Hmm Weekly for July 13, 2021

Three Tuesdays until INDIGNITY!

Another Week, Another HMM WEEKLY

GOOD MORNING! This is the latest HMM WEEKLY, successor publication to HMM DAILY, distributed via SUBSTACK, a newsletter delivery and reading platform.

If you missed the IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT regarding INDIGNITY, a new and more abundant product to which Hmm Weekly's existing readers and subscribers will automatically be enrolled as readers of and/or subscribers, please read this. Launch date: August 3, 2021.

We encourage you to correspond with us! Email hmmweekly@substack.com. Thank you for reading.

CORRESPONDENCE DEP’T.

IN RESPONSE TO the announcement of INDIGNITY (see above), Miles writes:

To celebrate the readership's impending move from HMM WEEKLY to INDIGNITY, and our continued mid-Atlantic-hailing editor/directorship, I bought some 'Maryland' Old Bay Spice White Chocolate from a haute chocolatier known for its wacky (and very limited) flavor combinations here in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Tasting notes: Disgusting!! No, that was all I expected to write. But actually its complexity and unusualness gave me that itchy brain feeling you get when something is elucidated for you that intuitively makes a lot of sense to you even though you'd never before heard it verbalized. Celery on the nose, red and black pepper on the tail... 8/10 and would definitely eat again but I fear it may have been too interesting for this world.

• • •

In response to SPORT DEP’T.: Ways to Win a Seven-Game Series in Five Games, Ranked, (Hmm Weekly for July 6, 2021), Jay writes:

Reckon I won't be the only one to comment on this but figured I'd drop a note anyway.
The five-game scenario you call "Time-Waster" already has a well-known and rather elegant title of "The Gentleman's Sweep".

TWO GREAT TASTES THAT TASTE GREAT TOGETHER DEP’T.

I WASN’T SURE what exactly a Stewart's Shops was, but I kept seeing them all up and down between Saratoga Springs and where we had found affordable lodging for our visit to Saratoga Springs, by the railroad tracks in Mechanicville, half a mile away. It looked as if they could be anything between a decent mini-grocery and a terrible convenience store, so we had a look at the nearest one in Mechanicville, for possible breakfast supplies. Maybe the other ones are fancier, further from the railroad tracks, but this one was not an inspiring place to shop for breakfast—there was no yogurt to blend into a smoothie, for instance.

There was, however, an extremely large selection of flavored milks: chocolate, strawberry, various coffee flavors, vanilla, an out-of-season eggnog—and this, a "Limited Edition" flavor: peanut butter chocolate milk. I thought about buying strawberry but I felt the persuasive power of the Limited Edition, possibly my only chance to ever taste peanut butter chocolate milk. So I got it.

It tasted like chocolate milk, and also like peanut butter. From early childhood, I had learned through my television about the magical harmony of chocolate and peanut butter; character after character in the Reese's ads was shocked and then delighted by the endless series of accidents through which a chocolate bar was accidentally dropped or driven or thrust into a jar of peanut butter: revelation! And the Reese's products more or less lived up to it.

As an adult, in fact, I developed an entire fundamental theory of snacks based on paying careful attention to the workings of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, especially the smaller ones at Halloween. I will now promulgate this theory to you: The key to a completely successful snack is that it must be slightly yet meaningfully dissatisfying.

A Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, for instance, starts out with a taste of bland and too-sweet milk chocolate; it ends with a taste of stinging and too-salty peanut butter. In between, for a moment, those two flavors exist in ideal balance—after the peanut butter emerges, and before the chocolate melts away. But only for a moment! The only way to get that moment back, therefore, is to eat another one.

Once you recognize this pattern, you taste it everywhere. The dissolving salt fades out from the pistachio just as you really pulverize the heart of the nutmeat. The saltine cracker loses its crunch as the starch starts turning to sugar in earnest. Even before you finish, you need to try again.

This was not at all how the Stewart's Shops peanut butter chocolate milk worked. It just tasted like the two things. The chocolate milk was in the foreground, maybe because that's what I was conditioned to expect from a brown sweetened milk, and then the peanut butter flavor was in the background, and neither one added anything to the other. I gave the children some and they agreed: It tasted OK, and they didn't want more than that taste. Honestly, I realized, I don't even like chocolate milk anymore.

VISUAL CONSCIOUSNESS DEP’T.

More Things in Circles

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THOUGHT DEP’T.

Do you have a thought? Send it to hmmweekly@substack.com.

MR. WRONG: Check, Please

DO YOU KNOW and/or remember what “checks” are? They are pieces of paper upon which you write money words such as “This many dollars and some amount of cents” and then you corroborate that by writing the actual numerals, and then because it has your Account Number on the Check, and your Bank’s “Tracking Number,” it’s a real Check and people will accept it as a way to get money from you. Checks are not obsolete, I guess there’s still an important Legal reason for pieces-of-paper checks, and there’s lotsa people who don’t want to do Internet and Venmo and be PayPals with Bitcoins so the pieces of paper are still around, and I do not want! They are a pain in my ass! Why do I still have to have these? 21st Century!

If I Get Paid from somebody who sends me a Check, I have to “endorse it,” to wit: write my name and bank account number on the back of it, with a pen, in handwriting, with my bare hand, and then I have this bunch of dopey choices:

To take it to a Bank. Go INSIDE A BUILDING, wait in line with the Check, plus another stupid little piece of paper, the Deposit Slip, where you write, again, with your own hand, and a pen, the amount of the Check that’s already stated right there on the goddmn check, plus your account number, again, that you already wrote with your cramping hand on the back of the Check and then you write the numerals from the check, money-wise, and you hand it to somebody who records the transaction and hands you another stupid little piece of paper, the Receipt, for your Deposit.

Or, you do the deposit on an ATM, which is a little better because you don’t have to make a Deposit Ticket, you just feed it into the ATM. But you gotta make sure it’s not an ATM that’s gonna CHARGE YOU for doing the transaction! Fuckers!

Also-or, and this is the thing I usually do, you use your Bank app and take a picture of the Endorsement-written-upon check with your Phone-Cam, and send that to the Bank with the app. How fucking ridiculous is this shit? Here’s a picture of my Handwriting and some numbers! Urgh.

I have a couple of things in my monthly/yearly Nut where I still have to pay with a stupid fucking Check. There are outfits in The Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Twenty-One and No Cents who do not have a modern and convenient way for one to just text them the money-numbers or whatever, and the one that pisses me off the most is the Check I have to write for Ground Rent.

Ground Rent! You ever hear of this? I am a Homeowner, and on the house in which I dwell I haz Mortgage, which I pay by blipping some money-numbers outta my Checking Account to the website where the Mortgage is. I send them the numbers, I tell them it’s from my Bank, and my mortgage is Paid, plus a little extra on the Principal, always do that, it knocks down the length of the Mortgage. The Mortgage, it’s not an inconsiderable amount of money, but all it takes is me pecking some stuff into my computer or Cellular Telephone. Paid! Meanwhile and however, here in Baltimore, Maryland, America, I do not own or otherwise have a Mortgage on the Ground where my house is located. What? Ground Rent!

The Ground, somehow, or the ability to charge Rent for it, belongs to some company from the Olden Days, some feudal bullshit, I dunno, and I have to pay $96 a year Rent for the Ground upon which my goddamn castle rests. And these fuckers don’t take money except by check! I guess I could just not use a check and go to the supermarket or something and get a Money Order—which still means I have to write stuff and pay for the piece of paper I am writing money-numbers on—and while I’m at it, write a check for my fucking groceries? Maybe I could bring all the pennies I have in the change jar in the kitchen and pay my Ground Rent with a Coinstar voucher?

Plus, right now, Breaking News, I am out of Checks! I have to order more Checks from the Bank! I have to pay money for a box of stupid fucking Checks, slips of paper with numbers on them, so I can write more Checks that I don’t want to! From my Checking Account. No!

ADVICE DEP’T.

THE SOPHIST is here to tell you why you're right. Send your questions to AskTheSophist@hmmweekly.com, and get the answers you want.

SANDWICH RECIPES DEP’T.

WE PRESENT instructions for the assembly of sandwiches from Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes, Copyright 1916, now in the public domain for the delectation of all, written by Marion Harris Neil, M.C.A., former Cookery Editor, The Ladies’ Home Journal, author of How to Cook in Casserole Dishes, Candies and Bonbons and How to Make Them, Canning, Preserving and Pickling, and The Something-Different Dish.

PATÉ DE FOIE GRAS SANDWICHES
Paté de foie gras (1 jar of tin)
Brown or white bread
Butter
Cucumbers
Oil
Vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley

Cut some thin slices of buttered bread and stamp out rounds from them the size of the rounds of cucumber. Peel and slice the cucumbers and let them lie for a short time in a dressing made of salt, vinegar, oil, and pepper, then drain.
Spread one-half of the slices with paté de foie gras, lay on a slice of cucumber, place the other slice of bread on the top, and arrange in a ring in a dish, the sandwiches overlapping each other. Garnish with parsley.
Or spread paté de foie gras on lightly buttered bread, cover with a layer of chopped watercress mixed with French dressing, place slices of bread on the top, and cut into finger-shaped pieces, and pile log-cabin fashion in a sandwich basket.
Paté de foie gras mixed with truffles is delicious and delicate.

PEANUT SANDWICHES
1/2 pint (1 cup) shelled and chopped peanuts
1/3 cupful vinegar
2 ozs. (1/4 cup) sugar
1/4 teaspoonful salt
1/8 teaspoonful pepper
1/2 lemon
1 1/2 gills (3/4 cup) sour cream
Lettuce leaves
Buttered bread
1 egg

Put the vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to boiling-point. Beat up the egg and mix it with the sour cream, add the sugar, salt, and pepper, and put all into the hot vinegar. Stir until it boils, then remove from the fire and allow to cool before pouring it over the peanuts. Add enough strained lemon-juice to make the mixture tart. Spread between slices of buttered bread with a crisp lettuce leaf between.
Another Method.—Secure fresh roasted peanuts or buy them shelled by the pound. Remove the inner hull and put them in the oven to brown nicely. Turn them out on a board and crush fine with a rolling-pin. Place them in a bowl and mix thoroughly with mayonnaise dressing. The cooked mayonnaise, without oil, makes a delicious combination. Spread between slices of thin buttered bread and cut into cutlet shapes.
If liked, cream cheese may be added and the mixture spread between crackers.

PERSIAN SANDWICHES
1/2 lb. stoned dates
1/2 lb. figs
1/2 lb. English walnut meats
1/2 lb. peanut butter
1/2 lb. preserved cherries
1 lemon
1 teaspoonful almond extract
Unsweetened crackers

Put the figs, dates, and cherries through a food-chopper. Cut the nut meats into small pieces and add them, with the peanut butter, almond extract, and enough strained lemon-juice to make a paste soft enough to mold into flat wafers one-fourth of an inch thick.
Serve between saltines or any unsweetened cracker.
If liked, a little chopped preserved pineapple may be added to the above.

If you decide to prepare and enjoy any of these sandwiches, kindly send a picture to us at hmmweekly@substack.com.

HMM WEEKLY IS written by Tom Scocca, editor, and Joe MacStoned, creative director. If you enjoy Hmm Weekly, please let a friend know about it! If you're reading this because someone forwarded it to you, we invite you to sign up for a copy of your own right now. Thanks for reading, and any time you want, email us at hmmweekly@substack.com.