Question(s) of the day

My Fellow Inebriates,

Emily, presumably looking for a subject matter expert, forwarded me this question:

Emily's search terms bear odor

I love this. It’s like the person wanted to make sure Emily knew what the question meant—i.e., not how a bear detects scents (try 4000 x human sensitivity, people) but how filthy a bear actually smells to its unfortunate family. Yes, bears smell. And they smell. Bad.

Meanwhile, my friend Patti asked me if I’d seen this item on the shelves:


Holy crap, MFI, I had not noticed this product. Patti, as God/Thor/the Great Spaghetti Monster/the Zombie Collective is my witness, I will not rest until we have it at LBHQ.

And then, as if life wasn’t exciting enough, I learned I’d been named in a will:

Named in will scam

Awesome, right?? The first thing I did was grab my dad’s credit card and send the digits to my benefactor (including, of course, the three-digit security code). Who wouldn’t love an inheritance? My dad will be so happy when he finds out. Maybe he’ll buy me that Pumpkin Face Rum…or some deodorant.

When it doesn’t just “taste like chicken”—making sense of a difficult wine/food-pairing problem

In my fantasy world there wouldn’t be any such thing as wine/food pairing. There wouldn’t be food. We’d all just be awash in booze. But for my friends who enjoy solids now and then, following some loose guidelines can enhance the eating/drinking experience.

  1. Start by considering the dish. Is your meal…
    • mild-tasting or intense?
    • lean or fatty?
    • acidic or creamy?
  1. Eliminate any varietals you dislike. There’s no sense purchasing a wine just to match a meal. While drinking a less-favorite wine with a well-matched meal may reveal the wine’s characteristics and increase your appreciation of it, your distaste for the vino may be insuperable. Buy a wine varietal you like.
  2. Balance the taste sensations by pairing mild with mild, acidic with acidic, and intense with intense.
  3. Choose tannic or acidic wines with high-fat foods; they cleanse the palate.

I’m worried that Hannibal Lecter might not be following these wine/food pairing guidelines. Let’s see whether Hannibal’s on the right track with his Chianti.

Not everybody knows what human meat tastes like. Chances are your local wine consultant doesn’t. Just try asking for a pairing suggestion. You’ll see hesitation in the consultant’s eyes, then fear—the fear that you’ll see through his/her bullshit answer and discern that he/she has no idea what to pair with maple-glazed human.

There’s plenty of specious information on the subject, so you have to be very careful that your wine consultant hasn’t fallen for the description circulated by promoters of the human meat substitute hufu (“contrary to popular belief, people do not taste like pork or chicken”), or that your consultant hasn’t merely sampled placenta, more akin to organ meats such as liver or kidney than, say, a human steak. No, you want an actual cannibal to advise you whether Chianti’s on the money with your human entrée.

Enter Armin Meiwes, a German man who gained fame in 2001 by killing and eating a volunteer he found through a website called the Cannibal Café. Not distinguishing between the Café’s intended satire and his own deviant appetites, Meiwes interviewed many candidates who expressed interest and then backed out, finally settling on Bernd Jürgen Brandes, whose penis he severed so the two could share it fried in garlic and butter. Meiwes gave the fully consenting Brandes a shitload of painkillers and bled him out in the bath, butchered and froze him, then spent the next ten months enjoying reduced grocery bills as he sampled Brandes every which way, even grinding up his bones to make flour.

This is a dude who would certainly know what human tasted like—at least one particular human—and he was happy to describe it in an interview:

“The flesh tastes like pork, a little bit more bitter, stronger. It tastes quite good.”

Cabernet Sauvignon—too rich and tannic; overwhelming with human’s delicate and salty flavor. When shopping, ask yourself, “What would go with pork?” and you’ll probably do fine.

So Chianti would go okay with human for supper, especially with a tomato-based sauce, but Hannibal Lecter could do better. Especially with German cuisine featuring sauerkraut and other acidic notes, I’d lean toward a Riesling or a Sauvignon Blanc. If you’re dead set on a red wine, try a nice, light Beaujolais.

It’s really tough to find a great wine consultant. My own wine store has a stellar one, and I still don’t think he’d be up to speed on human dishes. Isn’t it wonderful to have the Internet?

No chardonnay for you, zombies!!

My Fellow Inebriates,

No matter what we like to think, the little people run the show around here. This makes my days much more wholesome than I’d prefer. It also means a lot of random and scary things happen to me. You never know—I could get sealed up in a fluffy pink purse for days, freaking out, and no one would help me.

It’s all about imagination, though. For four- and five-year-old girls it’s a pink and purple world, all unicorns and birthday parties and singing ponies. They love to make wishes. In fact, they’ll wish on anything: dandelion seeds, birthday candles, the moon—and lately the bay leaf in the soup. These monkeys will fight to get that bay leaf, because they believe it has magical powers. It’s a damn good thing no one’s grooming them to be albino hunters, because they have enough savagery to be good at it.

So last night the five-year-old emerged from the evening scrap with the coveted bay leaf. With 24 days to go until Santa comes, I figured she’d wish for presents or a big Christmas tree or maybe a trip to Walmart to buy some giant blow-up snowman or something. But she didn’t. Instead little Cindy-Lou Who said: “My wish is for Granny to come back so she can be here for Christmas.”

OMG. See, here’s the thing. Granny is dead. She died almost a month ago. So if Granny did come back she’d be, well, a zombie. My parents should really have explained that to their well-meaning little girl, don’t you think? They should have said, “Hey now, don’t go wishing for Granny to come back from the dead. We have to keep the dead dead. Otherwise they become the undead. The only way Granny can come back is as a zombie, and you don’t want that. Do you, kiddo?”

Just that simple! A five-year-old could totally understand that! But instead my parents just kept letting her make that scary wish on the bay leaf. I’m a tiny bit embarrassed to tell you…I’m actually terrified it will come true.

And I am freaking scared of zombies!!

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Granny. She was a person who understood bears, and she would sometimes split a bottle of chardonnay with me, although if we’re being honest she usually got most of it. It’s comforting to think she’s at some wine bar in the sky, but my fervent little human friends have seeded a more sinister idea now—that Granny will come lurching back from the dead looking for us. OMG!

The first order of business, then, is to eliminate the white wine, because ZG (Zombie Granny) would come looking for that first. Luckily (in this case at least) we don’t carry much inventory at LB HQ, but we do have one gorgeous bottle of California Cult Classics chardonnay tucked away. OMG, chardonnay! That would be ZG’s absolute favorite. So we obviously have to drink it so it’s not here, tempting the undead.