Paula Deen’s Heartless Cooking and Vietnamese Soup

1. Paula Deen: Cook as Suicide Bomber

Over at SeriousEats they have an interesting little series of Paula Deen recipes under the header of Paula Deen is trying to kill us, now up to part 4. The latest horror is a hamburger patty, butter drenched fried egg and bacon sandwiched into a glazed donut. Previous entries include:Lady’s Fried Mac (for those so inclined here is the recipe); you make macaroni and cheese, then take squares of the mac and cheese, wrap with bacon, dredge in flour and egg, and then deep fry.

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And then there are Paula’s Fried Butter Balls (recipe right here): take frozen balls of butter mixed with cream cheese, bread and then deep fry. The other recipe is a layered cake assembled out of deep fried layers.

2. Vietnamese Soup

I have a friend who now lives too far away. Though she is still my official beer buddy, she recently moved about a thousand miles away so the beer nights have become rare. We worked together for years, and many years ago started a tradition of going for soup at a little Vietnamese restaurant across the street called the Bach Dang. We had soup there about once a month for about five years. For a few of those years it was more like once every four months when she temporarily moved a couple of hundred miles south. Every time she was back in town, we went for soup.

It was, and still is, a humble establishment. We always had the same waiter, and we always got the same Chicken Satay Soup (which originally you had to know about to get ) and sometimes added a few spring rolls. The soup was a typical pho except that though it was always good, it was never the same twice, and sometimes it was great. And it was so hot you would have a chili endorphin rush for hours after.

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No matter what was going on in the rest of our lives we had this little island, this assured good soup, this tradition. And then one day, the waiter was not there. It was odd but we had always thought it odd that he was always there. The soup came and it was not quite right. It was not only different, after all it had always varied, but it was not that good and it seemed to be an entirely different sort of soup even though it looked the same. We asked if it was the same soup and he told us it was.

We went back another few times, and each time our old waiter was still not there, and the soup was never that good, and the strangest thing of all since it was so obvious that either the cooks or the menu had changed, no one would own up to anything changing. And we had to look for another soup place. We found another that was okay but it was never the same again.

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