Archive for March, 2010

Juiced

March 2010

Then there’s the salt insanity. Some ignorant pol (or is that redundant, too?) has proposed banning an element necessary for human survival from all New York restaurant kitchens. Even as pickles are becoming as essential as offal. This is what happens when the ill-informed are empowered to regulate the lives of others. Or is it just that everyone’s a grandstander? If so, the fool should know that no one remembers who was responsible for getting the trans fats out of NYC food. And that guy was on the right side of food science. Only idiocy is forever.

When ambling is too fast

March 2010

I despair every morning on seeing the WSJournal devolve into the NYPost, or worse, but it gets points for beating Panchito to the punch. The piece on an apparent mediocrity clawing her way up to the Food Network had more to say than any 13 long magazine thumb-suckers could about a faded celebrity’s wife cashing in on fame once removed. Hope she at least snapped a towel across his ass the way the Chimp apparently did. It helps so much with character assessment.

Radicchio barricades

March 2010

Stephen Colbert really does do food better than anyone on the teevee; his satire is bitch perfect. The segment on Turd Blossom as a bespectacled ham was brilliant (the eyes were glazed). So was the Pringles spoof that wasn’t — apparently there really are 60 flavors, only a few of which have been recalled. And his take on one of the last two or three advertisers on Glenn Beckkk even topped that. Apparently there actually are Americans who are so fearful of evolution that they will only spring for nonhybrid seeds to plant for their apocalyptic gardens. That almost tops the company selling care for pets left behind by the Raptured.

Cleavage fee

March 2010

The chef who mistook his wife for a cow is really the Bart Stupak of the food world: Looking for attention in all the wrong crusades. If he really wants mega-coverage, though, maybe next time he can have her swallow some coffee beans and poop kopi luwak.

O’Doul’s with a pretzel chaser

March 2010

Given how bamboozled the media was about the Iraq war, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that reporters were so flummoxed by the Big O’s medical checkup. Suffice it to say: Pie does not equal elevated cholesterol. Burgers, neither. It could just as well be all the stress of trying to steer the Titanic as the icebergs melt, but the stenographers just heard and typed. Without noting that a doctor never once advised the Chimp to “continue to use alcohol in moderation.” Bottoms up, indeed.

Full java jacket

March 2010

I kinda doubt my NRA dad ever set foot in a Starbucks; he was probably more a Dunkin’ sort of caffeinator, given that he initially attributed the first symptom of his fatal brain cancer (passing out after puking) to a Subway sandwich. But even he would have to agree this latest movement by wingnuts to play out their paranoia by packing heat into latte central is seriously kkkrazy. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m less afraid of “muslins” than guys with penis issues heading into stressful places while armed and stupid. They get behind too many patrons demanding stuff like half-decaf, quarter-skim, and the macchiato will run red.

Earth to Home . . .

March 2010

We had our Loscar party all planned, as a birthday soiree for our friend Len during the “Avatar” awards, and then my consort had to go and get a gig in California. So we’ll be fete-ing on with only seven of us at table. Guess it’s a good thing I didn’t spring for the full eight Baccarat flutes as touted by the paper that can’t afford its own building. Two hundred twenty-five dollars a stem in this Bushwhacked economy? I’ll have what they’re drinking. Or maybe not. Our best Monte Bello days are behind us . . .

You say tamale

March 2010

One of the many things that amazed me in my second stint at the NYTimes was how often tacos and tortillas were confused, by people who were paid to inform themselves by eating. So I guess I shouldn’t be astonished that a compromised locavore study has been flying around the series of tubes with no brakes on one weirdness. It professes to trace the global impact of a taco, but it scornfully reports that “the rice comes from Thailand.” Rice? In a taco? From Twitter, I know such a thing has been sighted. But it’s just bizarre. Having grown up in a Mexican neighborhood in Arizona, I think it’s sick enough that people enfold rice into a flour tortilla to make a burrito. And I wonder how seriously anyone would take a similar study that tracked back the rice in a hot dog. Or pastrami sandwich.

Calling SMithfield 8

March 2010

Much as I have to admire the persistence of the Mexican personality who is finally acquiring Food Network fame, I have to say the buy-by-buy in the WSJournal that tracked her rise was one of the most depressing tales I have ever read. Call it Triumph of the Will: the Kitchen Stories. It proved you can pay enough and hustle enough and still get the gig, unlike the old days of demonstrating either knowledge or charisma, or at least building a following with a restaurant or books. Mostly it made me see, yet again, what a huge gulf exists between the target audience and the celeb ammo when white guys go hunting. It’s not about the Julias anymore. Even more depressing is realizing that Thai food, at least in New York, is where Mexican was in 1986, before Cafe Marimba: uniformly gloppy. In 25 years the agents will be searching for a fresh face (no accent, please) for Asian food. Too bad Dexter’s not Thai. He could have his own show.

All the Haitian mangoes you can eat

March 2010

After reading another WSJournal story, on the crisis-level tomato shortage, I stupidly expected to see stores looking the way they really should in snowy March, free of flavorless hardballs. But there are big piles even at our neighborhood Food Shitty, and the Manhattan Fruit Exchange had the usual half-dozen or more varieties, if pricier than usual. Once again, it illustrated the disconnect between semi-food, the processed crap delivered to fast food outlets in tractor-trailers, and what most Americans throw into their overloaded baskets. And how the two are covered.

But I have to give the Journal credit for setting the record straight on macarons. They are not fucking macaroons. Buried deep in its late-to-the-meringue front-pager, though, was a funny detail. McDonald’s actually started selling the things three years ago. So all the hysteria online and off over the fast-fooding of high-end patisserie was actually driven by ads, the ones that only recently started showing up in the Paris metro. Guess I’m only amazed we aren’t seeing more MSG-free “soup is good food” pieces as winter winds down.

The white of their tails

March 2010

I’ve been researching a story where references to things like reindeer meat at Christmastime keep popping up, so I wasn’t too surprised to see bunnies hopping down the Dining trail just before Easter. As I Tweeted, I don’t think Americans will ever be able to face their food in the fur. But the piece had almost as big a disconnect as Baccarat flutes in the age of dollar-store glassware. I can still hear the horror when Michael Moore dared to present Flint residents raising rabbits as food for cash. Now that old movie looks like the chronicle of America foretold. Still, I sided with the killers in this piece, at least looking at the cover photo over cappuccino at the kitchen counter with my consort. As I reminded him, rabbits may look cute, but watch out. I’ll never forget the bloody mayhem Bob provoked in Piemonte while shooting a special breed of rodents in the Slow Food ark — the poor farmer did as he was told and put the huge rabbit on his lap for the photo, and the tame thing shredded his forearms with its back paws. Those suckers are Glenn Close compared to your average chicken. Boil away.

Naked came the new Chimp

March 2010

Nice to see Panchito back to doing what he does so well: fluffing Republican frauds. Now, however, with more ick factor.

One more cup of butter before he comes

March 2010

Speaking of which, Mme Ami ran a TwitPoll the other day on what the best word is to describe people who are interested in food, rather than the execrable “foodie.” I suggested “normal” but now see it should be “SoBe-shunning.” What in kitchen hell does that clusterfuck have to do with real food? I care less about the Tiger Beat antics there than I do about the way Amex treats its wine writers. But at least we’re seeing a serious divide in this country, between lemmings flocking to culi-gangbangs and people who care about what they eat and who produces it. Give me the New Amsterdam Market over a Smithfield hog promoter any day.

When pigs fly into the USDA

March 2010

Hellmann’s is the Rachael of the processed food world — its name is 98 percent likely to be misspelled every time. It’s equally good at catapulting the propaganda, too, garnering huge publicity merely for switching to “cage-free” eggs in one of its several lines of mayonnaise. Not to be all unappreciative or anything, but wouldn’t it send more of a message to save up a few extra million dozen until you can promote a switchover for the non-lite stuff? Otherwise, clean-conscience eggs are squandered in fud Michael Pollan would not advocate eating. But at least it’s not as silly as Chipotle hyping its change to “vegan chicken” for its burritos. I mean, really — those poor birds are sentenced to live without natural worms in their diet, only to wind up as mega-meals for meat eaters? Why not just keep them gluten-free and wrap them up in flour tortillas?

No Rosa P w/food stamps

March 2010

I also had a mixed reaction to news that breakfast sales are way down at fast food chains. It’s good that people are giving up semi-food (which arrives in tractor-trailers). But bad that it’s apparently because they no longer have jobs to rush to. And so the rippling continues: More firings because drive-throughs don’t need serfs to assemble the EggaGrease and food factories don’t need slaves to crank out the egg-like substance to fill the biscuit-like material. And that’s just one reason why the latest online crusade to get people to eat only home-cooked food for a week is beyond ridiculous. I’m all for homemade, but doing it because you can afford to just yanks the whole food chain out of whack. Way too many fellow citizens have no choice but to eat in. And some of them are exploited immigrants rushing soggy takeout to the privileged. Go ahead, spring for some. They deserve a break. You can “eat down the fridge” when the banksters start loaning again.