Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Man Cannot Live on Bread Alone...But He Can Jam.

I recently saw the following Sara Lee commercial, starring Disney superstar Corbin Bleu. It's basically him and a bunch of other kids dancing and freaking out over bread, and, later, bread with peanut butter and jelly. See for yourself:

They're really trying to push their hip new image, those folks at Sara Lee. I mean, it's just bread. White bread, at that. (An aside: some jab comedian is going to do a bit about a multiracial kid whoring himself to promote WHITE bread, mark my words.) But it got me thinking: corporate grabs for targeted demographics aside, this speaks to me because I've been pretty psyched to eat some relatively paltry "meals." So these kids are dancing about bread; I've almost been too impatient with excitement to wait for the cheese, rice, and Frank's Red Hot to cool down enough for me to eat it without charring my tongue.

We have chronicled some pretty elaborate jams in the pages of this blog. Indeed, they are jams. But a jam doesn't need to be complicated. Going further, the leisure aspect of the jams that have been addressed previously doesn't always avail itself to the Jammer. Desperation, hunger, lack of ingredients, laziness: all of these play a role in what one could consider a jam.

This brings me to a question for all fellow Jammers: what's your bare minimum jam? When you get down to brass tacks, what do you consider a jam? Peanut butter and jelly? Spaghetti and sauce? Salted butter (...Adam)?

In my time, I have been known to dunk white bread into a small plate filled with A1. That was an after-school snack for quite some time. (I was a healthy kid.) Recently, I have reacquainted myself with the jam that is the spoonful of creamy peanut butter. A tomato is a jam. A few chocolate chips from a bag of Tollhouse Morsels or some barbecue sauce on Ritz Crackers? Both jams. Mini-Spooners? JAM.

Now that Sir Michael V. Tightfist Controlenstein has opened the blog up for free posting, please feel free to edit this post and add your two cents. Loyal readers to this long dormant blog, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Be on the lookout for this entry's sister post, detailing the quite timely and relevant "Recession Jam." Until next time...

Friday, June 20, 2008


From the pages of the famous novel One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez comes this instructive tale of an unrelenting jam.

"Cease, cows," Aureliano Segundo shouted at the height of the party. "Cease, because life is short."

Fabulous eaters arrived from everywhere to take part in the irrational tourneys of capacity and resistance that were organized in the house of Petra Cotes. Aureliano Segundo was the unconquered eater until the luckless Saturday when Camila Sagastume appeared, a totemic female known all through the land by the good name of "The Elephant." The duel lasted until dawn on Tuesday. During the first twenty-four hours, having dispatched a dinner of veal, with cassava, yams, and fried bananas, and a case and a half of champagne in addition, Aureliano Segundo was sure of victory. He seemed more enthusiastic, more vital than his imperturbable adversary, who possessed a style that was obviously more professional, but at the same time less emotional for the large crowd that filled the house. While Aureliano Segundo ate with great bites, overcome by the anxiety of victory, The Elephant was slicing her meat with the art of a surgeon and eating it unhurriedly and even with a certain pleasure. She was gigantic and sturdy, but over her colossal form a tenderness of femininity prevailed and she had a face that was so beautiful, hands so fine and well cared for, and such an irresistible personal charm that when Aureliano Segundo saw her enter the house he commented in a low voice that he would have preferred to have the tourney in bed and not at the table. Later on, when he saw her consume a side of veal without breaking a single rule of good table manners, he commented seriously that that delicate, fascinating, and insatiable proboscidian was in a certain way the ideal woman. He was not mistaken. The reputation of a bone crusher that had preceded The Elephant had no basis. She was not a beef cruncher or a bearded lady from a Greek circus, as had been said, but the director of a school of voice. She had learned to eat when she was already the respectable mother of a family, looking for a way for her children to eat better and not by means of any artificial stimulation of their appetites but through the absolute tranquility of their spirits. Her theory, demonstrated in practice, was based on the principle that a person who had all matters of conscience in perfect shape should be able to eat until overcome by fatigue. And it was for moral reasons and sporting interest that she left her school and her home to compete with a man whose fame as a great, unprincipled eater had spread throughout the country. From the first moment she saw him she saw that Aureliano Segundo would lose not his stomach but his character. At the end of the first night, while The Elephant was boldly going on, Aureliano Segundo was wearing himself out with a great deal of talking and laughing. They slept four hours. On awakening each one had the juice of forty oranges, eight quarts of coffee, and thirty raw eggs. On the second morning, after many hours without sleep and having put away two pigs, a bunch of bananas, and four cases of champagne, The Elephant suspected that Aureliano Segundo had unknowingly discovered the same method as hers, but by the absurd route of total irresponsibility. He was, therefore, more dangerous than she had thought. Nevertheless, when Petra Cotes brought two roasted turkeys to the table, Aureliano Segundo was a step away from being stuffed.

"If you can't, don't eat any more," The Elephant said to him. "Let's call it a tie."

She said it from her heart, understanding that she could not eat another mouthful either, out of remorse for bringing on the death of her adversary. But Aureliano Segundo interpreted it as another challenge and he filled himself with turkey beyond his incredible capacity. He lost consciousness. He fell face down in to the plate filled with bones, frothing at the mouth like a dog, and drowning in moans of agony. He felt, in the midst of the darkness, that they were throwing him from the top of a tower into a bottomless pit and in a last flash of consciousness he realized that at the end of that endless fall death was waiting for him.

He did recover, indeed, in less than a week, and two weeks later he was celebrating the fact of his survival with unprecedented festivities.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Grape Goes off....


What in god's name is your jam? This is not a complex question and in fact I implore you to not think too hard about it. You jammed this morning, you jammed last night and in fact you might very well be reading this and jamming right now. Jams sustain us, they keep us content and they literally feed our soul. Furthermore, although some omnivores may deliberate and proselytize about what we eat, I would say that more importantly it is when we eat. Peace, love and jams ya'll!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

LRL JAMs Vol. 2

Tour jams, round two. No time to waste.

Albuquerque, NM to Amarillo, TX

Truck stop fried chicken is a gamble. It always seems like a good idea, but sometimes you eat the b'ar, and sometimes the b'ar eats you. This time, I ate the b'ar in the form of a wing section of Broaster fried chicken. What is a Broaster, anyway? I suppose I could Google it, but I'm not going to. This stuff was good, and a welcome detour from the Mini-Spooner and almond road I'd been taking.

Amarillo, TX

The 806: recommended.
The first time we rolled through Amarillo, we hit this sweet coffee shop and had a great time playing and eating free pizza bagels. The second time through was more of the same, which was great. Jason makes a mean pizza bagel (you have your choice of Parmesan cheese or sun-dried tomato bagels) and boy, do they hit the spot. They don't leave you feeling too full before you play, which is an added bonus. I also had some sort of green tea, and I wish I remembered what kind it was, because it was good. Maybe it was all the honey I put in it. Gotta take care of the throat.

Waffle House: always recommended (unless you're in Birds & Batteries).
Let's get the fact that most of B&B hates on Waffle House (to each his own). I love this place because it's cheap and decent. To cite my price/quality correlation, if the quality of the food exceeds the cost, you've got a winner. Waffle House doesn't hold up to most of my beloved jams, but it's so cheap that you can't deny it. We stopped for 1:00 p.m. breakfast, though I had a hamburger plate with diced and peppered hash browns. When our waitress found out we were in a band, she told us about this local band that was named after one of the member's late son. She spoke so quickly that I had a hard time catching the name, or most of the details of the story, but when she switched to talking about how she saw Pink Floyd live, things got interesting. She told us that they caught Floyd on the Division Bell tour and that her husband, "you couldn't miss him, he was wearing a t-shirt with the sleeves cut way off," was there with her and their friend. It was the best time she had ever had at a concert, she said, and she was elated to find a quick shot of them on the subsequent concert DVD, especially since their friend had since died. Lots of people this woman knew rocked and died, and she did a pretty good job of making our food, even though she was just covering for the cook who didn't show. Later, on the ride to Dallas, we snacked hard.

Dallas, TX
Zini's Pizza: recommended.
Just a block away from Club Dada in Dallas's Deep Ellum neighborhood, Zini's Pizza delivers (and delivers). The slices are on the smaller side, but they're tasty and pretty inexpensive. The girl at the counter asked if she had seen me before. I told her that she may have, since I've had a slice from Zini's every time we've played in Deep Ellum. She asked what band I was in, and when I told her, she told me she'd never heard of us. Then she gave me the employee discount. Here's to pity pizza. They also give you these awesome chocolate fortune cookies. I don't remember my fortune because I was too busy counting the dollar I just saved.

Neil and Sarah's house:
I love these two people. They're friends from way back, they always put us up, and they always have awesome food. Sarah even came by on her lunch break to bring us some sausages and other snacks. I took two habanero sausages, some garlic, green peppers, onions, and olive oil, and cooked them up, then added a jar of Newman's Own Tomato and Basil pasta sauce. Mark cooked the remaining four sausages (feta and artichoke and Texas hot links) in beer on the stove top and then grilled them to finish. Julie, Neil, Mark, and I sat down to a meal of sausage sauce-covered sausage sandwiches while Amanda looked on and thought about the Boca burger she just ate.

Ft. Worth, TX
Fuzzy's: recommended.
We heard big talk about Fuzzy's from Julie, as she had first experienced this new taco chain while in Texas on tour with her band, Or, the Whale. Good food, she had said, and well within the budget of no budget. Chris, from the band Telegraph Canyon, brought us over before our show at the Chat Room Pub. Having just eaten a lot of sausage, I held back and only ordered one carnitas hard taco. It was very good. The meat was tender and had a hint of garlic, the shell was crispy and the whole taco was topped with tomatoes, lettuce, and feta cheese. This would not be the last time I jammed Fuzzy's on the trip.

Austin, TX
Kim Phung: recommended.
Outside of Kim Phung, banners proclaim its dominance in the world of Austin Vietnamese food. It won "Best Noodle Bowl" about a million years in a row, and had all kinds of other awards affixed to the door. We headed in for lunch and three of the four of us ordered noodle bowls (Amanda ordered what sounded like a chewy noodle dish but ended up being a crispy noodle and vegetable affair that was heavy on the presentation), along with tofu and shrimp spring rolls. The spring rolls were good, maybe a little thick in the way of rice noodle wrapping. The peanut sauce was good, not very "liquidy" and strongly flavored with soy sauce. The shrimp noodle bowl was good, and large. I was the only one who ended up finishing, because I am a fat kid. Vietnamese food is generally cheap, and this was no exception. I think each entree was around $6.00, which is pretty good. The service was prompt, but they didn't get Mark's jokes. The fortune cookies also didn't contain fortunes, but advice. Darned preachy Vietnamese.

Kick Butt Coffee: meh.
Our first show of SXSW took place at Kick Butt Coffee, a new coffee shop on the outskirts of Austin. The employees have to dress up in karate gis, they have an anime logo, there are rubber shuriken in a basket at the counter (for some reason), and they have swords on the wall and a TV that plays Nintendo's Wii or some sort of kung-fu/action movie. The coffee was okay (and free because we played to nobody) but the place is wicked gimmicky. Good if you find yourself out on Airport Boulevard in need of some caffeine.

County Line (On the Hill): recommended.
I normally hate on Texas barbecue (it comes in so far behind the pork-based barbecues of the Carolinas), but this place was good. I will conceded that Texas barbecue, in general, is pretty good. Julie's cousin recommended we hit this place on the way back to her house, and we did. The neon sign that greets the patrons is one to behold, and it amps up your anticipation as you ascend the hill into the parking lot. On top of the restaurant is a two-headed steer that is the most metal thing I've seen adorning an eatery. The smell of barbecue sauce is present even in the parking lot, which is always a good sign. I split some barbecue chicken wings with Mike, which were excellent. The meat was tender and well-cooked, and the sauce was sweet and spicy. They brought out ranch with them, which was understandable since we were in Texas but still made me wish it was bleu cheese. My entree was a three-meat plate: brisket, hot links, and pork ribs. Our waiter was an affable jabroni named Guy, and he convinced me to add potato salad to my already-chosen sides of baked beans and cole slaw at no extra charge. It was a mistake. I didn't even touch it. The food was great, though it wasn't the best barbecue I've had (I love you, Dinosaur BBQ).

Pita Pit: recommended.
We tried to go for burgers at Casino el Camino, which is a total jam. Unfortunately, it's not an hidden treasure, so there was a 45-minute wait on burgers. We decided to go to Pita Pit because it offers the chance to load up on vegetables for cheap. After ordering your choice of pita filling (chicken, hummus, ham, etc.), you tell them what to put in the sandwich. We've found that if you get a fat person to make your pita, they put in more than if you get some random skinny person. Try for yourself and let me know how it works out. I had grilled chicken with almost all of the vegetables (skipped iceberg lettuce, sprouts, and cucumbers), feta cheese, tatziki, and hot sauce. Jam.

The Parlor: recommended.
Punk-rock pizza out on North Loop. They do shows and they make some pretty good pies. We've been lucky to eat for free there, since we've only visited when we were playing shows. The pizza isn't deep dish, and it isn't thin crust; it's somewhere in between, on the chewy side with a layer of crunch where it's been fired in the oven. We jammed ricotta cheese and sausage, and it was great. My dining experience was slightly tainted by the chips in my teeth that I gave myself that night when I accidentally bit down on the microphone during our last song. Bummer.

Iron Works: recommended.
We've been told that this is George Bush's favorite barbecue restaurant, which does a lot to sour the taste of the otherwise good barbecue they make. It's pretty unfair to hold an establishment accountable for its patrons' actions, though, so we stepped into Iron Works to try it out (jammer King also wanted us to go try it). I had a chicken plate and split a half-rack of ribs with the guys. The chicken was good, tender and well-sauced (but not overwhelmed). The sauce was sweet and rich, and went well with the sides of cole slaw and baked beans. The ribs were better than the ones I had at County Line a couple of nights before, tender with a bit of meat-on-the-bone resistance. The service was friendly, if a bit rushed, and the prices weren't bad. This place definitely isn't cheap, but you'll leave full.

Clementine Coffee: recommended.
We played So Many Bands' 5th Anniversary party on Friday and were treated to free (iced) coffees and yellow and chocolate "birthday" cake. Since it was about a billion degrees outside and we were tired as all get-out, the iced coffee was life-saving. The cake, I think, was mostly eaten by me, Sesos, Clark, and Jared from Scouts Honor. When it's free, it's for me.

Taqueria Los Jalisciensis: not recommended.
Before watching Birds & Batteries play their final show of SXSW, I headed over to Taqueria Los Jalisciensis to get what I hoped would be a relatively (stressed) healthy chicken taco salad. Since the show was at the way-out Kick Butt Coffee, I didn't have much of a choice when it came to convenient food options. (I could have gone to Wendy's or Panda Express; the last time I went to Panda Express, I bit into a rock and when I brought it to the attention of the counter person, she said, "Oh, I know," and then just looked at me.) Initial signs were promising: I was the only gringo in the place, and there was even a mariachi band playing. I opened the taco salad when I got back to the coffee shop and was dismayed to see that it was covered in flavorless, green and gloopy "guacamole," a pool of equally flavorless "sour cream," and handfuls of unmelted, shredded cheddar cheese. There was some limp iceberg lettuce buried under the chicken, which tasted like it had come from...Panda Express. I didn't touch the shell, and I guess I should consider myself lucky that I didn't bite into any debris. I felt like 2 bucks after eating, a feeling that would stay with me for the rest of the evening. I think that was the point in the trip when I missed San Francisco the most.

Epoch Coffee: recommended.
Another North Loop establishment, we visited Epoch for some iced coffee and pizza before our parking lot show at Monkey Wrench Books. Epoch has good coffee and offers slices of pizza by a local pizza place whose name I forget. Amanda got the Epoch, which was artichoke and sun-dried tomato, and I got the Buscemi, which was jalapenos, sausage, red peppers, and onions. Good stuff. The crust was thin and the sauce was sweet, and the toppings were generous.

Chick-fil-a: recommended.
On our way out of town, we hit a Chick-fil-a because we really wanted it, and Mark may have died of hunger and thirst (we had just played a brutally hot mid-afternoon show in the parking lot of Monkey Wrench Books). Chick-fil-a is awesome. Not convinced? Two words: waffle fries. You can't go wrong with a Number 1 (saying "deluxe" gets you lettuce and tomato on your sandwich). They also have sweet tea. Yes. I got a milkshake on the way out because it was hot and I have no self control.

The last round of tour jams is on the way. Thanks for reading.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Whole Foods Jam

Brandy shall not, for now, at least, leap too deeply into the Series of Jams that was The Domino's-Sponsored DS Big Band By Sedan East Coast Blitz Tour de Borscht 2008 but He will share one fine story for starters. Upon arrival in NYC, Brandy and touring drummer/keyboardist Wawa, mildly faded, undoubtedly, wandered towards a LES subway stop in search of a Jam en route to divergent destinations, Wawa, a friend's warm shower, Brandy, the halls of the mighty Guggenheim. A stolid green Whole Foods sign flickered above Houston. Brandy and Wawa ducked in for a Salad Bar Visitation. Brandy, sick of grub from gas stations and fast food establishments, had greenery on the brain, fully intending to redeem half a week's worth of white, fried, processed, and cheese-covered foods in a fantastically healthy emerald sea of vegetable matter. At the same time, Brandy was faded, famished, and fairly inclined to roll hard. It was a conflict of intention. At first, those Better Angels had the advantage as Brandy wandered the parade of bright, shimmering buffets, dropping tong-fulls of lettuce, spinach, red onions, garbanzo beans, olives, and feta into his to-go Jam-Box. He added some shredded chicken, a couple of baked tofu chunks, and a few roasted red peppers. A dust of parm. A scatter of croutons. A splash of oil. A squirt of balsamic. Then, Brandy lost all control. The beast took hold and he went off the chains, roving from bar to bar in full-on Crazed Jammer Attack mode, heaping his salad with salad-inappropriate foods. First came a samosa. Then, another. Why not. And a spring roll. Yes, please. Then, Brandy piled on a few rounds of cheese ravioli. Oh my. And a brace of suspiciously black falafel balls. Why? Because they were there. In the end, when the poor cardboard Jam-box could hold no more, Brandy checked out. The weight exceeded 1.5 pounds. The cost was upwards of 15 dollars. Brandy vanquished his concoction (including even the foul falafel) in the cafe upstairs. He also ate a sizable whole-wheat roll and drank in perhaps three gulps a fancy white tea from the beverage cooler. As Wawa set off for the subway and his friend's domicile, Brandy turned away, exhilarated to have Jammed so vigorously yet simultaenously ashamed to have spent so much money. As punishment, he denied himself subway fare and the opportunity to pay 18 dollars for a museum visit. He retired to the park and sat on a bench with an M. K. Fisher volume, pausing every so often to watch a writhing swarm of funny uniformed schoolchildren shoot hoops.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Cheez-It Crackers are a Total Jam!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Not a Jam

THE INTERNET - This shit is seriously 90's and/or European. We feel sustainable living but are not so sure about rocking out on food.