Articles

Nancy Drew, the CW classic in the making

Nancy Drew is back, this time in the gen-x-pandering, yet millennial-friendly guise the CW is so fond of. (See Riverdale.)

And this time, things have changed.

Nancy Drew, official poster Nancy's shady boyfriend, Nick Nancy's new friend, Bess
Never, not once, does a character not stare pensively off screen in this show.

After a long, fruitful career as a teenage sleuth, Nancy is retired, living the tail end of her teenage years as a high-school student and a server at a local diner. That’s right, this new, gritty take on the 1960s literary icon features a haggard, burnt-out investigator.

But I’ll be damned if she doesn’t get pulled back in for just one last case.

What is the nightmare from her childhood all about? Who killed Tiffany Hudson? Why are a) all the inhabitants of Horseshoe Bay haunted by J-Horror ghosts, and b) why does nobody talk about it? These are baffling mysteries indeed.

Starring as our eponymous hero is Kennedy McMann, who, like the rest of the teens, looks just old enough to be ready to seriously invest in a retirement plan. Impressively, she looks senior to her TV dad, Scott Wolf.

So pretty much everything about Nancy Drew is ridiculous. It is also downright mesmerizing. You’d have to be clinically dead not to find this show entertaining. And credit where credit is due – the cast does a laudable job with scripts delivered by the creators of Gossip Girl. McMann is downright good as Nancy herself.

Make tonight a Nancy Drew night. It’s streaming on HBO Max.

Bonus! The top ten sleuths of our time
  1. Jessica Fletcher
  2. Nan Bobbsey
  3. Frank Hardy
  4. Nancy Drew
  5. Timmy (the dog from The Famous Five)
  6. Freddie Bobbsey
  7. Jonathan Chase (Manimal)
  8. Laura Holt (Remington Steele)
  9. Joe Hardy
  10. Automan

Fun fact about Automan-actor Chuck Wagner: He has served as Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus’s ringmaster since 2005. A true renaissance man.

Home

Moje

Summer it up with this tomato salad from Murcia, Spain: Moje.

  • 28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained, torn
  • A handful of chopped scallions
  • A handful of whole, pitted black olives
  • 1 can of tuna, preferably in olive oil
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 4 boiled eggs, chopped
  • Salt to taste

Mix together in a large bowl. That’s it. Tasty and refreshing. The end result should look something like this n'yah:

Moje in mixing bowl

Home

Norwegian Gastronomy #1: Fredagstacoen – The Friday Taco

Norway loves its taco. This might come as somewhat of a surprise for those who associate the country solely with lutefisk and lefse, but here we are, and so is life. The taco has become a part of Norwegian culture, or as it is, an appropriated offshoot of it has: Fredagstacoen, or The Friday Taco, is the country’s third most popular dish after pasta and pizza.

A Norwegian taco Sale on taco kits
To the right: Norwegian grocery store sign advertising 1/2 price taco accoutrements from Old El Paso, every Friday and Saturday.

Fredagstacoen is, as one would assume, enjoyed on Fridays. Sure, you could make it on Thursdays or Saturdays like a philistine, but you’re better than that. Friday Tacos should be made on Fridays, that’s just how it is.

But, is this something you can prepare at home here in America? Yes. Kind of.

See, Fredagstacoen is more of a facsimile of the Americanized grocery-store taco than the traditional Mexican variety. You know, hard shells, ground beef, and all that. And while both share similarities, there are some curveballs to be aware of. Follow this recipe, and you can get close to a Friday evening of Norwegian proportions:

The predictable part
  • Taco shells – From Old El Paso. Nothing else will do, except for a lompe, which is a regional favorite. Old School Norwegian taco connoisseurs will go with the lompe.
  • Salsa – Again, Old El Paso, preferably the mild Thick 'N Chunky. (Medium if you want to go crazy, but that’s just not done in polite company.)
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce – For the crunch, or so I assume.
  • Ground beef – The high-fat stuff, with a pinch of Old El Paso taco seasoning mixed in. Emphasis on pinch. You don't want any unnecessary flavors.
It gets strange
  • Shredded cheese – But only Jarlsberg will do. Only. Jarlsberg. Try anything else, and you might as well go to the Bell.
  • Canned corn
  • Diced red pepper – I’m reasonably certain jalapeños weren’t a thing when the taco initially hit Norway.
  • Diced cucumber – Yep. Just… yep.
Where it gets tricky
  • Sour cream – I’m not talking just any sour cream. Norway knows its dairy, and as far as sour cream goes, it’s hard to beat the potency of Seterrømme. It’s thick and hearty, traditionally used to make rømmegrøt. The closest equivalent I can think of is Tillamook, but you might have to hunt down a boutique variety for the real experience.
The Tortillaing™

Shell; meat; cheese; lettuce; corn; cucumber; red pepper; sour cream; salsa. A pretty predictable assembly.

Pair with a Solo. You can find this Norwegian Friday staple – taco or no taco – in many Scandinavian import stores. It’s an orange soda, and uniquely so, though I suppose a Fanta will do in a pinch.

Fun Norway-taco fact!

The first grocery store to sell taco ingredients in Norway was in Stavanger during the oil rush of the late sixties. Apparently, your regular Norwegian fishballs and fårikål would not do for the American oil tycoons. Read the full story at NRK, provided you know Norwegian.

Home

Sébastien Tellier: Domesticated

Domesticated cover

For me the biggest surprise is I found happiness in my family life. Domesticated sounds sad, like I’m a slave or something, but if you listen to the record I’m so happy to be domesticated because I feel better than before. Maybe too much freedom kills the freedom, you know?

Five years have passed since Sébastien Tellier’s pièce de résistance, the Brazilian-inspired L’Aventura, and if the world ever was in need of the Frenchman’s soothing croons, now would be the time.

Ask, and ye shall receive:

The recently dropped Domesticated is Tellier’s autotuned meditation on domesticated life with his wife and son. The lush sound of his previous album has been substituted by a mix of chill-out electronica and Michael Jackson-inspired grooves. Sometimes with minimalist arrangements, other times with full-on keytar (one would hope) maximalism. Even with that wide-ranging span, the album has a cohesive, pleasant sound that fittingly clocks in at about thirty minutes. There’s something to be said for that kind brevity.

My personal favorite tracks: the Chromeo-ish Venezia, and Hazy Feeling, which echoes Jackson’s P.Y.T..

I’m not saying Tellier and Domesticated will heal the world, but it sure is a good starting point. Stream the album from Apple Music.

Track Title Length
01 A Ballet 4:46
02 Stuck in a Summer Love 4:16
03 Venezia 3:13
04 Domestic Tasks 5:25
05 Oui 3:59
06 Atomic Smile 3:09
07 Hazy Feelings 3:24
08 Won 3:51

Well, you can find beauty everywhere. For example, when I clean the windows at home I feel happy because I just did it, and it’s a very straight emotion – it’s clean, so I’m happy.

Home