Popcorn for Breakfast and Other Minor Revelations

Leftover popcorn, I’ve discovered, makes a good breakfast. My wife often makes popcorn for the kids in the evening, and there it is in the morning, half a pot — the butter soaked in and coagulated. Like many things, it is better the next day.

I especially like the crunchy, half-popped ones that congregate at the bottom of the pan. My wife worries: “You’re going to break a tooth on one of those one day.” But I like to live dangerously, I guess.

I made another delightful breakfast discovery this morning. It’s soft-shell crab season — one of my most favorite of all foods. Last night, I made seven soft-shell crab sandwiches for our dinner party. I had miscounted, and there were only six of us. So my second course of breakfast was a reheated soft-shell crab sandwich. What a start to the day!

I haven’t been blogging so much lately. I’m not completely sure why — some combination of busy-ness and apathy. Sometimes I think I’ve run out of things to say about food. And then I consider: “How is that possible?” I’ve also noticed some of my other blogger friends suffering from a similar inertia (I’m looking at you, Gourmandistan!). Maybe it’s a seasonal thing.

I do periodically just tire of my own writing. “Oh my god, not that metaphor again!!” And need a break from myself.

I used to publish a post every Tuesday and Thursday. I was very consistent for several years. I don’t know how I did it. Now, I’m like, “Whatever!”

I was saddened by the suicide of Anthony Bourdain, although as a parent of young children, I also thought it was a selfish and cowardly act given that he has an 11-year-old daughter. That’s a hole in her life that can never be filled.

Leftover soft-shell crab sandwich

Like many people, my first introduction to Bourdain was through his book, “Kitchen Confidential,” which lifted the veil on the many horrors of restaurant kitchens. I worked in several restaurant kitchens and never experienced — nor perpetrated — anything too terrible.

The worst crime I ever committed against a customer was when I was a teenager working in an Italian deli. Every Saturday, around 5 p.m., the old Italian owner, Ron, would say, “Okay, let’s clean up and get out of here.” The deli closed at 5:30. And I inevitably had someplace fun to get to and was eager to split. So I would wrap up all the remaining cold cuts and cheese, put away the lettuce and tomatoes, cover the condiment tins, wipe down the counters and wash all the knives and utensils. And every Saturday, just as I finished, a skinny little plumber dude with greasy black hair would come in and order a pastrami sandwich with extra mayonnaise. Old Italian owner Ron was not one to turn down $5. So I would grudgingly get everything out again and make the skinny plumber dude his sandwich, cursing under my breath and casting daggers with my eyes.

One particular Saturday when I had something REALLY fun to get to and already practically had one foot out the door, skinny plumber dude came in and asked for his pastrami with extra mayo. “I’ll give him extra mayo,” I mumbled to myself. I was sure to hand the wrapped sandwich to the customer myself, as had it passed through Ron’s hands, he would’ve surely noticed that it weighed a good pound more than it should’ve. I must’ve used half a jar’s worth of mayonnaise.

The next Saturday when skinny plumber dude came in, he ordered a pastrami sandwich with regular mayo. Once again, I loaded his sandwich with a cup of mayonnaise, and again made sure to hand it to him myself. The following Saturday, he came in and ordered a pastrami sandwich with light mayo. This time, I barely brushed the bread with the faintest trace of mayo.

He never came in again.

Those are my thoughts and stories for a Sunday morning.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Andrea Cleall
    Jun 10, 2018 @ 18:19:54

    Your wife has a point re: the popcorn. I think my current teeth problems probably started with Orlando’s popcorn. Also give Bourdain a break. We never know what people are dealing with in the depths of their souls. I sound like a mother today don’t I.


  2. Michelle
    Jun 10, 2018 @ 21:14:54

    Well-deserved criticism! As the seasons roll around, I must admit to thinking we’ve already written about the #1, #2 and maybe even #3 most favorite things to make with that particular vegetable, so what the hell to do? But we are resolving to do better. 🙂

    Cold popcorn, though? Ugh.


  3. Gregg
    Jun 11, 2018 @ 18:40:08

    Yes, I remember when I was working retail ions ago and invariably a customer would come in five minutes before closing paying cash requiring me to break open rolls of quarters and pennies for change after I had counted my drawer to make a fast exit. At least plumber dude got the message and finally gave up.



  4. timoirish34
    Jun 15, 2018 @ 04:31:40

    Sean–In the deli, I assume you were not working for tips…Ha!

    I have friends who seriously studied gastronomy then (willingly) went to work as second-string line cooks or food stylists (there are such things, I was surprised to discover) for superstar chefs (and little money) just to observe the techniques and management styles of the food oligarchs (my new favorite word).

    I could understand the dedication of a person who really wanted to learn the fine dining trade, but I myself was satisfied with the written word. It does not yell back. It has never thrown a chef’s knife or a windsor pan at me. I find restaurant kitchens to be the most high-pressure work environments I have ever encountered–and that includes big-city newspapers and resort cocktail lounges.


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