WORKIN' MAN BLUES: Times are hard. No one is singing "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend." (Or "Diamonds are Forever." Not even Ruth Madoff). Help me compile a list of songs for the recession. Here are some of my favorites, with a slant toward Americana, country, and folk:
1. "We Can't Make It Here Anymore," written and performed by James McMurtry
2. "Our Town," written and performed with an incomparable Arkansas twang by Iris Dement.
4. "Workin' Man Blues," Merle Haggard
5. "Old Calloused Hands," Hazel Dickens
6. "The Mountain," Steve Earle
7. "Tired," Willie Nelson
8. "T.B. is Killing Me," John Lee Hooker
9. "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" Recorded by many artists beginning in 1931.
10. Okay, readers. Help me out here.
RECESSION SWEETS: I hope this doesn't upset Janet Rudolph, but I'm economizing on chocolate. Janet is a connoisseur of both fine chocolates and fine mysteries. She writes two of my favorite blogs. "Dying for Chocolate" has the recipe for the original Toll House cookie and directions for making a grilled chocolate sandwich. I'm there! "Mystery Fanfare" is a savvy blog devoted to...well, you know...what we do here.
I love chocolate. In the past, I've spent my allowance in search of the best. I've ordered Recchiuti Chocolates from San Francisco. Fancy and pricey. The two-pound, two ounce box shown here (which I've never ordered) costs $160 plus shipping.
I've picked up delicious and expensive truffles from K Chocolatier in Beverly Hills.
I've ordered chocolates from Hawaii because of a story I read in the New York Times. I've ordered chocolates from a highly touted sweets boutique on Cape Cod.
But now, forgive me Janet. I buy all my chocolate at Trader Joe's, and you know what, it's fine. Here are my favorites, all for about $5 or $6: Trader Joe's Belgian Dark Chocolate Non-Pareils; Chocolate Truffles (imported from France), and the Dark Chocolate Mocha Crunch Squares.
I'd take some photos to show you...but I've eaten all the evidence.
LOW-CAL CHOCOLATE TREAT: Another alternative...instead of shelling out for store or bakery desserts, make your own. I recommend my friend Rona Lewis's "Does This Cookbook Make Me Look Fat?" Rona is a top L.A. physical trainer and a former sprinter at Penn State. Check out her recipe for Chocolate Cheesecake made with low-fat cream cheese, fat-free sour cream and dark chocolate. Only 239 calories per slice! Plus 9 grams of protein, about the same as a glass of milk. More info about the cookbook here.
RONA WON'T APPROVE OF THIS: A.J. Liebling (below), who was not a sprinter at Penn State, dedicated "Between Meals," his gastronomic tour of Paris, to Yves Mirande, a theatrical producer and legendary gourmand...or glutton, depending on your definition.
"Mirande would dispatch a lunch of raw Bayonne ham and fresh figs, a hot sausage in crust, spindles of filleted pike in a rich rose sauce Nantua, a leg of lamb larded with anchovies, artichokes on a pedestal of foie gras, and four or five kinds of cheese, with a good bottle of Bordeaux and one of champagne, after which he would call for the Armagnac and remind Madame to have ready for dinner the larks and ortolans she had promised him, with a few langoustes and a turbot -- and, of course, a fine civet made from the marcassin, or young wild boar, that the lover of the leading lady in his current production had sent up from his estate in the Sologne."
Helluva long sentence, helluva lot of food. I don't know what half the items are, but I'm impressed by the sheer volume.