I’m Not a Bartender, I’m a Bar-Back

This article was originally published on Feb. 5, 2013, but we are re-posting it here for Food Month.


I work in a bar. I’m not a bartender, I’m a bar-back, which is like being an intern. I’m also an actual intern, at an office, in the city. But that’s for the future, for experience. This is for now, for the money. The bartenders call me “NFG”—“New Fuckin’ Guy.” It’s mostly a term of endearment, except for when it isn’t.

The duties of the bar-back: Wash the glasses; refill the ice; get wine and beer and liquor from the basement; change the kegs. At any given point during the busiest parts of a night at work, two or more of these things needs to be have already been done.

Sometimes, if I’m lucky and all the bartenders are busy and there isn’t a manager around, they let me pour someone a beer. This is always very exciting. I’m not allowed to handle the money, cash or card, because that would be way too much responsibility for a 23-year-old. The bartenders themselves always take care of payment. They take the order, place it, ask me to pop a Budweiser for Tony or pull a Coors for Don and move on to the next thing.

Friedan’s Village

Long before Betty Friedan gave voice to American women’s discontent in her groundbreaking classic, The Feminine Mystique, she was a young mother and wife living in Parkway Village, a tiny, planned garden apartment complex in Queens, New York. This vanguard utopian, international, and interracial community served as her incubator and muse, allowing Friedan to rethink the norm for post-war American families. I grew up there, and though Friedan departed eight years before my family moved in, she was so legendary that I was sure she lived across from me, her parties spilling onto her patio.

Built after World War II, Parkway Village was the brainchild of Robert Moses: a forty-acre enclave of garden apartments for foreign United Nations employees, many of whom could not find housing because of racial discrimination. Unlike other huge developments that explicitly forbid people of color, such as Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, Parkway Village was open to all races, because no housing for UN employees could violate the UN Charter, which required no “distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”

As a result, Parkway blossomed into an oasis of racial integration and international cooperation that was profiled in newspapers and magazines like the New York Times and Collier’s, which characterized it as “living proof” that the ideals of the UN “can work out on Main Street.” Ralph Bunche, the first man of color to win a Nobel Peace Prize lived there, as did Roy Wilkins, head of the NAACP, as well as Babe Ruth’s widow, who was known to give nice tips and hot chocolate to the boys who shoveled her walk. Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Truman came to visit the cooperative nursery school; Paul Robeson’s wife used to show up for parties. The local children were gathered and photographed for the cover of a seminal jazz album, Evolution of the Blues. And Latin American author Ariel Dorfman would remember Parkway Village as an international paradise, before McCarthyism drove his leftist father out of the UN and the country.

A Married Couple Discuss Tipping And Also The Probability That It Will Lead to Their Divorce

This article was originally published on July 11, 2013, but we are re-posting it here for Food Month.


Taylor Jenkins Reid [“THE WIFE”] and Alex Reid [“THE HUSBAND”] are married. To each other.

Taylor Jenkins Reid: I feel like, if we ever get divorced, this won’t be the reason but it will be the thing where you say to yourself, “At least I don’t have to deal with her TIPPING anymore.”

Alex Reid: That is correct. That is 100 percent correct. I will never understand why you tip so much.

TJR: You know this is going on the internet, right? Are you okay with the fact that people might call you a cheapskate?

AR: I feel quite strongly that more people are going to think that you are the one that is wrong here.

TJR: Because I think you should almost always tip 20%?

AR: Yes. If somebody does a bad job or a good job, they both shouldn’t get 20%. It’s not a tax. It’s earned. Sometimes you will do this thing where we will get bad service and you will go, “Ohhh, I bet they are having a bad day,” and then you insist we tip, like, 18 percent. But maybe they are just a jerk and I’m giving away money to a jerk.

How A Lazy Person Cooks Indian Food

For the person who wants to cook Indian food but doesn’t have the patience, time, or wherewithal to learn all the spices and wait for the pot to boil, from an expert in lazy cooking.

1. CHAI Ingredients: Dried ginger (whole) Tea bag (black) Tablespoon of milk Cup of water

Tools: Kettle Cup Grater Tea strainer

Lemme blow your minds: chai means tea. I KNOW!! So all this time you’ve been saying “chai tea latte,” you’ve actually been saying a “tea tea latte.” This is the world we live in.

How To Buy & Wear A Bra: A Guide For The Truly Ample-Bosomed

If you think that double D is a generous helping of boobage, look away now: these words are for the truly ample-bosomed. We all have equally loveable mamms, but some of us would be sloppily intoxicated if we drank champagne out of glasses sized anything like our breasts.

My current cup is a cheerful F, meaning there are about six inches difference between the circumference of my ribcage and that of my perkiest point. As such, when it comes to bras, I am very demanding: it must have Herculean strength to protect me from neck ache, combined with wires or seaming that stamp out the dreaded uniboob. I’d prefer the thing to look like lingerie, not a support bandage, and I want to be able to afford it. Hahahahaha, what a good joke I just told!

I don’t understand why it’s so hard to make a useful, stylish, well-priced over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder. The cheapest bra I’ve ever bought was $30 and it gave me a shoulder ache in about four days. I’ve accepted that I’ll have to spend at least $80 to get something that lasts a season, a bra free of cheap lace that causes B.O. or underwires that pierce my soft underboobs. Please don’t tell me to go to Victoria’s Secret or I may pull out such an underwire and stab you.

To solve this mystery, I decided to ask some experts. Frederika Zappe is the Dr. Seuss-monikered, extremely enthusiastic U.S. fit consultant for Eveden, a British company that makes the brands Freya and Fantasie. Both get an honest endorsement for both fit and style from me, someone who last saw double D in the rearview mirror over a decade ago. And /r/ABraThatFits is an insane underwearpalooza of a subreddit that’s frequented by over 36,000 obsessive breast owners. Luckily for all of them, the three friendly moderators are very, very helpful.

The Things Your Children Know About You


— Taffy BrodesserAkner (@taffyakner) May 10, 2015

Taffy! So what happened here?

So both of my children came home from school with a Mother’s Day gift for me, inside which was an assessment? employment review? census? on our relationship, laid bare over just few questions: What’s your mother’s age? What does she do? What’s her favorite food? That kind of thing. My older son, who is 7, came home with one that could easily have been switched with another kid’s, and I would have thought it had been, had he not confirmed that it was his. It said his favorite thing that I make are cookies; I’ve never actually made cookies during his lifetime, and maybe only once before that. He said my favorite thing to do was spend time at the spa, and though my husband and I have an ongoing joke about kelp wraps, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a spa except under the duress of wanting to be like everyone else for some womanly friendship trip, or graciously accepting a baby shower gift. Spas generally combine things I can’t tolerate: humidity, lavender scents, people touching me, nudity (my own and others’). Anyway, I asked him why he made so many things up, and what he said was devastating: He said he didn’t know the answers. I am normally someone who feels the upper ranges of working mother guilt. This made me take to my bed.

But the one you’re contacting me about is the one I posted on Twitter. It was my 4-year-old’s, which included many of the same questions. His answers, while not wholly inaccurate, were problematic just the same.

Working Hard Is What Women Do: An Interview With The Producers of “Iris”

When Iris Apfel was wheeled into a small meeting room in the Four Seasons Hotel, I was instantly in awe of the lavender-haired 93-year-old force. I wasn’t alone; she left every journalist in the room moony-eyed.

Apfel is all clanking bracelets, multitudes of beads, a brightly patterned jacket topped off with her iconic glasses. Even more impressive than Apfel’s singular style is her sense of humor and utter lack of bullshit. When asked about fashion, her answers, coming from a woman who is solely known to many as a fashion icon, were unexpected: about her skincare regime, she simply said she uses “Cetaphil from the drugstore,” and she will not tolerate trends: “Don’t give a damn about any trends. They are pointless.”

She’s the subject of Iris, directed by the late legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, best known for documentaries such as Grey Gardens and Gimme Shelter. Apfel’s refreshing IDGAF attitude is what draws us to her; her witticisms are paired with spot-on observations about life. However, much like Apfel herself, Iris is a film that can’t really be easily defined. It’s a fashion documentary filled to the brim with droolworthy outfits and cameos from people like designer Dries van Noten, and it’s also a love story between Iris and her husband Carl Apfel, showcasing the swoony banter and lived-in love between a couple who have been together for 65 years. Above all else, it’s the portrait of a woman whose tireless, inspiring work ethic brought all kinds of experiences into her life. From her early career running a textile company with Carl to gaining international notoriety in her 80s as a fashion icon/business woman/designer/art curator/model/muse/professor, Apfel is the definition of hustle and swagger.

The Beer And Hotdogs Weren’t Free, But It Felt Like It

This post was originally published on June. 27, 2013, and we’re re-posting it for Food Month.

There is a baseball team in Madison, Wis. called the Mallards, a collegiate summer league team that plays in a ballpark affectionately known as the “Duck Pond.” It’s a neat little attraction in the summers, when the college sports-crazed city has no Badger football, basketball or hockey to take in.

But that is not why seven friends and myself made the hike to the Duck Pond recently. The Mallards have this magnificent thing there, long known to my friends and I but never previously explored (save for one), called the Duck Blind, a special section reserved for those who pay about $30 for the right to unlimited food and drink.

As a 23-year-old college graduate, you can imagine I am not someone who parts easily with his money. I would say I’m fairly responsible with my cash. There are times—increasingly often, it seems—that I must say no to friends (not that they necessarily have it way better than me or are less responsible) and reserve myself to a night in, staying the hell away from places that trade fun for money. Whenever I do allow myself to go to such places, every purchase made is usually accompanied with some small sting of guilt. It is the feeling of my funds receiving another dent, another spank. From ordering fries with a burger or getting one more drink, it is like being stung by bee after bee. Then I get home and a “Good God, what have I done I?” sort of feeling hits.

A Millennial Revenge Fantasy

Welcome to the millennial revenge bunker. Here, in this dead-mall-turned-torture-chamber, there is only one master, and it is all of us, equally. Bow before our UGG boots and prepare to sip the calcified piss of a fellow old from one of our myriad trophies. Dodo fuckboys, it’s time to get humble. To spell out the law of the land in the dead language of your time: on a Letterman Top Ten list of this situation, we are all number one, and you are numbers two through ten. The fleek have inherited the earth.

We begin by playing a podcast of your transgressions:

1) Subprime lending, 2) Large scale environmental destruction, 3) Codifying and enshrining an insidious form of systemic racism, 4) Using up all the Quaaludes, 5) Selfie Shaming, 6) Buying us off-brand Sleek Skoots when we explicitly asked for Razor scooters (pause for SquareSpace promo), 7) Factory farming, 8) Saying you are cool with gay people as long as you don’t have to see them, 9) Tori Amos nostalgia, 10) Being raisiny skin-sacks of irrelevance.

We have brought you here to do penance for your sins.