Thursday, July 3, 2008

'stache #39 - mussel moustache

Volumes have been written about the musselmoustache and its place in American culture, and we will endeavor to abridge the well-told tale here. Indeed, while undeniably handsome, the mussel 'stache is best known to students of American history as the first example of a truly successful, national advertising campaign, one which influenced the marketing of consumer products for generations to come.

Our tale begins in 1922 in Oklahoma City, where an ambitious young ad executive began to realize that the up-and-coming medium of AM radio could be used for more than simply broadcasting home remedies for gonorrhea and offering a roundup of the day’s cricket scores, as was its inventor’s intent.

What if, Stanley Sutcliffe wondered, the indiscriminately promiscuous cricket fan might also be encouraged via the power of the talking box to purchase a mussel or two for wearing?

(Note that Oklahoma City Mussel Co. was Sutcliffe’s largest client at the time.)

As all know, the power of the radio word was found to be a great success, and Sutcliffe’s innovative "Be a Mussel Man" campaign was soon heard from Seattle to Saint Petersburg, where the sporting of a musselstache typically inferred that the wearer both had a radio, and unfortunately, probably gonorrhea, as well.

Today, the musselstache infers nothing but the keen fashion sense of its wearer. Sport this timeless 'stache during months that carry the letter "R."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

'stache #38 - gummy worm moustache

Like all religious revolutionary 'staches, the gummy worm 'stache had sticky origins. In the middle of the night, November 1517, Martin Luther, cleverly 'stached a traditional German gummy worm, to sneak past the guards and nail his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg castle, thus kicking off the Protestant Reformation. In these brazen beginnings, no one knew about this clandestine 'stache naturally. But the religious fervor wore on Luther's nerves and he became, well, less than lucid at times and started frivolously wearing all types of candy moustaches. Things finally came to a head in 1521 when Luther was excommunicated from the Church -- as if he cared -- and was engaged in a screaming match with the Holy Roman Emperor, whereupon he ripped off his gummy lip scarf and slapped Charles V in the face with it. He was then declared an outlaw. That moment is now remembered as the Diet of Worms, and the moustache is, thoughtfully, remembered in the zen koan, not where he eats, but wear he and he is eaten.

The gummy worm moustache can be worn all year.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A personal aside from Cornelius

Dear Reader,

Here at porkmoustache, we have endeavored to bring you nothing more than the honest and truthful history of the world's various food moustaches, a topic heretofore woefully unexamined. As your letters, phone calls, fruit baskets, and personal visits have attested, many of you do very much enjoy our works, and we are ever so gratified. Why, I heard just the other day from Prudence that nigh on 100 of you have signed up for our group through the facebook machine, which sounds very exciting indeed!

But I digress, friendly fellow 'staching aficionado. I break from established pattern in the description of the above kebab 'stache only because it is so evocative for me -— indeed, a food moustache I can hardly imagine my childhood without —- and I would very much like to speak personally of kebabs for this particular entry to our fast-growing field guide to food moustaches. I do thank you for your patience, and hope that it is rewarded.

Reader, imagine you are a seven-year-old boy, an only child at that, growing up on the rocky coast of Maine in the shadow of the Great War. Your house is warm, and your parents loving, but knowing nothing different, you imagine the moustaches formed of crab, lobster, cranberry and — when times are lean — kelp, worn by the men of the village to be the world standard. Frankly, you think little of food moustaches, as the wood needs chopping, the pots scrubbing, and old Jack, your faithful tickhound, would like to please fetch rocks, now.

My beige world was soon to burst in a techicolour supernova, however, reader, as one hazy July morning I was asked to accompany papa to New York City on a business trip, as papa had a meeting with a restaraunteur, which, if successful, promised to end the days of kelp moustaches for good.

(I will spare you the details of the meeting, but suffice to say, the cursed green seastaches would be worn in our home for years to come.)

What I will always associate with that faithful trip, however, is the 'staches worn by the scrappy young food cart vendors of the lower Manhattan. Reader, these boys were likely no older than I, yet what food they wore above their lips! Peppers, onions, beef, and tomatoes, all strung along a wooden dowel for neat 'staching. These were kebabs, I would soon learn, and the variations in a single 'stache could be nearly infinite.
Never had I imagined a world of such 'staches! (Confusingly, most of the kebab boys were selling fresh steamed Maine lobsters from their carts, an irony lost on my seven-year-old brain.)

A look back at my journal of that day captures the wonder in this pivotal moment:

"Say Ace, the city boys wear all manner of strange and exciting snacks above their lips. Oh, how I long to be a city boy and let the grilled meats and vegetables mingle beneath my boyish nose. Also, I am now more convinced than ever that Captain America would easily outrun The Flash were the two competing on a neutral track. Over."
I returned back to Maine later that evening, reader, but the memory of those brightly colored lipstaches never left. At the still tender age of 17, I struck out on my own, leaving the rocky coast for The Big Apple itself.

My first stop upon returning to the city I had not seen in a decade was to visit the first kebab-wearing lobster-seller I saw. Recognizing the kebab-lust in my eye, the young chap offered me the very 'stache he was wearing, and I proudly wore the same 'stache for sixty straight days in my new hometown.

And that friends, is what I think of when I think of kebab 'staches.

I thank you for indulging me, friends, and remember, let no one suggest that the proper food moustache lacks the power to change lives!

Monday, June 30, 2008

'stache #37 - lime moustache

Popularized by a certain class of women in the cocktail-soaked 1920s, the freewheeling young women wearing the citrus moustache were referred to in the society pages as “tarts,” a mildly derisive nickname that endures. Despite its flashy provenance, the lime moustache fell out of favor in ensuing decades, and is now considered the fourth most popular citrusstache, behind orange, lemon and kumquat.

Women may wear the lime moustache year round, though the risk of being tagged as a lady of questionable morals remains.