Excerpt from In Pursuit of the Common Good by A. E. Hotchner, Paul Newman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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In Pursuit of the Common Good

Twenty-Five Years of Repairing the World, One Bottle of Salad Dressing at a Time

by A. E. Hotchner, Paul Newman

In Pursuit of the Common Good
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2003, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2008, 272 pages

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Occasionally, during the hours we labored, somebody would show up - Caroline, the housekeeper, or Joanne or one of Paul's kids. But they had the good sense to stop at the door. The smell of vintage horse piss and mold had now commingled with the aroma of Budweiser and the salad dressing ingredients, a combination which did not exactly beckon. So they stood near the door and announced that dinner was ready, or Aunt Margaret was here, or the police wanted to invalidate Paul's driver's license, but Paul said we still had work to do, whereupon everyone seemed to scatter in a hurry. No one dared venture into that place. It was forbidding, or sanctified, maybe.

The precise number of give-away bottles were lined up on the dirt floor like a battalion of infantry soldiers but there was still a quantity of dressing left in the tub. That's when it occurred to Paul that we could bottle the rest, hustle them into some upscale local food stores, make a buck and go fishing. But Hotch, a refugee from law school, put on the brakes: "It's against the law," he shouted. "Look at this place! The bugs can't even stay alive here! If somebody croaks from ingesting this stuff, you'll be in court, with no liability insurance. You could wind up without your basement and everything above it. There are certain rules and regulations to be followed – hygienic, first and foremost, proper labeling, government stuff!

With his barn at stake, Paul agreed that they'd have to take out insurance, create a proper label, and get a bona fide bottler and see if it would sell.

And that is how our baby got started - not in a manger, but in a tub – not a wise man in sight – a fading movie star and a cantankerous writer, but that was it.

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Copyright 2003 The Association of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camps and A.E. Hotchner

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