Episode 59: Spike Jonze, Potato Chips, and Grilled Cheese Dealers

This week: Director Spike Jonze channels Flava Flav… We dig up the salty story behind America’s favorite snack… and Brendan learns what it’s like to hustle grilled cheese on the mean streets of NYC.

Icebreaker: Legal Drinking
Jesse Pearson, editor-in-chief of Vice magazine, channels Henny Youngman.

Small Talk: Cars Lash Out, No Love for Do-Gooders, Less-Evolved Animals
The staff at Marketplace tell you about some news items your dinner guests probably missed. Like the “Pet Insurance Awards,” which celebrate the likes of beehive-eating Labradors. Don’t worry, the winner fully recovered to claim his prize. (Listeners in L.A. and Minnesota heard New York magazine reporter Jessica Pressler tell Rico and Brendan the cautionary tale of a Spanish hipster who wasn’t quite ready for Wall Street.)

A History Lesson With Booze: Potato Chip Mythology and the “Ruthless Spud
This week in 1853, irate chef George Crum deliberately over-fried potato slices, buried them in salt, and gave them to a finicky customer. And thus was born the “potato chip”…according to legend. But the origin story of America’s favorite snack is fraught with mystery. Take it all in (with more than a grain of salt) and wash it down with this appropriately starchy cocktail:

“The Ruthless Spud,” created by David Frederick, bartender at 9 Maple Avenue in George Crum’s hometown of Saratoga Springs, New York.

In a cocktail shaker, combine:

  • 3 slices of cucumber
  • Very thin slice of rustic potato
  • Dash of olive juice

Muddle together ‘til it’s as murky as the potato chip’s origin. Then add:

  • 3 oz. Chopin potato vodka

Shake well. Strain into martini glass. Sip again and again until you realize you’ve gone through the whole thing all by yourself.

Guest of Honor: Spike Jonze
Filmmaker Spike Jonze directed Where the Wild Things Are, Adaptation, and some of the greatest rock videos ever. His short online film “I’m Here” (now out as a book/DVD package) is a touching love story… with robots. Spike chats with Rico about his multimedia exploits, impersonates Flava Flav, and lies (we think) about his toes.

Main Course: Grilled Cheese Dealing
Brendan meets “Ronnie” on an NYC street corner to satisfy his latest fix: grilled cheese on the run. With an operation that consists of nothing but a cell phone, a bike and an illegal kitchen in an undisclosed location, Ronnie’s “Bread.Butter.Cheese” is redefining distribution channels for the most classic of sandwiches.

One For The Road: Wild Nothing – “Golden Haze”
You could call the new single from Virginia quartet Wild Nothingclassicist lo-fi jangle-pop.” But what does that mean? We call it the perfect soundtrack for paging through a faded photo album, and for getting back in touch. Expect an eponymous EP later this fall.

Music On This Week’s Show:

Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Wedding Present – “Signal”

Link Wray – “Jack The Ripper”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

King Curtis – “Potato Chips”

Booker T. – “Potato Hole”

Public Enemy – “Can’t Do Nuttin’ For You Man”

Jerry Garcia – “Deal”

Wild Nothing – “Golden Haze”