–k zucchini.

Enough with the fun and games.

What can you do to use up that bounty of summer zucchini?

When life gives you zucchini, try one of these!

Here are my favorite tips.

1. Sneak a cup of shredded zucchini into your favorite brownie recipe. Your children will learn to hate brownies – you!

2. Call them “courgette” and your family won’t know they’re actually eating zucchini. They’ll just think you’re a pretentious twit.

3. Make a gift for friends of lovely home-baked zucchini bread, wrapped in white butcher paper and red and white twine. Then throw them in the motherf’ing garbage.

4. Stuff zucchini blossoms with a mixture of lemon zest and ricotta cheese. Lightly batter, and pan fry. Actually this is really delicious. And it’s a pre-emptive strike against these monsters.

5. Perk up your favorite summer recipe by substituting zucchini for other similar ingredients including – um, um, um. The material they use to fill disposable diapers? Never mind this one.

6. Write “Free Zucchini” on a paper bag and fill with $10,000 in small bills (and zucchini!) Then leave it on a busy street corner. Your next big drug deal will be a smashing success. No one will ever touch a bag marked “Free Zucchini.”

7. Frame the dumb bastards for your treasonous presidential campaign and hope they go away for a very long time.