Archive for February, 2009

For Technicolor yawn, just add chutney

February 2009

Times must not be as tight as all the headlines are hollering. First we’re treated to a celebration of a canteen for the obscenely rich; for some reason it has not failed to thrive, and I only hope all the lucky duckies who are struggling felt much better after inferring all you need to succeed: location, location, Italian arrogance. Worse, apparently there was some kind of circle jerk going on down in Miami, where all manner of reincarnations of Marie Antoinette were running around as the Ponzi State collapses. It says it all that a post about being too strapped to tip the coat check “girl” in Manhattan was followed by one from Miami essentially sniffing, Let ’em eat 13 burgers. What would a WPA writer make of it all?

Bridge to nowhere.wordpress.com

February 2009

I thought it would be hard for the Porcine Pantload to top his beyond-absurd scheme to separate fools from their mega-money with classes on one of the most elementary forms of communication. Could he do a fat book on healthful eating, maybe? (Think about his hips, if you dare: Every extra pound adds five pounds of stress on joints.) But it’s worse: He apparently had a ridiculous notion that people should give up food shopping and draw down their reserves. And the point was? To starve the stores and let fish rot on the ice and mesclun wilt in the bins? To kneecap the economy even more? To impose discipline while food banks are overrun? I mean, really. This sounds like going off on a two-hour sail and eating all the provisions on the way out. What happens when you’re stranded on the island? Well, I guess you’re supposed to blog about it on PhatPhuck. Pompously, of course. So all the little people can vicariously suffer your deprivation.

Please don’t feed the pigeon

February 2009

Andy Warhol misunderestimated New York. Get your 15 minutes and die and someone will spring up to knock off your schtick in about 5. The old boy with his vegetable peelers at Union Square has already been replaced by a woman with a British accent and something of the same spiel for the rubes (I only heard what could be heard in trying to push past the clot of gawkers into the market). I guess it shouldn’t be so surprising. Look how many little chefs have sprung from one Big Homme, and he hasn’t even vacated the premises.

Seared in a $240 frying pan

February 2009

I remain fixated on how easily the media continues to take the Spam bait. At the Food Shitty near me, the cheapest little supermarket I know, London broil was going for $3.99 a pound. Hormel’s pride was $5.23 a pound, the shelf sticker said. This is not your grandfather’s Depression. Things went way off the meat track thanks to Earl Butz, and now there’s a chicken even in every can of cat food (check the labels). But I guess it says it all that you could get four good servings out of a pound of London broil while a typical little can o’ Spam, according to the label, serves 6. Shit apparently goes down easier in small bites.

Can you spare a hundred?

February 2009

All the hype about canned soup being a boom business also turns out to be hype, with Campbell’s starting to limp. Which I guess explains how restaurants are continuing to spring up with prices targeted at those good old days of gold-flecked desserts. I saw a new Mexican place opened in Chelsea and started to scribble the address in my notebook but thought to check Menupages first. Entrees are in the high $20s, and it looks as if you need to order $7 sides for a real meal. WTF? Worse was the menu my consort brought home from Buffalo, which has surprisingly good restaurants but is not exactly Paris on Lake Erie. He and his mom had dinner at a place near the boyhood home where the pork chops were $24 and surf-and-turf (filet mignon, lobster macaroni & cheese) was $34. Give the owners credit for creativity, though, and I don’t mean the “Brie Stuffed Mini Venison Burger” with “Jack Daniels Vanilla Bean Milk Shake for Dipping.” Last line on that menu reads: “Buy a Round of Drinks for the Kitchen — $8.”

Fish — noun or verb?

February 2009

I’d rail about Saint Alice’s latest sermon from the mount where the air is pretty damn thin, but I couldn’t slog all the way through it. Does she know any verb beyond “should”? Not sure if she’s heard there’s this big piece of legislation that managed to pass despite all the balking by the fiscal-conservatives-unless-it-comes-to-war-funding. And there’s actually some money in it to buy kitchen equipment for school cafeterias. Because you can’t do a great job with all the local beef and carrots in the world if you only have a microwave. Baby steps are still steps ahead. And without her pontificating in organic ermine, Jamie Oliver would look like a dilettante.

Smoked

February 2009

Now that the greatest cat ever has joined the choir invisible, I can’t decide who deserves more blame for jinxing him, the crazy-optimistic vet or my biggest fan. Whatever. It kicked the snark out of me. I could barely rouse myself to wonder what the hell an achiote pepper might be. (Can you say annato makes the cheese go orange?) Or why someone for whom English is obviously a second language is allowed to digest DI/DO with no intervention by a copy desk. (Can you say kill the fucking index and give A-section stories room to run?) And did an albino really take a dump all over the magazine? Talk about acid redux. . . .

Sleeping in the publisher’s den

February 2009

Speaking of the paper in dangerous debt to the wonderfully named Señor Slim, the corrections on the Op-Ed page are getting better than the original drivel. Pretty funny to have someone saved by the chokehold not understand what the hell happened. And her dodge around the villain in the piece was truly entertaining. Saint Alice would like the world to sing to her tune, but she doesn’t know the most basic technique in food service? You can only imagine her running through her own dining room hollering for a Chino Farms cucumber in an emergency. Then not knowing where to insert it.

Sweat treats, the e-release said

February 2009

Amid all the doomsaying on the economy lately, a graph in the paper that runs Turd Blossom columns as its funny pages was rather revealing: Americans are cutting back on poultry, beef, cereals, sugar, pet food and alcoholic beverages but spending more on eggs, fresh vegetables and fresh milk and cream. No wonder the catapulters of Spam propaganda have had no success boosting that scary product. Shoppers are skipping Alpo and flipping omelets.

And the Oscar goes to the snood

February 2009

Of all the many reasons to consider “The Wrestler” the steamingest pile to appear in theaters in donkey’s  years, the scenes involving food and drink were more cringe-inducing than the stomach-churning violence. Did anyone not immediately suspect, on hearing the irredeemable lowlife was being assigned to the deli counter, that slicer and fingers would meet for dramatic effect? Did no one assigned to continuity notice that he was both free to work weekends and available to hang in a bar on a Saturday? And I guess George Bush the First, the one who didn’t know from scanners, was in charge of styling the deli scenes. What supermarket doesn’t have a printout function on its scales? Even in grimmest Jersey? If states could sue, I might even chip in for its legal bills. At least we were spared the reconciliation dinner by candlelight, if not the implication that bad dads turn daughters gay. Sweet Jeebus in spangly tights. Six seasons of “Top Chef” watched “Clockwork Orange”-style would not have been as painful.

3. [pl.] [Slang] a trifling sum of money

February 2009

I’m glad people are slowly starting to connect the dots with Big Shitpile, Bernie Madoff and the filthy peanut butter. I have wondered for decades why we have passively assumed the burden of protecting ourselves from industrial food by swallowing the advice to scrub our kitchens and our carrots and literally cook the crap out of eggs, chicken, vegetables etc. It is possible to have clean food, but you wouldn’t know it from the FDA. But I guess all the “leaders” busy shrinking the government small enough to drown in a bathtub didn’t notice the toilet was overflowing. (It’s also funny how all the food people hollering for a garden at the White House and a celebrity in the White House kitchen went dead silent when it came time to add money to a gutted regulatory agency, let alone to school nutrition programs.) Something is really wrong with an America that imports peanuts from China, organic or not. I’d say the race to the bottom is over, and we lost.

Glossolalia

February 2009

Or maybe not. Thanks to the Cod, I see no incompetence still goes uncompensated in this fucked-up society. The old girl has a book deal. Involving definitions. Of “the way we dine now.” Her agent must be very good with moving targets. Not even Applebee’s is safe with apple carts on the way any day now. Notice, though, I am avoiding all the obvious “who do you have to blow around here?” jokes. They seem to write themselves.

You calling Saint Danny a girl?

February 2009

Since the cult of Saint Alice just will not shut up in echoing her imperious, ill-informed demands, I have to wonder where in the name of salmonella these people were for eight long years while the Chimp ran the nation’s food supply into the septic tank. And it’s not misogyny to be appalled, as the subject of the Tom Jones song insists. In answer to her question about rage and rancor: Yes. Christopher Hitchens famously tore Mother Teresa a new asshole years ago. It’s really not about the organs. 

First they came for the news clerks. . .

February 2009

The idiocy is so unrelenting it’s hard to keep up, but I did wonder how the hometown paper allowed one of the drinkers of the Chino Ranch Kool-Aid to assert that the hiring of a real chef “should please” She Who Must Be Obeyed. Couldn’t the reblogger reach her “mother” for comment? Plus it was all presented as Victory Garden Accomplished without a single response from the family who apparently will not be allowed to eat in peace. Seems like only yesterday the same outlet was having to tread lightly around the fact that the new leader of the free world could not be trusted anywhere near the Burgundy with the boeuf. No dots were ever connected, and the next thing you know he’s choking on pretzels and guzzling O’Doul’s while we’re all being fed lies — “Let ’em eat yellow cake.” Which was a slippery slope to filthy peanut butter. Might be time for another locavore feeding fest in DC. Bring your own pork, of course. 

Somewhere, Mother Teresa is thirsting

February 2009

Speaking of which, I am totally enjoying reading the fools sporting Dianne Feinstein hairdos as they proclaim Washington the new New York/Paris/London. Uh. Huh. I’ve lived in six states and consider my recollected travels with consort my retirement account, and I can pretty confidently say that when it comes to eating, the place is Podunk on the Potomac. Even the city’s biggest booster, depending on the outlet, has to acknowledge that its best is 63 rungs below New York, let alone her sainted Berkeley or the finally recognized Mecca, Chicago. Thin-skinned pastry chefs are the least of the problems. You can’t do great food without a great audience — look at the Upper East Side here. Washington is doubly plagued, with the rich and with rubes. Would you chow down where the bloviators on the Sunday teevee shows do?