I am a veteran foodie.

My mother had me working in the kitchen with her since I was a kid, so consequently I still love rumbling around in the kitchen endeavoring in the fine arts of culinary sorcery. Mom used simple rules as a foundation: To make a meal, start with quality ingredients; slice and dice before you begin cooking; don’t be in a hurry.

Dad, on the other hand, got me thinking about politics much like my mother’s approach to cooking: To make a law, start with the Constitution, slice and dice the issue before voting; don’t be in a hurry.

How’s that free health care working out, folks?

Writing for the Santa Monica Daily Press for the last two-plus years has had much of the same feel as my parent’s common sense recipes for real life. The craft of writing falls into much the same simplicity as making a fine French onion soup smothered in a nutty Gruyere cheese paired with a whale salad sandwich on Ashkenazi challah with diced Democrats capering on the side. Mmmm … yummy.

I have been fortunate to say that I’ve had more satisfied repeat customers in my literary kitchen than I’ve had snarky critics. Most critics are invariably the least informed while possessed with the aesthetic discernment of the common coprophagic housefly. These critics are also oft times the same bloviators who can’t seem to handle the heat coming off my own stovetop nor the complementary bite from my spice rack. Yet I’m grateful to my critics. After all, how boring would life be without enemies, even ignorant ones?

Part of what I’ve done in writing “Going Postal” was to satisfy my more sadistic inclinations to annoy the general public at large while experimenting on the most liberal denizens of Santa Monica as my personal lab rats. Nothing has been more funny/scary than reading the musings from the aging feckless hippie who cries for social justice for the poor yet lives in a rent control, beach-front condo. Sorry, but a job is the best form of social welfare that I know. Or the pro-Saddam DNC Internet lawyer who bemoans the waterboarding of jihadi dirtbags in Gitmo. Better yet, how about the Obama-philic “multi-platform content provider with four-quadrant crossover appeal” who routinely bashes Catholic hospitals yet has given gushing tutorials about how to “use” rather than “look” at pornography while slavishly extolling his peculiar fetish for all things Britney Spears.

I once looked up the definition of what a “multi-platform content provider yada-yada” was in my Better Business Bovine Scatological Dictionary and all it said was “janitor.”

These are people that speak for many of you, Santa Monica. Call me crazy all you want (like I care), but you might want to take a zen-ful moment of navel gazing to check out some of the spider monkeys pitching dishes around inside your own intellectual china boutique.

Life for me has taken several new stirrings around the Breen family stew pot. My wife has received orders to Fort Campbell, Ken. for combat air assault training and I have entered my new career as an “Army wife” since my recent retirement from the Postal Service. After 22 years of combined federal/military service, I have a new direct support mission currently on the “barbie.” My son has moved into my home yet will soon deploy for the upcoming hunting season against the Tali-bunnies in Afghanistan. Treat him nice, folks, because he will bite. He is, after all, one of my closest friends. I will miss arguing with him over handcrafted beers, about our relative magnificence, overall good-looks and whose French toast recipe is the best.

I would like to thank my editor, Kevin “Iron Chef” Herrera, for the opportunity that he has given me. I don’t think either of us thought I’d last this long without angry mobs roasting my chestnuts over an open mesquite grill outside of the SMDP offices. (Naw, burning all that wood contributes to global warming and kills polar bears.) Many times Kevin has gone out on a limb for me even when I was sawing it off behind him, but then again I’ve always been a willful and difficult red-headed stepchild (“Bad mailman! No donut!”).

Lastly, I would like to thank my many fans who have written me personally. I have kept two files in my computer for folks who have written to me entitled “hate mail” and “love letters.” The count? 435 love letters versus 109 pieces of hate mail over two years.

If that isn’t a recipe for success, then what is? Bon appetit and adieu!

Steve Breen has had a rousing good time at your expense and will always be “the best looking mailman at the U.S. Post Office.” He can be reached at dulcamarax@yahoo.com