A Literary Feast

Posts by Chris Onstad

Strange Mother Tongue: Unexpected Stories Of Unusual Liqueurs

Posted on May 13th, 2012

It all began with an artichoke. I was researching one day the various ways – stuffed, sliced, plucked, or grilled – to cook those spiny beasts of the garden, a perennial summertime favorite of mine. And then I saw it, a footnote at the bottom of the page: a reference to Cynar, the artichoke liqueur of Italy. If necessity is the mother of invention, then clearly somebody was facing dire times indeed when they made an artichoke the mother of an aperitif. Cynar is appropriately (if unimaginatively) named for Cynar scolymus, the Latin for artichoke. It is reportedly a thick, dark brown color, bittersweet in flavor, and best paired, as unlikely as it may be, with an orange juice mixer. It sounded, in a…

The Secret Menu: Vol. 1

Posted on March 30th, 2011

The In-N-Out Burger “secret menu” is anything but. However, some fast food restaurants have done a better job at maintaining their honor and keeping their lips sealed. In this piece, I conduct an investigative report.

Queso. New In Town. Will Fight for Chips.

Posted on March 18th, 2011

I finished a raucous, all-night signing at a comic book shop in Austin, TX, around two in the morning. My host, a six-and-a-half foot proud Texan with a big heart, massive vehicle with three televisions, eternal gullet, and the ability to tell you like a bullet to the back of the head which year The Empire Strikes Back had been filmed, had sensed the waning line and gone to get us some local BBQ to help us down from the night’s accumulated adrenaline (and vodka-Slurms).

Down and Out in Disneyland

Posted on March 5th, 2011

People do not go to Disneyland specifically to dine, but they do go to Disneyland—in droves that remind one of the curve that plots population density against violence and cannibalism—and they must be fed. If they were not fed, they would grow impatient and disillusioned while queuing thirty-five minutes to sit in a spinning teacup for nineteen seconds. Disbelief would fail to be suspended. No one would pay fifty cents for a squashed penny, or $12.85 for a blinking Tinkerbell scepter that the TSA will inevitably confiscate (and perhaps use as an excuse to make you poop into one of those clear toilets).