Before I knew what was going on, I went all ovine and signed a petition to save the Fairway cafe. It always is the best destination after a movie in the neighborhood, when you can seriously appreciate a couple of glasses of wine for less than one ticket cost. And the food is reliable, the noise level painless, the servers a trip. But now I understand the justification for shutting a money-losing amenity down and using the square footage for 5,000 other noble enterprises. Call me cynical, though: Having shopped the store for going on 30 years, I am not entirely convinced even opening up all the space in China would ever stop church ladies from yelling cocksucker at old guys who jostle them in the onion aisle. It’s Bellevue on Broadway.
Archive for June, 2010
After 9/11, I reread Nevil Shute’s “On the Beach.” Now, with Apocalypse Oil spewing in the Gulf, I’m thinking about picking up “The Road” again — while listening to Carole King’s “It’s Too Late. . .” Because the one thing that comes across clearest in McCarthy’s novel is the futility of stocking up for end times. Which it makes it so ironic that civilization has never been better-equipped for bunker dining into perpetuity. Twinkies are forever.
So are PopTarts, but that hasn’t stopped some foolish chef from not only reinventing them but also hiring a flack to tout his/her idiocy. I mean, really: These crimes against patisserie originated in a good bakery somewhere; Big Food just ran with the idea of pie for breakfast and the toaster as an oven. Way, way back when I was in high school in I got an A on an assignment in General Business analyzing advertisements when I noted that everything essential was omitted from PopTarts’. Today it’s just profoundly sad that neither a baker nor his/her promoter would know there’s such a thing as an empanada. Or strudel. Not for the first time, I realize American cuisine should be renamed Bastardized.
And here, from an e-release I got, is everything you need to know about Americans’ cluelessness on who’s to blame for the unending eco-disaster off Texas/Louisiana/Alabama/Florida: Grilled blue Hawaiian prawns. Yep. A New York restaurant is actually flying in seafood for a benefit for the oil-soaked Gulf Coast. Forget New Zealand lamb. Why not put the waiters in BP-powered mini-cars while they’re at it?
I read this often in the pol porn I’m obsessed with: If you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. But it applies to Big Food just as much. Of all the “new and improveds” for spices, roasting is the absolute dumbest. Why can’t we just buy tiny quantities for freshness? Spices are toasted right before using because that brings out the strongest flavor and fragrance. Do it a year in advance and consumers might as well throw that $4 for a jar of cumin or cinnamon in the trash can. The one lined with bags with “vanilla” “scent.”
Just when I think the horse manure cannot possibly get any deeper, along comes a ridiculously expensive stove “inspired” by a famous chef. Who dutifully parrots the bull dung that restaurant ranges are what set $40 entrees apart from home-cooked fish and steaks. If that were the case, every meal out would be Michelin-level. Anyone stupid enough to think the BTUs make a difference should stick to Stouffer’s. And I can only assume the company marketing this big-ass stove must have been turned down by the real culos.
Now this was a food pyramid. We can argue about the butter substitutes, but then we still are in this country. . . .
I don’t want to drive any traffic to the atrocity, but a particular WSJ blog post pulled off a pretty impressive hat trick: whoring (blatantly touting a press lunch with sponsor, venue, product); pimping (writers on parade), and boring (despite warnings that the video was horrific, I still couldn’t click on it). The frozen image from the video, though, was rather revealing — it looked like the beginning of a really bad porn film, one involving pulled corks. And the hed only added to that queasy feeling: “A sparkler with that sausage?” Maybe they should start rating wines with winks?
I am, once again, reTweeting myself here, but I really would like to see a forensic editor turned loose on the series of tubes. There is simply no way the hands on the keyboard that banged out ovine blather this week were the same ones that took an unnamed but easily identified Florida chef to the woodshed. Someone must have misheard “get a life” with a W. And, off topic, I have to say it’s also amusing to think back on how Mme Ami took Mrs. O to task for setting a bad example by not cooking. So who had 500 chefs in her yard this week, ready to do her bidding? Link bait has a pretty short shelf life. . . .
And now we come to the end:
Five words about RuthBourdain: Tempest in a demitasse cup.
One word I will never learn: Coy.
Hard to see anything funny in the unending eco-disaster. The awful truth is that Gulf seafood was in trouble even before the greed got visibly out of control. And partly for the same reason. Americans are as hooked on cheap food as much as cheap gas. But some of the concerned reports have had their moments. I felt enlightened knowing the original blackener looks “very much the way he does on the labels of his dry rubs and sauces.” Nice ad in a news column, but I suspect he looks a lot smaller or he would not be on that boat. . .
The hysteria over tainted glasses from McDonald’s made me laugh, though. Here are all these parents freaking out over cadmium when they let their kids eat feces in the form of burgers, when diabetes is a bigger risk than maybe even lead. The only surprise to me was that people paid for the damn movie ads as collectibles; it’s the poor man’s Franklin Mint. They should have been given away free to lure in more suckers. Stupidity is the true danger to your health.
The ultimate sign that cupcakes have nowhere to go but down: Some flack pitched them as a gift suggestion for graduates. Unless the recipient is moving on up from kindergarten, I can think of many things more appropriate. Cash, say. At least evolve to macarons.
Twitter hysteria broke out when the chef of all chefs Tweeted his first Tweet. These groupies never learn. Everyone Tweets once. Maybe three times. And then the account goes dormant. Or an underling types up promotional Tweets. The chances of the next butter-poached lobster appearing in 140 characters are slim to none. Unless, of course, he cooks at the White House.
I was encouraged to see the letters to the editor on salt were smarter than the megaturd that inspired it. Readers get it: The problem is not salt on the table. It’s salt in processed crap. And how do you avoid it? Eat less processed crap. But the media has a really hard time just saying that, without getting the fair and balanced story on Cheez-Its. (Christ on a cracker, does anyone need those? Eat a chunk of really good Cheddar.) And it’s easy to see why. Whether online or in print, newspapers and magazines need Big Food’s ads, these days more than ever. So this is the best of times: They can have their requisite salt freakout and clean up, too, because what’s coming is an onslaught of full-page ads for “new, lower-sodium” junk, just as we saw in the MSG war between rival soup companies. There’s no money in real food and no end to the profits on cheap food.