Everything you need to know about the world within and without fud is that a rich rancher who is resisting paying “we the people” to let his cattle graze for a pittance on public land is celebrated as a hero, not a taker, by the same people whining that the poors get food stamps to buy their sugar fizz and lobster. While the latest revalidated four-star chef in town is Tweetebrating his validation as a U.S. citizen. We’ve come a long way from freedom fries when the true patriot these days is the former Frenchman.
And it’s depressing to see useful idiots in an endangered profession (paid journalist, that would be) going after food stamp recipients for potential fraud while the banksters and big corporations continue to loot and pillage. Guess I have to quote Jay Gould yet again: “I could hire half the working class to kill the other half.” Imagine if he could have made them get up at dawn and blog, too. . .
I also saw an uplifting little piece on how the site of the meatpacking plant in Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” has been converted into a vertical farm. My sad reaction was that of course it had to involve tilapia; all these enterprises seem to do so. And that just means mud with gills.
Also, too, the non-feathered cardinal with the private chef in his mansion, the one who shows the faithful every day that gluttony is no longer a sin, made a splash by saying you can pick up birth control at any ol’ 7-Eleven. I knew that trashy chain would be the death of Manhattan. Guys in gowns apparently now shop there. But what’s really amazing is how clearly he has exposed wingnut thinking. Attempting to ban Big Gulps is tyranny. Banning “slut pills” is liberty. There must be a revolving-wiener joke in there somewhere.
And the Murdoch Crier, which can do so many things so well, seems to be suffering cognitive dissonance lately. One day it ran a story on what not to buy in a drugstore, because of course its readers are so worried about the exorbitant price of saline. But it omitted the best caveat: Stay the fuck away from the groceries — you’d be better off at Holy Foods. And then there was the disconnect between one section advising how to use luxury ingredients at home (err on the side of too generous with that caviar and foie gras, and definitely shave white truffles over your buttered noodles with “Parmesan”) and another reporting on a visit to a soup kitchen in a church dismayed that it still has to be ladling away after 30 years in “the richest country on earth.” Maybe Holy Apostles just needs D’Artagnan to deliver?
“The Lunchbox” is the best movie since “A Separation,” and it doesn’t even have to be shunted off to the “food movie” category. The food is so seductive, though, that you know not to go in search of Indian afterward because it could never measure up to the celluloid vision. The director gets both the story and the eating exactly right. By contrast, “Tasting Menu,” obviously modeled on the last night at elBulli, is the most craven piece of crap I’ve sat through since the last free screening I couldn’t resist. As I came home and Tweeted, the message seemed to be: Cerebral food attracts truly stupid people. And what a terrible ad for Spanish wine — every glass seemed to be filled with water (they couldn’t even spring for food coloring?) Teh Stupid was so deep and dense it’s hard to list it all — the top two idiocies had to be either the world’s best chef spending her last night musing, yapping and sipping wine, not even throwing copper pots, or the owner losing his shit worrying that a solo diner might be a critic. It’s the last night. It could be AA Gill multiplied by all the female reviewers both in history and yet to be hired in a universe yet to be discovered. And what difference would it make? Cerrado es cerrado.
Thinking some thoughts. Underlining them twice. There must be something really wrong with me. I do not want sick people cooking/serving my food and am very happy NYC now has a law requiring paid leave for restaurant workers (and, of course, others). With all the scaremongering over increased prices, I guess I need to point out that the food biz finds many ways to pass along increased costs. (Try to find a bottle of wine on a list for under $40 these days). As I have noted many times, the sickest I’ve gotten beyond the incident with the baby butt on the falafel counter was after the waiter in Florence wiped his runny nose and set down my plate. FFS, I washed my sauvignon blanc bottle the other day after a cashier with pinkeye merely touched it. So I guess I have to say this one more time: Typhoid Mary was a cook. And Hepatitis C is out there, waiting to shut down your establishment after one worker goes on an unfortunate vacation. It had to be someone like Escoffier who first realized an ounce of prevention is worth 10 pounds of cure. That new miracle remedy, after all, runs a grand a dose.
Today’s lesson: ice cream sandwiches are meant to be craptastic. Artisanal don’t cut it. // Finally settled a little debate over what espelette is: Separatist paprika. // Apparently if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. Ms. “How to Cook a Wolf” must be spinning in her urn. // Funny how it’s always mice in a fancy fud joint. And rats in a real one. // A whole generation is growing up not knowing a kittybag was once an aluminum foil swan. // Canard was word o’ the day on a couple of political blogs. No mention that you need to shred a few birds to make rillettes. // Pizza, you ask? Didn’t we already get the ultimate advice? // Maybe we could both vanquish the abomination “foodies” and disempower NRA nutz by calling them “gunnies”? // Remember when the smart kidz were thinking you should watermark your fud fotos? Good times, Getty would say. // And some deaths you the e-slimed just want to note with a hearty R.I.Pee. Funny how that “hefty but healthy” tome never sold.
Whatever else you might say about the Big Os, they are the most food-savvy White House occupants ever. He not only knew to make a pit stop at the most revered deli in America but could riff on the menu afterward. “Stinkburger” and “meanwich” may not be the most clever coinages. But joking about them seems much more presidential than choking on a pretzel after too much O’Doul’s.
We are definitely living in interesting times. When I was putting in my post-pee-in-the-cup 46 months at the hometown paper, even a spouse was not allowed to slap a bumper sticker on the family car, lest some reader suspect bias. Today you can be an op-ed columnist and do a promo for a salad shooter, no problemo. But why should the Egopedist suck up all the gravy? Mr. Chunky Reese Witherspoon should team up with Chik-fil-A. And MoDo with Skinny Girl. Those two could redefine “mean martini.”
“Grand Hotel Budapest” is Wes Anderson’s most food-centric movie yet, not least because so much of the plot hinges on a confection. But I’m thinking he should get an Amtrak residency just for the great tip he passes on through his characters: Pack wine to avoid the cat piss on the train.
Even I initially got suckered into thinking that residency would be a cool thing — but I thought that mostly because the rail overlords didn’t need to go looking for writers when I had already done a few rolling odes on my own. It’s undeniably magical to sit in total comfort and type as you glide up the Hudson River and westward along the Erie Canal, particularly when it’s snowing and you know everyone else is stranded in airports. But it didn’t take long to realize the R word is just a press trip by another name. And everyone lauding the concept should be aware that that is how so much delectable travel-and-food sausage gets made. Even worse: It’s like the Pillsbury Bake-Off without the glory. There are no free rides. You take it, they own it.
Some days you don’t even have to wonder how the media got gulled into selling the invasion of Iraq, or the impeachment of a president. You only need to read coverage of a “celebrity chef.” Just as I predicted, the Butter Guzzler’s “$75 million comeback,” splashed all over “real” media, turned out to be a flash in the bedpan. Suddenly she closes a flagship restaurant? You don’t shut down if rabid fans are turning up in droves. Still, it’s not over till the fat lady pantses. She could still team up with the Duck Dynasty or Mozilla bigot and fool “reporters” one more time.
For once I’m siding with Goliath. It’s parochial to think the Eataly infringement is about Molto Ego when the brand was built in Torino. Fiat wouldn’t take a Little sitting down, either. Or rolling.
What’s the first sign you’re going to pay out the ass for a a glass of wine? Every window in the restaurant is shrouded by drapes, so you can’t see the inner sanctum before penetrating it, sitting down and opening the sticker-price shock encased in leatherette. Private clubs are never cheap. But at least at this one we got a little something extra with our $14 wine: the sight of the bartender soaking napkins in booze to hand to the hostess to wipe down the menu covers. Beware the well vodka . . .
And speaking of personalities behind bars: What’s worse than a mixologist who can’t make a margarita? A bartender who thinks he can “invent.”
No wonder I’m distracted. There seems to be more than the usual amount of teh stupid burning lately. A chilling new aggregation of climate change reports makes it very clear we’re dinosaurs waiting to happen, fast, and still I see idjits asserting that “humans adapt very well — we build houses with furnaces or AC — so too bad about all the other species.” That’s like thinking you can just order in when the food riots break out.