October 27, 2008

Madison, Wisconsin. 6 p.m.

Class was over, it was getting dark, and I was hurrying to my car, but I had to stop at take a picture of this:


It was so Madison.

Later, I was in a second-floor restaurant, where they had chicken and dumplings on the menu. I've never seen chicken and dumplings on a restaurant menu. Chicken and dumplings! The one ancestral folk-food my mother cooked, the food of my father's lineage, the Pennsylvania Dutch. So, German. Let's have a brew. I chose Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre. This ale is made in Milton, Delaware, and it was in Delaware -- albeit not Milton -- that I ate the vast majority of the chicken and dumplings that I have eaten in my life.


And now I've had chicken and dumplings in Madison, not much like the way my mother made it. The dumplings weren't gummy enough. The truth is, my mother wasn't much good at making it... or any other sort of long-cooked food. She preferred to broil steaks and chops, so I never found out about how good braised and stewed things were until I left home. But tonight, I chose some semblance of home. The waiter said they'd put it on the menu as "comfort food."

That label says: "A deep mahogany ale brewed with Belgian beer sugars, green raisins & a sense of purpose."


Titushasabigmeetingtoday said...

You drive to work?

That is so suburban and not fabulous.

Pete said...

Have you not eaten at a Cracker Barrel restaurant? I've had chicken and dumplings there before many times.

The beer sounds great. How did the sense of purpose taste?

Titushasabigmeetingtoday said...

Where do you live? You don't have to tell me the exact address but what part of the city.

Now that I think of it I am thinking it may be the Vilas area-just a guess.

One of my favorite parts of the city is between Camp Randall and West High School. It's so nice.

I thought you lived right downtown.

I am disappointed.

Titushasabigmeetingtoday said...

My mom went to Paisans this weekend for her birthday and she said there are some fabulous new condos around that area.

Here's a little Madison starfucker tidbit. My mom is good friends with someone who gave $500,000 to the Overture Center.

Titushasabigmeetingtoday said...

My favorite salads in the whole world are the Porta Salad at Paisans and the Garden Salad at Ella's on East Washington. The Ella's salad has these huge croutons on it that are so good.

How is everyone tonight?

I attended a very important meeting for my company that was very strategic, high level, confidential and incredibly important.

We are looking at a multi million dollar acquisition.

My role is to conduct impact on staff at company being acquired. Looking at all the job descriptions, compensation data, LOS and much more crap.

In other words I am working at an extremely high level and making recommendations to our senior management on decisions regarding headcount.

thank you.

Titushasabigmeetingtoday said...

I enjoy being important in a business setting.

It gives me value and recognition and respect.

I also enjoy "corporate speak".

In the mid 90's I was working for a very hot technology company and would see 21 year olds cash out stock options worth a million dollars. It was a very exciting time.

The founder of the company I worked for at the time died on one of the planes on 9/11. He was cute and very young.

Albatross said...

Green raisins! Not in my beer!


Titushasabigmeetingtoday said...

Do any of you use Yelp?

I love Yelp.

Stupe said...

The Trifect of Pelosi, Reid and Obama.

They want to take your 401K and have the governement administer all retirement. Ramping up Eminent Domain. Wealth Redistribution isn't just taxes. When the Gov. starts buying up private assets....what does Althouse do then ???? This is what the Trifecta wants.

The new ties to Nation of Islam that Obama hasn't disavowed, yet.

What would it take for Althouse to reverse herself on the way to the Voting Booth, like with Jimmy Carter?

Is a ConLaw Professor the least bit concerned with 100% total Democratic rule?

Checks and balances thrown right out the window. And, that's in addition to Biden's "generated crisis".

Titushasabigmeetingtoday said...

One thing I miss about Madison is french dressing.

Good luck finding french dressing at a restaurant in NYC.

The french dressing at Paisans and Ella's is so thick and rich and yumming.

I love french dressing.

Thank you.

Titushasabigmeetingtoday said...

Are chicken dumplings in gravy?

What else is in chicken and dumplings besides chicken and dumplings?

Where did you have your chicken and dumplings?

Dumplings is kind of an ugly word. Say it real fast 10 times.

David said...

Beer with a sense of purpose?

The only sense of purpose I have ever discerned in beer is a determination to deprive me of mine.

Titushasabigmeetingtoday said...

Where are Cracker Barrels?

Meade said...

Wouldn't it be amazing if Nader voters in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa tipped the election to McCain just like they did to Bush in 2000?

EDH said...

Your photo made me think.

Why does it seem the more left-wing the cause, the greater the tendency to do petty things to eclipse anyone else's ability to deliver their message.

Here, the Obama people put a huge poster covering many of the other message posts, and then the Nader people trump that by defacing the Obama poster.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

You give us pictures of Nader, you give us pictures of your beer, but...you don't give us pictures of your dumplings. I would've liked to see your dumplings.

Stupe said...

Rashid Khalidi.

Althouse always on top of things. I just did a search, and , shockingly, she hasn't done a post on Rashid Khalidi.

Let's see: Wright, Ayers, Rezko, Father Phlager (sp?)....and now Rashid Khalidi.

Gee, what can it all mean?

David said...

Ann, are you ever actually comforted by comfort food? My chicken dumpling is meat loaf, the only dish my mother could cook with any decent result that involved mixing things together.

I find that comfort food usually results in discomfort, either from angst (poor Mom, she tried so hard) or from bloat and guilt.

Richard Dolan said...

Every cuisine seems to have its own version of dumplings. For the Germans, there're little dough balls, sometimes stuffed, sometimes not. The Chinese have more varieties than you can count, the one constant being that there're almost always stuffed. Same with the Jewisn/Eastern European variety (kreplachs). And on and on it goes.

No doubt, as the perfect post-partisan food choice for the one-worldy set, they will soon be gracing the White House menu. With a healthy side of cruel neutrality, and all washed down with a bottle of raison'd etre.

Can't say I'm looking forward to it.

It's.....Mrs. Hornblower ! said...

Rashid Khalidi = PLO

The good 'ol days !



But, LA Times has more recent info on the Obama/Khalidi connection, which they are suppressing, because, I guess, it's too "incendiary".

Nightmare doesn't even begin to describe the horror of 'The One'.

As I've stated repeatedly, Althouse isn't voting for him. Her support is empty PR to solidify her University standing, and placate her 90% non-White pupils.


David said...

Pete, my wife and I try to eat at Cracker Barrel on road trips. It's clean and predictable. Great people watching. We like it, especially the comfort dishes. I usually have scrambled eggs and sausage, no matter what the time of day. Wherever we go, the scrambled eggs are good. They must have an egg scrambling school with great teachers.

John Burgess said...

Dogfish Head is a terrific brewery, though I admit I haven't yet had Raison d'Etre. If you haven't tried them, then there's no way anyone can offer a valid comment on them.

My brothers and I learned to cook in self-defense, our mother was such a poor cook. Coming from a large (strike one) Irish (strike two) family, she had limited experience with other than large quantities of grey, mushy foods. Her mother boiled everything: steak, liver, venison. Really a sad tale.

Our father, from French-Canadian stock, had better luck in the kitchen, though because of his job he was rarely at home. Some of his repetoire had to fall in the category of 'acquired taste', though, like eggs poached in maple syrup.

Comfort foods are the foods I'm comfortable making or eating at any given moment.

Mrs. Topsy Canning said...

I guess "The One" isn't very Pro-Israel if he's got an Advisor for the PLO on speed-dial.

But, I'm sure the scripted infomercial paid for by laundered funds will pacify all jitters.

Simon said...

So a question for the photoshop wizzes - that cliched Obama red and blue image that they've done Nader's image in. Is that something I could reproduce in Photoshop? How? I can't google it if I don't know what the effect is called.

The Drill SGT said...

hundchen mit Kartoffel Knodel

Yumm :)

Freeman Hunt said...

Yes, all true liberals should vote Nader. To do otherwise would be to sell out.

T J Sawyer said...

If you ever get to Portland, OR visit Tad's Chicken 'n Dumplins. It has been there 80 years, serves "family style" and is great.

Albatross said...

Every cuisine seems to have its own version of dumplings.

And Swedish meatballs!

"G'Kar reveals a strange discovery he has made--every race has their own version of what the humans call "Swedish meatballs." For the Narns, the name of the dish is "Breen" (it is unknown though if this is an absolute truth, and if it also applies to such beings as the First Ones, including the Vorlons and the Shadows)."

Ann Althouse said...

Titushasabigmeetingtoday said..."You drive to work? That is so suburban and not fabulous."

I usually walk, but I drive under certain conditions -- appointments, weather, running late, not feeling good....

Pete said... "Have you not eaten at a Cracker Barrel restaurant? I've had chicken and dumplings there before many times."

Now that you mention it, I have seen that! I look for Cracker Barrels when I'm driving along the interstate. Never go there otherwise, but they are welcome sights on long drives.

"The beer sounds great. How did the sense of purpose taste?"

raisin ≈ raison

Titushasabigmeetingtoday said... "Where do you live? You don't have to tell me the exact address but what part of the city."

University Heights.

"One of my favorite parts of the city is between Camp Randall and West High School. It's so nice."

Yeah, that area is called University Heights.

"I thought you lived right downtown."

I was going to move into the Lorraine, but I didn't like what was happening to the housing market (a couple years ago).

Titushasabigmeetingtoday said...
"Do any of you use Yelp?"

Yeah. Love Yelp. On the iPhone.

Stupe said..."Is a ConLaw Professor the least bit concerned with 100% total Democratic rule?"

It's a problem, but given McCain's propensity to suck up to Democrats, I don't think the alternative is enough a safeguard to make that the deciding factor. Also, it might work out well to make the Democrats absolutely responsible for everything that happens. Maybe they'll sober up.

Titushasabigmeetingtoday said..."The french dressing at Paisans and Ella's is so thick and rich and yumming."

Paisan's and Ella's? I never go there.

David said..."Beer with a sense of purpose? The only sense of purpose I have ever discerned in beer is a determination to deprive me of mine."

Good point.

Meade said..."Wouldn't it be amazing if Nader voters in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa tipped the election to McCain just like they did to Bush in 2000?"

Ha ha.

Zachary Paul Sire said..."You give us pictures of Nader, you give us pictures of your beer, but...you don't give us pictures of your dumplings. I would've liked to see your dumplings."

It looked like slop that you'd take out of the microwave on a plastic tray. That's a mental picture for you.

David said..."Ann, are you ever actually comforted by comfort food?"

Yes, but just as often it makes me uneasy.

Chip Ahoy said...

My mum's father was Pennsylvania Dutch. Big barn, distlefink, grape vines, the whole bit. Spoke German. They were a strange but affectionate bunch, much more demonstrative than my British grandparents. Their sense of humor was denigrating compared to the British side whose humor was dry.

Mum was a careless and unimaginative cook who did things by instruction and by rote. It wasn't her favorite thing and she didn't excel at it. Chicken and dumplings was one of my favorite things she made, but I didn't know how great it could be until after I left home. I dearly love her so, but these are the facts.

She plunked a whole chicken into a large pot and boiled the living shit out of it until it fell to pieces. Had she roasted the chicken first, she could have compounded flavors into some molecular complexity and concentrated them in obedience to the Maillard reaction, extracted marrow from the bones, rather than merely diluting chicken flavor throughout the water. No matter, it was great anyway.

Her dumplings were egg noodles cut into large squares and dropped into the nearly finished chicken broth. So it was really chicken noodle soup, not chicken and dumpling soup. My favorite part was the noodles that stuck together and failed to fully cook. I liked that. I would learn what a true dumpling was elsewhere.

Potatoes, carrots, celery, onion.

She was a lot better than my father who couldn't cook his way out of a plastic bag. And yet he persisted in trying. Bless 'im. His idea of vegetable soup was to dump a bag of root vegetables marketed for soup into an extra large pot. You couldn't add enough salt to the stuff to make it palatable. He made so much of it that it would hang around frozen in containers for months. When I told him you have to start with stock, even a vegetable stock if he wanted to stick with vegetables, he asked, "what's a stock?"

We ate out a lot.

This is where I came from. Our household knives were always dull, our kitchens ill equipped. It's amazing I learned much of anything at all. These are not a criticisms, they're merely observations.

Pete said...

David: You're exactly right. The food is always decent and consistent. Cheap, too!

Titus: I've eaten at Cracker Barrels around the Midwest and Texas.

froggyprager said...

chicken and dumplings at the Sundance? hmmmmm....

chaz said...

i've had that beer. i didn't like it.

Chip Ahoy said...

Simon, I'm not familiar with the images you're talking about. But the following might help in combining two images.

Photoshop operates on the idea of levels. From the Photoshop menu, select windows --> levels. Always keep track of which level you're working on. You can name them. The layer that's active is highlighted. The layers that are showing have an eye in the little box next to the layer's name. The main picture you're working on is a stack of opaque layers. Combine, or compress all the layers, then save the final image.

If you're mixing an Obama picture with a Nader picture, then open both of them. Resize them. With both open, you can decide which you want to enlarge or which you want to shrink.
Image --> image size.

Either open a new image (a third one), or build layers in one of the original two by copy/pasting.

Select the areas you want to remove or alter. Several ways to do this. You can use erase tool and trace around the edges eliminating portions you don't want. Or you can use lasso select tool and remove bits. Or, and this is the best one, Use the pen tool, (looks like a fountain pen). Each click is a point along a line, straight line point to point until you return to the original point. To turn the string of points into a selection for the purpose of eliminating or coloring or blending areas, on a Mac, command + enter, on a PC, CNTRL + enter, the line turns into a selecton.

Copy / paste layers from one image into a new layer on another image. When you paste, BANG!, a new layer. Adjust size, edges, colors, intensity, etc.

An easy way to adjust size is just copy a layer you want to resize, the open a new image. It will size automatically to what you just copied, shrink or enlarge, then copy that and paste it back, it will become a new layer. At that point, you'll have the two layers of the same thing in different sizes. Turn the undesireable one off, or drag it to the trash. (located on the layers window)

Save frequently. It's a bummer to loose your work.

This is all I have to say at this point. Except there are usually several ways to do nearly everything.

Chip Ahoy said...

If you make a mistake command +z goes back one move, alt+command+z goes back several moves click for click. (mac), CNTL+Z (pc), but that's true for nearly everything besides Photoshop.

Chip Ahoy said...

Simon, "cliched Obama red and blue image that they've done Nader's image in" confounds me greatly.

Does that mean Nader in the chin-up, gaze beyond the horizon, red and blue fascist art style?

I think that's called vectoring.

Several ways to vector. Tutorials will explain use of pen tool. Another way is to use magic wand tool. Adjust the magic want to degree of sensitivity. It will select all areas within your defined sensitivity. Then select a color to fill the selection, with either the paint bucket or a brush run carelessly over the whole image -- only the selected areas will pick up the color. This is trickier than it sounds because the magic wand has a mind of its own and rarely cooperates. Anyway, I think you're looking for the term vectoring.

blake said...

My mother's food is so idiosyncratic, I really can't go anywhere to get "comfort food", at least not in that sense of the word.

Yet, because her parents couldn't cook, her stuff all came out of the traditional recipe books. But nobody cooks like that except here (and me).

Titusthankstons said...

What a nice hostess responding to her flock.

Many host/hostess in blogs never even acknowledge their commenters.

That is my favorite part about the Divine Miss A.

I also like the name Divine Miss A.

University Heights is one of my favorite parts of Madison.

My mom went to some Christmas house tour and said the guys that own the Soap Opera have a beautiful house.

My other favorite Madison neighborhoods are Maple Bluff, Shorewood and Cherokee.

My least favorite are the east side, south side and part of the north side-not fabulous.

The Governor's Mansion is fabulous. Your governor not so fabulous.

And the West Side is many cookie cutter houses...boring.

Titusthankstons said...

I go to fancy, new, hot, now and wow restaurants here all the time and they begin to bore me.

That's why when I go to Madison I love going to old standbys.

Titusthankstons said...

I do miss the old Paisans.

My other favorite Madison places are:

Dotty Dumplings
The Plaza
Porta Bella which is basically Paisans
And bowling alley food. I used to love bowling alley pizza. They used those pizza ovens and threw a Tombstone on them. You can not find a Tombstone pizza out here. My parents actually bought me a pizza oven for Christmas one year but the pizza never cooked as well as it did in a bowling alley and for that I am sad.

I love the food from the Waun A Bowl. And Middleton Sport Bowl.

I also so miss all the Friday Night Fish Fry options. I used to love the old Crandalls on the square. My family usually goes to The Bridge on Lake Wisconsin in Okee. The Bridge is vintage Wisconsin supper club. And it has a great view of Lake Wisconsin. Other great options are The Esquire Club, Avenue Bar, Toby's, Stamm House, and The Owl's Nest in Poynette-you can actually buy The Owl's Nest cheese spread in NYC.

Do all of you want to feel old? This Halloween is the 25th anniversary of Thriller by Michael Jackson.

Titusthankstons said...

No Jennifer Hudson posting?

I am surprised.

Being the American Idol fan you are I would of expected a posting.

A very tragic event.

Mr. Forward said...

Real Dumpling Soup is served with fresh home made bread. Takes the dread out of winter.
(Thanks, Mom.)

Donna B. said...

acckkk... I hate Cracker Barrel. I've never had a good meal there, except the blueberry pancakes.

My Dad always wants to eat there when he comes to visit us. Why, I don't know because his stepdaughter runs a much better restaurant in the little town where he lives.

If you're ever driving through Foreman AR (and I don't know why you would) stop at The Wooden Spoon.

Potato soup is my comfort food.

MadisonMan said...

My favorite fish fry was the White House up in Westport, but I haven't been there in years. I'm sure the place has been surrounded by development now, but back in the 80s it was the middle of nowhere.

They guys who own the Soap Opera have a nice house, yes, but it's jarring to see such a modern design in the middle of all the early 1900s architecture of University Heights.

And I also dislike Cracker Barrel. Aren't they always being sued for discrimination?

MadisonMan said...

The google answered my question. Always is probably a harsh way to describe it.

But they settled at least one suit for racial discrimination. (Here).

I prefer to eat at Culvers when I'm on the road, or a local diner. Some diners are horrible, but some are fabulous.

laura said...

I haven't read through all the comments, but The Stamm House, out in Middleton, has the kind of chicken and dumplings that I think you're referring to. We ate there about a year ago and they (the dumplings) were the old fashioned ones that I grew up with. Yummm, they really hit the spot.

MadisonMan said...

Ooh, the Stamm House. My octogenarian parents like the Stamm House, probably 'cause it does a good job on old comfort foods like Dumplings.

But they'd rather go to the Cuba Club, which is where they had their Rehearsal Dinner back in the late 40s. I went there once before it was torn down.

Original George said...

Hush puppies!

Ya ever been in a place that serves them, Perfesser?

Pot likker, ever drunk that?

Never et dogfish, but I do like catfish. You go noodlin' for 'em.

MadisonMan said...

I've never found good hush puppies in Madison. The last good hush puppies I had was at a place in Clinton MD (Fish Market Restaurant). Yum!

E.A.Houck said...

May favorite political sign ever was in a window on Jenifer St. in Madison in 1996: "Bill and Bob made me Ralph!"

Trooper York said...

Why would you want to eat shoes? You guys in Wisconsin are weirdo's. No wonder you love Mr. Interceptionman.

MadisonMan said...

Loved, trooper, loved. Very past tense.

Trooper York said...

The Jet fans are ripping him a new one and they won the game. He will retire for sure after this season.

Unless he starts dating Madonna.