Chapter One: Starters and Snacks
Kinky Friedman got his "start" on a ranch in Texas, and ever since then his life has been one big banquet. Here are a few recipes to get you started on your way to culinary ecstasy, with a few passes for some Kinksterisms on life and food and the state of the onion.
In six days the Lord created the heavens and the earth and all the wonders therein. There are some of us who feel that He might have taken just a little more time.
-- A Case of Lone Star
Makes 2 cups
Equipment needed: parchment paper
1 pound shelled raw peanuts (available at health food stores and some supermarkets)
1 extra-large egg white
2 tablespoons packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with the parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the peanuts with the egg white, brown sugar, salt, and paprika until coated. Spread the nuts in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, turning halfway. Let cool before serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Morning, like anything else in this world, is relative. Some people had probably been up since six a.m. doing squat thrusts in the parking lot, eating fibered cereal, and disturbing other Americans with early morning phone calls. If you want to get up at six a.m. and pretend you're Tevye the Milkman, that's your problem. For me, morning begins when I realize that the soft warm body curled up next to me is a cat.
-- Frequent Flyer
Makes 2 cups
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound pecan halves or blanched whole almonds
1 tablespoon sugar or 2 packets aspartame
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet until hot. Add the pecans and toss to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat.
3. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cumin, thyme, garlic and onion powders, salt, and cayenne, if using. Add to the skillet and toss to combine.
4. Spread the seasoned nuts in a single layer on a shallow baking pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn the pecans over, and bake for 15 more minutes. Let cool before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
The shuttle from La Guardia flew low over the Potomac in preparation for landing in Washington, the city where William Henry Harrison steadfastly refused to wear his overcoat for his inaugural parade. He died about two weeks later of pneumonia. I wasn't about to make the same mistake. I wore a heavy blue peacoat that looked like it'd been handed down to me by Oliver Twist along with a bright red Sydney Swans Australian football scarf and a black cowboy hat. I might not blend in too well at some of the more upscale restaurants, but it's always better to look like a squirrel, I figured, than it is to freeze your nuts off.
-- The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover
Makes 2 generous cups
3 ripe large Mexican avocados, if available, or your choice avocado
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 large onion, diced
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, or to taste
2 hot green chili peppers (such as jalapeño peppers), seeds and ribs removed, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Peel and pit 2 of the avocados, mash them in a medium bowl. Peel and pit the third avocado, dice it into 1/2-inch pieces, and add it to the bowl. Add the tomatoes, onion, lemon juice, cilantro, chilies, and salt, and stir gently, just to combine. Serve with toasted tortilla chips or toasted pita wedges.
It's almost as hard to get good Mexican food in New York as it is in Mexico. You've got to know what you're doing in this world or life passes you by.
-- A Case of Lone Star
Sesame Dipping Sauce
This is a crowd pleaser, and easy to do. Just steam up a head of broccoli or cauliflower, or zucchini spears, and serve with this.
You won't believe how fast it all disappears.
Makes 1 cup, enough for 6 servings of vegetables
Equipment needed: blender
6 tablespoons smooth or chunky peanut butter
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey (Tupelo, if available)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger, or to taste
1 scallion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Tabasco sauce, to taste
3 tablespoons chicken or vegetable stock, heated
1. Put in blender the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, honey, ginger, scallion, garlic, red pepper flakes, Tabasco, and stock, and puree. Transfer to a bowl and serve at room temperature.
2. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for three days.
...I realized...that women and cats had a lot in common. For one thing, neither of them had a particularly well-developed sense of humor. For another, they both went through life governed only by things that either comforted them or intrigued them. They both liked to be stroked and cuddled and they both could pounce when you least expected it. On the whole, I preferred cats to women because cats seldom if ever used the word "relationship."
-- Greenwich Killing Time
What makes a Kinky woman? Here are a few examples.
A sweetheart of a blonde who teaches dance to Playboy Bunnies strutting their stuff on stages around the world.
A lean, not mean, highly successful suit among the predominantly male hierarchy running New York's Madison Square Garden.
And one who sounds like a kookaburra made the deepest -- for a time -- impact on Kinky. This former Miss Texas teaches line dancing on TV.
In any case, Kinky, like his pal, radio personality Don Imus (and most garage mechanics and millions of other men and boys), likes his women without whiskers or similar adornments. That doesn't apply to his cats, Dr. Scat and Lady Argyle.
Kinky's current standout is not too popular down at the local synagogue, either. She's yet another drop-dead blonde, the kind Raymond Chandler liked to dwell on when he pulled out his typewriter.
She's funny and young and smart and an incorrigible flirt (to Kinky), with dancer's legs and a love of learning. In fact, she's still in school, studying law.
An heiress to one of America's grandest fortunes, she was raised in the ways of the very rich. Like Kinky, she enjoys foods that enchant the soul and inflame the senses. When asked to contribute a Kinky recipe, she came up with a succulent oyster dish.
Kinky has an advantage over most competitors. If he likes a woman, she is elevated into his oeuvre. In the Kinky literature, she goes by the name of Stephanie DuPont.
Stephanie DuPont's Oyster-Mushroom Pâté
First rate not only as an appetizer, but also as a stuffing for roast chicken.
Serves 6 as an appetizer
Equipment needed: food processor or blender
8 ounces white mushrooms, wiped clean and coarsely chopped
1 bunch scallions, both green and white parts, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 pint fresh oysters, liquor reserved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or canola oil
1 to 2 cups bread crumbs (Panko, if available)
1 tablespoon dried basil
Cayenne pepper and freshly ground black pepper
1. In the food processor, finely chop the mushrooms, scallions, garlic, and oysters.
2. Melt the butter in a skillet over moderate heat. Add the mushroom mixture and sauté it, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the oysters are lightly cooked. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in enough of the bread crumbs until the mixture holds together and is only slightly moist. If the mixture becomes too dry, stir in some of the reserved oyster liquor. Stir in the basil and cayenne and black pepper to taste. Let cool, then transfer the mixture to a bowl, pressing it in slightly.
3. Serve the "pâté" as a dip with toasted tortilla crisps or as a spread on toasted French bread rounds.
"Hi, darling," I said, moments later when I got Stephanie on the phone.
"Hello, dickhead," she said.
...Stephanie DuPont, for one so young, was well on her merry way to becoming the biggest ball-buster of all time. But she was funny. She was brilliant. And she was beautiful beyond a shipwrecked sailor's dream. Beneath her icy exterior, where few if any prospectors had survived the caustic blizzard of her nature, there beat a heart of gold. I was crazy, perverse, misguided, romantic, egocentric, stupid, and smart enough to believe that if I followed my map I could reach the motherlode.
"Eight o'clock?" I said. "The Derby?"
"I'll see you there, dickhead."
-- Spanking Watson
Copyright © 1999 by Mike McGover
As a famous homosexual once said, "Every time my friends succeed I die a little." Happily, this is not the case with my friend Mike McGovern's new killer bee cookbook, Eat, Drink, and Be Kinky, upon the puissant pages of which millions of Americans will soon be spilling extremely tasty pasta sauce. McGovern's not only my favorite Irish poet, he's also one hell of a chef. This is especially true when he's not cookin' on another planet.
I also believe this book may provide some long overdue remedies to the spiritual malaise that has overcome America since chain restaurants have turned us all into chain people. The work you are about to read is far more than a cookbook. Eat, Drink, and Be Kinky will have a broad, engaging appeal not only to serious gourmands but also to alcoholics and sex perverts as well. In fact, I think of this book as sort of a culinary version of James Joyce's Ulysses. McGovern's masterwork, to my mind, compares quite favorably with Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. For one thing, it's shorter. For another, it's funnier. If, indeed, a recipe book can ever be said to be funny. I certainly hope it's funnier than this introduction.
The problem that seems to have arisen with McGovern's mighty effort is that he appears to be taking his handiwork even more seriously than I do. He sees himself as a modern-day Ernest Hemingway; our mutual editor, Chuck Adams, as a vaunted Maxwell Perkins; and myself as a pesky F. Scott Fitzgerald, consumed with envy at the possibility of being eclipsed upon the timeless literary horizon. Nothing, believe me, could be more ridiculous. I want McGovern's book to do well. I just don't want it to do so well that he moves up from a friend to a contact. That could get pretty tedious. Of course, now that I think about it, our relationship has always been pretty tedious.
But Mike McGovern is certainly not without charm. He pedals his large white luminous buttocks around New York on a bicycle. His somewhat decrepit, lox-colored couch has been across the Atlantic twice. He's the only tenant in his building who steadfastly refuses to let the entire complex go condo. His taxes are prepared by the old man who runs the neighborhood pizza shop. He was friends, in younger days, with Martin Luther King Jr. He was also quite friendly with Al Capone's chef, a worthy mentor for the young McGovern, though he bore the rather unusual name of Leaning Jesus. McGovern also got the first jailhouse interview with Charles Manson while working for the New York Daily News. It should also be noted that he once combed his hair before meeting a racehorse. And, not to bury the lead, he's also the best cook I've ever met in my life.
Though the wit and wisdom of the Kinkster is liberally sprinkled throughout this book, along with various sordid anecdotes and recipes from the Village Irregulars, the true centerpiece on the table is McGovern's cherished collection of divinely wrought, hellishly sought, and sublimely thought-out recipes. From time to time McGovern himself will wax lyrical about Italian heroes and American whores and how you shouldn't eat anything bigger than your head. McGovern himself, of course, has an enormous head. I myself have a much smaller head (uncharitable people have, on occasion, called me a pinhead) and over the years I've developed a rather severe case of head envy. But I suppose this is hardly the place to be parading my personal problems.
If you try these recipes I know you're going to love them. But they're not for everybody. It's possible a few people might experience a mild form of projectile vomiting. A rare individual here and there might try one of McGovern's more exotic concoctions and find himself squirting out of both ends. In the unlikely event this should happen to you, you could try fasting until there's peace and freedom in the world. If this doesn't work (and it usually doesn't) you could try pouring Vodka McGoverns down your neck until you find yourself out where the buses don't run. If you see a large man with a large head pedaling his large, white, luminous buttocks by on a bicycle, you'll know you're there. I'll be the guy puking in the alley who comes up to you and says, "Are you new in town, sailor?"
In closing, I'd like to thank my parents, teachers, and rabbis, and Mike McGovern for being Mike McGovern. He's possessed of great intelligence, kindness, and honesty, not to mention an incessant, rather annoying Peter Pan-like innocence that never fails to get up my sleeve somewhat severely. I hope you eat, drink, and be kinky. I hope you never wear a white shirt when you're eating pasta. I hope you never have McGovern for a housepest.
Yours in Christ,
December 7, 1941
Copyright © 1999 by Mike McGovern