Monday, December 5, 2011

Calvin Trillin

When someone reaches middle age, people he knows begin to get put in charge of things, and knowing what he knows about the people who are being put in charge of things scares the hell out of him.

This was one of my two biggest problems with Bill Clinton when he was President of the United States.  (The other one was that he was a native of Arkansas, of course.)  

All the previous presidents in my lifetime had been World War II-vintage guys -- in other words, they were of my father's generation, not my generation.  Bill Clinton was too much like guys I knew in high school.  I'd bet money that he let the cute cheerleader who sat next to him in government class cheat off his answer sheet for the final exam.

Calvin Trillin, who was born on this date in 1935, is an accomplished journalist, novelist, memoirist, and comic poet.  He was probably best known for his many articles on food-related topics for the New Yorker magazine.  

Trillin was a native of Kansas City who appreciated simple, authentic regional cooking and despised pretentious, phony "Continental" restaurants.  Through Trillin, I discovered the Winsted's hamburger chain in Kansas City, as well as Arthur Bryant's barbecue.

My favorite Trillin piece was his New Yorker article about Chicken Mary's and Chicken Annie's, two restaurants that are truly iconic for me and many of my friends.  It's included in an anthology of Trillin's writing titled The Tummy Trilogy

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