Sustenance on the Road

People whose employment requires travel can be divided into two groups: those who eat at whatever is in the hotel or at the Applebee’s across the parking lot (Is there an Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar that’s in an actual neighborhood?) and those on the endless and often frustrating search for a good meal.

Calvin Trillin, on the road reporting for the New Yorker magazine’s “U.S. Journal,” became a food writer too, resulting from his quest for something decent to eat in strange towns. He found that hotel clerks and acquaintances always directed to what they considered the best place in town, what he referred to as the generic “La Maison de la Casa House, Continental Cuisine.”

  • Yelp and TripAdvisor are only incidentally helpful; even establishments with a lot of stars also have negative reviews because of small portion sizes or some slight by a server.
  • Zagat compiles reviews from those who consider themselves sophisticated diners in major cities.
  • AAA Tour Books try, but their restaurant listing stick pretty much to the mainstream and avoid the out of the ordinary
  • Michelin Guides cover only limited areas in this country and are directed at gourmands with unlimited funds or unlimited expense accounts.
  • Roadfood, the work of intrepid travelers and diners Jane and Michael Stern has been my consistent guide for local, sometimes quirky, places since before the Internet age. (Their newly “upgraded” web site is harder to navigate than its graphics-light predecessor.)
  • Santa Rosa’s favorite celebrity, Guy Fieri and his Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, will steer you to high-fat, high calorie dining.

Which brings us to Duncan Hines. Yes, Mr. Hines was a real person. From the 1920s through the ‘40s he traveled the country selling office supplies and looking for a clean restaurant with decent food. He  carried a notebook to record his experiences.

Hines self-published his first edition of Adventures in Good Eating in 1936. It listed 475 restaurants. Word-of-mouth sales were so good, for the second year’s edition, he raised the price from $1.00 to $1.50. A revised edition was issued annually until he retired in 1954.

While not accepting advertising for his guides, he did lend the Duncan Hines name to food products. Today the Duncan Hines brand is owned by Pinnacle Foods, the folks who also bring us Armour, Tim’s Cascade Chips, Nalley, Wish-Bone, the Mrs. Paul’s and Butterworth’s, Swanson, Birds Eye, Vlasic and on and on.

Mike Pence: Women’s Advocate

The Independent Women’s Forum, a non-profit organization whose “mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty,” is celebrating Women’s History Month with its first ever “Working for Women” award. The honor recognizes an individual who “values free markets, works to create a more dynamic and innovative work world, and celebrates the valuable contributions women make to society.”

You probably thought the IWF’s “Working for Women” prize would be awarded to a woman. The IWF, which includes Kellyanne Conway as a board member, knows that it takes a man to take care of women. You have probably already figured out that the obvious winner of the IWF’s initial award was Mike Pence “because of his long commitment to advocating for limited government, free markets, and personal responsibility, including rolling back heavy taxation and regulation, which will ultimately enable economic growth and human flourishing, and which is in line with IWF’s own mission statement.”

When he was governor of Indiana, Pence signed a bill that requires women who get abortions to bury or cremate the fetal remains. Another law Pence signed was a “religious freedom” bill, making it legal for businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples.

His most recent accomplishment was as vice-president. He cast the tie-breaking Senate vote allowing states to defund Planned Parenthood. This was his second tie-breaker as Vice-President. His first was to cast his vote in the deadlocked Senate to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.

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Who better to be named “Working for Women?”

David Horsey: P-I to L.A.

Back in the day when major cities had competing daily newspapers, theSeattle Post-Intelligencer employed an editorial cartoonist who twice won the Pulitzer Prize for his work. David Horsey was so honored in 1999 and 2003. The P-I, Seattle’s oldest newspaper, quit publishing its print edition in 2009. It has been an on-line publication since.

Horsey headed south and went to work for the Los Angeles Times in 2011. His cartoons are accompanied by his political commentary. His work is syndicated to 200 publications.

As one would expect, our new president is a rich source of material. Here is his latest, editorializing on the cost to taxpayers for golf outings.