I am not sure where Lethem was going with this book and what he wanted me to think/feel at the end. The book must be meant to needle New Yorkers - the characters here are all so self obsessed and lacking real connection to each other. Chase is a bland shell of a person. I never got why he became obsessed with Perkus. Perkus, although in the end endearing, is the type of guy you would roll your eyes at in class or want to stay away from at a party. The other characters are even less relatable - Oona, a closed-off, manipulative ghost writer who is sleeping with Chase (and writing a book on the famous artist Laird Noteless, another funny Lethem use of language), Richard Abneg, a former liberal and activist who now works for the Mayor and is most definitely a social climber, and his new girlfriend, a very tell elegent woman name Georgina Hawkmanaji. As a reader you never quite buy Chase's relationship with Janice, the stranded astronaut. About midway through the book the characters become obsessed with these vase-like objects called Chaldrons. Perkus saw a painting of one in the office of Chase's alternative medicine healer. He then found Chaldrons all over e-bay, and became obsessed with bidding on the Chaldrons, without ever winning one, since some anonymous purchaser always sweeped in at the end and paid an outrageous price. But just looking at the image of the Chaldron captivated Perkus, and soon Chase and Richard too. Eventually Perkus finds a real life Chaldron, in the governors mansion. His attempt to touch and take this Chaldron is what eventually leads to Perkus' downfall and with his downfall the entire story up to that point falls down too. What the point of all of it was I still don't know. This is a book that certainly makes you think, but for me, I still have no clue what it is supposed to make me think about. If anyone out there has read it I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Now onto the burger.
Brioche Hamburger Buns and a Basic Burger
These brioche buns from the NY Times are both pretty easy and totally yummy. I think you could use this dough to make really awesome sweet buns too. Making your own hamburger buns may seem a little over the top but I swear try these, they are worth it!
Buns, adapted from NY Times Recipe
Ingredients:3 tablespoons warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened.
Directions: Combine yeast, sugar, milk and 1 cup warm water. Let stand till foamy, about five minutes.
Brush the buns with another beaten egg, and sprinkle sesame seeds on top if you have them and want it.
Bake in 400 degree over for about 15 minutes. Till tops are golden.
To make the burgers, I just used a mixture of ground sirloin and ground chuck, added salt and pepper and a few good glugs of Worcestershire sauce. The rest you can just follow the pictorial instructions! Pretty basic burger making!