A Case For the Lowbrow

"Bonjour! Voilà, le French hat; voilà, le french fry!" says Carrie Bradshaw, surprising Mr. Big with a McDonald's dinner.

This is really terrible to admit, but I have a dirty secret: Sometimes I like adding a spot of Coffeemate's hazelnut-flavored coffee creamer to my coffee in the morning, which totally makes me feel like a suburban soccer mom. And it's actually really bad for you–it's not even made from real milk or cream–but I weirdly enjoy how it turns my cup of joe into a dessert-like treat. 

I also love Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup, plain and simple. I keep a stash of them in the pantry for sick days, for when I don't feel like cooking, or for whenever I'm craving a bit of nostalgia. A friend once recommended that I try Progresso instead for the heftier chunks of chicken and vegetables, but I could never. Campbell's soft bloated noodles, swimming in a salty, yellow-tinged broth, touches my heart in a way no other canned soup can.

"A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika," Diana Vreeland said, "We all need a splash of bad taste–it's hearty, it's healthy, it's physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I'm against." I wholeheartedly agree. When things are too curated or hoity-toity, it lacks a certain verve. There's no life-force, no energy, no vibes. It doesn't feel real. That little splash of bad taste is the key ingredient to your special sauce. 

My friend Bill was shocked when I told him that, if I were to eat fast food, I'd indubitably choose McDonald's over In-N-Out.

"I don't get the fuss over In-N-Out," I said, as we were strolling along Santa Monica Boulevard, "I honestly think it's overrated. Their fries are terrible! McDonald's fries taste so much better."

"But In-N-Out uses fresh ingredients," he pointed out.

"OK but, brand-wise, McDonald's is chicer. It's more couture. Trust me."

"But the whole point of In-N-Out is that you can customize your order."

"But their menu is so limited. At McDonald's, I can get a McChicken sandwich–or the Filet O' Fish!"

"I can't believe you're saying this."

"But it's true! If I'm going to be downing thousands of calories, I'm going with McDonald's. It's the Chanel of the fast food world."

 

 

"Avgolemono" (Lemony Greek Chicken Soup, the SGD version)

This recipe proves that you can transform a plain ol' can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle into something more elegant, like a nice creamy and lemony Greek-inspired soup. Serve it with warm pita points and a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern dip (like taramosalata, hummus, or baba ganoush) to make it a meal.


1 can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle
2 organic eggs
1 lemon
Fresh dill
Maldon sea salt
Freshly cracked black peper

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1.  Cook Campbell's Chicken Noodle according to the instructions on the label. Keep it at a happy simmer--do not boil. Squeeze half of the lemon into the pot of soup and lightly stir it in.

2. Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk with the juice from the other half of the lemon.

3. Slowly ladle hot broth into the bowl in a steady stream and whisk into the egg mixture. Add another ladle or two and do the same.

4. Pour everything back into the pot of soup and turn off the heat to ensure that the egg mixture doesn't curdle. The key is to keep it smooth and silky.

5. Sprinkle fresh dill fronds into the pot and add a bit of sea salt and lots of freshly cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.