Saturday, July 12, 2008

'stache #49 - the bacon fat moustache

On pirogues weighed down with lead, salt, bacon fat, and thousands of Rush’s pills, Meriweather Lewis and William Clark set out to discover this great land we call the American West. Things were good, in the beginning, before the men (and Sacagawea) endured the long winters, capsized boats, and the plagues of disease that brought on burning and itching of the groin. In these early days, they had plenty of food to ‘stache and they refused to share it.

Here, from Clark's journal:

Aug 26 1804, Satturday, Mandans
came to a handsome village beyond the Hills. I walked up and smoked a pipe with the Chiefs of the Village and they were anxious that I would stay and eat with them. After jurking the Meat killed yesterday and prepareing the Elk Skins for a Toe Roape, York made up the presents for the Cheafs of which we had Several presents for each of buttones and ttwinee. We had from the Indian women Corn boil’d homney. aside the Chiefs explained they did not like buttones and wanted instead the fatty Bacon which sat above the Lip of myself and Captn Lewis. I said we not not even Speek of giving away our Bacon fat moostaches and instead pleeded York to make entertainment with his dance. our men very chearfull and celebrated the success of the day we each had a drammel of whiskey and a taste of Mandan woman, and we Set our Leaveing Drewer & Shannon to hunt the horses which was lost with directions to follow us keeping on the high lands

And from Lewis:

Aug 27, 1804
Capn Clark thinks he is so damn cleaver with the Cheafs but the Mandins are angry. they dserv too the fatty Bacond lip. Why, even Seaman wears one. Ah, the ennui I Feal.

The bacon fat moustache is appropriate everywhere all the time. It is hailed as a great moustache of wealth, both of wallet and of brotherly love.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

'stache #48 - the London Broil moustache

London Broil Moustache is a poseur ‘stache of the nouveau riche and American bourgeoisie. Its first known use was in "The Great Gatsby," where through the protagonist Nick Carraway, we learn of the filetestache's prominence on West Egg:

“The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white, with thin filete on their lips, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering, as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house."

And later, we hear the definitive East Egger to West Egger insult, ironically delivered by Tom Buchanan:

“'I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make you believe his London Broil moustache is actual filete!”

The London Broil moustache, obviously, one of many conspicuously costumed moustaches, was a loud, brazen, show-offy version of the standard beef 'stache of the rich: the filete. So, it is not so surprising that the londonbroilstache was also popular with users of the affected accent of the early 1950s, the New York Honk. While the true old money upper crust could be heard whispering, “Faire le bruit de cochon!”

The London Broil moustache should not be worn.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

'stache #47 - the vegemite moustache

Misoneists step aside as porkmoustache boldly marches into the modern age of maybe-they-shouldn't-be-edible moustaches, the short American century. The story begins in 1912 when Clarence Birdseye, the first of many great Americans from Brooklyn, was on a fur-trading expedition in Labrador, in the Northwest Territory, where it was so damn cold, fish froze instantly after being caught and retrieved from the icy waters. (It should be noted that Birdseye was a man of many moustaches. "I have more 'staches than the law allows", he once explained. "Some are sissy. Some have hair on their chest.") From there it only took him 12 years to develop the flash-freezing process and American culinary history flew into mechanization and processing, from the meaty jungles of Chicago to a future of soylent green. So this series celebrates moustaches comestible of food items that wouldn't have really been food items without modernity.

Enter the vegemite 'stache, invented in 1923, a beefy, savoury, malt-based, spreadable 'stache. Its origins are in Australia, which should be noted is the only nation which began as an island penal colony, and it is its long term isolation (the island broke away from Gondwana approx 140 million years ago and 90% of Aussie wildlife is endemic) that makes this moustache unique. But the 'stache traveled the world quickly with the high numbers of Australian travelers and expats, wooing dumb American college kids with their funny accents, saying, "Vegemite, Australian for Moustache."

The vegemite moustache may be worn with or without packaging.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Harry Truman and SPAM, A Porkmoustache Historical Interlude

President Harry S Truman, best remembered for his folksy phrases like “The spam stops here” and “If you can’t stand the heat, you better wear a canned meat,” popularized the spam ‘stache in the final months of World War II, when he stretched the square slab of fleshy pink pork across his own lips in solidarity with the boys at the front who, far from home, were resigned to suffer the indignities of lining their mouths with canned meat byproducts. First a fad among navy men at Pearl Harbor, the spam stache sensation set sail around the globe, and quickly became an enduring symbol of soldierly sacrifice. Truman, the son of a Missouri farmer and livestock dealer, had grown up raising the hogs he 'stached, and was thus surprised to discover his predilection for the strange sweet “meat” that dangled akimbo above his lips. As a haberdasher in his early years, and later in the army, he had sworn that the finest mouthpiece was simply a lipline of bacon, and yet the odd odor of Shoulder of Pork and hAM wafting beneath his nose enticed Truman to revisit his beliefs about the kind of moustache a hardworking American might wear.

Following the war, he busied himself writing up a doctrine about the need to contain communist duck 'staches and advocating the promotion of democratic lip-dos around the world. General MacArthur is credited with the military dictum, "In facial hair, there is no substitute for ham," which is why Truman ultimately had to fire him.

Truman continued to wear spam long after it lost sway with the public in the postwar years, though it enjoyed a brief resurgence on the lips of patriots and paranoids during the red-baiting hearings of the 1950s.

The SPAM moustache is now generally only worn in Guam and Hawaii, where it was recently spotted in a bastardized sushi roll 'stache.

'stache #46 - the roast chicken moustache

The year was 1928. The U.S. economy was in shambles. City streets were filled with angry out of work apple cart men waiting in bread lines. Those lucky enough to get to the front of said lines often typically found the bread to be the equally reviled pumpernickle or rye. The nation’s mood, poet Carl Sandberg wrote, was "really shitty."

The food moustache, too had fallen on hard times, with the limes and oysters of earlier in the decade giving way to apple cores, empty elixir bottles (not even food!) and in a pinch, live rats.

One can only imagine, then, the joyous disbelief that greeted presidential candidate Herbert Hoover, when he famously promised that if elected, Americans would see a "chicken on every lip and a car in every garage."

While the latter part of the decree met with little enthusiasm, as a concerned populace cast a weary eye on their existing garages, which were already quite full and in no condition to accommodate an automobile, the idea of replacing their rat lips with a tasty bird was a winner, and Hoover swept into office in a rout.

Of course, Hoover was unable to make good on his promise ("What am I, a chicken delivery man?!," he famously spat at one soot-covered urchin tugging at his sleeve to ask where his lip-bird was.), and the president’s opponents soon began to wear the chickenstache as a reminder of a promise unfulfilled.

Left unsaid, of course, was the difficulty in 'staching an entire chicken. I mean, a whole chicken worn as a moustache? Makes very little sense, frankly.

As for tips on wearing, one may wear the roast chicken moustache at historical reenactments of the 1928 presidential campaign. Otherwise, it is hardly worth the effort.

'stache #44 - the fried oyster moustache

“Fry up an oyster, boys, my top lip grows cold.
Fry up an oyster, boys, these streams are lined with gold.”

-Miner’s song, traditional.

“Had you told me, Jeremiah “Jack” Jackie Johnson, a ramblin’ Okie hobo, that I’d one day be wearing a mink shawl and sporting a fried oyster moustache, well sir, I’d have ask you to pinch me, for I would assume I was in the midst of a beautiful, corn likker-induced hobo dream. But that’s what California did for us, it made our hobo dreams come true.”
-From “Golden Hobo: The J.J.J. Johnson story.” 1876.

Upon striking gold in the California hill country, the typical 19th century prospector would head to the local food-stachery and order the priciest food moustache available, which, at 49 cents per shellfish, was inevitably the fried oysterstache. Word of a land where man could arrive one morning with little more than a shovel and the will to work and be sporting a 49-cent oysterstache by evening spread rapidly throughout the country, and soon the gold rush was on, as hundreds of thousands of so-called “49ers” left the crowded confines of the Eastern U.S. for Northern California.

While refrigeration and modern transportation have made the oysterstache far more pervasive, its rarefied and noble origins remain. Wear it proudly when the air turns cool.

Caveat Geritor: Beware the scallopstache being sold as an oyster moustache. Some unscrupulous 'stache merchants have been known to pass this fool’s gold miner’s 'stache off on the unsuspecting.

'stache #43 - the cornichon moustache

The story of the cornichon moustache begins in Paris in the sultry summer of 1789. All the city's upstanding poor, unemployed, and forsaken French citizens had the good sense to get pissed about the skyrocketing price of bread and revolt against the man. Except one: the thirtysomething, former chef of and cuckholded lover of Marie Antoinette, Jacques Herbert de La Fayette. He was wedded to the Ancien Régime (that's French for "the old school") and completely missed the revolution. Whilst all ze other san-culottes were out storming ze streets, yelling, shooting guns in the air, and burning the monarch in effi- .. no wait, that's not quite right, that was the American revolution, right, right, right. What I meant to say was, while the French were dressed in their finest clothes, gathered in a nearby tennis court, busily drafting a finely-worded constitution, de La Fayette was in a little basement room pickling tiny gherkin cucumbers as a substitute 'stache for the now completely unaffordable baguettestache.

This distinctly aristocratic moustache is reserved for the hegemony, their brethren, the occasional upwardly-reaching bourgeois…, naturally,and Europeans. It is not appropriate for Americans to 'stache this little pickle and continue to believe that they are keeping it real. Because they are not.

'stache #42 - the sweet potato fry moustache

Louis "Moses" Rose, not unlike many Frenchmen to come before and after him, was an undeniable coward. Born in Ardennes, France, in 1785, he rose up the ranks of Napoleons army only to illuminate the comparative toughness of the American and French armies. When Col. William Travis drew the so-called line in the sand at the Battle of the Alamo, 1836, a mere ten years after the notorious slawstache debate, all crossed the line – to their deaths – but Moses, who proclaimed, "By God, I wasn't ready to die! Not with sweet smells of this sweet potato fry under my nose!" He jumped the wall and worked his way through enemy territory crossing the San Antonio River to the Guadalupe River, all the while yelping "Ay! Ay! Ay!" and snacking on the orange sweet meat above his lip.

This sweet potato fry of cowardice was 'stached at the Kerbey Lane Café in Austin, Texas.

'stache #41 - the lemon moustache

Worn like a stag-horn, the inverted lemon wedge moustache was popularized in 1970s Mexico City. It was originally worn as an olfactory refreshment and nose guard when air pollution in the capital city began its rise to fame. It was particularly popular among the dissident, artistically uncompromising Infrarealist poets. Robert Bolaño, in the Savage Detectives, writes:

According to Arturo Belano, the visceral realists vanished in the Sonora desert. Then Belano and Lima mentioned somebody called Cesarea Tinajero or Tinaja, I can't remember which (I think it was when I was shouting to the waiter to bring us some cervezas con limón), and they talked about the Comte de Lautreamont's Poems, something in the Poems that had to do with this Tinajero woman, and then Lima made a mysterious claim. According to him, the present-day visceral realists walked backward. What do you mean, backward? I asked.

"Backward, gazing at a point in the distance, but moving away from it, walking straight toward the unknown."

I said I thought this sounded like the perfect way to walk. The truth was I had no idea what he was talking about. If you stop and think about it, it's no way to walk at all.

Other poets showed up later on. Some were visceral realists, others weren't. Some wore oranges, others limes. It was total pandemonium. ... then we sang a ranchera. That was all. The song was about the lost towns of the north, citrus moustaches, and a woman's eyes. Before I went outside to throw up, I asked them whether the eyes were Cesárea Tinajero's. Belano and Lima looked at me and said that I was clearly a visceral realist already and that together we would change Latin American poetry. At six in the morning I 'stached a lemon wedge, took another pesero, this time by myself, which brought me to Colonia Lindavista, where I live. Today I didn't go to class. I spent the whole day in my room sniffing lemon scent and writing poems.

This moustache can be worn in cities with heavy air pollution, such as Los Angeles, Beijing, Tehran, and Calcutta. The lemon 'stache is also popular with heavy smokers.

'stache #40 - the daisy moustache

Popular among Phishheads and users of crystal deodorant only, we introduce the daisy moustache. Here a brief aside as to what is "comestible." We do not judge. You'll note that we recognize the gummy worm moustache as an edible liphair, which to many is downright heresy. So, here is the flowery decoration of the face, proud and true, though there is really no use for the floral moustache since the days of hunting and gathering have come to a dramatic close with the invention of the plow.

Monday, July 7, 2008

'stache #45 - the chicory moustache

One of a handful of yeoman moustaches, the chicory is the reserved for the dandy farmers of the New England. In 1785, Governor Boudoin of Massachusetts discovered a flavorful new fad in European facial hair, the chicory moustache. He set straight to purchase the seeds from Holland and began to plant this bitter salad stuff. From there the chicory was quickly adopted by Northern yeomanry as the lip lettuce of choice in the warm summers (an exaggeration despised by Southern farm hands). Revived by old Woodstock hippies seeking a reconnection with Mother Nature and chicorystache is linchpin to this modern, backward looking, vegetable-heavy locavore movement. This leafy ‘stache comes to us from a farm outside of Fleischmann’s New York called the Cooked Goose in Roxbury, New York.