Nick Offerman approves of lumberjack boots and 80s funk

Nick Offerman logged in on a recent video call with the screen name Megan Mullally. “It’s my humble boast,” he explained. “My wife is a goddess.”

Offerman (“Parks and Recreation,” “Making It”), a paragon of male elk and absolute wife, spoke from a spare bedroom in the Los Angeles home he shares with Mullally. Behind him was a four-poster bed, built in his carpentry workshop. At his feet, a walnut milking stool, which he built himself. A craftsman, musician, actor, author and amateur naturalist, Offerman has recently added the advice column to his repertoire. Even as he publicized the new Hulu limited series “Pam & Tommy,” in which he plays a low-level porn mogul, he launched “Donkey Thoughts,” a Substack newsletter in which he answers questions from readers. .

“I identify with the mule or the donkey,” he said. “I compare myself much more to a hard-working pack animal than to a creature with more elegance or sophistication. I’m not a racehorse. Or any other beautiful quadruped. I’m more the person who carries racehorse food. But it seems to work for me.”

Offerman envisions the newsletter as addressing issues of woodworking, relationships, masculinity and food. He offered a sample: Question: What’s the best thing to do with bacon? Answer: Put it in your mouth.

As he prepped for the first issue — with questions prompted by friends like George Saunders, Jeff Tweedy and Laurie Anderson — he took an hour to share his cultural, sartorial and culinary enthusiasms. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

1. Scotch Egg This assembly of a hard-boiled egg wrapped in a pork sausage, breaded and fried is simply the most beautifully designed and constructed food. You can take it in your pocket and eat it at the top of a hike. It’s also totally great in a pub.

2. Sycamore It is the largest of the deciduous trees. If you like a tall leafy maple or London plane tree, sycamore is the champ. Its bark has that beautiful, very fashionable, camouflage marbling. And the leaves themselves, you could sew three together and create a nifty throw that will see you through spring all the way to your summer linens. Finally, the wood itself – when machined and used in cabinetmaking, sycamore is breathtaking.

3. Laurie Anderson His works are as perfect as those of Rembrandt, but the blood of anarchy runs through his veins. She, more than anyone in my life, gave me permission to misbehave in my pursuit of a lifetime of creating things. Laurie Anderson’s spoken word and songs are so wonderfully weird. I was like, how can I take my toolbox and communicate this?

4. Wooden Boat Magazine I was just becoming a good carpenter when I discovered it, and realized that if I was good enough at dining tables and dressers, I could upgrade to a sailboat or a canoe, a wooden craft. . It blew my brains out in a way that I haven’t recovered from. In fact, right now I’m thinking about plans, deciding if I’m going to build a stand-up paddleboard or a sea kayak, because Los Angeles isn’t a big canoeing city.

5. Belted Galloway Cattle I fell in love with a shepherd named James Rebanks. I went to visit him at his farm. We went to buy cows in Scotland. I was just bowled over by this breed. So much so that I now have a few cows in his herd. The beef they pack on their frames is unparalleled. In fact, I’m leaving in April to meet my cows for the first time. This is part of my effort to get back to knowing first hand where my food comes from and how I can harvest it sustainably and responsibly so that Mother Nature will always love me.

6. Spokane White Boots I discovered this company about 18 years ago. Any American company with that old-school sensibility that makes valuables to last rather than making them disposable, I really admire. They make the most amazing lumberjack work boots. I still wear the same pair I bought 18 years ago. They are not cheap, because they last. Your grandchildren can wear these boots. I wear them with jeans when I tour and I can dance in them. I never had to run away from the authorities there, but if I needed to, I could.

7. Gaia Our ancestral mother, Gaia is all creation represented in the form of a benevolent woman. The older I get, the less I want to go to the mall and the more I want to go to the woods and hang out with her. How can I try to be part of the movement of good people trying to bring our civilization back to some semblance of sustainability? The good news is that the answers to our global problems are often delicious. And quite tasty.

8. Hasty Bake Charcoal Grills Megan is our house curator. I’m very happy about it. But the grill situation is one place I call the shots. The Hasty Bake is simply stunning. It is a double width rectangular grill with a ventilation system. The fire lives in two separate charcoal boxes that you can move up and down to adjust your temperature. I can feed up to 40 people with this stuff. I can grill anything you can imagine. And then I can also use it to smoke meat. During the pandemic, Megan got really obsessed with cooking and baking, and I got obsessed with smoking pork shoulders.

9. The Gap Group My cousin and I really wanted to be a famous breakdancing duo in the mid-80s. In central Illinois. We were a little known at the Shanahan rink. It was really hard to find suitable music at the time. All we could get on the radio was Top 40 stuff. But the Gap Band got away with it. It really fueled my development as a teenager. I probably play the Gap Band in my wood store more than any other funk band.

ten. Robin Wall Kimmerer She is a Citizen Potawatomi Nation Elder Thinker. She beautifully and generously brings their oral tradition of their healthy relationship with nature, which she calls an economy of reciprocity. She is also a massively accredited botanist. His writing is the sweet medicine we stupid humans need if we are to have any hope of salvaging our relationship with Mother Nature. Start with “Gathering Moss” or “Braiding Sweet Grass”.

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