Bikini Brief

Best Western: I think you ran an excellent cover story on Mariyah Moten ["Bikini Revolution," by Craig Malisow, January 11]. However, you depicted Pakistan as a hard-liner country. Though it is conservative, some places, like Karachi and Lahore, are quite liberal -- as we say, more Westernized than the West itself. But I think it is superb what Mariyah is doing. She is breaking the rules and putting Pakistan on a global level of competition, beauty and influence, and that is where we should have been if the mullahs were not there.

Hussain Mandviwala
Houston

Age-Old Argument

Codger piece: Although I agreed with many points made by John Nova Lomax, I did get the impression that he's just showing his age ["DISConnect," January 4]. Moaning about how things today are rubbish and how useless teenagers are is something we oldies just feel an irresistible urge to do. I've gotten to where I try to resist the temptation (I'm 33). I'm sure there were similar people who bemoaned the rubbish music had become after the advent of recorded music, when people didn't need actual musicians anymore to listen to music. Perhaps instead of turning into an old codger, John should encourage people to develop their critical faculties so that they can identify and dismiss the rubbish more easily. In my experience, articles like this, particularly the inset piece about vinyl (let's just not get into that argument), tend to put off people getting into music more.

Tim Fothergill
Houston

A Different Approach

Listen up: In an otherwise fine article on ST 37 ["To CD or Not to CD," by Olivia Flores Alvarez, January 11], Alvarez says the band has a "vinyl-prevents-copying approach." In fact, the band only says vinyl makes copying a bit more difficult. To be exact, the article quotes ST 37's SL Telles as saying that copying LPs to MP3s would be "a little more difficult to proliferate...because when you have a vinyl record you at least have to be dedicated enough to take a few extra steps to get it converted to MP3..."

Perhaps Alvarez should learn the first rule of interviewing -- listen to your subjects. She also may want to read John Lomax's fine article from last week about CDs. Or maybe she should go back to writing about camel toes and sandwiches instead of music.

Ramon Medina
Houston

Radio Control

Solution, please: John Lomax makes some excellent points on "Rogue Waves" [Racket, January 11], but all they boil down to is a series of complaints that have been echoed by music-lovers everywhere.

What's the solution?

How do people, either individually or collectively, resist this pseudo-Big Brotherism from the music industry big-dogs of today? Not listen to radio? Check. (I remember the days when my friends would gush over so-and-so's new song on the radio and call up radio stations begging them to play someone's new single -- not so anymore.) Should we refrain from buying major-label CDs? Most people I know pirate the shit off the Internet or only buy CDs from indie bands or bands who actually attempt to create an original sound.

I do respect that people are at least talking about it more and using whatever medium they can to broadcast their discontent -- but do any of these people have any solid solutions?

Seriously, let me know.

Judy Lyle
Houston

Firkin Great

A steak-and-kidney pie fan: I read with interest Robb Walsh's review of the Firkin & Phoenix pub ["Blame Canada," January 11].

I am not at all surprised that Walsh's experience with steak and kidney pie at the Firkin & Phoenix was a bad one. I do not eat kidneys in pubs (even in England) or in any other restaurant. Why? Because no one, it seems, knows how to prepare kidneys for the table in this day and age -- not even Canadian franchises.

My British-born great-grandmother used to make this dish and was careful to use lamb, not beef, kidneys. The small kidneys were well rinsed and soaked in several changes of salted milk, or buttermilk at least, overnight before being roasted quickly with a slice of beef suet on top to supply lubrication. The "steak" part was essentially a leftover beef stew to which the kidneys were added; the dish was then covered with lard or suet-based homemade pastry (not puff pastry) and baked just long enough to heat the dish through and brown the delicate, flaky crust. This dish was delicious and utterly devoid of any disconcerting overtones of urine.

Granted, this was a 19th-century recipe prepared in a 20th-century New England kitchen at a time when leftovers were always used and kidneys were cheap. However, I still make this dish from time to time and manage to achieve a palatable, albeit artery-clogging, result.

William Harris
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

Hail Mary'z

Try the falafel: Thanks for the great review of one of my favorite places to eat in all of Houston, Mary'z ["Hummus and Hookahs," by Robb Walsh, December 14]. I noticed no mention of the falafel sandwich, which is something you must go back and try. They have the best one in all of Houston, and beyond. It is incredible and inexpensive, and great to eat there or on the go.

I have never had their garlic sauce, so thanks for the heads up. I will get some on my next visit and dip my falafel sandwich in it. Sounds heavenly.

Christopher Brown
Houston

 
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