Welcome back infrequent readers to the Pot & Pan Handler’s infamous blog edition; Chef & the Farmer. Today’s story is a reflection on the social ramifications of European Class system on transgendered, squirrel catchers. Just kidding it’s more interesting than that and we only argue with one squirrel.*The cast of characters in order of appearance: Wife Beater & Wife, the Cameraman, the Assistant, the Producer, the Chef & the Farmer.* Sit back and enjoy a tale of a transgendered squirrel catcher disenfranchised by a class system that fails to accept him. Still, just kidding, it’s really just a bunch of stuff that happened. Welcome to our tale of the Wife Beater, a Producer, the Chef & the Farmer.
Part One: The Wife Beater & Wife
There we stood in front of our new home, the sunshine, unrelenting. I’m dressed at the height of southern summer fashion; a white wife beater and shorts. Since moving south of the Mason Dixon Line, I’m stripped down to a wife beater June 1 until late September, sometimes October. The Pan Handler is dressed similarly in a tank top and shorts. To wear more in the tropical North Carolina heat is unthinkable.
We live on a private road, but we haven’t lived here long enough to be familiar with all the neighbors or their cars. A nondescript cream yellow car approaches our driveway coming from the interior of the neighborhood. We paste goofy neighborino grins on our dorky faces and wave obsessively to the car we assume contains our neighbors. The yellow car has gotten close enough to see into. There are three people in the car and the occupier of the back seat is pointing a, what is that (?) at us. A bazooka?
Our dorky grins have morphed into grimaces and our wave stops in midair. We look like particularly horrified Saguaro cacti. Oh, I realize it isn’t a bazooka. Even more alarmingly it’s a GIANT fucking TV camera. I almost prefer the thought of the bazooka, even if I admit it’s just on the assumption something interesting was about to happen.
Part Two: The Cameraman, the Assistant and the Producer
The occupants of the car are like Hollywood, white. They drive by very slowly filming the horrified Saguaro cacti that have miraculously appeared in blacktop, in this climate. As they drive by, I admit to myself that being filmed was admittedly preferable to getting exploded. Ask any one from Boston. It’s cool to be Boston strong, especially if you still have all your limbs.
The yellow car reaches the neighbor’s driveway and they turn around. Wait, what, they’re coming back?! To finish the job? Maybe I was right the first time and it was a bazooka. Or worse maybe it’s Wolf Blitzer and he wants a soundbite, either way we were about to find out. They pulled in our driveway. “Hi!” the occupant of the passenger seat quips. The cameraman has put the bazooka down, for now. The passenger continues “We came back to tell you what we’re doing, as that probably looked weird.”
We didn’t react as this was the first time we’ve been filmed by a moving car while pretending to be cacti. Therefore we had no idea if it looked weird or not. “We’re making a film.” She pointed at the driver and said “This is Cynthia Hill.” “She’s a producer, she’s directing this film we’re making about how spousal abuse, isn’t confined to ghettos and trailer parks.” “You find spousal abuse in more affluent neighborhoods too, it’s everywhere.” “I’ve had two cases that took place in this house.” This news is weird to digest and I can’t help but think what else did the realtor leave out about this neighborhood when she showed us this house? We would’ve never moved here if we knew it was affluent. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_Violence
I hurriedly explain that we’ve just moved in, so I haven’t even had time to beat my wife yet, but would she like a phone call when I get around to it? I made that part up. We explain that we’ve just moved in and assured them that we, though the current owners, assuredly are not the people involved in the aforementioned domestic disputes. Did that come off as defensive? Probably.
They’re most likely trying to distract me with small talk while they wait for the cops to come. It’s working. “Where did you move here from?” “Massachusetts.” I replied, which is easier to say than spell. Followed by the ritual, “What do you do?” “I write for the food section of a regional paper.” “Oh, really!” she exclaimed, “Cynthia is the producer of a TV show about a Chef, what’s it called Cynthia?” “A Chef’s Life.” Cynthia said with the kind of scowl you give a suspected wife beater while you wait for the cops to take him away. “Well anyway, check it out, it was nice to meet you, we’ll see you later!” the assistant yelled. Cynthia put the car in reverse and they drove away.
Part Four: A Chef’s Life
We went about the daily routine of a Southern couple, filled with the obligatory domestic disputes. They usually end up in us pairing a Malbec and a Shiraz with the pot roast. One particularly lazy evening, I came across the show a Chef’s Life in the TV guide, grabbed a beer and tuned in. http://achefslifeseries.com/
If you’re anything like us, there’s no way you clicked that link, so I’ll tell you about it anyway. It’s a documentary style cooking show. They follow Chef Vivian Howard’s pursuit of opening and maintaining what started as a destination restaurant in a rural eastern North Carolina town. To what is now a small empire including two restaurants, a TV show, numerous awards and appearances. Plus a cookbook so heavy you can use it to break out of prison. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivian_Howard
Each episode focuses on a specific southern ingredient. As a recent transplant from the North I found this an entertaining approach to learn how to prepare terrifying southern ingredients like Kale and butterbeans. All while tuning into Chef Howard’s trials and tribulations as co-owner of the Chef & the Farmer. Chef Howard’s positive outlook on sinister, NC foods is contagious, and soon I found myself wanting to try them, no matter how terrifying. The opportunity came in the form of a birthday present. I never thought that the little rural town of Kinston, NC would be a desirable destination, but here we are. We got reservations; we were going to the Chef & the Farmer! http://www.vivianhoward.com/chef-the-farmer/
Our apologies as this ran a little long so we divided into two posts… Coming next: the Chef & the Farmer spoiler alert, we went in hot, with surgical precision, like Meal Team 6. Our gluttony so remarkable it still floats over the town of Kinston in the form of a gaseous, belching cloud, to this day. We’ll see ya’ then, until then, may the odds be ever in your flavor. – Pot & Pan Handler
The Pot and Pan Handler are travel obsessed, escaped restaurant immigrants, eating good food, in weird places. We craft our blog from 100% organic, cage free, local, diverse, far ranging, all natural, very big, small internet. We’re probably elbow deep and having a pint in a peculiar bar near you.
*Characters are played by in order of appearance: Pot and Pan Handler, Some Guy, Um… and, um… I don’t know, I’ll say Angie, and Cynthia Hill.
*Did you really have to read this to know we don’t really argue with squirrels? Or do we? Hmmmm.