Syn, Syn, Syndicated


Just letting you know, I’ve become Robert Novak. No, really. People now pay to reprint my writing. I know. Crazytown. So, watch out for a gansie coming to your local Onion…New York, Chicago, Wisconsin, Austin, Denver, Minnesota, San Francisco…

Oh, and I never read. This story for the Onion was quite a struggle and I severely bothered my friends over this feature.

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What used to be a way for suburban mothers to get out of the house has now evolved into a way for young, single 20-somethings to get out of the house. While book clubs may vary drastically in theme (feminist, history, Oprah), participants (co-workers, neighbors, Craigslisters), and fun (glass of wine, bottle of wine, bowl of marijuana), all book clubs rally around food.

Some book clubs meet at a centrally located restaurant where they can linger over dog-eared pages, drink from communal
pitchers, and let other people make the food—but that can lead to members spending more time contemplating the pages of a menu than those of their literature.

Instead, class up your next book-club gathering and create a meal based around your book choice. (Or, alternatively, choose your book around a meal.) Here are some fine page-plate pairings to get your literary and culinary mind in gear.

Ron Paul, The Revolution
w/ Broiled Steak and Chipotle Dipping Dauce

If you think hope is audacious, don’t care about villages, and are through trying to live up to daddy’s example, perhaps you’d be more interested in the political upheaval espoused by 10-term congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. His The Revolution touts the glories of the Constitution, reveres the vision of the Founding Fathers, and rages at what’s wrong with our current government. While chewing through this meaty treatise on libertarianism, pay tribute to Paul’s Texas roots by chewing through a broiled steak.

In a Pyrex dish, marinade a cut of flank steak with extra-virgin olive oil, crushed garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper; toss in some red wine too, but only if it’s from California—Paul’s an isolationist. While this sits, mix together sour cream, one chopped chipotle in adobo sauce, plus some adobo sauce, salt, pepper, and a few squeezes of a lime to create a smoky, hot dipping sauce. When the guests arrive, stick the steak under the broiler for two minutes, then flip it and cook it for another two minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, drape it with tin foil, and let it sit for seven minutes. Slice against the grain and serve it with your sauce. Keep your utensils in the drawer.

Joan Didion, The Year Of Magical Thinking
w/ A Funeral Spread

In The Year Of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion recalls her neuroses and trauma as she figures out life without her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and with her only daughter in and out of hospitals. For this harrowing tale of death and delusion, take comfort in carbs with a classic New York/Jewish post-funeral spread.

Before your guests arrive, start a pot of coffee: Grief and caffeine is a painfully perfect combination. On a large platter, lay down large leaves of lettuce. On top of that, arrange sliced bagels, smoked salmon, a pile of capers, a mound of diced hardboiled egg, and thinly sliced red onion.

Scoop cream cheese into a small serving bowl and lay out extra silverware for applying the bagel toppings.

Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex
w/ Bulgur Wheat Salad, Chickpea Mash, and Flatbread

Debate the merits of gender identity, biology, and sociology, but never doubt the deliciousness of Greek food when discussing Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex. Echoing Calliope Stephanides’ dual sexual organs, combine elements from several Mediterranean countries to create snacks to share.

Saute half of a diced onion with garlic in extra-virgin olive oil. When fragrant, add in one cup of bulgur wheat. Stir until coated with oil, then add two cups of water (or beef stock for some extra flavor). Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes; when done, toss with chopped flat-leaf parsley, lemon juice, scallions, diced cucumber, and diced tomatoes. Next, mash up a can of chickpeas with extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, a scoop of tahini sauce, and lemon juice. Mix in chopped flat-leaf parsley, crumbled feta, and diced roasted red pepper. Scoop up with whole-wheat flatbread.

Currently in the DC – Onion A.V. Club

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  • BS May 27, 2008  

    that picture is way too scary for this early in the morning

  • JoeHoya May 27, 2008  

    Congratulations on the syndication, Gansie!

    Of course, I got to read your reviews in the DC version of the Onion and the Post Express already…so I’m not sure what this does for me. And really, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

    Still – great job! I hope this is the first of many for you.

  • Jrod May 28, 2008  

    Very cool stuff. You’re the closest thing to a hipster celeb friend that I’ll ever have. Hey, if you get a little bigger, can I be in your e-entourage? If not I’ll be happy just being casual fan guy. Let me know.

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