What is a Comfort Brother?By Bill no responses
For starters it ain’t about collard greens, mashed potatoes, pork chops and gravy, fried chicken, fried fish, fried okra and fried green tomatoes, although the Comfort Brothers do all of that fare and more and will happily prepare it for you in your home and it will be the best you ever had.
(Best you ever had…I digress: One summer, 1969, as a college student working a summer job in the kitchen of a small and somewhat seedy casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, I had my first, real, professional kitchen experience. It made such an impact on me that years later I used it as the basis for a novel called A Gambler’s Feast. ((More on that later.)) In that steamy kitchen populated with college students, drunks, drifters, head cases and assorted other marginal characters I labored under the rheumy eyes of an alcoholic chef named Lee. I think I remember his last name and he is probably passed from this earth but let’s stick with Lee. Dead or alive I don’t want to impugn him unfairly after all these years. But Lee was a real sport and the kitchen crew loved him because he wasn’t a screamer like Tony, the mean little Italian who ran an earlier shift. Lee had a soft, albeit shaky touch managing the staff of professional misfits and junior adventurers, and in return for his kindness in the kitchen, we all happily looked out for him. We protected his booze, shielded him from management, and when he couldn’t remember where he had parked his block long Cadillac Deville after a night of black out, very professional drinking, we would canvas the area the next morning until we found it. I guess the word we would use today to describe our behavior then is enabling. Hell, yes, did we ever enable.
But before I go too far down this rabbit hole, a little hooker history. In 1968, I think, Nevada legalized prostitution. The Mustang ranch, one of the first brothels, was over near Reno, an hour or so from Tahoe. Every Wednesday night on his one day off, Lee would dress to the nines, if he wasn’t wearing spats he should have, and glide over to the Mustang in the Deville for some action with a regular whose name I can’t recall. And the next shift, on Thursday evening, as he recovered from the night before, shaky, the Cadillac retrieved and safely moored in the casino parking lot, he would laugh about the “old gal,” who according to Lee, drank as much as he did, but fancied herself the queen of the sack. To hear Lee tell it, after we had dosed him with paregoric and red wine to even him out to a minimum level of functionality, he would like a cigarette, gather us around and dramatically describe how after their drunken sexual antics she would look up and say with a post coital, alchy purr, “ Lee, baby…ain’t that the best you ever had?”)
So I would submit to you that words and phrases, just like food, can ignite a sparking fuse trail that can transport you back minutes, miles, days and years to connect with memories that might be temporarily beneath the surface of you conscious mind, but brought back in an instant with a certain aroma, word or phrase.
Which brings us back to the question at hand: Just what IS a Comfort Brother? For now let’s just say that CBJ and CBB are food mediums available to you here at comfortbrothers.com and/or in your kitchen, ready as always to create an indelible food memory with your family and friends that will be with you forever, and ready to sneak up in surprise without warning, hug you and put a smile on your face
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