Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: Joe Around the World part 2

BENNINGTON -- Ethiopia yesterday, Blue Bayou today.

Day 2 of the 12-java journey around the world takes us to the Deep South of the United States of America for a pot of Louisiana Blend. "A New Orleans tradition!" is how the description begins. "Central American coffees and our famous French Roast combined with traditional chicory, rich, robust, and full of flavor!"

I had no idea what chicory is. Just by the name it sounds rooty.

According to the wiki, chicory also goes by "blue sailors" and "succory" and "coffeeweed" among the many nicknames, and it has a vibrant range of uses for cooking and coffee.

Here's one picture of chicory with blueish petals:

Chicory roots are used as a coffee substitute or additive, and that's really what I noticed right away with Louisiana Blend, a unique flavor the second it hit my tongue, almost as if roots were ripped straight out of rich soil and steeped in the coffee for a minute or two.

My first thought was "sour" but one of wiki's descriptions of "bitter" seems more apt.

I'd rather this blend of coffee be bold and robust with a only hint of chicory; in this case it's the opposite, although it's not bad. More of an acquired taste. The second and third cups will probably taste better.

There's plenty of good reading to go with those cups of joe. Two pieces in particular stand out today. Both of them feature Obama in the theme, one written by Alec Baldwin the actor, the other penned by a 30-year journalist by the name of Jon Rappoport.

I read Baldwin's piece last night at 3'ish after tossing and turning for an hour. I am growing fonder of Baldwin the writer with every new piece for the Huffington Post.

In this article Baldwin wonders "Can America Be Great Again?" -- and he does this by taking his experiences as a young political punk at George Washington University, his feelings about America in the 35 years since then (including Reagan and "forget Vietnam") and fusing all of those ideas with powerful historical narratives by John Dean (ex-counsel to Nixon) and Robert Kennedy Jr. to deliver a beautifully thought-out screed.

He's famous for movies and TV and public family controversies, but at heart Alec Baldwin is a writer among writers. On top of his game. On top of that he's the type of guy I'd want to tap scotch glasses with a few times over a chat while watching a game.

If it sounds like I'm developing a man-crush on Alec, well, I probably am. I like to be surprised and impressed at the same time.

To wit, the guy knows how to carry an interview. Here's his hour-long WNYC radio chat with Billy Joel from July 30:

THE OTHER IMPORTANT article today comes from Jon Rappoport, whose blog takes President Obama to task over his role in helping Monsanto continue its growth into a GMO behemoth.

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms and, in a nutshell, it means you take different food stuffs and mash the DNA from those stuffs together to create some kind of super-delicious, super-healthy Frankenstein food ... like tomacco. Yummy!

GMO is big business with strange bedfellows, and Rappoport uses sources galore to spell out how Obama got into the GMO bed even though he promised during his first presidential run that he would fight for those fighting against genetically modified foods.

Great read over Louisiana Blend coffee with chicory.

Let's just hope it's not GMO chicory fused with DNA from pig hooves or something.

Tomorrow is Day 3 of the java journey. The remaining 10 flavors are Brazilian (Bahia), Colombian (Huila), Costa Rican (Tarrazu), Euro-Espresso Blen, French Roast Blend, Guatemalan (Amatitlan), Hawaiian Isle Blend, Kenya AA, Mexican (Coatepec) and Sumatra Mandheling.

Which pack should I brew? Email or tweet @incrediblekulk.