Monday, April 30, 2007

Beans, Beans, Good for Your Heart
(but not your arrest record… or your pedicure)

Last week I read a story in The Evening Standard that opened with the sentence: “Hugh Grant has been arrested after allegedly hurling a tub of baked beans at a photographer.”

O.K., I’ll bite. How can one read an opening line such as that and not continue?

The word “allegedly” is included in the sentence for The Evening Standard’s legal comfort. There is an accompanying photograph of Grant— the movie actor who starred in the quintessential chick flick Four Weddings and a Funeral— midway through his windup, a carry-out container of baked beans at the ready, seconds before they were "alledgedly" hurled at the photographer.

It struck me as odd that a stuffy Brit such as Grant would— not only have eaten baked beans but— enjoyed his serving of baked beans so much that he asked the restaurant for a doggie bag to bring home the half-eaten portion of tomato-and vinegar-spiked legumes.

This is how The Evening Standard reported the incident:

“The arrest followed a clash with the freelance paparazzi photographer outside Grant's Chelsea home on Tuesday morning.”

“Mr Whittaker said he had turned up to take pictures of the actor's former girlfriend Liz Hurley, who lives in the same street. When Grant, 46, arrived in his car he asked him to smile as he took his picture.”

“The film star allegedly snapped, swearing at Mr Whittaker, 43, and reportedly kicking him three or four times. Then, as Grant entered his house, he allegedly turned and threw a plastic container of baked beans at him.”

“Mr Whittaker told a tabloid newspaper: ‘I said Give us a smile please and he looked really angry. I walked backwards and he walked after me. He kicked me hard three or four times then kneed me in the groin.’”

I don’t have much sympathy for paparazzi types but getting knocked upside the head by a pint of beans and then kicked in the groin by a middle-aged actor is certainly demoralizing and humiliating.

The second photograph included in the article was of Grant attempting to kick the photographer. His foot is four inches off of the ground and nowhere near the groin. I’ll give Grant a pass on that count as he had no time to warm up and stretch before the bean-throwing, paparazzi-kicking exercise began.

Typically, I would spend the remaining column inches at my disposal on jokes that make fun of Grant, his movies, the blandness of British food, and beans in general. But as I was writing this, I remembered a humiliating baked-bean incident from my past.

During my college years, while waiting tables in one of those brass-and-fern style restaurants, I spilled and eight-ounce bouillon bowl of baked beans on a woman’s foot.

I had just arrived at her table and the serving tray was still in a position high above my head. The beans fell from a height approximately seven feet above the floor and landed upside down and squarely on her instep.

An eight-ounce bouillon bowl weighs over nine ounces. Filled with beans it probably approaches one pound. Pardon my physics, but a one-pound bowl, falling from a height of seven feet, traveling at a velocity of… Well, you get the picture. The beans fell fast and they fell hard. The woman let out a shrill shriek and then a series of low-pitched sobs and moans.

She was wearing sandals and I stood speechless as I watched the steaming hot beans ooze through her toes and onto the floor. I almost lost my job due to the leguminous pedicure but was saved by the woman’s graciousness. Her husband, on the other hand, gave me the evil eye. When I asked if I could bring his wife another side order of beans, he asked for a towel, the manager, and a baked potato instead.

It seems that baked beans are quickly becoming a weapon of the future. It won’t be too long before someone in this part of the country figures out how to kill a deer with them.

The photographer is lucky that Grant lives in London. Had the actor been a resident of Mississippi, he would have been coming home with a doggie bag full of fried chicken wings and tater logs— both of which would be more effective hurling weapons than baked beans.

In the end, justice was served last week as every man who has had to sit through Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Love Actually, Sense and Sensibility, and both Bridget Jones movies in theatres, again on HBO, and then on DVD, every Valentine’s Day, and every anniversary, exhaled a collective sigh of jubilant satisfaction. Karma can be a beautiful thing.


Cookout Baked Beans

1 lb Bacon, thick-sliced, diced
1 1 /2 cup Onion, diced
3 /4 cup Bell pepper, diced
1 tsp Barbeque Seasoning
1 cup Barbecue sauce
2 Tbl Honey
2 tsp Yellow mustard
1 Tbl Liquid Smoke
1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
1 /2 cup Chicken Broth
2 large cans Bush’s Country Style Baked Beans, drained

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large saucepot render bacon. Add onion, bell pepper and BBQ seasoning. Cook five minutes. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Place in a 2 1 /2-quart baking dish and cover with foil. Bake 45 minutes. Yield: ten servings

BBQ Seasoning

1 /3 cup Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1 /3 cup Paprika
2 Tbl Onion Powder
2 Tbl Cayenne Pepper
1 Tbl White Pepper
5 tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbl Black Pepper
1 Tbl Dry Mustard
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Thyme

Mix thoroughly. Yield: one cup

Monday, April 23, 2007

Roll Out the Vertical Stripes

The diet is over.

On January 8th I began dieting in preparation of a photographer flying in from New York to shoot my next book. My goal was to lose 30 pounds in four months.

The time has come. The photographer is here. I hit just above 50% of my goal. I lost 16 pounds.

Looking back it might have been the visit to the cheesecake factory in the first week of my diet that led to a bad start. Though, if you have never toured a cheesecake factory, I suggest you do so immediately.

The Jubilations Cheesecake facility in Columbus, Miss. is a wonderful place to spend the better part of a morning. From the second I walked into the door and smelled the aroma of freshly baked cheesecakes in the air, I knew that the diet was in trouble. There is not much in this world that smells better than a cheesecake factory after one has been surviving on chicken breasts, broccoli, and oatmeal for an entire week.

It’s almost as if they piped in the aroma to tempt me.

Here’s a million-dollar idea: Someone should make an air freshener or candle that smells like a cheesecake manufacturing plant.

It could have been the 12-course meal at the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif. when I was in San Francisco in February. Or it could have been the new rib place I discovered later that month. Either way, I gave in to temptation more times than not.

Cookbook recipe testing is not conducive to dieting. I have developed, tested, and tasted over 200 new recipes for two new cookbooks over the course of the last three months. Some recipes had to be prepared again and again until we got them right. Some had to be prepared again and again because we got them right and we wanted second helpings.

I was on a roll for a few weeks, and then I hit a plateau. I have been stuck at this weight for the last two months.

More than likely it was the French Bakery that opened across the street from my office in my hometown of Hattiesburg, Miss. that did me in. It’s not the bakery’s fault. It’s my love of food mixed with my fondness for bread that keeps me going back. I can do without sweets, but freshly baked breads and pastries in the hands of an experienced French baker is a temptation that is too tough for me to resist.

Januz, the French/Polish baker, is said to love Polish techno music, and if one gets to the bakery before it opens, one might catch him dancing around the small shop with music blaring.

A friend of mine walked in the bakery early the other day and reported that Januz did, indeed, have Polish techno music blaring from the small stereo and was dancing with abandon throughout the store. I love that. That is exactly what I want in a baker: innate skill, a yeoman’s work-ethic, and a well-formed sense of rhythm.

I have yet to catch Januz dancing through the bakery, but I always look through the windows at 6 a.m. when I am on my way to the gym.

Maybe I should go across the street before I go to the gym and dance around the bakery while holding one of those custard-raisin croissant things to burn off a few calories. It would be the world’s first— and only— French-Polish Cardio-Bakery.

I never read the book “French Women Don’t Get Fat” but maybe the reason they don’t get fat is because they dance more than we do. I quit dancing around the time I stopped drinking. When I sobered up— almost 24 years ago— I realized that my dancing didn’t look quite as cool as I thought while I was drinking. Maybe I should start dancing again.

French women might not get fat, but Southern men sure do. So crank up the Polish techno music, and say, “cheese.”

Creamed Corn Cornbread

1 cup Flour, all-purpose, unbleached
1 cup Cornmeal
2 tsp. Baking powder
1 Tbl Salt
1 cup Creamed corn
1 Egg, large
3 /4 cup Milk
2 Tbl. Butter, unsalted and melted

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Grease an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sift flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Stir mixture briefly.

Separately, whisk together creamed corn, egg, milk, honey and butter until honey is dissolved. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not over work batter.

Pour batter into pan and bake 20-26 minutes, or until golden. Yield: 9-12 pieces

Creamed Corn

8 ears Silverqueen corn, shucked and scraped to remove milk
2 cups Water
1 stick Butter
1 1 /2 tsp Salt
1 /2 tsp Pepper
2 Tbl Half and half
2 tsp Cornstarch

Break two of the shucked corncobs in half. Place in a small sauce pot with two cups of water. Simmer for 10 minutes to make a corn stock.

Melt butter in a medium sized skillet over a medium heat and add corn and 1 /2 cup of the corn stock, salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat 10 minutes. Dissolve cornstarch in the Half and Half and stir into the simmering corn mixture. Return to a simmer. Serve hot. Yield: six to eight servings

Monday, April 16, 2007

So You Want To Be A Rock and Roll Star

When I was six-years old I wanted to be Darren Stevens when I grew up. Not only was I attracted to the idea of being married to a smoking hot woman who could make problems disappear with a twitch of her nose, I liked the idea of working for an advertising agency. The pitching of an idea to a client seemed creative and appealing. I was also enamored with the concept of entertaining clients. I didn’t want to be a policeman, a fireman, or a cowboy. I wanted to be an advertising agency executive.

After my advertising phase I decided to become an astronaut. The United States had just landed on the moon. It was the ultimate adventure. By then, my crush had moved from Samantha Stevens on Bewitched to Barbara Eden on I Dream of Jeanie. Larry Hagman was an astronaut, and once again, the beautiful woman in his life could make problems disappear, this time with a nod of the head. I stayed in my space-traveling phase until I found out how astronauts have to use the bathroom in outer space. I also never developed a fondness for Tang.
The career ambition that took me into my pre-teen and early-teen years was rock star. I started playing the guitar and planned to be a member of Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones. I wasn’t sure how one got to that point, but I loved the music, and life on the road performing in front of thousands of screaming girls was extremely appealing.

As we all know I ended up in the food/food-writing business, though food is a major component of rock and roll. That’s right. Not booze, drugs, or women— food.

Occasionally I visit a website entitled the Smoking Gun . In addition to celebrity mug shots (Glen Campbell and Nick Nolte, alone are worth the visit) it lists musician’s riders.

An artist’s rider is an attachment to a performance contract that lists specific sound and light requirements, but also specifies the specific food and beverage necessities of the performer.

Paul McCartney’s rider demands, “There will be no meat, or meat by-products allowed to be served in the dressing rooms, production offices, or areas within the ‘backstage area.’” He also specifies no leather furniture or furniture made from animal skins.

The artist formerly known as “the Artist” but once again known as Prince requires “Yogi cocoa tea” and “jasmine and lavender candles.”

The four members of Van Halen demand one-half case “regular local beer” in cans, one-half case premium beer, one pint Jack Daniels, one pint Absolut vodka, one 750 ml. bottle rum, two bottles of white wine, one bottle of red wine, one 750 ml. bottle of top-shelf tequila, Cointreau, Grand Mariner, and ingredients to prepare bloody marys. At this point I should note that Eddie Van Halen didn’t attend his induction ceremony to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few weeks ago. He was in rehab.

The band Aerosmith asks for “NO alcoholic beverages” backstage and specifies “no pressed meats.” Bon Jovi wants sushi after the show, Sting says that he is “adventurous enough to try local fare,” and Metallica’s catering needs are carefully detailed in three pages of a 24-page document.

Eminem wants turkey burgers, Kansas needs prune juice, and Willie Nelson likes free-range pork chops.

Clarence Clemmons, Bruce Springsteen’s longtime saxophone player, asks that a whole roasted chicken be delivered to his dressing room halfway through the performance and also demands Beluga caviar, while The Boss, Springsteen, requires nothing more than energy bars, green tea, soft drinks, and coffee.

Some artists ask for only green M&Ms while others require bottled water flown in from Europe.

Z.Z. Top asks for “a medium serving bowl of cocktail franks in special sauce (consult with production assistant for the recipe and preparation instructions).” Johnny Cash wanted an American flag “in full view of the audience” while performing.

At sixteen years old I realized that my rock-star career would never materialize into anything more than my being a garage-band wannabe. I made the decision that if I couldn’t be a rock star, I would write about the rock stars and set my sights to be a contributing writer for Rolling Stone. I haven’t written for Rolling Stone, yet. But I’ve got a few years left in me.

Robert (center with guitar) circa 1967. Move over Mick Jagger.

Virginia Ham & Pimento-Cheese Biscuits

I dare you to eat just twelve! It is rare that anyone ever has leftover pimento cheese, but if you do, these biscuits are a great way to finish it off.

2 cups self rising flour
1 Tbl sugar
2 Tbl unsalted butter- cut into small pieces and chilled
1 /4 cup homemade pimento cheese, crumbled
2 /3 cup buttermilk

2 TBL melted butter

Preheat oven to 375.

In a food processor combine flour and sugar and pulse to mix. Add butter and pimento cheese pieces pulsing until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Pour buttermilk into the well and gently blend together the dough, being careful not to over mix.

Allow the dough to set for 10 minutes and then turn dough onto a floured surface.
Gently knead dough for one to two minutes. Roll out to 3 /4-inch thickness.

Cut 1 1 /2-inch circles from the dough and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush the tops with the melted butter.

Bake 12-15 minutes.

Sautee 2-inch squares of country ham in butter until lightly caramelized.

Cut biscuits in half lengthwise and lay a small piece of Virginia ham in the center. Serve warm.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Soft-Shell Crab

Soft-shell crab season is here. Halleluiah, amen, and pass the Remoulade sauce!

Two weeks ago the first shipment of soft-shell crabs arrived— alive and kicking— to the back door of our restaurants. Since then we have received daily shipments and can’t buy enough to keep up with the demand.

There is a simple reason for soft-shell crab’s popularity— they taste great.

Soft-shell crabs are the single most popular feature item offered at the Purple Parrot Café and Crescent City Grill. Every year around this time we start receiving shipments of soft-shells and they sell out within hours.

Hurricane Katrina gave us a short soft-shell season last year. This year started a little slower than normal, but we expect the harvest to kick in any day now.

In the four years prior to Hurricane Katrina, we were able to purchase a steady supple of soft-shells from March through the middle of November.

A soft-shell crab is the same species as other blue crabs that can be found in the Gulf of Mexico, except that a soft-shell has been harvested just as it begins to molt.

Molting is the process by which the crab loses its hard shell and begins to form a new one. The crabs are held in specially designed holding tanks at a constant temperature of 75-80 degrees, and once the crab loses his hard, much smaller, outer shell, there is a two-hour window in which the crab is removed from the water before a new, harder, shell is formed. All crabs molt, some just get caught during the molt, and lucky for us, the ones that are caught end up on our plates.

Soft-shell crab facilities are usually family operations in which each member of the family takes a turn checking the tanks for newly molted crabs. The tanks are checked hourly even during the middle of the night. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication on the part of several individuals to get a soft-shell from the tank to the plate. But the end result is worth the effort.

Soft shell crabs are available in four sizes: whalers (5 1 /2 inches or larger from tip to tip), jumbos (5 – 51/2 inches), large (41/2 – 5 inches) and medium (4 – 41/2 inches).

Soft-shell crabs are an exception to the typical seafood rule— size DOES matter. The bigger the better and the whaler is the most sought after, most delectable, and most flavorsome of the bunch.

“Buster” crabs (3 – 4 inches) are not available in the Gulf anymore due to game and fish regulations prohibiting any crab smaller than four inches from being harvested. Atlantic states still harvest busters but if you’re eating one in this area, it has probably been frozen.

Deep frying is the cooking method of choice, and at our restaurants we always prepare our soft-shells with an extra helping of jumbo lump crabmeat on top or stuffed inside the crab.

As we head in to the warmer days of spring and summer we should pause and give thanks for God’s rich bounty from the Gulf and for the dedicated crabbers who monitor tanks around the clock so that we can eat a dish that is truly one of the best that the South has to offer.

with Warm Shrimp-Boil Potato Salad and spiced pecans

Fried Soft Shell Crab

4 Softshell crabs, cleaned
2 cups Milk
2 Eggs
1 Tbl Tarragon, dried
4 Tbl Hot Sauce
2 Tbl Creole Seasoning
3 cups Seasoned Flour
Peanut oil, for frying

Heat 2 inches of peanut oil to 350 degrees in a heavy skillet or deep fryer.

Make the Creole Beurre Blanc and hold in a warm water bath.

Combine milk, eggs, tarragon, Hot Sauce, and Creole Seasoning. Mix well. Gently drop the crabs in the seasoned milk mixture and place all in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 6 hours.

Make the Crabmeat stuffing.

Remove crabs from the milk mixture one at a time and stuff equal parts of the Crabmeat Stuffing under the top shell of the crab.

Lightly dust the crabs in the seasoned flour. Be careful to keep all of the legs attached and separated keeping them from sticking together. Gently glide the crab (shell side down) into the hot oil, being careful not to splash. Cook approximately two minutes and turn over for another two minutes. Remove the crabs and drain on paper towels.

Spoon approximately one cup of the Warm Shrimp-Boil Potato Salad onto four plates. Place the cooked crab in the middle of the plate. Ladle two ounces of Creole Beurre Blanc over the crab and sprinkle Spiced Pecans over all.

Yield: Four servings

Crabmeat Stuffing

1 /3 cup Green bell pepper, small dice
1 /3cup Red bell pepper, small dice
2 Green onions, Sliced
2 Egg yolks
3 Tbl Mayonnaise
1 Tbl Creole mustard
1 Tbl Lemon juice
1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Hot sauce
1 Tbl Creole seasoning
1 lb lump crabmeat
2 Tbl Japanese Breadcrumbs

Add first 10 ingredients and mix by hand
Gently fold in crabmeat. Add breadcrumbs

Seasoned Flour

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 Tbl Creole Seasoning

Mix flour and seasoning thoroughly.
Yield: 3 cups

Spiced Pecans

1 Tbl Unsalted butter
1 cup Pecans
1 tsp Black pepper, freshly ground
1 /8 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 /8 cup Sugar
1 tsp Kosher salt

Melt butter over a low heat in a large sauté pan.
Add nuts and stir continuously.
Add sugar and cook until caramelized.
Add salt and continue to stir.
Add Peppers and stir, then remove from heat.
Cool on a sheet pan before storing

Creole Beurre Blanc

1 /4 cup Shallot, minced
2 tsp Garlic, minced
1 /4 cup White wine
2 Tbl White vinegar
2 Tbl Heavy cream
2 tsp Creole mustard
1 /2 lb Unsalted butter
Kosher salt to taste

In a sauce pan, over medium high heat, reduce the shallot, garlic, white wine, and vinegar until all liquid has evaporated.
Add heavy cream and creole mustard, and reduce by half.
Reduce heat to medium, and slowly incorporate the butter one to two tablespoons at a time, stirring constantly. Strain through a chinios, and hold warm. Salt to taste.

Warm Shrimp Boil Potato Salad

3 cups Red potatoes, diced
1 /2 lb Fresh shrimp, medium
1 /4 cup Celery, thinly shaved
1 /2 cup Fresh roasted corn, cut from the cob
1 cup Fresh asparagus, cut into one inch pieces blanched
1 /4 cup Red onion, finely diced
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Black pepper, freshly ground
1 quart Water
1 Tbl Liquid crab Boil

Place the water and crab boil in a large saucepot and bring to a simmer. Place the shrimp in the simmering water and cook for 4-5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon and remove the shrimp from the simmering water, and set aside.
Place the potatoes in the simmering water and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, approx. 15 minutes.
Remove the potatoes and drain thoroughly. Place in a mixing bowl with shrimp, celery, corn, asparagus, onion, and salt. Gently toss with the vinaigrette. Serve warm.

Potato Salad Vinaigrette

1 Tbl Shallot, minced
2 tsp Creole mustard
1 /4 cup Sherry vinegar
1 tsp Parsley, chopped
1 tsp Fresh tarragon, chopped
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 /2 tsp Black pepper, freshly ground
3/ 4 cup Olive oil

Place all ingredients (except olive oil) in a mixing bowl and combine. Slowly drizzle olive oil while whisking vigorously. Yield: one cup

Monday, April 02, 2007

Bake Sales

Many of our childhood school activities fall by the wayside as we grow older.

Today I don’t play tetherball or box hockey. I haven’t roller skated in years. I don’t think I’ve played an all-out game of dodge ball since the Carter administration, and I haven’t played tackle football since I was in my early twenties, though I’d love the opportunity to go back out there and tear a few of my tendons, pull some muscles, and break a few of my bones.

Some activities I miss, others, not so much. If I never attend another pep rally, or work on an algebraic equation, I’ll be O.K.

One school activity that played a fairly important role in my youth is: the bake sale. Nowadays, I never happen upon a bake sale and I am a lesser man for it.

I loved a bake sale. It seemed like there were two or three a week in my school. The thing that made bake sales in my junior high and high school so memorable were the mothers who baked the product. I grew up in a neighborhood filled with excellent and dedicated cooks. They baked well and they baked often

The bake sales of my youth were held in the hallways of my school. They were mostly low-key affairs. All one needed was a card table, poster board, magic markers, a shoebox for the money, and the store was open. The table was always filled with homemade sweets of all types.

Caramel apples were available but they tended to stick to braces and headgears. Cakes and pies were not popular bake sale items as one needed a fork and plate to eat them and most bake-sale foods needed to be eaten on-the-run between classes. The Rice Krispie treat was the most popular item at my school’s bake sales and they were always the first to sell out. Brownies were a close second, cookies came in third, but nothing ever surpassed the goshamighty Rice Krispie treat.

I was on the road last week, returning home late from a speaking engagement, and stopped in a convenience store to load up on caffeine and a snack. I didn’t want a candy bar, chips, or a microwave sandwich, and I’m not quite dedicated enough to eat a protein bar, granola, or mixed nuts. As I browsed the aisle, there it was— the zenith of the high-school bake sale— a Rice Krispie treat. I didn’t know they packaged them for sale in stores.

I read the nutritional information on the back of the package and was surprised to learn that it was relatively low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sugar. Who knew we were eating fairly healthy at bake sales in the 1970s?

I bought one.

As I drove home, the Rice Krispie treat took me back to the days at my school. One bite and I was instantly dusting erasers, sharpening pencils, and nervously waiting outside the principal’s office.

We need more bake sales in our adult lives. We tend to gravitate towards black-tie galas, draw-downs, and wine tastings; but I would gladly trade them all for a rickety card table loaded with sweets.

If I were holding a bake sale today, I would sell nothing but Rice Krispie treats and sweet potato brownies. The sweet potato brownie recipe was in my most recent cookbook. It was one of the most popular recipes in the book.

A famous New Orleans restaurateur once said, "Do you know why kids love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? It's because peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are good." Ditto Rice Krispie treats.

Four guys who never met a bake sale they didn't like.
Stan, Chris, Robert, and Forrest-- well-fed members of the Class of 1979, Beeson Academy. Home of the world's greatest bake sales

Sweet Potato Brownies

If you don’t like sweet potatoes, don’t worry, you’ll love these. If you don’t like brownies, have no fear, you’ll love these. If you like sweet potatoes and brownies… get ready for an amazing treat!

1 /2 pound butter
2 cups sugar
1 1 /2 cups flour
1 tsp Salt
4 eggs
2 tsp Vanilla
2 cups potatoes, grated
1 cups pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 350.

In an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add remaining ingredients in order, stirring after each is added.

Pour into a buttered and floured 9x12 inch baking sheet.

Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Allow brownies to cool completely before cutting.

2 Tbl butter
1 /4 cup orange juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup confectioner’s sugar

Melt butter and add remaining ingredients. Let cool. Glaze brownies after they have been cut.