Essays with Recipes No. 1: #jonvoyage & the #GOPdebate

This is the opener for a series of posts that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time for my blog Rumournation. Words and food are never a bad combo, neh?

I can’t believe the synchronicity in this day: Jon Stewart’s Daily Show is ending just as the 2016 Presidential election truly begins. Not just beginning, but beginning with a bang — a “debate” populated by some arcane polling math, headlined by the biggest clown in the Republican clown car: Donald Trump.

JStew must be pounding his head on his soon-to-be-enshrined desk. #jonvoyage, indeed.

As for me, given that I’ve joined the Millennials in cutting the cord, I’m trying to figure out how to watch all this live. I know I can defer viewing and catch everything online tomorrow, but say what you might about the state of the tee-vee business, there’s still something in the excitement of participating in an event while it is happening. If that were not so, Facebook wouldn’t have just invested a lot of money into beating Twitter at the Periscope game. (I know that sounds like gibberish to some of you, but believe me, it is not.)

It’s doubly interesting to me that the headliners for this evening are both quintessential New Yorkers, similar in their chutzpah and ability to hold an audience; vastly different in their capacity for observation and rational thought. Trump builds edifices shaped like phalluses that are periodically thrown down in one mock battle or another (he’s declared bankruptcy how many times?): he’s a loser, but his ability to bloviate obscures that fact for many people. Stewart has built a media empire on skewering, of all things, the very media that feeds him. How meta of him, as my Millennial friends would say. Stewart’s a winner, but Trump thinks he’s a loser, for one simple reason: JStew is much better at taking a joke.

So, I’ll figure out a way to watch The Donald’s 15 minutes while Stewart signs off from his 15 years. And I’ll do it Big Apple-style, with a version of Wally and Joseph’s Chopped Salad to celebrate what is surely going to be a “word salad” from Trump, a delicious NY cheesecake to celebrate the sweetness of my love for Mr. Leibovitz, and a beer from Brooklyn Brewery.

Wally and Joseph’s Chopped Salad

  • 1 large, ripe tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 head Romaine or iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 whole red pimentos, diced
  • 1 TBSP capers
  • 2 TBSP coarsely chopped green or black olives (or a combo)
  • 5 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Drain the tomato in a colander, pressing with your hand or a wooden spoon to expel any excess water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining vegetables with the olives and anchovies. Add the tomatoes and give the mixture a good toss. If desired, use a sharp knife to chop a little more, right in the bowl.
  3. Add the olive oil and toss. Add salt to taste and toss some more. Finish with the freshly ground pepper.

Serves 4

Adapted from The New York Cookbook by Molly O’Neill. Photo courtesy of Yahoo! Embellished by me.