Thanks to Twitter, I now know the trashier of the Skank Twins has a new teevee gig bloviating about education. I do hope she gets a chance to explain how margaritas help you power through exams when your family is well-connected. And isn’t the next natural step for the Food Network to hire her mom to host a show? “How to Cook a Dead Boyfriend,” maybe?
Archive for August, 2009
A friend out in Santa Barbara did not know how lucky she was when she emailed to wonder: “Who is this Frank Bruni? I never heard of him.” For the rest of us he’s as annoying as those incessant cicadas this summer. As one of my (famous) Twitter followers noted: “Dude’s had a longer goodbye than the last season of ER.” On this Katrina anniversary weekend, and just after finishing Dave Eggers’s incredible “Zeitoun,” I just have to say I wish Panchito had devoted one-tenth as much energy to exposing the Chimp as dangerously incompetent as he has to hustling his silly book. Look at all the history we could have been spared having the sumbitch amble through, from 9/11 to illegal war to a near-Depression. Beyond that, we got it: You were fat. You have a weird obsession with Saint Danny. But it’s really time to shut your pie hole and move on.
I do wonder, though, if the reason my Writeme inbox is jammed with “colon cleanse” spam, especially for men, might not be related to that relentless self-promotion. Each message seems to mirror his on bingeing and purging: Eat more and shit the pounds away.
I really wanted to spurn the Holy Foods that just opened next to the greatest neighborhood Greenmarket in the system, but my consort dragged me in to check it out and we both slowly realized we have been subsisting in a food desert. We’ve lost our butcher and had no baker, and the only fish to be found except from Pura Vida on Friday is displayed amid brazen roaches. Just the night before I had had to spring for a crappy geriatric Murray’s chicken for my consort at the best bet for food shopping for more than a mile. Now I’m afraid I could get used to having better birds — not to mention Balthazar and Sullivan Street Bakery bread and padron peppers and Illy priced like Zabar’s — only two blocks away. This time of year almost everything we eat comes from 97th or Union Square, but in winter you can’t live on Greenmarket alone. I would worry about the little guys in the neighborhood getting killed, but they are already getting slammed by fast crap I would never patronize (can you say Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts?) The smart among them will upgrade to compete. (I will not soon forget the clerk at the corner condescendingly informing me when I said the baguette she had just sold me was hard as a baseball bat: “That’s what French bread is supposed to feel like.”) And the liquor-free wine shop at HF should also be a serious corrective; as times have gotten tougher, all the other stores have gotten greedier. Guess I should be saying a little prayer to Michael Pollan, who just advised against boycotting HF because its honcho is a health care cretin — better to focus on the support a huge, powerful chain provides farmers. I wouldn’t be surprised if whoever chooses new locations had not scoped out the thriving scene on 97th on Fridays: rich people, regular people, food stamp shoppers, all drawn by producers selling (roughly in westward order) fruit, wine, organic herbs and heirloom tomatoes, milk, Jersey produce, baked stuff, cheese, honey, turkey, NYState produce, eggs, plants, beef, fruit and juice, more produce and incredible fish. If you’re going to stake a tent in a desert, be sure to do it alongside an oasis.
Typo of the week, from the hole in my computer where all my time goes: Fries cooked in “dick” fat. If only the Twitterer had meant Cheney. That would be the ultimate freedom/French revenge.
Speaking of the French, I know they have no word for entrepreneur, as the Chimp contended. But Americans are learning it big time lately. The latest example is the lemonade stand three little boys in our co-op have set up on the sidewalk in the last week. They charge 50 cents a cup, and of course who isn’t going to give them a buck and tell them to keep the change? One of those boys will be president one day, too. The second time I stopped, the littlest brother was energetically shilling to passers-by, the biggest was pouring out the drinks and the sign read “B&L lemonade,” for Ben and Lucas. And where was the middle one while B and uncredited brother were slaving away in the heat? “He’s upstairs practicing his music.” Buy that L a bunker.
One of the chapters in my memoir “Born Mean” is going to be a confession that I have actually indulged in Taco Bell. Not in five years, but still. I do understand its allure, although even I had second thoughts early one day in an airport when I saw how the refried beans were made (open bag of dirt-brown dust, add water, apply heat). But the news about its revamped breakfast offerings was even scarier than that sight: Jimmy Dean sausage and Cinnabon? Hope they’re offering a free syringe with every order. What was even more appalling is how the press release was retyped — it actually included the word “mouth-watering” and described the chain as “the beloved franchise.” This would be, some of us remember, the one where rats ran rampant in Greenwich Village for all the world to see. Maybe the wrong tool was canned at the home of the Human Scratch N Match.
Can’t wait to see how all the fat-rights activists respond to the Brits’ report finding that the obese are more likely to die from swine flu. “Porked out” is an apt epitaph.
So I was in Fairway the other day and actually heard the words “thank you” and “you’re very welcome.” A woman apologized when she saw her cart was in front of the cool sponges I was agonizing over. The cashier packed the reusable bag I pulled out of my purse to avoid his plastic and save(!) the planet. It was all beyond surreal, but it was, of course, not down at 74th and Broadway, where I rarely venture without getting bruised and battered, physically or/or psychologically. I was up at the unsettlingly mellow Harlem store, after helping to judge a firehouse grill-off. And that was a trip in itself. I agreed to do it without thinking it would entail a fate worse than salmonella — being relentlessly photographed — or that it would be so challenging. Four of us had to rate burgers, ribs and chicken thighs grilled by teams from four firehouses, and these were guys who are beyond passionate about cooking, given that any meal might be their last. And it wasn’t just about flipping off No. 1, 2, 3 and 4; the criteria included tenderness and creativity etc. It was tough, knowing how much the cooks had invested of their souls. It was also a lot of meat in a very short time, but mostly I came away thinking how rare it was. When was the last time you had restaurant food where you could taste how the kitchen had put 150 percent into every plate?
Things I wish I didn’t know: a Belgian chain is opening a Mexican joint. With a name that roughly translates to Epago — eat, pay and get out. Really. Vamos?
Sad to say, I will probably try it — one day I will find a real enchilada in this town. But I will still wonder: What, Chinga tu Madre was taken?
Funny how the worst body in Foodland since Prudhomme has been able to strut around in shorts for years with only adulation ensuing. Let a firm-and-taut woman who has already done an incalculable amount of good for the cause of eating right step out in Arizona-appropriate attire, though, and the both Villagers and the KKKrazies go even crazier. I used to wonder where Panchito was when the news first surfaced that a prospective FLOTUS had a Lady Macbeth streak. Really sad that he was off bingeing and purging. No wonder he couldn’t report straight.
Happy as I was to see Mme Child top the bestseller list at long last, I did have to laugh at the front-page announcement. The average blooming onion is far scarier than any mousseline sabayon (and has anyone checked that sacred dictionary lately for the definition of decadent?) The story was a total salmagundi. “French and American bodies respond differently to the same fatty ingredients?” You gotta be kidding me, and Darwin, too. Arrogant idiots making beef stew with cream o’ mushroom and onion soup because bacon fat is so scary? They set cooking back to 1961. But beyond the content, the quality was amazingly flawed. In my two stints at the paper held in highest self-regard, no coverage of Time’s man of the year was allowed because it was not news, just promotion for the publication. And what would you call billboard coverage of your own bestseller list? Worse, the treatment of butter rivaled that of WMD. The reader came away thinking it was lethal. But not once did the reporter stop to analyze why and inform either way. Yellowcake must be on the cafeteria menu every day.
In other paper sins against New York, you really gotta wonder where the slot was when the story on kids’ cooking classes slid into print with all Latino and Caribbean references in quotes. No New Yorkers, and probably very few Americans at all, need punctuation around arroz con pollo, for mofongo’s sake.
Premature exultation is always a problem with flacks, but it’s getting seriously out of hand lately. On a stinking 90-degree day in August, the last thing I want to think about is New Year’s resolutions. Let alone VD and chocolate. It’s pretty bad when a “sweat treat” for Rosh Hashanah looks almost timely. The only good news is that they are skipping right over Thanksgiving to get to the Peeps.
If I were the industrious type, I’d be working on a tell-all on how Twitter ate my life and made me fat and obliterated my bank account. (One day I expect to have to confess to my consort, Samuel L. Jackson-style, that “I Tweeted the teevee.”) But one reason it is so addictive is that it leads you to shit discoveries you would not have otherwise, no matter how satiated you always felt following 600 blogs a day. And the best sick highs are of MSM sites hanging out down at the corner of Ho and Puta. Could anything be sadder than well-established magazines on the block trying to save their irrelevant asses by dancing to manipulative readers’ tunes? Stop the Publish button, but “food blogs are having a serious impact” — that’s a story? Planted by a blog that needs hits like roaches need griddle grease? Really. If you want to show just how many years behind the curve you are, run a photo of my biggest fan in a necktie.