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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Morgan Murphy: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”

20 questions with food writer and car collector Morgan Murphy


The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. Whats your guiding force?

Bourbon and bacon, which is, by the way, the title of my next book coming out from Time Inc. next year. No, it’s not a diet book.


Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. Whats yours?

“Life is too short to be boring”.  Also: “Don’t eat food from a box.”


Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013?

Men who wear a short-sleeved shirt, tie and no jacket. I also find vegetarians unacceptable.


Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?

I miss Margaret Thatcher being Prime Minister. She had good hair, like Reagan. I also miss lead. It made gasoline peppier, paint stick to walls and spouses disappear.


What might you swap all your wealth for?

The ability to eat bacon at every meal.


Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?

Politicians don’t understand economics. The only thing worse than watching Congress debate economic policy would be playing strip poker with Harry Reid.


What phrase or word do you most loathe?

The warning on my Range Rover that says: “Check dip beam light.” I use all my French when I see that warning. I swear the truck only has three electrical settings: “dim”, “flicker” and “off”. It’s the only vehicle that can hydroplane in its own fluids.


In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. Whats your view and what causes do you personally support?

I am very passionate about supporting distilleries. I spend a great deal of disposable income on bourbon. Unfortunately it’s not a charity. Yet. I also support the performing arts, the Presbyterian church and my colleges, Birmingham-Southern College and the University of Oxford.


The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?

I prefer my rotary phone. It has a pleasant ring. It never moves, so is never lost under the couch cushion or in the fridge. It always has a charge. I can use the receiver as a weapon in an emergency.  With it, I cannot drunk text my ex or God forbid, use an emoticon.


Morgan Murphy
Morgan Murphy

If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?

Oh, it would be a fabulous party: The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition models, Pappy Van Winkle, Heston Blumenthal (with duck) and F. Scott Fitzgerald.


If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?

My mother’s succotash and cornbread. I’d like to eat it at The Savoy Bar since Britain hasn’t had the death penalty in years.


What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?

Fifteen minutes after one’s last cup of coffee.


A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?

Martini, up. And I loathe bartenders who ask, “gin martini?” How redundant. Yes, gin. Vodka is vulgar.


Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

I love Christmas parties. I’m a huge fan of fir trees, carols, roaring fires, twinkly lights, eggnog and women in angora sweaters under mistletoe.


Who is the most positive person you know?

My auntie Peggy, who is 88, Scottish, and currently adhering to a strict diet of gin and olives. Her motto: “If it makes your life easier, do it”.


Whats your most guilty pleasure?

You think I’m going to tell you that in an international magazine? No, sir.


If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?

Why are tattoos suddenly so cool? Every girl I know has a tattoo now. I’m a Navy officer. I see a tattoo and think: burley enlisted guy; I do not think sexy. That said, I’d get a hula girl on my bicep. Or maybe a sailing ship in full broadside.


If you were a car, what marque would you be?

A Morgan, obviously. It has my name all over it. It’s made by guys named “Nigel” and “Godfrey” in a factory that looks like its straight out of a Charles Dickens’ novel. Luxury is limited to leather seating and a radio – everything else is superfluous. Outwardly the styling may be distinguished and formal, but underneath lies the heart of a true sports car. Interpret that how you will.


Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.

I have two medals for marksmanship and fought in Afghanistan. For some reason people don’t think a food critic can be lethal. Then again, they haven’t tried my cooking.


Whats currently sitting on your mantelpiece?

A bottle of Blanton’s bourbon, a few Dunhill cigars, Kerry Katona in an angora sweater and the original hood ornament from my car: “The Duchess”.


Morgan Murphy is based in Birmingham, Alabama and often called “America’s funniest food critic”. He a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and an “avid car collector”. His collection has variously included the 1941 Cadillac designed for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and his books have numbered I Love You – Now Hush, Off the Eaten Path and Off the Eaten Path: Second Helpings. Murphy regularly writes for Vanity Fair, Forbes, Esquire, Garden Design, Harpers Bazaar and The New York Post.


Follow him on Twitter @_MorganMurphy.



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  1. I like the man, the suit, and the car, I once tried bacon and loved it. Ronald Reagan was a man amongst men.
    By far the greatest President in American history. Morgan Murphy comes across as man with abundance of charm and charisma, he is obviously not Jewish, but nobody is perfect.


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