Thursday, January 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Al!

I can't believe I am getting the drop on JJV with this, but perhaps it is cheating to wish Alexander Hamilton a Happy Birthday slightly less than two hours (EST) before the actual date. Nevertheless, it is cheating of which both my esteemed colleague and (based on a close analysis of The Federalist Papers) the first Secretary of the Treasury would have approved.

Had Aaron Burr not shot his political nemesis, which a relatively recent book does its damnedest to gloss over, Mr. Hamilton would be either 253 or 251 years old tomorrow and probably finishing out another consecutive term as Fed chairman.

JJV, if you are in need of a good scoffing, which I doubt, I would be happy to loan you the book.

Also, Laura believes this post to be incomplete without reference to the Twice-Baked Potatoes of Glory which I prepared and served this evening. They were both delicious and a tribute to the program of urbanization and industrialization championed by Hamilton.

Update 1/12:

In side correspondence J has asked:

1) What are twice-baked potatoes?
2) How is that related to AH again?
3) Did anyone actually call Mr. Hamilton "Al"?

1) Twice baked potatoes are made by baking potatoes, scooping out the insides and mashing them, then reloading and baking again, adding shredded cheese on top for the last few minutes. I suppose "stuffed baked potatoes" is another common term for this.

2) Hamilton was a very smart man and probably thought at least twice about what he wrote (and wrote two drafts to boot). The only thing he clearly did not consider more than once was the duel. More to the point, I could not think of a better link between Hamilton and potatoes at 10:15 the other night.

3) In fact, Burr repeatedly called Hamilton "Al." It was a primary cause of the duel, since Hamilton found it very frustrating to try to hit back with "Aa!" Come to think of it, "Aa!" is probably fairly close to the last thing AH said.

Question: Is a twice-baked idea four times as good as a half-baked idea?


jjv said...

Until I read the blurb of the book you linked to I thought Burr was mreley bad for shooting Hamilton, attempting by scheme to break up the United States and generally being skuldugerous. But this writer says he was also a feminist. There is no end to his infamy.

J. said...

Shoot me. So Dave, what are Twice-Baked Potatoes of Glory, and are you or Laura suggesting that many of Hamilton's ideas were twice baked (as opposed to half-baked) in mentioning this dish?

Dave S. said...

I began a comment which morphed into something that would be more suitable as an update to this post. I will do this tonight.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dave,

I know what a twice-baked potato is. It was the "of Glory" part I was curious about, i.e., was this some special twist on the old recipe?

As for your question, I would say, it depends. By the same token, is Chopper 4 twice as good (or fast) as Chopper 2? (You may have to live in the NYC Metro area to get this one.)

Thanks for the update.


Dave S. said...

Oh, sorry. I add secret ingredients while mashing the potatoes that sends them to a higher plane.

I think DC has a Chopper 4 and possibly a 5. However, Marine One understandably takes precedence.