Archive for May, 2010

No strawberries. We’re Northeasterners.

May 2010

Okay, I guess I have to address the fact that this has been “if you don’t have anything nice to say about Dining, come sit next to me” week. Holy weed-wacked, did e-correspondents get riled! I had a hard time forging on past the jump myself, but I can tell link bait when I smell it. At the very least the megaturd should have included a recipe or two, given how much money smart entrepreneurs around the country are raking in selling medical marijuana in edible form. Or maybe a tasting box.

All mockery aside, the piece was surprisingly irresponsible. Mexico is awash in blood thanks to Americans’ appetite for drugs, our puritanical attitudes and our absurd gun laxity (not to mention the corporate control of our overlords). This ain’t tacos, Mexican style. Tons of dope are involved, and really ugly shit is happening as a result; Tarantino at his most lurid could not dream up some of the stuff I’ve read. But Señor Slim can’t possibly want that reality check. And surely the very proper NYTimes ran stories on bathtub gin when Prohibition was at its bloodiest?

Coming soon: Cooking pre-oiled seafood.

Asian cats can’t type

May 2010

Apropos of something, I’ll just say there are days when it appears our cat has more wit in his emptied nut sack than do most people posting on the internets.

Rumored is an interesting word

May 2010

And reTweeting myself, I also have to say: Christ on a tortilla, Dining! You’d think Rick Bayless had never cooked rubber chicken before. How can you suck your way to the top of Enron on 12th Street if you can’t crank out dinner for 200? It was really the kind of piece you’d expect to see about a hometown chef in the Podunk Crier. And the hed should have been Someone’s in the Kitchen with Access, because the story went nowhere. Unfortunately, of course, that hed was taken.

“I remember Boone’s Farm . . . “

May 2010

Because not everyone speaks Twitter, I’ll translate another recycled one. At the Greenmarket on Union Square Saturday, I pointed out a white-haired guy in a sport coat to my consort and said he was an old NYTimes copy editor. “Retired?” Bob asked. And I said: “Aren’t they all?” Next morning I had more evidence, in the obit for the founder of Oldways, which described olive oil as “the principle source of fat” in the Mediterranean diet. This was after a story that lowercased Buffalo wings (when bison fly?). And in one column I found a sentence ending in a preposition, plus “the couple is . . . and have,” not to mention “presumptive” for “presumptuous.” The only consolation is knowing a certain head is also exploding every morning over in the Jersey town where the elite retreat.

Long Dong at bat

May 2010

Given how much ad space soda companies are buying up for all their crap lately, I’m only surprised they have not wangled a neon sign over the Supreme Court’s main door — the one now closed to “we the people” because this land of the fearful seems to want to spend its life in Depends. It would be perfect, given that I am determined to tune out all “Is She or Isn’t She?” coverage until the Coke cans come up.

Yes, we have no climate change

May 2010

For once I was impressed by the NYTimes’s P1 editors’ story choice. The report summarizing the new research on how rare food allergies really are should have been above the fold, but it was enough that it made the front page. I would only have turned around the figures and said 95 percent of adults/92 percent of children have nothing to fear from peanuts/shrimp/milk/etc. Back in the last century I did a piece for Vogue asserting much the same thing, and it set off a shitstorm because even then people were going out to restaurants armed with business cards listing their food restrictions. Not, of course, described as issues but rather as allergies. At least now maybe it will be harder for people to pull the stunt a woman we used to eat with always did: Make a huge fuss over not being able to eat butter on her (inevitable) chicken. And then order ice cream for dessert.

Pie holes are for shutting

May 2010

For all my mockery of the WSJournal’s new New York section, it does occasionally run something our other daily delivery does not, like the piece on the new rules for the Greenmarket cracking down on the crappy baked goods they all sell. I understand they’re holdovers from the bad old days when local farms were few and far-flung. But keeping them does tarnish the image of the whole system. Forcing them to use 15 percent regionally grown and milled grain will build more of a market for local wheat etc. As will the requirement that eggs, dairy, meat, honey, maple syrup and produce all be from around here. And of course who is howling loudest? Not a farmer. A commercial baker.

State bread? Tortilla

May 2010

The way Arizona is acting lately makes me want to burn my replica of my birth certificate, so I’m happy to see so much blowback for its absurd overreaction. But in every mess there’s always an upside, in this case the reality that a state with no exploited immigrants is not going to be able to keep providing the whole country with dirt-cheap romaine. It’s one way to keep feces out of food.

Suffering surimi

May 2010

Finally, I guess I have to dive into Forgione v. Fool. Where in the name of Madoff was this money expert when looters were pillaging Wall Street? If there was ever a time to cross journalistic boundaries, was it not when his very own stock was tanking? Mostly it’s funny how I never saw that Timesman on his white horse galloping across the Style newsroom to throttle the rudest voice in food as she was berating some sorry soul tasked with merely trying to get her to bestow unicorn dust on some new product/restaurant/event. Rather than blogging his silliness himself, he should have done the proper thing. And consulted Eat Shit & Die herself.

Dogs, in dirty water

May 2010

Maybe it’s because I am not about to start wearing adult diapers, but I just can’t get worked up about wannabombers in Tourists Square. Everyone’s wetting themselves when you’re more likely to get mowed down — literally or figuratively — by a food truck than offed by the sad sacks who fail among us. If you really want to freak, Google food poisoning in NYC. Now you can get listeriosis from chickpea salad? I would have suspected falafel. It’s “Muslin,” isn’t it?

A long way from Avignon

May 2010

And speaking of what you eat being what can kill you, now it turns out there’s shit in the romaine. “Cleaned” and chopped romaine, anyway. In all the coverage of it, though, no one dares discuss how it might have wound up there. I just take it as one more warning that processed crap inevitably lives up to its name. We buy either greens from the Greenmarket or whole heads of lettuce we can wash. Mostly, though, we remember the most encouraging study: Alcohol with meals prevents food poisoning. Never have a potential E. coli-burger without a glass of wine. Maybe three. No recalls in vineyards.

While we were snarking

May 2010

Dwight Garner’s review of the Wilbert Rideau memoir in the NYT included a detail I don’t know that I’ve ever read before. Death Row dinners are “ordered for, and eaten by” friends of prisoners — “condemned men usually lose their appetites.” Might be the saddest thing I’ve read since the tale of the about-to-be-whacked convict who saved his dessert “for later.”

Lies, lies & USA Weekend

May 2010

I never thought I would say anything positive about GE and its inescapable kitchen appliance ads, but I was surprised in a good way to see the latest, featuring a gay couple, pizza-making and tea-drinking away in their manse in Connecticut. Given how much focus-grouping goes on in that world, you know Madison Avenue knows the “real” America better than anyone quitting in Alaska ever could.

Criticism abandoned for trends, they said

May 2010

I really want to like the WSJournal’s new New York section even though I think one  monopolist with dual citizenship has done more damage to this country than any terrorist, and that was even before he hired Turd Blossom to pontificate. The Goliath the new section is looking to take down could use a few slingshot hits to remember it’s neglecting the super-blue city where most of its readers live. But every day the thing looks sillier, most often when it comes to food. That Lunchbox column in particular is clueless. One day it’s describing Xie Xie as being “on the West Side” and “near Times Square” (why not just say Hell’s Kitchen? Or even foolish Clinton?) The next it’s introducing a vast readership to . . . the Oyster Bar in Grand Central. And it’s not just one reporter mucking up the job. They’re serial fools. Food is the second-biggest income-producer in this city, after finance. Can’t it get some respect? Otherwise, just ramp up the stupidity to satirical level and call the thing the Red Onion.

Filipina maid needed. Must share closet.

May 2010

Call me cynical, but I also wonder about the slipping standards at The Daily Goliath. I tasted some sparkling tea at the Chelsea Market that was endorsed by the powerful one, and trust me: You would be laughed out of your own cocktail party if you poured it. Most recently the wielder of the unicorn horn touted the food shops at the old Limelight as a “temple for food.” I accidentally wound up on the street where they fester and stopped in, after spotting the “peak season” produce market outside that looked like the Food Shitty compared with the Greenmarket just a few blocks away. (Variety is never a good sign with fruits and vegetables, especially in a region still waking up to asparagus only.) It was a depressing warning of how cynical whoever the rental agent was. I walked in and right back out — the place had a Rouse-to-the-max feel, like one of the many incarnations of the South Street Seaport, and seemed about as removed from the New Amsterdam Market as Smithfield is from Flying Pigs. Someone needs to put down that pinkie. And all the press releases.