Thursday, May 29, 2008
To celebrate this holiday that I'm supposed to know all about (but completely forgot until I got a call to be on this radio show today) I decided to do some more hamburger experimentation at home in the Hamburger America Test Kitchen. I had failed in the past miserably with the Jucy Lucy so I decided to try again. Not surprisingly, I failed again. The wobbling stuffed burger didn't explode this time but the cheese inside never melted and the core of the burger was cold and raw. Daughter Ruby and I decided to fall back on our old favorite and easy to re-create Oklahoma Onion-Fried Burger (pictured above). It was a success. So much so that we made another. Happy Burger Day to you.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Over the holiday weekend we made burgers (duh) at my dad's house. I picked up both wheat and white squishy buns for the varying tastes in my family and noticed something VERY familiar on the packaging. You don't have to look too closely to figure our where my graphic artist (for the book cover) got his inspiration for the 'perfect burger image'...is it a coincidence?
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Since there's a lull in the book signing action I thought I'd mention two of my favorite new burger book finds. Both are actually not very new at all but are great cultural American history books that you must have in your collection.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Right away I was accused of a 'fix'. I was asked to be a judge at the first ever Burger Battle of the Boroughs but quickly declined because there was a burger in the competition from Harry's at Water Taxi Beach called the Motz Burger. Fran Grace, the organizer of the Queens event, asked me to be the evening's emcee and I gladly accepted. When the Motz Burger won I was stunned. Not because I thought the burger I designed for Harry was not worthy of praise, but because the competition was fierce.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
I'm recovering from the nuttiness of the last three days of the tour. I'll update tonight. Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison were a huge success. In the meantime, here's a shot my wife just sent me of a classic 50's moment. In the picture, my mother-in-law Sally is sitting in the middle half-way through her burger while my grandmother-in-law Patty ketchups another...
Friday, May 9, 2008
Made it to Chicago and met up with my family that had flown in for the week to stay with the inlaws. I was looking forward to some rest but had a scheduled 6am radio appearance (call-in) with Wisconsin Public Radio. The 1 hour interview was with a vegetarian DJ and I assumed they were set to skew me. Turns out the DJ fully disclosed that she was a vegetarian then went on to take calls from listeners about their favorite beefy finds in the burger-proud state of Wisconsin. I had a killer burger hangover this morning so it was a relief to not have to defend my burgerism at 6am.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
I barely slept 2 hours in Austin before my 3:30am wake up call came in. By 4:15 I was on my way to the airport to Houston. The stupid-early flight was planned to get me to a 7:45 appearance on the local Fox affiliate but they rescheduled for 9:30...My next escort Pam and I had 3 hours to kill in a town that sleeps late. No bookstores to visit, no shopping, and barley a breakfast spot open. We did find a great smoothie place - I needed something to flush the recent burger intake outta me.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Saturday, May 3, 2008
After 3 radio interviews (Martha and two others in Oklahoma and Wisconsin), my first 'reading' was 6 blocks from home at my local Barnes & Noble. A nice, soft start to the tour, a short walk to discuss the book with friends. 10 close friends showed up and about three strangers who probably just happened to be in the store. There was one legitimate fan who asked great questions and a cop pacing in the back of the room (kinda like the Nazis in Sound of Music waiting to take Captain VonTrap away - totally threw me off). That night, with the pre-travel jitters and last-minute packing I only got about 3 hours of sleep and had to get up at 5 to fly to Oklahoma City. My only media obligation was a 2 minute walk on interview at the local Channel 4 news so sleep could wait. I had to change planes at O'Hare and was delayed thanks to a thunderstorm.
Lightning bolts, the works. On the Chicago-O'Hare leg of the trip the woman sitting behind me was chanting "6..6..6.." most of the flight. Very spooky until I discovered that she was playing sudoku. Made it to Oklahoma City with just enough time to change my shirt and run onto the KFOR-TV Ch.4 news. I love live local news because they are clearly working much harder than the big guys with small sets and loose production. I had to share a lav mic with the guy who was on before me (during the commercial break we did a quick mic swap). I was interviewed by old-timer and local TV and radio personality Danny Williams who asked me, "What's the worst burger you've ever had?" Regardless, the interview went smoothly and it was an honor to be seated next to this media icon.
I left KFOR and checked my email to find a nasty one from a jerk who called me a, "condescending New Yorker" based on what he read here in a Chicago Tribune interview by Chris Borelli. Unfortunately, I had a great time talking with Chris but he dismissed my book as 'stunt food journalism' and decided to skew the article towards a 'Top 100 list' instead of seeing that the book is equally about the people who make burgers and all of the nostalgia that goes with it. This, of course, resulted in a shitstorm of off-color comments on the Trib website calling me a 'moron', a 'clueless tourist', and a 'dill-rod' (Oooooo..) for putting the Billy Goat in my book. Not one of the 100+ commentors on the website had read the book so they are all clearly misguided. Also, only one had been to Top Notch it seems, also in Chicago.
I had dinner with good family friend Tom Palmore, artist an all-around great guy with great stories. He was the one who turned me onto a place in his hometown, Folger's in Ada, OK. They are in the book. The publisher put me up at a Marriott in a honeymoon suite that is Vegas-huge. Tomorrow, the Burger Day Festival in El Reno...