A rally cry for citizens against shameless self-promotion
By By Robert St. John / food columnist
Nov. 5, 2003
Robert St. John is the owner/executive chef of the Purple Parrot Caf and Crescent City Grill. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
If there is one thing I hate, it's a newspaper columnist who uses his or her weekly allotment of verbiage to shamelessly promote side projects.
Nothing is as transparently tacky as a newspaper writer who vainly boasts about upcoming professional undertakings. Many times I have read newspaper columnists who arrogantly drone on, through three pages of newsprint, about their most insignificant and inconsequential endeavors.
Shameless self-promotion is always seen for what it is brazen, egocentric, self-absorbed, and desperate.
With that in mind, I would like to emphatically state that I will NOT use these precious column inches to write about my new cookbook "Deep South Staples or How to Survive in a Southern Kitchen without a Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup" ($24.95 at area retailers). My editors would nail me to the wall, my mother would disown me and my wife would be appalled at the tackiness of it all. Most importantly, I would never, ever want anyone to accuse me of being a shameless self-promoter.
Also, I will NOT take this opportunity to write about the 130 wonderful recipes that are included in my new cookbook "Deep South Staples or How to Survive in a Southern Kitchen without a Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup" ($24.95 at area retailers). Even though the food is some of the best Southern cooking you will ever find in a cookbook, I wouldn't want my fellow columnists or the reading public to think I had become narcissistic and egotistical.
It would be the height of tackiness to mention that, in my new cookbook "Deep South Staples or How to Survive in a Southern Kitchen without a Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup" ($24.95 at area retailers), there are 14 humorous essays about Southern food from our love of sweet tea and funeral fare to trying to fathom why anyone would ever want to eat possum or a chitlin. It's all there, but I won't talk about it here.
Even if I were blatant enough to use this column to talk about my new cookbook "Deep South Staples or How to Survive in a Southern Kitchen without a Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup" ($24.95 at area retailers), I certainly wouldn't mention that there are more than 100 cooking tips and helpful kitchen instructions to help the home chef work more efficiently in his or her kitchen.
However, there is one thing that I would most definitely mention if I ever spent an entire column writing about my new cookbook "Deep South Staples or How to Survive in a Southern Kitchen without a Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup" ($24.95 at area retailers), and that is the fact that Carol Daily, the queen of all things culinary, owner of The Everyday Gourmet in Jackson, consultant to Viking Range, wrote the foreword in the book (the name of which I will not mention) and what a great foreword it is.
Also, if I were ever fortunate enough to have a new cookbook entitled "Deep South Staples or How to Survive in a Southern Kitchen without a Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup" ($24.95 at area retailers what a value!) I wouldn't want anyone to know that every cent generated from the sales of such a book would go to feed, clothe and educate two of the most wonderful children you have ever met (I am also firmly against the reprehensible practice of deriving sympathy from the unsuspecting reader by using innocent children as a cheap and obvious sales ploy).
I am glad that I am principled enough to resist the enormous temptation of shameless self-promotion. It is better to retain one's journalistic integrity than to sell a few cookbooks (even if they do make great Christmas presents).
Some readers might be wondering if it is actually possible to survive in a Southern kitchen without a can of cream of mushroom soup. It is. But to find out how, you would have to buy the book (if, in fact, there is a book at all).
The World's Last Meatloaf
2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon bacon grease (or canola oil)
1 cup onion, minced
3⁄4 cup celery, minced
3⁄4 cup bell pepper, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1⁄8 teaspoon thyme, dry
1⁄4 teaspoon oregano, dry
2 teaspoon steak Seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup milk
1⁄2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup bread crumbs, course
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Heat the bacon grease in a large skillet over medium heat. Saut vegetables with salt and dry herbs until tender. Allow to cool.
Combine milk, eggs, Worcestershire and ketchup and mix well. Place ground beef, cooled vegetables and egg mixture into a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, squish the meatloaf until you have mixed everything together and all is well incorporated. Fold in the bread crumbs last.
Shape the meat mixture into the form of a loaf on a baking sheet. Using your hand, make an indentation down the center of the loaf (This is where the glaze goes). Bake 50 minutes.
While meatloaf is cooking make the glaze. Remove from the oven and spoon glaze down the center of the meatloaf and spread over the sides. Return meatloaf to oven, lower heat to 300 degrees and bake 30 minutes more. Allow meatloaf to rest 15 minutes before serving. Yield: 8-10 servings
1 teaspoon bacon grease (or cooking oil)
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon onion, minced
1⁄4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 cup ketchup
Heat the bacon grease in a small skillet over a low heat. Cook the onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add the brown sugar and allow it to melt. Stir in remaining ingredients.