For My Birthday…

here’s my present to you. A picture of the birthday cake that my ever-lovin’ wife and kids made for me on Sunday.

It even tastes better than it looks, if you can believe it.

You may not be able to tell, but this cake depicts a beach scene with a bunch of little Teddy Grahams running around. The Beach is the brown crumbly area on the left, and the water is on the right. The teddies are playing with tubes and such, and up in the right hand corner, the orange thing that looks like an arrow is actually a boat pulling two teddies on tubes. (The long bumpy things are some candy called Crunchy Gummi Worms. Go get a big tubful of them, even if you’re not decorating an elegant dessert like this one.)

At the right end of the cake, my son spelled out my age in Roman numerals, in Crunchy Gummi Worms. That eases the pain of getting older–the more years you chalk up, the more worms it takes to make your cake.

Welcoming Myself Back

He's just askin' for it...Why, yes, indeed. Thank you to me for welcoming me back into my bosom. I just can’t thank me enough for my warmth and generosity.

So I go off to Deutschland with the Frau and Kindern, and what do you think happens? The whole world goes to Hammond in a handbasket. And I’m not talking about Israel and Hezbollah, even though we vacationers missed that conflict entirely, I’m not talking about the looming threat of Iran as a nuclear power, although today’s NYTimes points out that no one in the intelligence community (the ones who do the spying and the number-cruching) thinks that the danger is imminent. I’m not talking about heat waves, gas prices, or any of that stuff.

No. Here’s what I’m talking about: I come back to the bosom of the States and see that Chicago has indeed, as they have threatened to do for some months now, instituted a ban on foie gras. Can you believe it? What will I have with my biscotti in the morning now?

That Chicago, the erstwhile hog-butcher to the world, the place that legendarily learned to use everything in the pig but the squeal, would suddenly get all soft on us and knuckle under to the goose lobby just makes the mind reel. Do those alderman realize that by enlarging the livers of geese to 10 times the normal size, we actually have to kill 90% fewer birds for the same amount of liver (which is loaded with vitamins, BTW)? No, they don’t bother themselves with little details like that.

But it’s heartening to realize that human nature is still the same, and this city’s up-yours attitude is still strong. Many restaurants and diners who ordinarily wouldn’t touch foie gras now feel the urge–the compulsion–to eat it, on everything from pizza to cornbread. Yeseterday’s Tribune has an article about it.

And the best hot dog restaurant in the city–fabulous Hot Doug’s–is leading the fight for foie gras-furters.

A less publicized but long-standing protest continued at Hot Doug’s, where proprietor Doug Sohn offered three variations of a foie gras-laced sausage despite the prohibition. In April he named the foie gras and sauternes duck sausage (with green apple mustard and goat cheese) “The Joe Moore” in honor of the proposal’s sponsor.

As the joint’s slogan goes, “There are no two finer words in the English language than ‘Encased Meats’, my friend.”

Yes, me, welcome back.