Food Slam Q & A

Local Yokel Outlaw Big Sam Spurhog

I sat down with Local Yokel outlaw Big Sam Spurhog and asked him a few questions about the upcoming WMSE Food Slam. A man of few words, he was a reluctant subject at first. Once I rolled him a cigarette and poured two shots of whiskey, he started talkin’ like a house on fire. The following is a transcript of the conversation we had in an undisclosed barroom through the wee hours of this too-bright morning.

EH: What is the WMSE Food Slam, Big Sam?

BSS: That’s where me and the boys cook up some possum beans ‘n the man who holds down the most wins the prize mule.

EH: I think the Food Slam is actually an event held by WMSE where twenty-seven Milwaukee restaurants throw down some of the best food in town. WMSE DJs spin tunes, local establishments provide auction items, and Slammers eat and drink and bid and it’s a real good time. You know what I’m talkin’ about? [Big Sam strums on his guitar and doesn’t respond. His eyes are covered by his twenty-gallon hat, but I catch glimpses of their haze every time he throws back a shot of whiskey.]  Where’s this year’s Slam taking place, Big Sam?

BSS: Down at Ma Shepherd’s saloon this year, I think.

EH: I heard it was taking place at the Grohmann Museum on the campus of MSOE. They’ve got art and stuff and that’s the new home of the Food Slam, I think.

BSS: [Blowing smoke in my face.] Could be.

EH: Which restaurants are being featured at the Slam?

BSS: That one I know. Mamasita’s bringin’ tamales, Hector’s is doin’ their puerco en adobo, the Ale House’s got that tasty stout pot roast they do, ‘n I even heard somethin’ ’bout Martita’s margaritas. All that grub ‘n drink makes me thinka that time I was down in old Mexico . . .

EH: I think I heard something about Ball’N Biscuit’s empanadas too.

BSS: Whoo-wee! Them’s the best empanadas I’ve had this side-a anywheres.

EH: What time does the Food Slam start? When does it end?

BSS: That shindig starts when the sun goes down and don’t stop till it comes back up the followin’ week.

EH: This moonshine might be going to my head, Big Sam, but I think the Slam actually goes from 6 till 10 pm. I think the bidding stops at 9 so there’s time to tally everything up and announce the winners, but I think the food and beverages keep flowin’ till about 10. Roll me another one of those smokes, Big Sam, and tell me what night the Slam’s goin’ down.

BSS: When the moon’s full and them mules get us to that town where they got them pretty ladies . . .

EH: You mean October 1?

BSS: Sure, that’s what I mean.

EH: This Friday?

BSS: Uh-huh.

EH: Would you say that the Food Slam is a family-friendly event?

BSS: If yer in a family way, I don’t think that’s gonna stop ya from havin’ a good time.

EH: Well said. Where do you get tickets?

BSS: I think they got ’em on that there inner-net thing they got now.

EH: I think you’re right. Say, this seems like a pretty sweet gig for you, Big Sam. How did you become this year’s WMSE Food Slam mascot?

BSS: Some cartoon hombre found me in a heap in old Westerton’s barn. I stank like a hog ‘n I was covered in dirt ‘n whiskey. He picked me up, set me on that pig, tied a lasso to the pig’s neck ‘n dragged me over to Belle Whitley’s place. She cleaned me up ‘n got me on the wagon. Now you done got me back offa the wagon and I curse you, you lowdown dirty writerly temptress.

EH: Sorry, Big Sam. But you have to admit, we’re havin’ a pretty good time. Think we’ll have this much fun at the Slam?

BSS: Whoo-doggie! Folks’ll haveta tow me away with the strength ‘a sixteen horses. It’s gonna be a slammin’ good time!

EH: Thanks for your time, Big Sam.

BSS: Anytime. Now throw that empty whiskey bottle out them swingin’ doors. I’ll get us a fresh ‘un.

–Erin Harris

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