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Tab dump

1) How restaurants use menus to trick you.

2) What happens when Wall Street gets its hands on cap and trade?

3) I liked David Brooks's take on Chanukkah.

4) Henry Ford as Sarah Palin.

5) Megan McArdle's gift guide for foodies is fantastic. One addendum: If the Ken Onion knife is too pricey, consider a Global knife.

6) Growth forecasts for the fourth quarter are being revised upward, which is good news indeed.

Recipe of the day: I'm actually going to beg you for one. What's a good holiday punch? And I'm not talking one of those fruity concoctions. Liquor, spice, that sort of thing.

Also, the Team of Ten asked me to wish those of you between 55 and 64, and who are unemployed or work at a small business, a good weekend.

By Ezra Klein  |  December 11, 2009; 6:49 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Second-guessing the Fed
Next: Joe Lieberman: Let's not make a deal!


Megan McArdle recommends an egg separator? Alton Brown has it right: don't have ANY unitaskers in your kitchen.

Posted by: wagster | December 11, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I recommend a crock pot of Hot Buttered Rum. Spicy, warm and you can still taste the dark rum. It will make your belly and your tongue happy.

Posted by: kirklandj1 | December 11, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Punch without fruit? Can't think of anything but eggnog there... I like to keep things simple; if it's hot, Sangria, if it's cold, Glühwein (mulled wine). Adjust fruit and spice to your own specifications.

Posted by: Brian5 | December 11, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

have your gluhwein with the most beautiful christmas music of the season..."sicut locutus est" from bach's "magnificat."
why isnt the magnificent "magnificat" as popular at this time of year as handel's "messiah?"
a mystery.

Posted by: jkaren | December 11, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

for truly exalted music...
vivaldi's "gloria in excelsis deo."

Posted by: jkaren | December 11, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I guess it's not a punch as much as a cocktail, but it's seasonally appropriate and got spice and liquor: the toddy. T Magazine recently ran a recipe:

Posted by: slyc | December 11, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

I would suggest "Legaré Street Punch," from a very old cookbook of Charleston, SC recipes. For some reason, there are about 30 punch recipes in it. I think they like punch at their debutante balls. It doesn't have much in the way of "spice," but in its simplicity, you can't really go wrong, and it's not sweet. Makes 36-40 servings :

1 quart sauternes
2 quarts champagne
1 pint cognac
1 quart carbonated water
Mix sauternes and cognac, adding the champagne and carbonated water last. Pour over ice and serve immediately.

I cut out a recipe just this past week (NY Times Magazine?) for "Gold Leaf Punch," from Damon Boelte at Prime Meats. Though maybe it's too sweet for what you're looking for. It makes 12 drinks.
16 oz. Laird's Applejack
8 oz. maple syrup (my comment: that's weird, but maybe interesting)
6 oz. lemon juice
20 ounces apple cider
3 dashes Fee Brothers bitters
1 750-ml. bottle Champagne or dry sparkling wine
1/2 apple, quartered and sliced thinly on mandoline.
Mix all ingredients together in punch bowl. Serve over crushed ice.

I really think the basis of any good traditional, old-fashioned punch, however, is strong green tea. Then start throwing in brandy, rum, lemons, sugar, and champagne. Throw in whatever the hell you want. If there's enough brandy and rum and champagne mixed together, it really doesn't matter. Everyone will be so plastered they won't care.

Posted by: JJenkins2 | December 11, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Can never agree to a punch at Christmas...too cheesy and smacks of the office party!

Better to serve mulled wine, smells wonderful and everyone comes back for more. Keep it simple...depending on how many people use a decent burgandy and to each bottle add a cup of good quality organic apple cider, slice an orange, add some cinnamon sticks, a couple of cloves, and a shave or two of nutmeg and a few green cardamon pods. Bring to a mild simmer and serve. Yummy! Make a non-acholic one using all apple cider or half grape and apple.


Posted by: mensagrrl | December 12, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Or...try a nice prosecco with pomagrante juice in flutes...very nice.

Posted by: mensagrrl | December 12, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Butterscotch schnappes + Apple Cider.

Simple. Delicious. Festive...

Posted by: destiny2 | December 12, 2009 2:17 AM | Report abuse

For the punch, if you're looking for something really easy and really scalable, I'd suggest the first drink I ever invented, when I was 17. It's call the Salmonella Float, and it's
1 part Jack Daniels (or comparable whiskey)
3 parts eggnog
1-2 parts Coke
Try it in small quantities first. You'll have to play around with the proportions a little--get it really wrong and the eggnog can curdle.

Posted by: adamlstempel | December 12, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Something I've been thinking about the last few days. For better of worse, liberals drew a line in the sand on the public option. My concern is that to bargain that away now is to weaken us in future negotiations, both over health care and later issues. I think it hurts our credibility. Having said that, my perception of the political role of the public option is to balance out the individual mandate. Would the entire health care reform bill unravel is we eliminated both the public option and the mandate?

Posted by: valeskoi | December 12, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

valeskoi: Yup, the whole thing would unravel without individual mandates. No mandates, then no elimination of pre-existing conditions, then no improvement. If you eliminate mandates, then what's to prevent people from free-riding until they get sick?

Posted by: J_Bean | December 12, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Megan McArdle has given readers another gift as well -- her little piece about how Baucus should resign or be thrown overboard. Amen. The man is a slimeball. His withdrawal of the nomination when the relationship was discovered shows he was trying to pull a fast one. This is a man who is profiteering off high office.

Posted by: truck1 | December 12, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Steve Benen at Washington Monthly is wondering whether Sen. Nelson of Nebraska is going to vote for any health care bill, so the whole enterprise seems at the mercy of the senators from Maine and Sen. Lieberman.

I assume that there'll be a trigger provision allowing the bill's provisions to take effect only after the US government has run a surplus for five years in a row.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 12, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Kitchen knife department:

Cheap ceramic knives seem to be entering the market. I've seen a diamond sharpening device that's supposed to work on ceramics just as well as it does steel. It looks like a mini version of the big sharpeners for microtome blades--a holder that lets you slide the blade at the perfect angle across a flat diamond-studded board. Which raises an uncomfortable question: If sharpened microtome knives when I was a student, why am I so helpless with the knives lurking in the kitchen? It's like doing OK in chem lab only to be puzzled by cookbooks.

Serrated ceramic knife for tomatoes, bread, sandwiches sound like a bright idea. I bought a wavy Shun sandwich knife at a deep discount, but am afraid to deploy it because it's single-side sharpened, at a Japanese, not German angle. At least it's lovely to look at.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 12, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

All-Clad LTD pots and maybe a cheap potato peeler from Bed-Bath-and-Beyond are all you really need to achieve universal peace and harmony in a just world.

Posted by: leoklein | December 12, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Holiday punch:

1. generous size glass
2. ice cubes
3. Macallan
4. Repeat

Oh PUNCH! What is this, third grade? A church social?

Posted by: pj_camp | December 12, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Ice in Macallan is heresy. Plain water, if you please.

Thought talk of whisky is better than indulging McFatuous.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | December 12, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

"plain water, if you please."

southern california is a bowl of punch this evening.
we are floating away.
even the christmas lights look watery.

Posted by: jkaren | December 12, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

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