Writing Switch: Provisions of proletariats | AspenTimes.com

Writing Switch: Provisions of proletariats

Benjamin Welch and Sean Beckwith
Sean Beckwith, far left, watches with envy on his face as Ben Welch, center, poses with some guy at the Food & Wine Grand Tasting in like, 2017.

We don’t want to brag about being veterans of Food & Wine weekend per se, but we’ve at least developed a strategy for maximizing our journalism credentials to saunter into a couple of events. Ever the hounds for a free meal and sample cocktail, we’ve learned the worst thing you can do is over-indulge at the Grand Tasting and end up napping at 3 p.m., waking up at midnight too hung over to get up and too well-rested to sleep.

Seminars are like Sunday school except they’re 15 minutes shorter and serve 20 times more wine. This week, we’ve developed our own classes — free to you in this magazine — if you’re on a real shoestring budget and can’t dole out $4,000 for a ticket to this year’s event.


SB: An adage of the high society is “Never go to the store hungry and stoned.” Walking out of City Market with $12 worth of sushi, Takis, Chewy Chips Ahoy and frozen mozzarella sticks is not only unhealthy but also unappetizing. However, there is a place for creativity at the grocery store if you have a basic outline.

An example of this is what I call fine line dining. Grocery lists are constricting, so having an olio of day-old options provides spontaneity. London broil? OK. Some kind of tri tip? Absolutely for that price. As long as it’s not petrified or the color of a zombie, you can dial it out with a little Googling. From the recipe, you can deduce an appropriate side — or at least one would hope. In case of incompetence, just buy a salad kit. Related note: Make sure you eat that mystery cut the day-of because there’s a fine line between delectable and dysentery.

As far as blindly selecting a wine goes, a red will pair well with whatever random cut of a cow you purchased. A trick I like to use is roaming the specials aisle looking for some vino discounted down to the $10 to $15 range with only a few bottles left in the row, case, etc. The logic is that other people buying wines know what they’re doing, so if they think this particular selection is a good value, why the f— not?

And voila, you now have a balanced meal that won’t give you strange burps/heartburn the rest of the night. Congratulations, you’re a functioning stoner.


BW: I’ve never matched with a celebrity before on Tinder, only one’s personal assistant. That is, until the headliner of this year’s bourgeois bash, Martha Stewart, superlikes me.

I’ll offer to make her dinner and smoke her out. She’ll accept and I will rush to the grocery store.

Walking down the aisle I find barren shelves and computer printer-paper signs that say “RECALL: Frozen chicken strips that expired in February might kill you; search your freezer for this product you scarfed down months ago while binging on ‘Catfish.’” Shit.

“OMAHA!” I audible in my head. I’ll make her a staple of the Midwestern people: Tater Tot Hotdish. This recipe was passed down to me through my Norwegian ancestors and I have had it memorized since birth.

Grandma Ope’s Tater Tot Hotdish


• 1 bag of tater tots that are perpetually on sale.

• 1 bag of frozen diced “meal starter” onions.

• Oh and also preheat the oven to liiiike … 420 degrees (for high altitude baking).

• 1 bag of mixed vegetables (not the ones with onions; you already got those).

• Hmmm…

• A couple cans of cream of mushroom soup.

• Hamburger. (Say “hi” to Sean at the discount bin.)

• Aluminum foil (to line your pan with so you don’t

have to wash it).

• Oh shit you should have put the tots in a couple of minutes ago and started cooking the meat over the 4 setting on the stove. (My bad.)

• OK now I’m pretty sure you mix the cans of soup with the veggies and a bag of shredded cheese. (Don’t get the blocks; too hard to measure.)

• And then throw the leftover tots in the mixture (you didn’t put all of them in the oven did you?).

• Lower the temp to 350, pour everything into a dish and bake for the duration of six games of “Super Smash Bros.”

• Put some, like, garlic salt and paprika on top.

• 17 Tbsp. ranch dressing (for dip).

• Enjoy with whiskey (*sabers a bottle of Black Velvet*).

It’s a good thing.


SB: Most people don’t have to deal with weird “Top Chef” twists in their everyday culinary experience. Hey, you have a $5 budget that you can use at this sparsely stocked Shell gas station for dinner, do your best. OK, 99 cent Arizona Arnold Palmer, whatever looks good from the hot dog roller and Doritos. Tell me that shit isn’t good, Padma.

From my time living in some lady’s sun room in Miami with only a hot plate to the high and low heats of intermittently functioning burners of Aspen’s subsidized housing, I’ve learned how to bang out some single-pan dishes that would lead to only like three or four F-bombs from Gordon Ramsey.

Here are my chicken gringo tacos:

Salt and pepper 1 pound of boneless chicken thighs. Fry them in your pan with some oil until they’re done (I don’t have specific times for you. I’m on a word limit and you’re probably not going to cook this anyway). Take the thighs off and shred them. Before you add the chicken back into the pan, sauté half of a finely diced white onion. Add the chicken, top with seasoning (paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, chili flakes and some kind of dope hot sauce), pour in cheap lager and mix. Cover with foil and simmer until the liquid is gone (45 minutes to an hour depending on your janky ass burner).

Spoon onto flour tortillas like a real gringo, add chopped lettuce, cheese (grate your own, that shredded stuff has sawdust in it) and salsa or pico. Don’t forget to wedge it (squeeze of lime). (Bonus pico recipe for you, Colicchio: 4 romas, 4 sizable jalapenos, 1 medium red onion, cilantro, lime, hot sauce and salt. Dice your veggies like you have some self respect.)


BW: I’ve been on this diet for a couple of years now where instead of downing a craft six pack and its 2,000 calories, I mix a classic spirit like vodka with diet sodas to preserve my figure. Diet Dr. Pepper is often the best option because the pruney taste masks the artificial flavoring moreso than, say, Diet Coke. If you’re afraid of pumping your body with 2 liters of aspartame every few days, Diet Pepsi uses … something different. At least, they used to advertise an alternative carcinogenic sweetener on the bottles. Maybe they switched back, so look that up. Pepsi also provides a caffeine-free version of its diet product for when you want to go to bed early instead of being hopped up and listening to the “Terryfold” song from “Rick and Morty” until 4 a.m.

As with every weight-loss program you need a healthy amount of cheat days. If you feel like you deserve a treat, mix your vodka with a lite soda, such as Fanta or Cherry 7-Up. The fruits of these beverages will keep the pounds and scurvy at bay while still providing tons of smooth flavor.

Looking to go full minimalist, shed the lard and introduce some keto? Swap the pop with club soda and a couple squirts of a liquid beverage mix like MiO. The water will help keep you hydrated and at a comfortable buzz during your normal workout routine.

sbeckwith@aspentimes.com bwelch@aspentimes.com

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