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Bar Room Remedies

I figure I’ve probably spent more than a fourth of my adult life in bars.  For good or ill, you’re bound to pick up some things—not all of them terribly useful (anyone who has ever sat through my “Captain’s Shirt” joke knows that’s a fact).  That said, you do occasionally learn some things, especially from the old-timers, that can help get you through the day.
One of the most important things to remember is that a hundred years ago, everything in a bar was considered “medicine”.  Coke had cocaine, 7-Up had laudanum, and liquor has varying degrees of alcohol.  Before the rise of the massive pharmaceutical industry we know today, these were the simple remedies of every day working men and women.  Two important notes: 1) I AM NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR so these “curatives” are based on my experiences only and 2) DO NOT COMBINE ANY ALCOHOL WITH MEDICATION!  These are “natural” remedies that NEVER combine well with prescription meds, especially anti-psychotics or sleeping aids.  I’m sure there are many more, but these are some of my favorite—and most effective--all-time barroom remedies:
 

Headache  

 If you get to the bar with a headache, you need to be careful about what you drink!  Some kinds of alcohol cause your veins to compress and will actually make your headache worse.  AVOID: Vodka, white wine, champagne, and beer at all costs.  To cure your headache almost immediately, take a shot of tequila.  This will open up your blood vessels almost instantly relieving the pressure you’re feeling in your head.  Wait about 15 minutes, if you still have a headache, have ONE more shot of tequila.  That will do the trick, guaranteed, and you’re ready to enjoy the rest of the evening out!  DRINK: tequila, whiskey, mescal, or dark rum (especially Sailor Jerry owing to the higher alcohol content) for the rest of the night and your headache will stay away.  REMEMBER: You just had a couple shots of tequila in 15 minutes!  Drink some water and pace yourself!  You don’t want that headache back in the morning!

Hiccups    

Nearly every barroom warrior gets them now and again.  There are a zillion “remedies” people will advise you to try from holding your breath to drinking a glass of water upside-down (what does that even mean?!!).  Ignore that crap and order a shot of sugar.  Yes, regular old cane sugar.  The bartender will probably look at you weird but they’re also likely too young to have learned this trick so ignore that, too.  Take as much of the shot as you can fit in your mouth but DON’T SWALLOW IT, not yet at least.  Suck on it like you would a lozenge for a couple minutes.  It will gradually liquify in your mouth and you can swallow it as it does.  By the time you have swallowed all of the sugar, your hiccups will be gone 90% of the time.  If you still have them just repeat the process and that will be that!

Cold/stuffy nose  

This is another job for tequila and/or corn whiskey.  Literally any tequila will do the trick but, unfortunately, you will need to switch from Irish whiskey to American whisky or bourbon.  The reason is Irish whiskey is generally 51% rye and something about that chemistry doesn’t clear sinuses as well.  Knob Creek, Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, and Wild Turkey are some common labels that most bars will have on hand.  If, however, you can get someone to serve you Blanton’s, Mellow Corn, or Tin Cup, you’ll be glad they did AND you’ll be breathing easier in no time!  Continue to keep your blood alcohol level up for a couple of days and you will kill your cold.  They sterilize surgical instruments in alcohol for a reason!

The Flu  

 Don’t go to the bar, you have the flu.  At home, however, it’s vodka time.  I think of vodka as Vitamin V.  If you are able to catch your coming illness at the very first sign of nausea, start knocking back the shots (martinis are fine but skip the vermouth or any sweet ingredient you don’t want to see on the floor later; save your olives for the same reason).  If you need some kind of mixer, use Bitters and tonic water. Have a few shots (5-6) in quick succession and go to bed.  You’ll likely sleep like a baby and wake up having missed at least some of the worst of it.  If you’re too late you’re going to throw it all up but, hey, that was going to happen anyway and Vitamin V will ease your discomfort at a minimum.  If you DO succeed in getting out in front of it, stay home and stay drunk for 2-3 days.  Seriously.  And don’t feel guilty.  You would’ve been calling in sick anyway!

Acid Reflux    

Order a White Russian.  Still hurting?  Order another one.  This will not solve the problem but it will get you through the evening until you can get some Tums or whatever.  

Sinus Pressure    

Bailey’s.  It has a kind of “menthol-like” property that helps clear up the mucus membranes.  It will probably take 3-4 shots but it WILL work.  As with a normal headache, avoid the vaso-compressors listed above.  Red wine can really help as well.  It tends to elevate your body temp a bit and is extremely soothing for your nerves. By the second glass you should be breathing easier.

Indigestion    

Bitters and soda on the rocks.  Be sure to stir everything a bit before drinking.  Repeat until you feel better.  Bitters were originally brewed by pharmacists as a digestif, after all! If you’re in a place that doesn’t have Bitters, you are not in a bar. Find a real bar with a real barman or woman immediately.

 

Those are the basics and will get you through almost everything you might routinely face during an evening out on the town—at least internally.  Nothing at the bar will find your lost cell phone.  The most important thing to remember is this: If you can’t cure it at the bar, it’s probably fatal.  In which case, you might as well have a few anyway. Cheers!

White Trash Casserole

I think it was probably growing up a latchkey kid that led to my creativity in making food.  Great chefs are truly fearless in the kitchen (Fried peanut butter, honey, bacon, and banana sandwich?  Yes!  Elvis?  You’re welcome!).  Like bravery, however, most cooking is born out of 3 things: 1) Fear—if you’re not sure where your next meal is coming from and there’s food, eat.  2) Necessity—waiting around hungry for mom to get home will lead you to try sprinkles on just about anything.  3) Urgency—as Patti Smith once sang, “When you’re hungry, you’re not too particular about what you’ll eat.” 
My cooking style also has a fourth consistent characteristic, Laziness.  I am lazy as hell and usually just as hungry by the time I get to the kitchen.  Therefore, I want food that is delicious, fast and the preparation and eating of which will dirty the least number of dishes and pans that have to be washed later.  If I ever write a cookbook it will likely be called “One Pan Wonders” or the like.  In the meantime, I love to cook—both fancy and not—and I’d love to share the occasional recipe with you!
Without further ado, this week’s nibble of par excellence: White Trash Casserole.  This meal will take approximately 10 to 12 minutes to make and requires a 1.5 quart or larger saucepan, a plate, a measuring cup, and a fork, utensil-wise.  In terms of ingredients, you’ll need a couple of hot dogs, 4 slices of American cheese, a cup of water, and a cup of Minute Rice. 
Here’s how you make it: Ready, Set, Go!

Turn on the closest stove burner to its highest setting—it’s a good idea to match the burner size to your pan size but not mandatory.  Fill a measuring cup with water and pour it in your pan then put the pan on the stove.  If you like salt and pepper, add them to taste.  Also, a little garlic never hurt anyone.  Get your hot dogs out of the fridge and put two in the boiling water.  Really hungry?  Three works.  This makes a plateful of food, however, so no need to get too carried away.  You’re going to get hungry later and you’ll need more food.  Ration accordingly.
While you’re waiting for the water to boil and your hot dogs are starting to “cook”, grab 4 slices of American cheese and peel the wrappers off.  Lay out the slices on your plate so they hang off the edge a bit—you’ll need to grab them quickly in a sec and you don’t want to have to scrape them off the plate!  Nobody likes cheese under their fingernails.  
Now it’s time to refill the measuring cup you used for the water with Minute Rice.  Literally, no other kind or brand of rice will do as far as I’m concerned.  They all take too much time, require more ingredients, or both.  Minute Rice requires rice and water only, and in equal amounts.  KISS method, my friends.  That’s how you do it.
Back to your pan where your water should be starting to boil.  If you’re reading this from La Rinconada, Peru, your water’s already been boiling for a bit but that’s okay (I’ll leave relative boiling points at different altitudes for another—far distant—blog).  Dump the rice in there and use your fork to get every last kernel (or whatever an individual piece of rice is called) out of the cup.  You’re hungry, dammit!  You want them all!  Now grab your fork and stir in all the rice so it’s all wet—yes, you’ll need to work around the dogs.  Don’t worry, you can do this.  Turn the burner off, set the pan aside, and put your plate on top of the pan.  Set your fork on top of the plate—you don’t want to have to wash a lid or two forks later.  Seriously.  Set a timer for 5 minutes.
Now, if you’ve made the tactical error of pulling out a plastic or paper plate, that won’t work.  Instead, use a lid to cover the pan.  Using the size that matches the pan is ideal but, again, not mandatory.  Any size that will seal it will do.  If you don’t have a plate but you DO have a lid that’s totally fine.  You can eat off that instead.  Again, dish economy is key in all B. Fuller cooking.
During the 5 minutes I’m waiting for this masterpiece to come together, I usually rinse the measuring cup off and throw it back in the drawer—already a fourth of the way done with my dishes!  Then I open a beer and pace, looking at the timer often enough to add a full hour to the mental prep time.  
If you’re not a pacer, you can also use this time to add some vegetables if you’d like.  From frozen, put about a half cup or so in a bowl with a quarter cup of water and put all of that in the microwave with a napkin on top for about 4 minutes—precise instructions will be on the bag.  It is a casserole and I suppose you technically need some veggies to qualify, right? This will require washing a bowl and probably a strainer as well but they’re good for you and add flavor so do it if you can!
While we’re waiting, I’m excited to share that you can add practically anything to this dish.  That’s right, just about anything at all!  Got a drumstick left over from KFC?  Strip the chicken and crust off the bone and chuck it right in.  Leftover burrito from a couple days ago?  Don’t let that sucker go to waste!  Scrape the innards out and in they go.  Breakfast bacon?  Ham?  Yep, it all works as long as it’s pre-cooked and you’re just reheating along with the rice and cheese.  You can also use any cheese you like, by the way.  Kraft Singles are the easiest—and the kind we always had in the fridge growing up—but I made this with leftover ham steak, Gruyere, and some asparagus a couple weeks ago.  Washed it down with a decent Bordeaux. You can get as fancy as you’d like is what I’m saying.
Back to the food at hand: By now your timer should be going off.  Take the plate off the pan and set it on the counter.  Visible in the pan will be a glob of melted cheese and a bunch of fluffy white rice.  Stick your fork down there and get your hot dogs out one at a time and put them on the plate.  Take your fork and stir the remainder until the cheese and rice are thoroughly blended.  Pour that over your hot dogs and voila!  White Trash Casserole!  If you’re adding veggies, put them right on top of the rest.  Take the pan and fill it with hot water and put it in the sink.  You’ll get to that later—or, if you’re lucky, mom will catch that when she gets home.  In the meantime, get to your favorite chair and dig in! 

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That’s it for now.  Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming Kentucky and Nevada images.  Likewise, I did some experimenting with an actual camera over the holidays so you’ll want to check back to see how that worked out.  Between now and then, see you on FB and IG!  Bon appetit!

B

SOMETHING NEW AT BFULLERFOTO!

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For as long as I can remember I had an interest in—and a passion for—photography.  Growing up in a shall we say, “financially challenged” household, however, pursuing that interest was never an option until more recently.  Today, I’m an enthusiast, to say the least. I have published more than 5000 images in the last couple of years alone.  I’m not saying they’re all great; they’re not.  But I AM saying I’ve been busy.
For those who have known me from my jewelry career and my work as a business consultant to the luxury trade, you know that I have never stood in front of anything that isn’t “best of breed”.  When I began bfullerfoto a while back, that same philosophy applied.  Art is art— it touches you, or it doesn't.  The materials it’s produced with, however, MUST be the absolute best.
Because I’ve always insisted on using only museum-quality, archival everything, the prices of my work have been on the salty side.  Moreover, since I only print five of each image and then destroy the original, each piece is relatively rare.  For my “one-offs”, the buyer owns not just the print but the actual image as well—no other photographer in the world works this way.  Maybe that’s weird, but I never wanted to be in the poster business.  
That said, I would like my work to be accessible to a broader audience.  To do that, and still offer exceptional quality, I had to eliminate all of the custom options and reduce the size of the finished pieces. BUT, the result is that, for the first time, I can produce enough volume of a small number of images to offer them at a markedly reduced price—UNDER $100!  You’ll see the link at the top right of the page on the website.  I’m starting with 25 images—print sizes are 24 x 16 for rectangles, 20 x 20 for squares.  Each piece is watermarked with the BFULLERFOTO logo AND hand-signed on the reverse.  
To give you a sense of the quality of these prints, please understand that they are being produced in Germany by a supplier whose biggest customers are museums.  Am I honored that they also sell to me?  Yes, I am. The message here is that even though you’ll be ordering something less rare, you’ll still be receiving bfullerfoto quality. And I’m very proud of that.
I hope you’ll take some time to peruse these images.  Whether you are adding to you your bfullerfoto collection or just starting one, I am more than grateful for your support.  Fall in love with America.  It’s time.