Hunger Games

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What are you doing this weekend? The Chicago-based half of Pen & Palate will be attending the 10th Annual Bucktown Apple Pie Contest, the biggest apple pie contest in the country, clad in my finest pair of elastic-waist stretchy pants, chowing down on some homemade baked goods. And since Lucy can’t make it because she lives in some place called New York City (here in the Midwest, we refer to anything east of Gary, Indiana as “flyover country”), where such wonders do not exist, I will be eating for two. Sacrifices, etc.

I nearly gave myself an aneurysm last year, not finishing my apple pies until 3 AM, the morning of the contest (I think it lent a sense of urgency in the finished pies, which I believe worked in my favor), but that shouldn’t stop you from entering! Last year, they had upwards of 2,000 people show up. This year, who knows? Perhaps famous Chicagoans Kanye West and Billy Corgan will make an appearance. You know who else is from Chicago? A certain President of the United States of America. Just saying.


Conspicuous Consumption

Pen and palate banana

A couple of weeks ago, I got a mysterious text message from my friend Soo. “Skillets and frying pans are 40% off sticker!” it read. I was confused. Last I checked Soo was on vacation in Africa, and why would she be shopping for cookware directly before getting on an international flight? Have they started selling pots and pans in duty free? After a few follow-up questions, Soo revealed she was actually in Rhode Island, at the Le Creuset outlet, offering to buy me a cast-iron skillet. I was incredibly touched. Anyone who would spot you $80 bucks* and then lug a 15-pound pan across state borders—all in the name of a good deal!—is obviously a true friend. Read more