The first time Meyer Wolfsheim met Jimmy Gatz, the young man hadn’t eaten in days. Freshly released from Army duty and on the hunt for a job, the major wore his medal-decked uniform around town not to tout his valor or value - but rather because he couldn’t afford civilian clothes.
For the princely sum of just over $4, Wolfsheim stuffed the starving kid full of food and locked in his loyalty for life.
Note: There are spoilers for the book’s ending below.
Jay Gatsby, as F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s most famous creation re-dubbed himself, picked up his benefactor’s trick - along with a lucrative career in bootlegging. He used the spoils of his illicit trade to dazzle, drunken and stuff the beautiful gadflies of the Jazz Age, including his former flame, the wealthy, spoiled Daisy Buchanan. While Gatsby himself drank minimally (female friends of a former employer used to rub Champagne in his hair in the throes of wild parties and it put him off the stuff), cocktails flowed freely at the lavish garden soirees he threw to woo the swells of Manhattan and Long Island’s Gold Coast.
Narrator Nick Carraway (also not much of a boozer, drunk only twice in his life by his own count) noted, “Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiterer in New York - every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves. There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler’s thumb.”
That was just the beginning of the bacchanal. “At least once a fortnight a corps of caterers came down with several hundred feet of canvas and enough colored lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby’s enormous garden. On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors-d’oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold. In the main hall a bar with a real brass rail was set up, and stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten that most of his female guests were too young to know one from another.”
The host had grown up with no such privilege or excess, and rather supplied the muscle and sweat to bear the food from the earth and the sea to supply such a fete. The Gatz family were, by his account, “shiftless and unsuccessful farm people” and he broke from them to make his way in the world any way he could, including working as a clam digger and salmon fisher along the shores of Lake Superior.
The struggle hardened Gatsby, body and spirit, but he maintained a warm, tender spot for rich, careless, now-very-married former girlfriend Daisy. He stuffed the mouths and stomachs of everyone around her to make the case for his worthiness, and eventually, it all burst open.
On a wild, angry night full of far too many mint juleps, Daisy commandeered a car and struck down her husband Tom’s mistress Myrtle. While Daisy and her spouse reconciled over a couple of beers and some cold fried chicken, Myrtle’s husband ordered (and didn’t eat) a sandwich and drank a cup of coffee to fuel himself for the walk over to Gatsby’s home. At the hands of the cuckolded man, the farmboy-turned-gilded cipher (who’d taken the fall) met a bloody end in the glittering pool at the center of his garden.
“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars,” Carraway wrote. And at last, their host fluttered away with them.
Simple Mint Julep
1 tsp sugar
Handful of clean mint leaves
Additional mint sprig
3 oz bourbon
Note: Juleps are traditionally served in silver cups because they retain an even chill. If you don’t have one, a chilled tumbler will do just fine.
Spoon the sugar into the bottom of the cup. Place the leaves on top of the sugar and crush, pushing down and twisting with a muddler or wooden spoon until slightly pulped.
Fill the cup with crushed ice, pour the bourbon over the ice, garnish with the mint sprig and serve.
Try these five julep recipes from the contemporary to the classic.
(Gold Medal Flour Cookbook - 1917)
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
6 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon soda (or baking powder)
2/3 teaspoon salt
Have the bowl slightly warm, measure butter into it and beat butter until creamy, add sugar slowly, the yolks well beaten, flavoring. Mix and sift the flour and baking bowder and add to the mixture, alternating with the milk; fold in the egg whites beaten very stiff. Do not stir after the whites are added.
Bake in a greased, flour-dusted pan at 350°F until the cake comes away from the edge of the pan.
Filling for cake
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
Rind of 3 lemons grated, and the juice
Beat the butter, sugar and eggs together. Set a dish of boiling water until heated; then add the lemon and stir until thick. Spread between layers of cake.
This is the one time you should forget about the big picture.
Now, I know that’s not my usual advice. But in this case, I want you to think small… about 16 ounces worth of small.
Those 16 ounces could save you a surprisingly large chunk of change.
What am I talking about? Well, let me introduce you to my favorite stinky superpower: Vinegar.
My grandmother asked me to help her out around the house the last time I was visiting but when I looked under her sink to grab a few cleaners, the only thing I found was a bottle of vinegar.
She showed me a small stack of index cards with “recipes” on them for all sorts of different uses for vinegar that I NEVER would have thought of.
I borrowed those recipes and brought them all home. Over the last few months, I’ve poured over these stacks of well-worn paper and found that you can use a single 16-ounce bottle of vinegar to replace dozens of pricey chemicals and cleaners around the house.
Vinegar kills germs, cleans clothes, and eats through the hard water scale on the faucet. It can even take out ant colonies and stop grass from growing in the cracks in the driveway.
I’ll be the first to admit that all of those things are little problems… but they were little problems I used to spend serious time and money to solve. Looking at old receipts, the $3.39 here and $4.19 there for all the different cleaners and chemicals really added up fast.
Now I know better.
Instead of spending my hard earned cash on pricey cleaners from big name brands, I can just use vinegar to get the same results for pennies, and I want you to learn the same money-saving tricks I’m using now.
Remember, we’re all in this together!
‘Above Average’ Joe
P.S. I’m serious about the savings and convenience of vinegar. Thousands of people are already in on the secret about what even one bottle of white vinegar can do, and I think you’ll be impressed when you read this:
Caution: The forgotten solution to life’s little problems…
June 15, 2013
RE: The all-purpose problem solver they don’t want you to use
$779 … that’s what the typical American household shells out on average for cleaning products in a year.
If you’ve got kids at home – or pets – then that number goes up even more.
And it’s all a giant rip-off …
Corporate America has turned cleaning house and doing laundry into a $168 billion industry. That money pays for fat stockholder returns, fancy Wall Street “advisors”, and of course, giant CEO salaries.
But the dollars for that lifestyle come straight out of YOUR pocket … and the products don’t even clean your house that well!!
I can’t even count the number of times I’ve paid through the nose for some chemical or cleaner that didn’t live up to the hype on the label. I would have to throw it out and head back to the store for something else.
Or at least that’s the way I used to do things …
Now I skip the fancy chemicals and just reach for the vinegar …
If you’ve never taken vinegar seriously as a cleaning product, well, welcome to the club.
I didn’t either – not for years.
The companies behind Lysol, Windex, Dial, and Clorox have spent billions of dollars to convince you that you need their chemicals to do everything from washing your face to scrubbing the floor.
It’s not your fault if you believed them … vinegar certainly doesn’t look like much in the bottle.
For $2 or less, you can take home 16 ounces of the stuff, and we’ve been conditioned by fancy marketing ads to think anything that cheap can’t possibly be effective.
The ads lie. Vinegar does everything the fancy stuff can – and more.
I know – I’ve tried it out. And I’m not the first guy to do this – for thousands of years, millions of people put their faith in vinegar to get the job done.
So it’s time for you to learn what you really can do with vinegar now.
You could go out and read HUNDREDS of home remedy books, watch HOURS of how-to videos, and go through PAGE AFTER PAGE of poorly written blog posts …
Read this simple 25 page report that will give you the most important vinegar recipes for cleaning, saving money on household products, and making your life better in one easy 30 minute read.
No fluff and NO B.S.
Just get the real information and step-by-step instructions you need to make 115 vinegar solutions that solve all kinds of basic life problems.
I’m not the first person to use vinegar to solve the little problems of life. Get online and you’ll find hundreds – if not thousands – of uses for vinegar.
Some of this information has stayed the same for centuries, passed down from generation to generation like a priceless heirloom.
And some of it is total bunk.
But you won’t know that until you mix up a vinegar blend and it doesn’t work for you.
You need the good stuff – and I’m ready to give it to you.
I’ve done extensive research on the power of vinegar. I’ve tested out different cleaning solutions, separating the good recipes from the total wastes of your time.
I put everything I learned – and more – into a compact guide for you.
Don’t let the size (just 25 pages) fool you.
Weeks of painstaking research went in to making this guide a solid resource for anyone interested in harnessing the power of vinegar to save money and make life easier.
It truly has the best of the best vinegar recipes, explained in plain English so you can get started using vinegar immediately.
How much is your time worth?
Think about it. Why should you go out and duplicate all the time and effort I put into this research? I’ve done the trial and error for you, too.
I’ve put together a simple report with easy, step-by-step directions you can use to solve your problems and save major cash on modern chemical cleaners, detergents, and face washes.
I’ve even included special explanations of the different types of vinegar and how to use them properly so you won’t have to worry about making any mistakes.