View From Your Table

By Rod Dreher

Natchitoches, Louisiana

Natchitoches, Louisiana

Let’s end this woebegone year on a VFYT high note. Above, a reader’s first taste of something very, very good:

This is my boyfriend and I having dinner at the Crawfish Hole in Natchitoches, Louisiana. He grew up here, but I did not, and this was my first time eating crawfish. My boyfriend introduced me to your blog when we started dating, so I’m pretty excited to submit a view from our table.

Thanks, and happy New Year!

We already have our first VFYT of 2017, by the way — from a New Year’s Eve dinner. Watch this space tomorrow.

…read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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‘Hello, Lollipop Dude’

By R.J. Stove

The typical upper-class Englishman is as near to a Perpetual Schoolboy as can be imagined. At Harrow, they go in for the following expression of lacrimae rerum:

Forty years on, when afar and asunder
Parted are those who are singing today,
When you look back and forgetfully wonder
What you were like in your work and your play,
Then it may be there will often come o’er you
Glimpses of notes, like the catch of a song;
Visions of boyhood shall float them before you,
Echoes of dreamland shall bear them along.

(Refrain): Follow up! Follow up! Follow up! Follow up!
Follow up, till the field ring again and again
With the tramp of the 22 men!

(The reference “22” denotes two cricket teams, it being almost impossible for an upper-class Englishman to differentiate reality from cricket, as it is totally impossible for numerous Americans of every class to differentiate reality from Hollywood.)

In even the most Anglophile of Australian boarding schools, such singalongs are probably unknown. Nonetheless, the particular pathos that clings to the end of a school year knows neither economic boundaries nor geographical limits. A modified version of it can afflict even that lowliest of educational phyla, the Melbourne school crossing guard. Which is where I came in.

***

As I write, the Southern Hemisphere is now experiencing early summer. (It would be a useful exercise to ascertain just how many policy wonks at the State Department, how many presidential candidates, have discerned this simple truth.) This means that the Australian school year finishes in December, and the great chunk of down-time which Americans and Europeans associate with the middle of the calendar year is in Australia inextricably tied with Christmas. (Australians have no Thanksgiving, the concept of gratitude being basically so alien to the national ethos as to resist all attempts—however otherwise successful—at Coca-Colonization.)

Sports teachers get six weeks of paid recreational leave, mathematics teachers get six weeks of paid recreational leave, science teachers get six weeks of paid recreational leave, history teachers get six weeks of paid recreational leave, so what does the mere school crossing guard get? If he is lucky, he will get a Yuletide bottle of wine and an invitation to the school barbecue.

He is paid solely for the hours that he works, so when there is no work, there is no pay. Not altogether surprisingly, this increases in his eyes the general end-of-year pathos.

That the school administrators have expressly informed him of their desire to have him return in 2017 does not noticeably ameliorate his financial unease. He hopes that enough office-cleaning employment or some other remuneration in the service industries will tide him over until the little tykes trudge back, protesting, to their classrooms on January 31.

***

What, then, have five months as a school crossing guard taught me about life, the universe, and everything? In my answer to this question I can do no better than quote Neville Chamberlain’s Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax, who, in a supreme expression of what Alistair Cooke …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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View From Your Table

By Rod Dreher

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. We went to Ruth’s Chris steak house to celebrate, and had what I think we both agree was the best meal of 2016. (For me, the only contender was earlier this year, when a friend took me to Ruth’s Chris for the first time ever.) It is hard to describe the pure decadent pleasure of this place. We arrived a little bit early, and went to the bar to wait for our table. I ordered an Old Fashioned, which came to me in a cocktail glass the size of a small bucket, or so it seemed, and tasted … perfect. It could not possibly have been made better.

You are looking at the Platonic ideal of a steak. It came to the table sizzling in butter. If only you could see the red inside, with its exquisite marbling. One more crystal of salt would have been too much; one less, too little. And those mushrooms!

I once described oysters at Huîtrerie Régis as akin to little culinary grenades that explode with the flavor of the sea when detonated in your mouth. Similarly, with those mushrooms and the flavor of the woods, all drawn out by butter. Is there anything butter cannot do? I think not. The wine was a St-Emilion, delicious, but incredibly enough, not the star of the evening. That’s how good the steak was.

I told Julie that this restaurant is a favorite of Louisiana state legislators and lobbyists. She said this is not surprising in the least. “If you brought me to eat here, you could pretty much talk me into anything,” she joked. True. If you are ever in Baton Rouge, Ruth’s Chris is the place. Basically, your soul is warmed in butter from the moment you enter until the moment you stumble out, satisfied beyond all description.

The server kindly brought us a present from the kitchen: cheesecake with blueberries:

We were so full that we couldn’t finish it. Later in the evening, my snack at home:

This morning, I find myself so grateful for the grace in that meal last night. For many of us, 2016 was not the best year ever. A superior steak accompanied by a good Bordeaux can cover a multitude of disappointments. So 2016 ended for me on a high note — or so it seems. There are still 12 hours to go, and given the way this year is going, there’s no telling what’s going to happen between now and midnight.

…read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Choose ‘flourish’ as your word for 2017

By Robert V. Taylor To choose to flourish is an intentional act to increase your well-being in a profound way, improve your health and extend your longevity. Now imagine choosing flourish as your daily word for 2017 to anchor your life and sense of purpose. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Red Solo Cup Inventor Dies

By Rod Dreher

Only you and the Lord need know ... (Rob Hofacker/Shutterstock)

Only you and the Lord need know … (Rob Hofacker/Shutterstock)

Ave atque vale:

You might not know Robert Hulseman by name but there is a good chance you’ve held his invention. The red Solo Cup is the go-to drinking vessel for picnics, parties and keggers.

Hulseman, who invented the cup, died last week at the age of 84, The Associated Press reported on Thursday.

As part of my tireless efforts in religious anthropology, I learned some years ago in Texas of the importance of the Red Solo Cup to Southern Baptist culture. I was invited to a big evening social event that was not a church social, but at which nearly everybody was a Southern Baptist. In southern Louisiana, my homeland, most of our Southern Baptists drink and don’t worry about it. Not so in Texas. Lots of them drink, but do worry about it. Hence this old chestnut:

How do you keep a Southern Baptist from drinking all your beer on a fishing trip?

Make sure you take at least two of them along.

So there I was, after a couple of hours at this fun party at a camp, wanting a beer. I joked with the hostess about how hard it was for a Catholic (as I was at the time) and Louisiana boy to go to a party and not have a beer.

“Are you serious?” she said. “Everybody’s drinking beer here. Go look in the fridge and get you one. All I ask is that you pour it into one of those red Solo cups.”

Sure enough, just about everybody had a red Solo cup full of beer, and had been drinking beer all night. I thought they were sipping Dr Pepper! I asked my wife about this later, and she said, “You don’t know about the Red Solo Cup thing?” I reckon I didn’t.

So, hail and farewell — and cheers — to Robert Hulseman, a Catholic layman who did so much to make life easier for Southern Baptists.

…read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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If Trump really wants to restore America’s global power, here are 5 lessons he must embrace

By Brenda Shaffer The mainstream American foreign policy establishment is aghast at the idea that a Donald Trump presidency may end the pursuit of a post-Cold War liberal world order and lead to a U.S. foreign policy centered on deal-making. …read more

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Dr. Keith Ablow: Seventeen ways to improve your life in 2017

By Keith Ablow New Year’s resolutions often lose their power so quickly and completely that they have become cliché. But there are real, easily achieved ways to positively impact your life beginning January 1. …read more

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