How to make a smashburger (by J. Kenji López-Alt)

The late night smashburger

I’ve given way too much money to Five Guys this year. I tried my hand at making one and, while it wasn’t the same, it was tasty nonetheless. The basic premise is the same for most modern burger outlets:

  • 2 flattened beef patties
  • Cheese slices in between
  • An assortment of fillings (my faves are pickles, ketchup, and mustard)

American chef J. Kenji López-Alt made a video in March demonstrating his way of making a “late night smashed cheeseburger” in the style of a smashburger, as popularised by the fast food chain Smashburger.

My mouth watered throughout the video so stream it below and let us know what you’d have in your smashburger.

Late Night Smashed Cheeseburger

Beef related: Burger King’s rebrand and Salt Bae: the king of steaks.

How to brew Chinese tea correctly

How to brew Chinese tea right

Forget everything you know about brewing Chinese tea as Goldthread has the inside scoop.

In their video, they look at the “right” way to brew Chinese tea, including the ceremonial process known as gongfu cha:

Gongfu means skill, and cha means tea. It’s a form of Chinese tea service that dates back to the 14th century in Fujian. It places emphasis on the tea’s taste, temperature, and quality.

The ceremony of gongfu cha is a far cry from the American TikToker who made tea in a microwave with a truckload of sugar and milk. If there was a spectrum of tea making, China and the US would be on either side.

Stream the video below.

How to Brew Chinese Tea the Right Way

Tea related: Is tea the new wine?

Batman Returns is the best Christmas movie

I’m writing this in bed in the middle of the night rather than sleeping on my parents sofa bed like I was last year. I couldn’t see them because of the virus and this Christmas period has been my least favourite in living memory.

But one thing’s for sure: Batman Returns is still the best Christmas movie of all time (and my all-time favourite as I mentioned in a previous post) and my good friend Dom Griffin made a brilliant bitesize review of Returns on his Armchair Auteur channel.

As Dom said, it’s messed up and the raunchiest Batman outing to date (Joel Schumacher’s renditions were more playfully camp before you say anything) but it works so well on all levels: cinematically, in character development, thematically, and with set designs. The fact that Batman didn’t need to be front and centre throughout the movie proves how good it was.

Anyway, let me not wax lyrical about it as Dom does a much better job in 5 minutes.

Stream his review below and subscribe, damnit! Oh, and Merry Christmas!

Batman Returns: The Best Christmas Movie

Bon Appetit but with more POCs and the racism isn't addressed

You may remember our piece on the racist unravelling of Bon Appetit. Well, Jack Saint returned with highlights of his stream dissecting the return of Bon Appetit. Tl;dr: it’s been gutted, filled with more POCs in front of the camera, they barely addressed what happened, and when they did, it was like putting on a plaster on a gangrene wound.

That said, Jack goes in depth and the rawness of it having been live worked well alongside the plastic, corporate feel of the Bon Appetit reboot which didn’t work for me at all. Chris Morocco’s segment was particularly nauseating and those meatballs aren’t meatballs as far as I’m concerned. It’s nice to see more Black and Brown chefs being able to make dishes meaningful to them and discuss the stories behind them but it feels like too little to late (and that’s at no fault to the POCs making the food).

Stream the highlights below and you’ll see what I mean.

So Bon Appetit Started Uploading Again... | Stream Highlights

Commercial Break: a YouTube channel for archiving commercials

I love old commercials and I like digital archiving. So when I found out about this YouTube channel, I jumped at the chance to subscribe.

Commercial Break is a way to archive the commercials of an era for future generations to appreciate.

Growing up in the 90’s, most kids would record their favorite shows from TV, those kids grew up and archived those commercials on YouTube. But what about kids growing up today? No one is recording live TV on physical media anymore. Sure there’s DVRs, but people (myself included) would just watch the recorded show and eventually delete it to make more room. I realized no one was saving this stuff, so I wanted to start archiving commercials again for future generations to look back on.

Commercial Break started in February 2019 and each video shows US commercial breaks with time tags for each commercial. As of today, there have been 290 volumes covering channels such as:

  • ABC
  • Cartoon Network
  • Fox
  • NBC
  • Nickelodeon
  • CBS
  • MTV

It’s funny how we wanted a way to watch TV without the adverts in between—and got it with things like TiVo and PVRs—and now we’re finding ways to capture nothing but the adverts.

Stream all the commercials from 2019 and 2020 below. And if you like the idea of the digital archiving of TV, check out the story of Marion Stokes.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - action figure commercial.

TMK Creamery makes vodka from milk

Cowcohol vodka

The classic White Russian cocktail comprises of vodka, a coffee liqueur and cream, served with ice. If you don’t have cream, milk will do. But what if you could make the vodka out of milk too? That’s where TMK Creamery comes in.

Todd Koch is the owner of TMK Creamery and his idea of making vodka from milk came after reading about Dr. Paul Hughes—an Assistant Professor of Distilled Spirits at Oregon State University— who had tested whether a way to ferment whey into a neutral spirits base solution that was “both environmentally sustainable and cost-effective for small creameries”.

Large, corporate-owned creameries can afford the expensive equipment that converts whey into profitable products such as protein powder. But at his family-owned, 20-cow farmstand creamery, Koch and his wife simply fed their whey into the fields through a nutrient management system. Rather than continue to bury the byproduct, Koch decided to ferment as a means of profitably upcycling the whey while bringing visibility to his animals. He teamed up with Dr. Hughes and a nearby distiller to manufacture the creamery’s newest product: a clear, vodka-like liquor they call “Cowcohol.”

Cowcohol. Genius.

But, according to Atlas Obscura, Koch isn’t the only “cowcohol” distiller in the world.

Read the full story at Atlas Obscura and check out how they make vodka from tulips in the Netherlands.

Polygon's MCU Machete Order

Marvel Cinematic Universe

We’ve covered the Star Wars “Machete Order” and the X-Men Machete Order and now we have the MCU Machete Order. Well, not exactly.

Dave Gonzales wrote “The ultimate way to watch the Marvel movies” for Polygon, suggesting the “right” order to watch the MCU films, not in a “chronological marathon”, but for a “well-paced experience”. 14 days of the biggest film franchise in history? Sure, why not, and the order makes sense (especially now since Day 5 is called “Christmas Day”.)

You’ve probably seen many of the Marvel films before, either because you were on board since Iron Man in 2008 and have since gotten a steady stream of Marvel content keeping you up-to-date on the “in universe” events, or maybe you just like big action, blow-em-up-or-shrink-em-down movies, or you’re a fan of one or more A-list actors named Chris. But now, with all the movies now at our disposal for instant renting or streaming, we can experience the MCU in a pure way and at a more relaxed pace than those poor souls who attend in-theater MCU Marathons. A 23-movie arc should not be viewed in marathon fashion. This isn’t an Olympic event, it’s a road trip.

Of the 23 movies in the list, I’ve only seen 11 of them so I’ve got some catching up to do. And there’s some mild controversy over the first movie in the list not being Iron Man which is objectively fair—it did start everything off, after all. But everything else looks good. Well, not Age of Ultron and Iron Man 3—they sucked.

And for the future? We definitely need more black superheroes.

Binging with Babish makes Homer Simpson's Patented Space Age Out-Of-This-World Moon Waffles

Binging with Babish makes Homer Simpson's Patented Space Age Out-Of-This-World Moon Waffles

Despite the inedible qualities of Homer’s moon waffles, they never failed to make hungry. So I was thrilled when I found Binging with Babish had attempted to make them—the “official” way and the Babish way.

For those unaware of Homer Simpson’s “Patented Space Age Out-Of-This-World Moon Waffles”, they appeared in the episode “Homer the Heretic” (S4E03) when Homer skips church and discovers the freedom of a Sunday morning. On one Sunday morning, he makes some waffles with the following ingredients:

  • 1 waffle iron (which will be ruined by the end)
  • 1 bag of waffle batter
  • 1 bag of caramel cubes
  • 1 bottle of liquid smoke
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 wooden skewer

When Babish tried it, it didn’t turn out so well for his tastebuds or his waffle iron (RIP). But he did make a Babish variant which looked significantly better.

Stream it below and check out the recipe on the Binging with Babish website.

Binging with Babish: Homer Simpson's Patented Space Age Out-Of-This-World Moon Waffles

Babish related: The $5 milkshake from Pulp Fiction

Bridget Minamore's "When Will Theatre Come Black?"

bridget minamore

Presented by Bridget Minamore (Lines of Resistance, Titanic), When Will Theatre Come Black? is a look at Black theatre in Britain and the people that make it great:

Setting out her vision, Bridget asks if the confluence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the devastating impact of the pandemic on the theatre industry might be an opportunity to build a more egalitarian theatre sector with greater opportunity for black makers, performers, backstage workers, and audiences – and, as a consequence, for other marginalised groups.

The radio production features thoughts from the likes of Tobi Kyeremateng, Kwame Kwei Armah, Paulette Randall MBE and Roy Alexander Weise MBE, amongst others.

Listen to it on the BBC Sounds website.

"Why Didn't You Tell Me?" a podcast about the miseducation of life

Felix Prince, Thierry Ngutegure, and Tinashe Nyamande sitting on a sofa

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Thierry Ngutegure in person so I was thrilled to see he had co-created a podcast:

“Why Didn’t You Tell Me?” is a fun, open and honest look at how three young men who thought the stuff they were taught in school would prepare them to be successful, confident and stable young adults. Little did they know that Pythagoras theorem wouldn’t help them buy houses and Henry VIII wouldn’t get them work experience. The transition into adulthood is abrupt and real world knowledge is the true key – so let’s shift the balance. This platform pokes fun, educates and inspires the next and current generation.

Thierry is joined by co-hosts Felix Prince and Tinashe Nyamande and, in his own words, he wanted to “create a space to inspire and push young black people”, “talk about the stupid shit he’d done, the things we wish we’d known & how we uplift each other today.” That’s what we like to see.

You can like and subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, YouTube, and follow the trio on Instagram.

Related: The Nerd Council: an online platform for Black nerds, The Black-Archivist project, and Afrodrops: a Black-owned shop for Afro hair.

The oldest Santa Claus movie in the world from 1898

santa claus

Santa Claus is a regularly filmed man. But did you know his first silver screen appearance was nearly 120 years ago?

Santa Claus was directed by British filmmaker and psychic George Albert Smith, and his 66-second production showcases Santa’s present delivering prowess. The film starts with two young girls taken to bed by their maid before Saint Nick arrives on the roof with his big sack of presents. He enters the home, leaves stockings on the end of the girls’ bed and exits stage left.

Simple by today’s standards but quite elaborate for the late 19th century, described as “one of the most visually and conceptually sophisticated British films made up to then”.

Stream it below and Merry Christmas from everyone at Cultrface!

Santa Claus (1898) - G.A. Smith | BFI National Archive

(via Open Culture)

'Lovers Rock' named film of the year by Sight & Sound

Lovers Rock, a story set in the 80s about young love at a party in West London, won Sight & Sound’s film of the year award this week.

In an interview with BBC News, McQueen expressed his belief of a brighter future for Black and Brown people in film and TV:

“To be honest with you, black and brown-skinned people have not been really welcomed into the film and television community. But now things are sort of changing things and people are realising that things need to be sorted and things need to be changed and there’s opportunities there – we’ve just got to take them when we get them.”

Lovers Rock received universal acclaim, from critics and on social media. Odie Henderson of rogerebert.com said:

Despite its brief 68-minute runtime, “Lovers Rock” is loaded with tactile, sensuous storytelling. The cinematography by Shabier Kirchner and McQueen’s direction make the well-choreographed dance sequences into amazing mini-movies; you’ll find yourself asking “where the hell is the camera?”

And Sonia Saraiya of Vanity Fair:

Lovers Rock is a love letter to the joy of being alive, and young, and at least momentarily, free.

You can watch Lovers Rock on iPlayer and if you want to listen to the music from the film, Slate made a playlist of the tracks.

The Black American collages of Tay Butler

The best kind of revisionist history is when people of colour revise textbook history to give us the truth. Tay Butler does just that with his blend of collage, photography, music, and video.

Constructing revisionist histories that are fictional but true, authentic yet imagined, the stories and scenes created act like braids and weave together a rich tapestry that can last longer than human memory. 

Butler, an artist based in Houston, Texas, has worked with the likes of Jansport J, Reggie Bonds, and Haz Solo and produced work featured all around his hometown.

He uses historical artefacts that tell stories through literature, folklore, local and national magazines and newspapers, and then goes through a lengthy process of digitising, photographing, interpolating and collaging into something new via the old. The results are unique but familiar.

See his portfolio on his official website.

The $5 milkshake from Pulp Fiction

Of all the things I remember from Pulp Fiction, the $5 shake that Mia Wallace ordered isn’t one of them. But you can’t spell insignificant without significant and Binging with Babish tried to recreate it.

The issue was getting the total cost of the ingredients up to $5 and making it taste that way and in true Babish style, he pushed the boat out with multiple variations of increasing costs.

The final attempt was decadence beyond the realms of human decency but, hey, it sounded like it tasted good. I wonder how Babish would do with an expensive Boston Cooler.

Stream the video below.

Binging with Babish: $5 Shake from Pulp Fiction

Related: Homer Simpson’s Moon Waffles, the safety of milk, and how to make MooMoo Milk.

archtype: the culture-rich creative agency

archtype logo

The Black Lives Matter protests this summer reinforced my relationship with my Blackness and the Black people around me. I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with Josh Akapo on Twitter and thought I’d pay it forward with a post on his creative agency.

archtype is a creative agency that started in 2016 as a clothing company for young people (the site notes that they were known as “ARCHTYPE” and a “louder set-up back then”) before becoming an agency in January 2020.

The three founders are:

  • Jaydon (Co-founder and Creative Director)
  • Josh (Co-founder and Head of Accounts)
  • Thomas-James (Co-founder and Head of Finance & Merchandising)

The trio has 15 combined years of experience, having worked with the likes of DLT, Samm Henshaw, #Merky Books, and Lovebox Festival.

For archtype, it’s all about “creating impactful moments in culture” which is something I can happily endorse. They do this by providing merchandising strategy, design, production, and garment finishing amongst other services.

If you want to get involved, send them an email at hello@archtype.co.uk or sign up to their newsletter for future updates (at the bottom of any page on the site).