Generally speaking, having a good time at work is preferable to keeping that old nose to the grindstone, don’t you think? There used to be a lot of fun to be had in journalism before the bottom fell out. In the way olden days, when I was the restaurant critic for the Charlotte Observer, I used to sit over at Bobby Redd’s restaurant every afternoon drinking wine and talking about food trends. I could actually justify that as work. I really hit the jackpot when we moved to Reno and I became the features editor at the Gazette-Journal. Those people in Reno know how to have a good time. Caviar tasting at the Blue Bounty? I can choke down a few fish eggs for the cause. Judging the Best in the West Rib Cook-Off at the Nugget? Oh, please, I couldn’t eat another bite.
Perhaps the greatest food-related score I managed to relate to work, though, was at the Tennessean. We used to have these things called Management By Objectives, which back in the good old days was pretty much a vehicle to pay us bonuses, which I appreciated more than I can say. So us Gannettoids would sit around and think up projects that would theoretically help the newspaper and help us grow as managers. And one of the ones my good friend, Gail Kerr, and I thought up was meeting real newsmakers, face-to-face, up close and personal. And this is where the Faucon Salad comes in.
A Faucon Salad is unique to Nashville, or at least the name is. It’s an iceberg lettuce wedge with blue cheese dressing, bacon bits and hard-boiled eggs. There were only a few places that served it. The Belle Meade Country Club did, but I can tell you the Belle Meade Country Club was never going to have me as a member and I don’t blame them. Jimmy Kelly’s did, but Jimmy Kelly’s was where the white people sat down and the black people stood up and I did not love a Faucon Salad enough to eat one there. And the third place was the Cumberland Club, a private club on top of a skyscraper. So in thinking about where Gail and I would meet all these important newsmakers who would feed us news tips and make us journalistic legends of reportage, I actually convinced my boss that a membership to the Cumberland Club was an essential component of reaching my Management By Objective.
Well, long story short, Gail and I ate a lot of Faucon Salads over the next year or so at the Cumberland Club. Gail is a good girl. She is as interested in food as I am and she’s always willing to take one for the team. She’s still at the Tennessean and will deny any knowledge of this scheme I alone perpetrated in the name of having a good time at work. As well she should.
Now that I’m making my own Faucon Salad at home, having fallen on harder times and having no objectives to manage, I make my own blue cheese dressing because, well, it’s just better than anything in a bottle. You all know how to cut a head of iceberg lettuce into wedges, boil some eggs and fry some bacon. But here’s the dressing recipe.
Blue Cheese Dressing
3 heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s or Hellmann’s
1 heaping tablespoon sour cream
Juice from half a lemon
Liberal grinding of pepper
1 4-ounce container of crumbled blue cheese
Milk to thin
Mix everything but the milk together. Thin the dressing out to the consistency you like with the milk. Refrigerate at least two hours for all the flavors to blend together.