Author Archive

A Letter From Chris Kimball

Previously: If you can swallow an oyster, you can swallow a man’s heart

Each issue of Cook’s Illustrated begins with a folksy letter with news from down on the old Vermont farm by founder and editor-in-chief Chris Kimball. These charming, old-timey updates remind us all of a slower, simpler way of life, where neighbors stop to swap plowing tips out by the trading post and run when they see Old Henry coming. Who’s Old Henry? Why, what a question, stranger. Old Henry knows who you are. That much is certain. Old Henry knows who you are just fine.

The Toast has received an advance copy of Mr. Kimball’s most recent letter, which we are proud to publish in full here.

There’s some work hands weren’t meant for. What kind of work that is, I don’t believe you home cooks ought to know. Keep them busy kneading dough, and pitting stone fruits, and soothing a chicken before wringing its neck; keep your hands doing their own work so they can’t find any other, that’s the key, friends.

If you hear a sound at your door that isn’t a knock and isn’t a hello, you ought to turn right around and leave what you’re doing – leave the sauce on the stove, leave the fire on the hob, leave the iron in the grate – and put yourself in the sewing-closet, door locked tight like a heartbeat, until the sound passes. But if you were to go to your door, which no true Vermonter would do, you would see a shape that wasn’t a dog and wasn’t quite something that wasn’t a dog, neither. And you’d have to follow it.

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Two Medieval Monks Invent Writing

words

MONK #2: i think youre ready to move on to something a little trickier this time
reading and writing

MONK #1: oh wow

MONK #2: the really important thing to remember about writing is that you dont use any words
ever
just blank pages in careful order

MONK #1: oh wow i had no idea

MONK #2: i know
thats what i’m here for haha

writing2

MONK #2: same goes for reading

MONK #1: right right

MONK #2: so be sure not to put any words inside the edges
just more edges

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Literary Doorstoppers I Plan On Churning Out This Year

Both Qua And Otherwise

Between Sampson And The Shears

The Multitude of Forgettenings

And Yet, Never

The Ski Lift Of Entropy

Swimming Upside-Down: A Life Told In Reverse

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Texts From Charles Bukowski

As a young man I could not believe that people could give their lives over to those conditions. As an old man, I still can’t believe it.
what do you mean
like
going to work?
What do they do it for? Sex?
what
no
that’s not why people go to work and you know it
TV?
i mean that’s not the primary reason
An automobile on monthly payments? Or children?
yes
obviously
that is why most people go to their jobs
is to pay their bills and also feed their families
Children who are just going to do the same things that they did?
are you honestly asking me to explain the circle of life to you right now
“Hey, the boss can come in here at any moment and lay all of us off, just like that, don’t you realize that?”
yes
we all realize that

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News Roundup: Who Is Burning Black Churches?

Of the now-seven black churches that have burned in the week since the Charleston massacre, at least three are currently being investigated by the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau as possible arsons. The latest church, Mount Zion AME in Greeleyville, was burned by KKK members already in 1995. (The WhoIsBurningBlackChurches tag on Twitter is a particularly helpful tool.)

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I Don’t Understand People Who Say “Humor” Like “Yoomor”

Okay, so I only occasionally and sporadically encounter the following variations on pronunciation in the wild, and thus far they seem to have no rhyme or reason. They don’t always go together; they’re never associated with the same regional accent, and I cannot understand where it is that anyone learns to talk like this. It astonishes me. Can any of you shed some light on this for me?

    • Pronouncing the word “humor” like “yoo-mor” (because, okay, no one, even the people who do that, pronounce “human” like “yoo-man,” so it’s not even consistent!)
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Just Some Good Paintings, No Reason

good

good

good3

hey this one’s good too

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Daedalus‎ and Icarus And Beautiful Male Incompetence

One of the greatest recurring themes in Greek mythology is that of incompetent sonship. Whether you’re the god of the sun itself or the greatest architect and craftsman the ancient world has ever seen, your male child – if he doesn’t accidentally kill you during a discus-throwing contest in your own front yard – is almost certainly going to die horribly in front of you doing something he has never practiced before while screaming “Hey, Dad, look at what I can do!”

The best part about the Fall of Icarus as an artistic motif is that sometime around the thirteenth century everyone got together and decided that his fatal, tragic flaw was being a beautiful dumb idiot. And that’s it, that’s the gist. There’s hardly a portrait of Icarus that doesn’t make him look like a go-go dancer who’s too busy admiring his own body to listen to instructions on how to fly. “Of course I won’t fall; I’m gorgeous.” He’s hypnotized by his own hotness right into the gates of death.

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