Monday, May 20, 2019


I don’t claim to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the sandwich, nor an encyclopedic knowledge of the life and works of Neil Young, and yet I do know a bit about these things and I can’t believe that only now am I finding about about Neil Young and the ham sandwich.  Apparently he sliced the end of his right index finger with a knife while cutting a ham sandwich, and on doctor’s orders had to cancel an entire European tour.  This was in 1997 for Pete’s sake!
"I'd have eaten the thing in one piece if I'd known that cutting it in half would jeopardize the tour,’ he said. ‘It's macaroni and cheese from now on.
My favorite Neil Young food song, of course, everybody’s favorite Neil Young food song is "Ain't Got No T-Bone" from Re-ac-tor.The lyrics in full though are as follows, though they do get repeated quite few times 
Got mashed potatoes
Got mashed potatoes
Got mashed potatoes
Ain't got no T-Bone
Ain't got no T-Bone

As he himself apparently said ‘You don’t write a ten minute song about having mashed potatoes and not having T-bone without making a few enemies.’

I can’t find a picture of Neil Young eating mashed potatoes or eating anything else, but here he is again with a beer in his hand.

And here’s "Ain't Got No T-Bone" in all its pomp and majesty:

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


I think you know by now that we in the Psychogourmet Test Kitchen are pulp-positive.  In the world of pulp, the drinks are stronger, the food is bloodier (though often irrelevant), the men are tough, and the women are tougher. And here’s a small sampling of some pulp covers featuring a cocktail or two.

This first one may be just a little too subtle – 

There doesn’t seem to be much of anything in that shaker. Yes, gin is clear and ice is translucent, yet somehow that doesn’t look like a shaker with a cocktail in it.  However, the martini glass we like.  We always say that 2 small cold martinis are better than a single large one that gets warm by the time you’re halfway through it.  
I’m also a bit concerned that this is a novel of the suburbs.  That doesn’t look like any suburban bar I’ve ever seen, though it is, of course, fictional.
This one I like:

– a hint of racial harmony, a guy with a gun, and a spilled drink which is obviously not a martini – a Manhattan perhaps?  But I do wish the artist was a bit better at depicting feet and shoes.  
 Now, who doesn’t like to test sins? 

A good-looking martini in the foreground but what exactly is she doing with the one in the back – cooling her fevered brow?  I suppose so, but given the lack of clothing (except for high heeled mules) you wouldn’t think she’d need it.  Still, I suppose sins can get you all hot and bothered.

And here’s another guy doing some brow-cooling on a cover that strikes me as just about unbeatable.

I like that the martinis are in a pitcher rather than a shaker.  That’s so old school – although not, if you ask me, the best way to make a martini.  The steak of course is a winner and I’m intrigued by whatever it is the gal doing with that martini glass in her bosom.  I like it, but is it even possible? 
Forget it Geoff, it’s pulp town.

Monday, May 13, 2019


You know, I never quite worked out why my mother took me to see so many Doris Day movies, and in some ways I never quite worked out my feelings about Doris, apart from (obviously) undying and unbending love.

I have no idea what her eating and drinking habits were, rather abstemious I'd guess, but at least she's here with what appears to be a martini in her hand.  I'll drink to that.

Sunday, May 12, 2019


If you do an image search for ‘world’s biggest mushroom’ you come up with a lot of pictures that look like fakes, though obviously not all.

This one seems real enough and the feet belong to Gina Gershon – helluva gal! 

Mushrooms have been on my mind since I bought this substantial, though hardly record-breaking, mushroom in the Co-op in Manningtree. It’s a locally grown Portobello mushroom from Suffolk, and record-breaking or not I do believe it’s the biggest mushroom I’ve ever used in cooking.

But we need to go back before this, when I saw and bought this packet of mushroom sauce mix in the Co-op:

It’s Polish-ish (in fact made by Nestle) and contains, in powered form, four kinds of mushroom: boletus, champignon (which, essentially monoglot as I am) I thought was just the French word for all mushrooms but maybe not), suillus, and xerocomus.  Xerocomus looks like this (not the world's biggest):

I did wonder whether adding mushrooms to a mushroom sauce was a mistake – and on balance I think it was. I should have added chestnuts or sprouts or at the very least lemon juice, but we live and learn.

Here’s John Cage doing stuff with mushrooms (note the lemon):

Sunday, May 5, 2019


Better than those improper hamburgers, well, arguably.  This is a Reuben burger at Byron in the King's Road.  They have other branches too.

'Beef patty, pulled BBQ beef brisket, sauerkraut pickle relish, bacon & onion crumb, American mustard, mustard mayonnaise, beer onions, lettuce, Byron Cheese sauce on the side. '

It was OK, but I'm not sure that Byron and I share the same understanding of the essence of Reuben. 

This is a picture of Arnold Reuben who may, or very possibly may not, be the inventor of the Reuben sandwich.

Thursday, May 2, 2019


“Botanical” as a noun – it’s not really all that complicated a word, is it?  Does it really mean anything other than derived from plants?  In which case it would surely include everything from flour to cactus juice. 

But if you’re going to be making gin (or for that matter vegan face wash) announcing on the label that your product contains botanicals seems to imply that it’s special and you know, GREEN.

Of course gin has always contained botanicals – primarily juniper but some other things too, and I think these things used simply to be called ingredients.

So how about this bargain price smoked salmon, from Waitrose, with a label telling us it contains gin AND botanicals.  Do I need apple and angelica with my smoked salmon?  I never thought I did.  And I definitely didn’t think I needed gin.

It tasted fine and you could definitely taste that there was something a bit out of the ordinary going on in there, but in a blind testing I don’t believe I’d have identified the gin.

On the other hand, since gin has to contain some kind of garden ingredients what could be better than this bottle of Beefeater London Garden gin from the Chelsea Physic Garden?  Botanicals – they got ‘em! 

It’s an ‘exclusive edition’ and if the label is to be believed ‘at its heart is the flowering herb lemon verbena’ – there’s also thyme in there too, plus all the stuff that Beefeater gin usual contains – so you know it wasn’t exactly a wild experimental concoction.  Tasted damn fine though.  The bottle has two labels, one front, one back: the word botanical does not appear anywhere on either of them.