- the minnesota review loves . . . Favorite things of the creative writing editors
the minnesota review loves: Gluttony
Hmurph. We really need to unfasten these khakis. Don’t worry, we’ll leave our napkin in our lap. Marph.
H’whooo. Hoo, hoo hoo hoo. Hoooooo.
Is that Sambuca? Oh, we really shouldn’t, we really, really, really-really, really, really shouldn’t. We can’t. We can’t. Oh, OK.
We never realized you could fry gnocchi in duck fat. Can you buy foie gras at the store? Why does herbed butter do nothing but make us happy? Was that a chowder or a stew? What’s the difference between a chowder and a stew?
This one time, we had a burger on Texas toast topped with a fried egg, a slice of ham, and white cheddar. If you look at it, it’s like we took a burger and topped it with a complete breakfast. Or we took a complete breakfast, made a pile of it, and impregnated it with a half a pound of rare ground sirloin. And we had a martini with it. This was all for lunch, mind you. And then we went home and plopped down for a nap — this was at maybe three in the afternoon — and when we woke up the sun was low in the sky. But here’s the kicker. The sun wasn’t setting. It was rising. We slept, uninterrupted, like happy little babies, for probably fifteen hours.
. . . We completely forget where we were going with that story.
When we were in St. Louis last summer, we went to a diner after a Cardinals game and had this local deal called a Slinger. It’s pretty much a delicious heap of food. Basically from the bottom up it goes like this: hash browns, hamburger patty, two eggs, chili, shredded American cheese, onions. At that point you can throw anything in there and it will make sense gastronomically. Peanut butter cups? Sure! Communion wafers? Absolutely!
You know what a turducken is? A turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken? There’s an actual word for that kind of dish. Ballotine. We read about this crazy huge ballotine. You ready for this? [End Page 44] It was a bustard — which is this big, goofy-looking land bird — stuffed with, from biggest to smallest, a turkey, a goose, a pheasant, a chicken, a duck, a guinea fowl, a teal, a woodcock, a partridge, a plover, a lap- wing, a quail, a thrush, a lark, an ortolan bunting and — because hey ho, why not?! — a garden warbler. You just think about that. Think about it. You can’t, can you? The spectacle! You can’t even comprehend it! Oh, the beauty of it all!
All right, sorry, we’ll stop.
You know what? You know what? Let’s do it. They have raspberry cheesecake. Yes. Let’s get this raspberry cheesecake and kill it to death with our faces.
What time is it? Is it still daylight out there? Is . . . wow. Are our eyes crossed? They feel crossed. Ho boy. That’s no good.
— Andy Hobin
the minnesota review loves: Kum and Go in small-town Iowa
On Interstate 80, somewhere between Iowa City and Des Moines, I pull into a brightly lit gas station. The baby is asleep in the car. My wife buys a big Aquafina water. I fill up the car in the freezing wind, then run inside for matches to light a smoke.
We’d left Scheels — a giant sporting-goods chain filled with holiday-dazed Iowans — about half an hour prior. The gift cards I earned spending $7,500 on my credit card totaled $75. Nonetheless, we left angry, feeling gypped despite having paid no actual money for the three pairs of SmartWool socks.
I entered the Kum and Go with a manic defensiveness only the few remaining impoverished Marxists in the country truly understand. Back at the sports store, hilarity had been my best defense against rows and rows of plastic Nalgene water bottles, racks of spandex squared five by five, and the throes of customer service agents...