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The Chicken or the Head?

Brian was a city boy. Lexington, Kentucky was city folk. Electrical power fed to the house in consistent supply. Water came from a shiny tap, not a hole in the ground, and it didn’t smell like rotten eggs. Food – all of it – came from the grocery store. And, being a growing, testosterone-charged boy of thirteen, he consumed supermarket aisles of it daily.

Spending part of the summer in hillbilly, backwater Eastern Kentucky with his hick-talking Mamaw – she sounded just like her cousin Loretta Lynn – well, THAT was an otherworldly adventure he could always spin to wow his friends when school resumed in the Fall. He stood a little taller when he came back to the city.

Or, maybe he just grew.

From all the eating.


Mamaw had two plumed roosters, boys who pecked around her property and sorted through the better trash she threw over the bank of Greasy Creek. She even named them, treated them like pets. Living by herself, sitting on the front porch waving to the coal trucks that lumbered past the isolated house, letting night fall on the fireflies that set the hill across the road alight like a twinkling Christmas tree – those activities got boring with nobody around to share them. She figured the roosters would do.

Testosterone does odd things to boys. It makes them crash around. Tear holes in things. Belligerence happens because they are both hungry and horny all the time. Of the one, they can’t get enough. Of the other, they’re likely getting none. All that unsatisfied longing can be deadly.

He hadn’t been in the house a day before he started his male hormonal refrain.

Let’s kill one of those roosters, Mamaw, and eat it for dinner. 

Come on, Mamaw. I’ve never had FRESH meat before. I need to know whether it tastes different. 

You will be giving me an educational experience I cannot get at school. That rooster will TEACH me something.

Days and days and days.

And days and days and days.

Something snapped in my Mamaw, a woman who grew up deprived and knew the value of a life, of not wasting things. Choosing not to squander a teaching moment, she turned her steely eyes on her grandson.

I’ll take one of ‘em, and ye can take the other. We’ll have a mite to eat for days. And days. And days.

She led her giddy grandson into the yard. Her pet roosters waddled over in greeting, unafraid. Grabbing one of them, she handed it to Brian, keeping the other swaddled in her arms. 

Thank you she said, hugging the bird close to her chest.

In a quick motion, she grabbed the rooster by the plumbed head and started spinning its body in a wide circle. Feathers flew along its orbit of death, marked by gushing blood when its head disengaged and its body flopped around the grass and into the piled garbage over the steep bank of Greasy Creek.

Well, Brian, unless ye want to go down there and get that ‘un, we’ll hafta eat yours.

Silence. Brian didn’t answer.

Go on now. Brian? Brian?

She found him in the house. Ashen. For the first time in recent memory, NOT hungry.

I think I’ll skip dinner, Mamaw.

And, I’m never eating chicken again.

A Nod to Oscar

One of the most read Cootchie Classics of all time, my nod to this year’s recent Oscars ceremony. The Artist totally deserved to win. Now THAT was a movie I understood…………..
Inception’s Dream of the Architect
“The Dream of the Architect” by Thomas Cole

After seeing the movie “Inception” last night, I’m convinced of one thing.Christopher Nolan, the writer and director, MUST be married to an architect. Or, he has been married to an architect in the past. Or, one or several of his close friends are architects. Or, perhaps he studied architecture at some point. Somewhere, somehow, the man is intimately familiar with the behavioral quirks of thearchitectural set.

I ought to know. I’m married to an architect myself. One of my closest friends is anarchitect, and her husband is also an architect. Much of our extended friendship circle is made up of architects. If you look at many of my friends on Facebook, they’re architects. I’m surrounded by an almost constant stream of banter about buildings and starchitects and roof details and the perfect doo-dad to prop up the thing-a-ma-jig that sits behind a cabinet that no one will ever see.

Architects like to draw – on everything, but especially on napkins and scraps of paper while they’re eating. They all do this with relish, like eating is the ritual that incites creativity. When DiCaprio did it in the movie – a pivotal, serious scene – I started laughing out loud, something that no one else in the theater (and it was FULL ofarchitects) thought was funny.

What’s worse about this tendency for drawing on things is that every scrap – even if they’ve blown their noses on part of it; especially if it’s wadded up so tightly that it would be humanly impossible to press it flat again – every shred represents the INCEPTION of a design that may be useful SOMEDAY. Therefore, none of these things that look like rubbish to the non-architect can ever be thrown away.

I’ve also learned that architects design buildings for everyone else, but their own houses are usually unfinished projects, leaving them in a perpetual bliss of design mode. They see what a modernist miracle of perfection it’s going to be one day, when it’s done. But, it will never be done.

Nothing demonstrated these behaviors more clearly for me than the architect husband and wife dream of the perfect world in the movie. I laughed all the way to the car dissecting that place, where the two of them, entirely alone, constructed a mammoth city of their dreams, a modernist miracle of insane proportions that was built all the way into the sea. Without having to deal with deadlines, clients, construction administration, contractors, subcontractors and so on, they lived for over fifty years in what must be every architect’s dream of how they would practice and live if money were no object. They would just exist in the orgiastic bliss of designing and designing and designing.

Knowing and loving architects adds an entirely different dimension to the pleasure of watching “Inception.” Obviously, I adore them, because I’ve chosen to surround myself with them at every turn. Just don’t laugh out loud in the serious architectural moments in the movie. Call me, and we can laugh together instead.

PS My fave Oscars dress was Jessica Chastain’s Alexander McQueen. Whose did you favor? (And, yes, boys, I understand you will all pick Angelina Jolie………..)

Was I Arrested?

Google provides a nifty little service. Years ago, I registered my name with them, requesting an e-mail every time ‘Andra Watkins’ is mentioned in the byzantine world of the web. With the proliferation of reviewing sites, I wanted to keep tabs on client chatter, just in case any of it verged on the, um, uncomplimentary, a hazard in any profession dealing with multiple umpteen people.

Saturday morning, my inbox pinged. ‘Google Alert!‘ it announced in the subject line. Always aroused by seeing my name in print, even if it is electronic, my hyperactive fingers clicked the provided link.

Tunnel Hill Drug Bust shouted from the headline. Where the heck is Tunnel Hill? I wondered, lazily perusing the story from the comfort of my bed.


A car chase.




And, get this. Andra Watkins is a GUY. Male. One dumb dude.

Have you ever found your name associated with something unsavory? What could be worse than being given a sex change, labeled a dope head, and thrown in jail, Dear Reader?

Food Porn

Last night, we hosted Cheryl and Bill Smithem at our brothel table for an orgy of food porn. Anyone who brings a box of Cap’n Crunch cereal as a host and hostess gift is welcome back to dine at our place any time. Thank you, Cheryl and Bill, for spending a candle lit evening with us.

Active links are built into the menu below, for anyone interested in recipes. Click on the highlighted item, and the link will take you to instructions for preparing your very own food porn in the privacy of your very own kitchen.

The Food Porn Menu

Cheese Plate (French and Spanish cheeses, almonds, olives, membrillo)

Tyler Florence’s Shrimp Bisque

Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Tomato

Coffee Rubbed Beef Tenderloin (MTM had tuna)

Broccoli and Cheetos

Pear and Ginger Tart

Wasabi Ice Cream

Cootchie Hooch

I am too blotto to tell you much about the meal, Dear Reader. Let’s just say I’d do it all over again. A photographic expose of the dinner, from preparation to conclusion. Mangia!!

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The Art of Dressing for Dinner

Eat. Me.

I greet this Saturday with drool on my pillow, dreams of delectable dishes chasing across my starved palate. Will 6:30 this evening EVER get here?

All day long, MTM will be torturing my nostrils with aromas. Simmering scents. Nuanced perfumes. Earthy smells. The four burners of the gas stove will work my abused senses into a foaming froth of longing, MTM’s stirring ladle a paddle to slap my greedy hands away from the morsels cooking there.

Bill and Cheryl Smithem are coming over for dinner tonight, one of those lingering affairs, multiple courses where we sit around the table and gab to a soundtrack of mood music, flickering firelight, and heaping piles of orgiastic food. For the balance of my Saturday, I will do everything I can to distract my craven stomach, bewitched by MTM’s culinary voodoo.

I will check the mail.

And taste a sauce.

I will select table linens, ironing them to a starched sheen.

And use that work to justify an oozing snack of something brewing.

I will straighten my desk.

And let my fingers stray into a sampling bowl of deliciousness.

I might sneak in a nap.

And awake to a sliver of scented joy, preening aromatically on the table beside me.

Dang. Just penning this post made me famished. I hope Bill and Cheryl don’t notice it when they arrive to find that I have stuffed myself into a stupor.


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