Vagabond Cookbook

The best you ate on vacation? Make it at home tonight.

Kou shui ji, ready to eat

Kou shui ji (or, ‘are you a breast man or a leg man?’)

Call me a creepoid, but Russ Meyer never gets the love he deserves. The King of the Nudies himself. He’s dismissed, jeered, chided as a peddler of mindless smut (as if that’s such a bad thing). Say what you will, but this visionary director of ‘60s B movies made a stack of classics. Vixen! Supervixens. Beyond the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens. You name the flick, he was behind it (at least if it had “vixen” in the title). Not only that, Meyer performed one especially tricky feat. He made chicken seem interesting. Be honest – you know chicken is boring. It’s up there with sitting in traffic and discussing last night’s dreams as a regular ol’ snoozefest. Fry it, grill it, turn it into nuggets – there’s not much you can do to a chicken that hasn’t been done (just ask Subservient Chicken). It’s usually fine, but it’s rarely a […]

Chinese black bean mussels

What I always want when I order Chinese food

When I see people eat Chinese food in the movies, it always gets me down. Sage words from Dr. Venkman. True, I lived in China and I’ve got strong opinions on all things sweet ‘n’ sour, but it’s not what you think. It’s not the mispronounced words, the bad chopstick technique, the “inauthentic” dishes (whatever those are). It’s the takeout cartons. From Manhattan to The Lost Boys, Chinese takeout on screen means those little paper cartons. BFFs pass them back and forth, shoveling lo mein and moo goo gai pan into their faces while we all laugh or cry or shriek at their antics. They’re awesome. But, you don’t get those cartons in Canada. You don’t get them in China. In real life, Chinese delivery comes in Styrofoam containers like a 1990s McDLT. Remember this fossil? Until recently, I thought those cartons (called oyster pails) were fake, a myth dreamt […]