Dog Bites

L'Etat, C'est Moi. Or Whatever; A Spoonful -- or So -- of Sugar

L'Etat, C'est Moi. Or Whatever.
Dog Bites, who's had a nasty case of the flu -- which we attribute at least in part to July's wretched weather -- has had nothing to do all week but lie around the house, sleeping at odd hours and watching TV at other odd hours when we were too tired of sleeping to sleep any more. So it was that, feverish, aching, and embittered, we came across Willie Brown guesting on Politically Incorrect, and then, because the remote control had gone missing in a maelstrom of used Kleenex, and we couldn't be bothered to look for it, we actually found ourselves watching the mayor of our city express his heartfelt concern for those who bring him his food at Postrio and Lapis, in this exchange with Arianna Huffington:

Arianna: I think we should get Tony Bennett to do a rewrite, "I lost my heart in San Francisco." Because there have been more evictions, 300 percent more evictions since 1995 in San Francisco. There's no affordable housing. Anybody who makes less than $50,000 a year should not try to live here. Right, right?

Willie: No, no.

[ Audience boos ]

Willie: No, no, no, no. Where do you think we'd get the waiters and the waitresses?

OK, we had a temperature a shade over 100 at the time, and had also experienced a brief crying jag brought on by a Passat ad, but Dog Bites appreciated this display of mayoral sensitivity for the service workers of San Francisco. Whatever anyone else says, we just know Willie's heart is in the right place.

A Spoonful -- or So -- of Sugar
Once we were able to prop ourselves up in front of the computer and check our e-mail, Dog Bites was very touched to find that several readers, including John Ormsby, Angelita Figueroa Salas, and David Lebovitz, had sent along recipes for chocolate-covered peanut butter Rice Krispy treats. Actually, David Lebovitz, David Lebovitz -- the name sounded strangely familiar .... Oh. My. God. The David Lebovitz! Former Chez Panisse pastry chef David Lebovitz! Author of Room for Dessert David Lebovitz!

Allow us a small digression and confession here: Room for Dessert is the book to which we turn in times of emotional distress. Hey, some people find comfort in random passages of The Aeneid; Dog Bites prefers to throw on some ambient house, toss back a generous number of homeopathic sedatives, and just read Dessert by the hour. And, in terms of actual practical use, allow us to recommend the book's recipe for fresh ginger cake -- wonderful at Christmas open houses -- and ditto the panforte, the sangría sorbet, both the gâteau victoire and the chocolate pavé, and the apricot, cherry, and frangipane galette, which we once made for our ex-boyfriend; sure, OK, we broke up, but it wasn't because of our baking.

Lebovitz writes (to us! he writes to us!), "Those treats you had at the Chronicle picnic are something called Scotch-A-Roons, which is an old Rice KrispyTM recipe. Here is one that I have that you might want to try."

Naturally, we headed straight to the grocery store to buy the ingredients, but just inside the door we caught sight of the headline on that day's Examiner, and became distracted by the news that Judge Vaughn Walker had called the Fangs' deal to buy the paper "malodorous." Malodorous! There's a word we think should be in wider usage.

As hilarious as this was -- and we may just have been desperate for some hilarity -- according to our source at the Chron, when Hearst Chairman Frank Bennack popped by late Friday, accompanied by Hearst newspaper division head George Irish and sundry members of the Examinerleadership, there wasn't much rejoicing going on in the newsroom. "The mood of the staff is skeptical," our source says. "[Hearst is] saying the right things now, about wanting to produce one of the nation's "great newspapers' -- the substitute phrase, apparently, for the discredited Tim White's "world-class newspaper.'"

Walker's finding that Irish and Bennack were "not credible" on the witness stand isn't exactly inspiring confidence in the Chron's staff. "That's a tough place to start from," notes our source, who also says Hearst doesn't expect to name a publisher for the Chron until the beginning of September, and that no decision as to the editorship of the paper will be made until after that.

In the meantime, we think everyone concerned -- especially the Fangs, who are still only $100 out of pocket -- can cheer him- or herself up with a batch of Mr. Lebovitz's fabulous dessert bars, which, for the occasion, we've renamed ...

Hearst-A-Roons

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup smooth peanut butter

7 cups Rice Krispies

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Mix sugar and syrup together in a large saucepan, stirring over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture just begins to boil. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, then Rice Krispies. Press evenly into a greased 9-by-12 baking dish and cool. Melt chocolate chips and pour over top. Cut into pieces and enjoy.

 
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