Monday, June 7, 2010

Long Blogs, Trench Coats, and Fast Food Religion

I’ve been told that my blog posts are too long.

I got a visit from the blog goons this week. Two burly guys in trench coats and starched white shirts. The one called Mikey Payday - his face looked just like a Payday candy bar - hoisted me up by my collar and threw me against the wall while his colleague, Kit-Kat Johnny - his face also looked like a Payday bar but they couldn’t have two guys named Payday in the same gang so they called him Kit-Kat - waved a freshly opened bottle of WiteOut® under my nose and seethed, “Your blogs are too long. You’re making all the other bloggers look bad. Like they ain’t got enough to say. You gotta cut back.”

I gulped and sputtered, “Cut back? How much?”

Mikey Payday drew his face close to mine. “Half.”

My eyes grew wide. “Half?”

“What is there, an echo in here?”

“Well, sometimes when all the windows are shut and the ceiling fan isn’t running you can quite often hear an….”

“Shaddup!” Kit-Kat said as he jabbed a finger into my chest. “In half. By tomorrow. Or else.” And with that the two goons spun on their heels and marched out of the room.

I stared down at my blog draft and sighed. In half? But how? Then it hit me. I could delete every other letter. That would certainly do it! I sat down and feverishly retyped my blog, posted it, then sat back and waited for the comments to roll in. It didn’t take long. The first was from my agent.

“What the heck do you call this jibber jabber?”

I tried to explain about the trench coats and the deceptively intoxicating smell of WiteOut, but she cut me off.

“Good grief, Caterson. Your blog reads like it was typed in tongues by some Pentecostal evangelist!”

I glanced down at my delete-every-other-letter blog. She was right. Heck, I wasn’t even a Blogger anymore. I was a Bogr (which is pronounced ‘booger’ in some parts of Bavaria). I slammed the phone down and bowed my head in abject failure. Then I heard a knock at the door. The mailman. I opened it and he dumped two duffle bags of express mail at my feet. All filled with fan letters, prayer requests and checks. And the letters kept coming. For days.

I finally called my agent to tell her that my blogging in tongues had made me a bona fide Blogging Pentecostal Evangelist and that I was only 75 cents short of clearing a gazillion dollars.

“Fantastic,” she said, no doubt thinking about her 15 per cent cut. “Now there’s only two more things you have to do to become the primo Pentecostal Evangelist of the blogosphere.”

“What’s that?” I asked. “Go to seminary and get ordained?”

“No. You need to bone your secretary and then cry about it on TV.”

“You know I can’t do that!”


“I don’t have a TV.”

Then it happened. I lost my following overnight to a new guy who can blog the future for his generous followers. All they have to do is reset the clocks on their computers to yesterday and he’ll predict what would happen to them today. It wasn’t long 'til the post office was dumping mounds of letters and checks on his doorstep.

Sometimes I think religion in America is a lot like fast food. We want it convenient, we want it our way, and we want it now. If someone down the street can serve what we want faster, well, see ya, wouldn’t want to be ya.

I went to church last week. The service was from the 4th century and was nearly two hours long. We pretty much stood the whole friggin’ time. I’m glad I went.

Slow food is good. So is slow religion.

So here I am, back to writing long blogs again. I’m sorry I’ve taken up so much of your time. But to make it up to you, I’ve included a killer recipe. But it’s not fast food. Are you up for it?

And if you set your computer clock back to yesterday, I’ll even predict what you might have for supper tonight…

Bon appétit,



If you make this a day ahead of time the flavors will meld and you'll have a truly heavenly dish. Can't make it ahead of time? Don't worry. This recipe is for four. That way, you'll have enough left over for lunch tomorrow.

PREP: 10 minutes
MARINATE: 8 to 24 Hours
COOK: 2 to 2-1/2 hours


2 pounds boneless chuck or bottom round cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks

For the marinade:
1 cup burgundy wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion chopped
1 small carrot chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

To finish:
1 slice of bacon, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup beef broth
1/2 (15.5-ounce ) can diced tomatoes
4 ounces mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup pearl onions, peeled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


1. Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl. Place meat in a 1 gallon plastic bag and add marinade. Toss to coat and place in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Turn occasionally.
2. Remove the beef and pat dry. Strain the marinade into a bowl and reserve the vegetables in another bowl.
3. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook until brown and remove the bacon. Add the olive oil and heat. Add the beef and brown on all sides (you’ll need to do this in batches so the meat will brown, rather than steam). Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl.
4. Add the reserved vegetables, stir and cook until slightly brown, 5 minutes or so.
5. Add the flour and stir for 1 – 2 minutes until smooth and slightly brown. Stir in the reserved marinade, beef broth, and tomatoes. Return the beef and bacon to the pan. Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours until meat is very tender but not falling apart.
6. Add mushrooms and onions and cover. Cook an additional 15 – 20 minutes until tender. Garnish with fresh parsley.


  1. Warren dear. Two comments: 1) you brilliantly make up for long blogs with creativity, dialog (In a blog? Only superheros do that!), and by breaking up long areas of text into smaller bites (hahaaa, the punny pun!). 2) No fair posting beef recipes during a fast.

    Happy Monday.

  2. Thanks Tia - you're a doll. BTW, you can always file the recipe away for a later date. LOL. Perhaps next week I'll make up for it with something from my upcoming Table for Two Vegetarian Booklet, deal?

  3. I sympathise as I can rarely tell a short story either. I would like some photos of the cooking though :)

  4. Thanks, Carolyn! Working on the photo thing, too.

  5. Okay, this made me smile. i had no problem reading this post (and a couple of others) in its entirety. You're funny and engaging, much better to read this than a short, boring one. Just my opinion. It struck a chord because I'm always mindful of the word numbering tool at the bottom of my drafts. I always wonder if people read my posts completely.


  6. Thanks lemonsandanchovies (blushing). I look forward to you're comments. Heck, I've seen your recipe for Penne with Radicchio and Pancetta. So bring it on. LOL.

  7. The beauty of blogging is that it allows the writer to freely express thoughts in their own way. Please don't pay any mind to the goons - I am quite enjoying what's on your plate. ;-)

  8. I'll follow your recipe to the last detail and hopefully i can have it done perfectly. 'll try it and share with my family.