Archive for January, 2009

Reggiano all around

January 2009

Somehow I also suspect American artisanal cheese has nuked the fridge. Of all the ways to celebrate the inauguration, slicing into a $65 selection of East Coast wedgettes strikes me as the most tone-deaf. I guess it’s better than buying an Obama thong and not washing it until curds form.

But not by much.

Cabrito in honor of Panchito

January 2009

Looks as if the Chimp is determined to be a petty prick to the bitterest end. Not only did he lock the O family out of the Blair House kitchens, but he had his partner in crimes against taste order up the new china for the big house. So he will have a legacy; it just happens to be the most butt-ugly plates ever designed. And to think all the Lump in the Bed would have had to do to save taxpayers half a million bucks was Google “monkey dinnerware.”

Pie holes to remain ajar

January 2009

I’m not so encouraged to read that the agent of change has decided the new White House chef is going to be the same as the old White House chef, but I can see how canning a minority woman might not have gone over so well with mothers of American cooking on the organic/local warpath. And with kids moving in, at least she will know how to make hot dogs and peanut butter sandwiches, thanks to the Chimp’s very refined palate. Having read enough of her straining-at-sophisticated menus, though (“artichoke and Reggiano cheese ravioli,” anyone?), I think the best thing you can say about her is that she is not a saint-certified celebrity chef.

Bring their own pork

January 2009

One of my sources passed along some related good gossip from the soon-to-be center of the universe: Carpetbagger chefs are taking over the town for all the poshest parties, with local heroes mostly shunned. I thought the pettiness in the foodosphere was out of control before. I can’t wait for four more years of this. It’s always Alice’s world; suck up or you don’t even get to fart in it.

Dog’s pee on a witless bush

January 2009

In poking around whitehouse.gov just now and finding tomatoes in November, it was sort of funny to see the chardonnay served at the Berlusconi dinner: Ponzi. What did the Chimp’s sommelier know about Madoff, and when did he know it?

Little big scam

January 2009

Mencken must be chortling in his grave over the exploding craze for 100-calorie snacks. More hucksters are not going broke suckering an American public that ballooned with the last fad, for fat-free Snackwells etc. Maybe if schools still taught math people would realize 100 calories is not exactly bird feed. One little Snickers leads to another, and before you know it you could have had a Happy Meal on a 2,000-calorie day. I’m just glad I got my aspiring anorexia out of the way at a young age. A hundred calories was a normal serving of almonds or chips or whatever. And you could buy portions one at a time. What good is a six-pack of baby Twinkies for someone with no self-control?

Mad cow and squirrel brains

January 2009

I will eat a raw egg in ice cream or eggnog or Caesar dressing, but a barely cooked one turns my stomach. Turns out just reading about it will almost bring up my breakfast. Yolks “gushing all over” flounder sounds right out of “Eraserhead.” At least we were spared the Drivelist’s pickles and ice cream combo. But I did enjoy the contradiction of having that upchucker run in the same section with a chestnut lede saying there are no super-fresh ingredients to be had in wintertime. Get your bogus ass out to the Greenmarket, Little Sir Echo Pollan. Sickening ideas obviously await.

I am not a plastic bag

January 2009

I’m sure Holy Foods will sic its flack on me for this, but I actually stopped in the store off the Bowery the other day mostly to warm up but partly because I saw a blackboard sign on the sidewalk touting virtuous arctic char on sale and figured I could pick some up for dinner. So I wended my way to the seafood counter, where an even bigger sign in front was attached to a display stacked with leaflets on the many wonders of arctic char. And I waited, while the clerk wrapped up some fatigued-looking salmon for another woman, even though the case held nothing that vaguely resembled the catch of the day. When I asked, the kid just said, “We don’t have any.” “But you have big signs advertising it.” “Maybe tomorrow.” Okay. It was no big deal except it really just epitomizes what the chain is all about. If the product matched the marketing, fish could fly.

Last copy editor out, turn off the spell check

January 2009

Did the paper of Al Siegel really use “froo froo” in a story on the Emerald Inn? Did a blogger really describe a muffuletta as a “cold cut and tapenade juggernaut”? And why would a restaurant boast that it’s considered “a surefire closer” for “Romeos?” Eat, drink and get laid is a weird come-on, even for V.D.

And it’s warm where he sat

January 2009

Mr. Maroon must have worn out his welcome at all his usual plugola places (excuse me, op-ed pages) because he has been reduced to contributing to the cheapest outlet in town. And of course the boss got what she paid for. I don’t know when I have come across a bigger pile of horseshit in one tossed-off lecture to a new president. He even sermonizes about the trim First Family sending a message on obesity. (Do as he says, not as he gorges.) Really, this pompous fool advising Obama on eating is like Joe the Plumber telling Robert Fisk how to report a war. But at least he wasn’t doing it in Chinese restaurants, and he forestalled that guy’s weighing in.

Two on a Gran Torino

January 2009

I just saw the first photo of Meryl Streep impersonating Julia, and I have been groping for brain bleach ever since. She is beyond annoying to begin with, but just imagining her self-satisfied imitation of the infamous voice gives me worse chills than all those slobs emery-boarding their nails on the C train. It almost makes me wish the movie being made were of another vintage food personality’s life and conquests. And those have been disseminated so far and wide for so long you can almost hear the labia flapping. . . .

Mothers, shut your pie holes

January 2009

The chef who was lucky to have been canned rather than mowed down by Mrs. Chimp deserves a second medal on his whites, for lashing out twice at all the wannabe food advisers to the Big O for their “presumptions” about how the White House kitchen is stocked. I had wondered how a huge story could be printed with no effort made to actually, you know, ask about what goes on there now. Obviously, you don’t get organics without manure.

Pretzels with parsley

January 2009

Then again, the White House has a pretty dark curtain around it when it comes to the care and feeding of its inhabitants. The new National Geographic doesn’t do much to pull that thing back, but I did absorb the chilling fact that the chef will sometimes “stop in at a local butcher on the way to work and pick up a last-minute chop for the President’s dinner.” Might be safer to raise a few heritage hogs out on the lawn the devout want turned into a victory garden. And cheaper: Who knew “the President is billed for all food consumed by his family and his personal guests”? Or that the sticker price shock kicks in because “you’ve got world-class chefs — the garnishes they put on foods, the way they dress them up, it’s like eating in a restaurant”? The real lipstick on the pig must have been the Per Se-style sevruga caviar on the Chimp’s hot dogs.

In Hong Kong, an apprentice without a cleaver

January 2009

I’m still getting my mind around the ad- and comment-driven insanity of starting a column devoted to “a little chef shall teach you,” but I suspect the mom we had lunch with the day the magazine landed expressed a pretty common reaction: “I think I’m gonna puke.” And her spawn is all growed up and off in London on a fellowship. I admit my greatest accomplishment in life has been not repeating my mother’s mistake of producing a litter (seven kids in 8 1/2 years), but even if I liked human larvae I would have a hard time accepting the possibility of inspiration from them. Judging by what I encounter at parties and in public, many are idiots, few are savants. Hollywood dogs would make more sense — just consider the potential of “Marley Under Pressure.” I can hate the sin but admire the sinner, though, so I’ll just say the silliness could have been Baby Gap sillier. So far, at least, none of the fetal Roccos and prepubescent Panchitos springing up all over the internets have been awarded a regular gig. To the 15-year-old doing back flips in the bathroom to get a Per Se reservation, you just want to wearily say: Learn to masturbate. It’s only food.

Debunking loaves and fishes

January 2009

More cynical characters than I read recipes and see Marcella lurking. I just question how radical a revamping it is when you cut the butter back to the level a traditionalist recommends. And then double the cheese. Then again, all that was not as mystifying as the idea of shadowboxing urban legends without challenging Olympian appetites. But I confess I’m criticizing secondhand: My consort slogged through with no prodding only to pronounce:  “It’s badly written.” I guess he didn’t recognize the rhythm from the crude message that once popped up on his laptop in my in-box in Middle Earth.