MBQ&A: Food Trends, Pumpkin Beer, and Failed Indie Rock

MBQ&A: Food Trends, Pumpkin Beer, and Failed Indie Rock


Welcome back to MBQ&A, where our experts solve your questions on meat, beer, and rock n’ roll.

If you have a question for the MBQ&A Panel of Wisdom, let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or through email.

Your questions:

“What food or trend don’t you get? Personally, I really don’t understand the appeal of small plates. Yeah, I get to try more stuff. But I’m still hungry and I spent $45.”

John Carruthers: I think the whole food-as-event culture is problematic. I’m really glad that cooks and restaurants are getting their due (and then some) and people are becoming more discerning. But I feel like half of the people I see talking about food on social media are just trying to check off an invisible list of Important Things That Cool People Eat. Going out to eat should primarily be about enjoying time spent with people you like, with an enjoyable sensory experience a close second. Chicago’s a great food city, but I feel like most self-proclaimed “foodies” (I hate that word) would wait in the rain for six hours to eat a Hot Pocket, so long as they could say Curtis Duffy or Stephanie Izard served it to them. When things inevitably calm down and people stop listing their names as Chef XYZ on Twitter, you’re going to want to have fun memories of your family and the best sandwich you ever ate, not standing in line in January because you heard the ramen was a Trending Topic.

Ed Kowalski: I personally don’t get all the hoo-ha about so-called “mashup” dishes, like breakfast pizzas, cronuts and burgers with ramen noodle buns.

I’ve been eating breakfast pizza for years: it’s called cold leftover pizza from the night before. And cronuts? If I want to eat a croissant and a donut, then, by Odin’s beard, I’ll eat a damned croissant AND a donut! When it comes to ramen buns for burgers, let me just say this: I ate enough ramen during my college years to tide me over until the sun burns out .. leave my burgers alone!

Luke Gelman: Honestly, anything that has to do with Whole Foods is extremely annoying to me. Organic, Paleo diets, gluten-free, etc. It’s all marketing. I especially hate the customers at Whole Foods. They think driving a Prius means they are helping the environment and are entitled to everything from special parking to thinking skin tight pants look good. You look stupid. I can’t tell the difference between anything organic and the product sitting on the shelf from it. I’ve tried all of it, and it’s not worth a dime more than good fresh food. If you feel good driving your hybrid to Whole Foods you shouldn’t be surprised we aren’t friends. I’m not talking about locally-sourced foods. That’s something completely different. I support that shit at my local butchers place and also on farmersonly.com.

Al Mohamed: I do not get the appeal of ridiculously spicy things. Don’t get me wrong, my DNA dictates a certain desire to eat sweat-inducing foods. At a certain point, however, the Scoville units aren’t doing anything but turning saucemaking in to a dick swinging contest not too different than brewers making IPAs so hoppy that you need a pony keg of High Life after each sip. Just stop.

John Scholl: Those places that make an extreme Bloody Mary. I enjoy a Bloody Mary now and then, and the stuff on top of it really isn’t a factor for me. My main concern in the taste, and adding a deep fried chicken on top of a Bloody Mary isn’t really going to effect what’s in the glass unless the grease drips into it. Just imagine fryer grease floating on top of your drink. Give me a good mix with good vodka and I’ll keep coming back. No need for hot dogs, pizza, burgers, tater tots or any of the other shit that’s being piled on these days. I can almost guarantee those places are using crap ingredients in the Bloody Mary.

“This is probably a dumb question, but what’s the distinction between an Oktoberfest beer and a pumpkin beer? Been seeing a bunch of both lately.”

John S.: Indeed there is. Oktoberfest is typical a specific style of beer called a Marzen that originated in the 16th century. The color is copper, and it has a malty taste that goes great with bratwurst. Traditionally these beers were brewed in or before March and then kept over the summer to age and opened for the Oktoberfest celebrations in Germany. Pumpkin beers have seen a rise in the past decade and really aren’t style specific, they just have pumpkin or pumpkin spices in them. You’ll see pumpkin porters, pumpkin ale, and pumpkin IPAs hit the shelves around September each year. There are some good ones out there, like Schlafly Pumpkin Ale, but overall a lot of companies use it as an opportunity to get into seasonal beer without thinking of flavor. I would drink an Oktoberfest over a pumpkin beer in almost every

Al Mohamed: Oktoberfest says “I enjoy books. My 401(k) is appreciating in value quite well this year, despite market fluctuations. I get blackout drunk 1 to 3 times a year. My significant other resents me.” Pumpkin Beer says “I spent $341 on eBay last month instead of paying my rent on time. It was for a set list from the first hardcore show I ever went to. I enjoy extremely spicy hot sauces and girls with full sleeves.”

Kevin DeLury: Shit, don’t ask me. I spent $341 on eBay last month instead of paying my rent on time. It was for a set list from the first hardcore show I ever went to. I enjoy extremely spicy hot sauces and girls with full sleeves.

“What indie or local band were you convinced was going to make it, but never did?”

Kevin: There are so many bands that come to mind, but for locals I’m very bummed Holy Roman Empire never got their due. Featuring former members of bands like Suicide File, Hope Conspiracy, Shai Hulud, and Arama Angelus, it was the last thing you’d expect a band featuring that resume to sound like.

Fronted by the soaring vocals of Emily Schambra (you may remember her as the vocals on the Rise Against song “Roadside”), HRE was the perfect blend of post-hardcore, pop and just damn good songwriting. They put out an EP and full length that lived on my iPod, played all over the place locally, but just never seemed to get their break. I urge you to check out their discography on Spotify. If you’re aching for a reason to break out your studded belt and asymmetrical haircut again, HRE will fit the bill. Honorable mentions include The Casting Out, Somehow Hollow, The Stryder, Stay Golden, Four Star Alarm, Zero to Sixty, Salem (FL), Farewell, Codeseven, and just about every other band that makes me sad and nostalgic.

John C.: When I lived in Tennessee, there was a Nashville-based rapper named Cadence who seemed to fit the bill of The Next Big Perfectly Fine Thing That People Like Far Too Much. The beats, production, and subject matter were incredibly poppy, and a lot of the subject matter was faux-profound (“Brother, what could make you hate me? I ain’t your competition, were on the same team.”), but it was a solid pop-rap album back when people still bought albums. I wasn’t a huge fan, but I didn’t dislike it a bit, and it seemed like exactly the kind of thing people would take to, overplay, and make me hate. The man’s big break never did come, and after last year, I have to imagine he spends all day throwing darts at a picture of Macklemore.