Blog Posts

Running With Team in Training: Donate!

impact_graphics_3I’ll cut to the chase. I want to end cancer. And to do that, I want you to donate some of your hard-earned money. If you’ve got another cancer or charity you like to give to, give to them. But if you’re here and have five bucks or a hundred or whatever, let’s do this thing. I’ll be chipping in my own money. And I’ll be running a marathon.

Fact: A kid diagnosed with blood cancer in the 1960s had a 4% chance of survival. A kid today has a 90% chance. And that’s thanks to scientific advances made possible by the money you donate.

READ MORE and DONATE HERE! PLEASE! 

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How Long Can You Talk About Brisket?

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From left: Nick Solares, Billy Durney, Jake Dell, Daniel Vaughn and John Tesar.

UPDATE: Congrats to Izzy’s in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, for being named the 2017 Brisket King.

After over a decade of attending and planning and participating in panel discussions, I’d become pretty convinced that a) panel discussions suck and b) there’s no reason for them to ever go longer than 25 minutes. But last night I sat through a panel that ran a little over two hours and I didn’t want it to end.

The topic was brisket. Yes. That’s right. Two hours about brisket.

This isn’t exactly a fair comparison to my panels of the past. Most of the panels I’ve dealt with over the years have been marketing, advertising and media related. And something happens to even interesting people when they get on a stage with talking points from a PR team and some message to sell.

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RESCHEDULED: Reading/Book Signing in Atlanta: April 27

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NOTE: Because the weather prevented me from making it to Atlanta on time earlier in the month, this is now happening on April 27. 

I’d say pardon the self-promotion, but if you think a blog isn’t anything other than nonstop self-promotion, you’re delusional. But anyway, some undisguised self-promotion:

The good folks at the SCAD in Atlanta have invited me down to talk to a couple of classes and do a reading. So if you’re in the Atlanta area or simply feel like flying to Atlanta to listen to me jibber-jabber, come on down!

The reading will be Thursday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m. It will be held at Ivy Hall.

Here’s a link to the event page.

Ivy Hall is at 179 Ponce de Leon Ave. Here it is on the map.

Brooklyn Barbecue Files: Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Behold, the brisket. A beefy beauty, but not the easiest cut of meat to tame. That one there is moist, succulent. It is sporting a sexy little smoke ring and a glossy black bark. But appearances can be deceiving. I’m not going to complain (too much). The brisket was perhaps the juiciest one I’ve ever done. But it wasn’t smoky enough. Neither was it seasoned enough for my liking.

The amount of smoke — or lack thereof — wasn’t a surprise. I was experimenting. I use charcoal plus wood chunks. Even if I wanted to use logs, the practicalities of New York living would make it prohibitively expensive (though I did order some sticks from Smoak). I used a lot less wood this time around to see what would happen — and what happened was perfectly fine barbecue that I wish had gotten a little more wood smoke on it. I also expected it might be on the milder side since the turkey and chops I’d pulled off earlier didn’t get very much smoke on them.

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Is Morning Media Making You Mopey?

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I saw something bad on Twitter.


Full disclosure: The following is purely anecdotal. It’s about as scientifically based as your new obsession with turmeric. 

Hey there, sparky. Quick question for you: Are you starting out the day on the wrong foot? Does it feel like a little cloud develops before you leave the house and follows you out the door? Do you sometimes wake up thinking, “I will crush this day and drink all its delicious juices,” but by the time you get to work you’re only thinking, “I hope I make it to lunch without killing someone or crying”?

Any or all of that sound familiar?

Now, yes. It could very well be actual depression. Depression IS real and should be diagnosed and treated. But it could also be something else, something within your control.

“Yeah. Like my stupid job,” is something you may have just thought.

Continue reading “Is Morning Media Making You Mopey?”

Poll: Tony Chachere’s or Slap Ya Mama

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I had a very surreal moment last month. Trying to find something at Trader Joe’s, I overheard a man with a British accent asking a store employee if TJ’s carried something called Tony Shasheer’s.

“Excuse me?” the store employee said.

“Tony Shusheery’s?” the Brit said.

“Say what now?” the employee responded.

“It’s a Louisiana seasoning blend,” the Brit said.

“No,” the employee said.

I should take a moment to point out that, defying centuries of Wheaton genetic coding, I didn’t insert myself into this conversation. One, the first rule of Trader Joe’s is “Get the hell out of Trader Joes.” Two, I knew that TJ’s didn’t have Tony Chachere’s.

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Gumbo: Roux vs. Sausage

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Before I launch into a thousand words about this subject, spoiler alert: The sausage you put into your gumbo is more important than whether you use store-bought or home-made roux.

The good folks over at 93.7 The Dawg posted The Ten Commandments of Gumbo. They had me at hello — or at least at Commandment One: Thou Shalt Never Use Tomatoes. I’m in complete agreement and have very strong feelings about this.

But it went off the rails with Commandments Two and Three. I was on board with the spirit of Commandment Two — Thou Shalt Not Use Un-Cajun Sausage — if not the letter of their law (more on that in a bit), but Commandment Three brought me up short: Thou Shalt Not Use Store-Bought Roux.

Call me a heretic and a heathen, but I strongly disagree with this one. (And, yes, I realize The Dawg was just having fun. So am I. I’d much rather have debates about this than about politics. In fact, arguing about gumbo is one of the things that made me a writer.)

Continue reading “Gumbo: Roux vs. Sausage”