On one of the local morning "news" programs today, Jacko's manager was being interviewed and made the remark that Jackson had desperately needed to gain weight before embarking on the now needless and never to happen "come-back" tour.
He said something to the effect that Jackson himself had acknowledged that in order to keep his strength on the tour, he needed to gain weight, something that Jackson was otherwise desperate to avoid.
It would seem that in a serious bid to maintain a lithe and boyish figure, Michael Jackson took only one meal a day. No one it seems told him he was fat, no one screamed at him, "Oh my God, you are such a COW, loose that fat before next week!" No, this was Jackson's own doing, his own self enforced slow starvation.
Ironic, isn't it, that the man who helped pen the words for a song to raise money for the starving in Africa in 1985 would himself be a little more than skin pulled over bones at the end.
The man on TV went on that he had encouraged a gain in weight for his client, had hoped it would happen. I should like to know just how was Team Jackson trying to go about this little project?
I would be willing to bet my own substantial weight in peanut butter cups that the chef at his rented "Norma Desmond" hacienda was of the typical LA breed. A whisper thin size zero of a person who serves spinach leaves wrapped in seaweed with one round, perfect pea on top and calls that "Fabu!"
Come on, buddy. If you all were really serious about getting your late client back into any shape other than that resembling a straw, you would have hired a cook that hailed from the Midwest, someone who could whip up dishes that would put meat on them there bones and then meat on the meat.
Someone like me!
You wanna gain weight in a hurry? I'm your girl. We can do this one of many ways. If you'd like a little finesse to your weight gain, I can whip up a platter of a beautiful milanesas.
A specialty of Argentina, milanesas are fillets of razor thin beef which has been dunked in a bath of eggs and parsley and then covered in a heaping pile of seasoned bread crumbs to which pressed garlic has been added.
One at a time, the freshly breaded fillets are fried in a pan of shallow oil, gently turned one side to the other and then carefully placed on a platter and covered. When all of the fillets have been fried, the platter is then taken to the table to join the garlic mashed potatoes whipped with half and half and real butter, and the tender green beans that have been co-mingling with chunks of bacon or better yet, pistachio ham.
A bowl of lemon wedges should be offered in which to christen the milanesa in a fine spray of tarty juice. Take the first cut and hold it in your mouth; breath deeply to take in the intense flavors of garlic, lemmon, and spices. Let the breaded meat slide back on your tongue.
Swallow. Savor. Bang the table with your hand and make "mmmmm" noises.
Repeat, over and over.
A platter of milanesas will send your taste buds to heaven and your weight just as sky high in only one sitting.
If you don't care how the pounds pack on then I would advise pure Midwest fare and none is more Midwest than the traditional Tater-tot Casserole.
Also known as "Tater-tot Hot-dish" in Minnesota, (because they can't spell "casserole"), this unholy combo of seasoned browned hamburger meat, green beans from a can and frozen tater-tots is held together by a thick glue of Cream of Mushroom soup. Slosh the whole thing together in a Pyrex baking bowl and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until contents are boiling and the taters are brown.
Serve with hot beaten biscuits or corn bread slathered in honey butter for maximum poundage effect. I was going to say that one could always serve this over mashed potatoes but that would be overdoing it a bit. Save the mashed potatoes for your chicken and noodles instead.
(You know, it wasn't until I met my CA reared hubby that I came to know that chicky-noodles over mashed was NOT a good thing. DH was fairly horrified upon his first offering of the dish and sat me down to go over why this should not be served together anymore.
"Come on, think about it!" he cautioned, "NOODLES over mashed POTATOES!"
I stared back blankly.
"NOODLES and POTATOES are..."
The answer he clearly wanted was "starches" but to my church basement casseroled mind naught but good could ever come from the two mixed together.)
But I digress.
The food is only half the battle. In a case like Jackson's, presentation of the food would have also played a key role. I would have insisted that Jackson dine "en famille". No taking a tray in one's room, no phone calls, texting, no shop talk. Just Michael and his children at a small kitchen table.
Should there not have been such an item in the place, I would have shopped for one. A simple Formica topped kitchen table with metal legs and a covering of checked oil cloth on which rests a plastic napkin holder with matching salt and pepper shakers. Some of you know what I'm talking about. In fact, you can likely see it right now in your mind's eye can't you; your Mother's kitchen table.
If they wanted seconds, great! Help yourselves! The bowls are all right there. You want to stage a food fight at the end? Go ahead but you all are going to clean it up!
To follow, I would have sought out what could have best passed for a back porch in that over-priced rented pile of bricks and served up, warming and steaming from the oven, home made cherry pie ala mode.
There is nothing quite like a back porch, a summer evening and pie to bring out stories, good conversation and simple contentment. If I could have imported fire flies from the Midwest, I would have if only to make the illusion of "home" complete.
Two weeks of this and I could have delivered unto his managers a well fed and well minded Michael Jackson.
There are those of course who would say, "Oh get real! The man was an anorexic! All your mila this and tater-tot that would have been floating to the LA river within the hour!"
Likely this would have been so. But let me dream, won't you? Let me dream of what could have been had the hangers on around this lost soul ever really truly cared enough to have gotten him the help he so painfully needed.
Let me dream about what difference a few fire flies and a slice of homemade pie might have made.