Saturday, March 28, 2009

Songs from the Sunflower State: "True Dreams of Wichita" by Soul Coughing

Over the past few weeks, I've been spotlighting songs that mention Kansas and a recipe to complement each song. Thus far we've looked at:

"40-Hour Week" by Alabama
"Lawrence, KS." by Josh Ritter
"Choctaw Bingo" by Jame McMurtry
"Kansas" by Fred Eaglesmith.

Today we conclude this feature by examine Soul Coughing's "True Dreams of Wichita".
I'm not good at parties. Being around a crowd always makes me a bit uneasy. I'd much rather stay at home with family and friends. The social pressure of a party makes me feel awkward, and to cope with this I usually drink too much, which compounds the problem. I've learned that party hosts don't like it when a drunken guest rifles through the refrigerator, nor do people appreciate guests speculating that Laverne and Shirley may have been lesbians. I met no harm.

For various reasons, I'm not also not very adept at small talk. For one, I struggle to focus when engaged at a conversation at a party. I always get the feeling that there's a more interesting conversation within earshot of the one I'm currently involved in, so I strain to catch snippets of the talk occurring around me, which make me lose my train of thought. Of course, the dullness of my conversation probably can be attributed to me.

Also, music at a party always compounds the problem. For most people, music is mere background noise, but for me it's always in the foreground. I gravitate towards music and lose interest in conversation.

Several years ago at a party , the song "True Dreams of Wichita" by Soul Coughing demanded my attention at a party: Here's a taste:

I've seen the rains of the real world come forward on the plain
I've seen the Kansas of your sweet little myth
You've never seen it, no.
I'm half sick on the drinks you mixed

Through your
True dreams
Of Wichita

Brooklyn like a sea in the asphalt stalks
Push out dead air from a parking garage
Where you stand with the keys and your cool hat of silence

Where you grip her love like a driver's license
I've seen you fire up the gas in the engine valves
I've seen your hand turn saintly on the radio dial

I've seen the airwaves pull your eyes towards heaven
Outside Topeka in the phone lines her good teeth smile was winding down
Engine sputters ghosts out of gasoline fumes

They say You had it, but you sold it
You didn't want it, no.
I'm half drunk on babble you transmit

Through your
True dreams
Of Wichita

I don't know what the heck the song means, but the Ginsbergian lyrics and deep-booming bass line always make me feel much hipper than I really am. Plus the fact that it mentions Kansas has earned it a place on my Ipod.

When I think of Wichita, I think of pizza. I know this doesn't make any sense to most people, but for this Kansas boy who received a healthy of dose of Kansas history during his formative school years, Wichita is the birthplace of Pizza Hut, a fact I was very proud of one I was younger.

However, today I have no use for Pizza Hut or any other pizza chain. In fact, it's been three years since I've last had a pizza delivered to The Greasy Skillet headquarters. When we crave pizza we make it ourselves using the following pizza dough:

Pizza Dough

  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm (100-110) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. Proof the yeast by adding the yeast, water, and sugar to a mixing bowl. Whisk together and allow it to rest for 10 minutes, until the mixture becomes foamy.
  2. Add flour, salt, and olive oil.
  3. With your mixer, use the dough hook to knead the dough for 8-10 minutes. You might need to add a little flour, so that the dough comes together into a ball.
  4. In a warm place, proof the dough for 45-60 minutes, until it doubles in size.
  5. Use the dough for your pizza or freeze it for a later use.
I'm not going to share a recipe on how to make a pizza; after all, you know how to do that, but here are my five tips to help you surpass Pizza Hut.
  1. Use a baking stone, so you can get a crisp crust.
  2. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees and bake your pizza at a this high temperature.
  3. Build your pizza on a piece of parchment paper, so that you can easily slide it on and off baking peel or inverted cookie sheet.
  4. Experiment with toppings and use quality ingredients.
  5. I like to prep all the toppings and set them out on the counter, so guests can make their own pizzas.
  6. Always have some dough in the freezer.
  7. Have fun!
Five Favorite Toppings at The Greasy Skillet
  1. My wife enjoys a sausage and sauerkraut pizza.
  2. I like to poach a chicken breast and thinly slice it. Then I place it on a pizza with some fresh spinach, red onions, feta cheese, and mozzarella.
  3. I also like spreading some pesto in place of a red sauce, and then I sprinkle it with a little mozzarella cheese.
  4. Chopping and placing fresh garlic on a pizza really kicks it up a notch. We also occasionally place just a little cream cheese on a pizza.
  5. Little Miss Picky Eater likes the following small pizza with no sauce and lots of cheese:

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

take care,


muddywaters said...

As I approach 40, it seems like music is played less frequently at parties. I mourn the loss of music at parties. I'm going to start championing the return of music at parties for the over-40 crowd. Enough of this business of standing around talking about work.

Nella said...

Hang out with the 50+ crowd. Due to failing hearing, the music is turned up a little louder. We are in to food, the talk is of travel and food, the drink is for the enjoyment of taste, and we all go home when the 20-30 crowd is just getting ready to go out. I love the 50's as much as I loved the 40's, 30's, and 20's.

What was the question? Pizza, oh yeah. I love fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced tomato, and basil. mmm

rebel said...

We only eat homemade pizza here too, I mean why would you eat Pizza Hut when you can make it better at home? But I must admit, I am crazy but every once in a while I get a hankerin' for Red Baron, I know, I know.

Our fav's are:
Blackened Chicken with alfredo sauce and lots of chz.

Pesto like you do with thin sliced tomatoes and shrimp and lots of chz.

Hamburger Pizza, thin crust, that you make like a hamburger, mustard (spread thinly) instead of tomato sauce, hamburger, onion, bacon, dill pickle chips and cheddar cheese. YUM

Everything pizza that each time I make it is different, I just use what I have on hand.

I'm wonderin' how much snow you've got so far? Our's hasn't started yet, but it's comin'.

Marianne said...

I love music at parties!

My favorite pizza toppings are feta cheese, onions, black olives, tomato, garlic and spinach.

High Plains Drifters said...


A nice piece from Richmond, VA!