Your Own Back Yard – Michael Gillan Maxwell

Visual Art – Creative Writing – Social Commentary



The Lunch Lady Cookbook Summer Edition Sizzlin’ Summer Slam Extravaganza Volume I

Blues in the Bottle

Hey there everybody! This is The Lunch Laddy, Michael Gillan Maxwell, bringing you a special summer edition of The Lunch Lady Cookbook. As Alice Cooper said:” School’s out for summer!” Right? You know it Baby ~ and when school’s out, that means the Lunch Lady is chillin’ like a villain and gellin’ like a felon ~ but there are  still plenty of Lunch Lady doings to rant and rave about.

First of all, it’s been a scorcher. It’s as hot as a dockers armpit, so hot even my sweat is sweating, hot as a marathon runner’s jockstrap, sweating bullets and hotter than a two peckered billy goat, hotter than Hades and sweating like a stevedore, hotter than a hen in a wool blanket, hotter than a two dollar pistol, hotter than bus station chili, hotter’n a burnt boot, hot as Methodist Hell, hotter than the hinges hangin’ off the gates of Hell, oy it’s a schvittz out there!


Some of you have been writing me to say:”What gives Lunch Laddy? Who takes the summer off anymore? People gotta eat!” You have spoken and I am listening, good people. Not only do people gotta eat, but people gotta drink too. There may be some of that here in The Lunch Lady Cookbook Summer edition. Just you wait and see.

Summer Grill

Summer is the right time for the night time to fire up the grill! The coals should be just past the point of incinerating anything that comes near them. I always find it best to start with a humongous pyre on a spit of land that is surrounded on three sides by water. That way if things get out of control it greatly increases your odds of outrunning the conflagration, should things get out of hand and if that doesn’t work, you can dive into the water in any one of three directions. On Seneca Lake there are any number of wineries or microbreweries that you can swim to while you recover from the trauma.

Dusk on Fir Tree Point
Firing Up the Coals I
Firing Up the Coals II

So getting down to brass tacks. The Event of the Season was The Lunch Laddy’s “Lunch Lady Cookout for the Summer Babies” (which of course was a thinly veiled excuse to invite all my friends over to give me presents!) My oldest childhood friend, Mike (by that, I mean he’s 1 day older than me) flew out from Wisconsin so we could celebrate our birthdays together. Needless to say, our reunion set a new standard for civilized discourse and sophisticated entertaining for generations to come. It was ascots and cocktails at Noel Coward’s all the way..

English Butler
Basic Supplies
Fancy Hors D’oevres
Basic Munchies

The menu was replete with summer classics ~ all kinds of skewered stuff, flaming grills, blues, cold beer, watermelon, sweet corn, chicken spiedies, venison spiedies, shrimp on the barbie, summer salads a-go-go, carrot cake, banana bread, blueberry bread  and about 52 bottles of wine that my friend Jeff brought (what kind of man does he think I am anyway???) I served elegant hors-d’oeuvres on pirate themed dinnerware and we played ukeleles ‘till dawn. Thankfully no animals were injured in the making of that party. I even successfully navigated that most prosaic of summer dishes, but one who’s essence has eluded me ~the time honored, but very underestimated: “Potato Salad”

Lunch Lady Summer Slam Potato Salad

2 pounds eensie weensie itty bitty fresh red potatoes (no ~ don’t even THINK of skinning them!)

1 cup Spanish onion (finely chopped)

1/2 cup fresh celery (finely chopped)

3 scallions sliced diced signed sealed and delivered

Cilantro, basil and chives from the Lunch Lady’s Herb Garden

Pink Hawaiian Sea Salt, pepper, garlic powder

Mayonnaise (4 tablespoons ~ maybe more)

1 Tablespoon of hot, horseradish mustard

Steam potatoes until done ( not too done ~still a touch on the firm side ~ if potatoes could be ‘al dente” that would be it) Chill in fridge until cool. (or even cold)

Slice and dice ~ along with everything else on this list. (Watch your fingers)

Add together with mayonnaise in a large mixing bowl.

Add spices liberally. (Season to taste)


Serve on pirate themed dinnerware.

Pirate Themed Dinnerware
Pirate Themed Napkins

Beverage pairings:

9 bottles of wine ~ mostly Spanish Reserve Riojas

Ice cold beer

Grey Goose Vodka and Pomegranate Juice (it’s brimming with antioxidants)

What Kind of Man Do These People Think I Am?

Music pairing:

The Lunch Lady Summer Baby Birthday Mix

  1. Birthday     The Beatles
  2. The Stumble      Freddy King
  3. Treat Her Right Roy Head & The Traits
  4. Boogaloo Down Broadway     The Fantastic Johnny C
  5. Haunted House  Roy Buchanan
  6. Mr. Pitiful Otis Redding
  7. Barefootin’     Robert Parker
  8. Tramp     Otis Redding
  9. Knock On Wood  Sam and Dave
  10. Land Of 1000 Dances Wilson Pickett
  11. Cool Jerk The Capitols
  12. Nashville Cats The Lovin’ Spoonful
  13. Respect Aretha Franklin
  14. Soul Man Sam & Dave
  15. Walking the Dog Rufus Thomas
  16. Peter Gunn     Duane Eddy
  17. Rumble Link Wray
  18. Darlin’ Companion The Lovin’ Spoonful
  19. California Sun    The Rivieras
  20. Bad Boy The Beatles
  21. Lovin’ You    The Lovin’ Spoonful
  22. Polk Salad Annie    Tony Joe White
  23. Henry Thomas The Lovin’ Spoonful
  24. Six Days On the Road Dave Dudley
  25. (You’re The) Devil In Disguise Elvis Presley

Repeat as necessary then follow up with playing ukeleles ‘till dawn. It helps if you can pay your neighbors to leave town for the weekend. I think that’s one of the reasons I still have a squeaky clean criminal record. If you ever sleep over at my house there will always be a fresh kazoo next to your bed, in case of emergency.

That’s it for Vol.I ! Stay cool and keep it on the DL…..

Be back soon with:

The Lunch Lady Cookbook

Summer Edition Sizzlin’ Summer Slam Extravaganza ~ Volume II

(Spoiler alert ~ It involves 2 pounds of BACON!)

Happy Dance

The Lunch Lady Cookbook ~ Rock Stream Slam Sausages


The Lunch Lady Cookbook

Rock Stream Slam Sausages

Hey everyone! How ya’ doin’? This is The Lunch Laddy, Michael Maxwell, coming to you with another recipe for The Lunch Lady Cookbook. Since we’re in the middle of what Mother Jones Magazine calls “a mutant heatwave shattering all records” and that ain’t funny for all kinds of reasons, I thought I’d at least honor this premature blast of solar radiation with some traditional warm weather fare. The Lunch Lady Cookbook is proud to present to you: “Rock Stream Slam Sausages.” You’ll need the following ingredients:

1 pound fresh Italian Sausages (preferably HOT)

1 Sweet Vidalia Onion

1 Red Pepper

Fresh Sesame Rolls

1 Six Pack Pork Slap Pale Ale (TM Pork Slap Pale Ale)

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Wango Tango Habenero Hot Barb-B-Que Sauce (TM Dinosaur Barb-B-Q)

The staff at The Lunch Lady Cookbook is always on my case and all up in my grill to put a new spin on things, so I’m delivering this recipe in the form of a slam poem. The recipe (poem) should be read with a funky, up tempo bass and drum track. As always, this should be played by live musicians, if at all possible. However, if this is not practical, then may I suggest sampling James Brown’s Funky Drummer where he instructed drummer Clyde Stubblefield as follows: “You don’t have to do no soloing, brother, just keep what you got… Don’t turn it loose, ’cause it’s a mother.” Remember the immortal words of Mr. James Brown: “A man got his hair and teeth, he got it all!”

Cue the music and hit it!

Rock Stream Slam Sausages

“This is how we do it,” he said,

pouring olive oil in a pan and turning the burner up high

“Heat that oil up, and crank the music loud

but don’t let ‘er get too hot or she’ll smoke!

At least, that’s what SHE said

Meanwhile, slice some peppers up,

if you got ‘em. sweet onions, if you want ‘em,

then put ‘em in the pan when it’s good and hot,

Once they start fryin’, lay them sausages right down in there

Take care to turn ‘em, cuz you don’t wanna burn ‘em

Get some rosemary, basil and chives from the garden,

cut ‘em up and pile ‘em in, then put a lid on it

When the onions start to go brown and clear,

they’re carmelizin’, so you crack a beer,

whatever kind ya got, before she gets too hot,

pour a little in the pan, then drink the rest

Lower the heat and cover it quick. Let it all stew for a little bit,

‘till them sausages turn plump and pink

Take ‘em off the stove and set ‘em aside.

You can let ’em sit like that, while you go outside

take the dogs for a walk, see a man ‘bout a dog … whatever

Fire up the grill and get it smokin’ hot,

then you drop them sausages right on in there,

cover ‘em up and turn the flame down low, if you’re cookin’ with gas,

otherwise you gotta let it go, ‘til ya get them coals to glow

Be sure to cook ‘em slow

That’s when you start paintin’ on the barbeque sauce

Don’t be shy about it, slather it on nice and thick

Keep ‘em turnin’, cuz you don’t wanna burn ‘em

Down another cold one, take it easy and take your time,

maybe even have another one, cuz when that’s done,

they’re done, then you take ‘em off the grill

Before ya put it to the test, ya gotta let it rest

That’s the secret to grillin’ good meat

That meat been workin’ hard, my brother,

ya gotta let it rest.”

Slather with Wango Tango Sauce while they’re on the grill.

Wango Tango Sauce

Serve on sliced rolls that have been grilled until gently toasted.

Increase the heat with hot horseradish mustard.

Beer Pairing: Porkslap Pale Ale

Music Pairing: “Gimme Back My Wig” Hound Dog Taylor

“Muddy Waters”  The Chess Box

Porkslap Pale Ale

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