Also got a good laugh on seeing the “family retainer” crediting Crain’s for reporting Alto had auctioned off its stuff — when her own outlet had run an ad in its pages only the day before, disclosing exactly that. Can’t blame Craigslist this time.
Archive for March, 2011
I have no dog in the fight over bike lanes in NYC, given that I own neither a car nor a Schwinn, but I remain mystified as to why they have suddenly become the “ground zero mosque” when they are clearly changing the city for the better (can you say fewest street deaths in a century?) So I had to LOFL when I saw the Wicked of Oz’s smaller outlet fanning the hate with a piece on pop-up cafes that buried the fact that the neighborhoods affected are good to go with the whole concept. Forget the lousy sentence structure (“crowds and rats scurrying for dropped food”). Which is better for the city, gridlock or sales-taxed drinks?
I’m assuming the discovery of E. coli in hazelnuts in the shell is meant as a distraction from the fact that we really don’t know what’s in food these days. Better to fear the filberts than wonder what one company controlling all seeds portends. A Twitter pal had a similar reaction after I mentioned the law Florida is considering that would ban “croparazzi” by forbidding photography of any farm. You know it’s not because of any worries that the cows and the corn will be exploited for stock photo fame, given that we live in an age of royalty-free images. But as my Twitter pal Jen in Oz noted, there is a silver lining — this unconstitutional ban “could prohibit Monsanto goons who trespass/photograph looking for farmers who ‘steal’ proprietary seeds.” Or at least protect the sheep from the randy.
I know what it was touting is only a content farm, but I was still astonished by the most cretinous story pitch ever: using fast food to save time when entertaining. Great basmati rice takes 20 minutes start to finish, less time than cold crap could be biked to your kitchen. And a branded biscuit is a hell of a way to show guests you care enough to serve the very best; cold fries in congealed grease fries would be even worse. But any reader too stupid to think of ordering in a pizza and laying some prosciutto across it really should have her/his cellphone taken away before he/she hurts her/himself. Ditto for the flack.
I try to stay out of comment swamps, but the feedback on the Egopedist’s unclichéing of roast chicken included (at least temporarily) some snarky but dead-on takes. As in jumping the shark. And how it’s deja turkey all over again. But two other things struck me. The first was how a Facebook update from a real friend in France was dissing the feature a full day before a print version landed on our doormat. Wasn’t the editor boasting that the magazine would “own Sunday,” while the news magazines were still dribbling out on Friday? But the bigger one is how obvious it is that the well is beyond dry; anything dredged up at this point is just going to seem like DI/DO recycled. Or Men’s Health. Or . . . Maybe you can cook everything.
I was kinda disappointed there was no rabid wingnut outrage over the Big O brewing beer in the White House. With all their obsession with the unborn lately, the Teabaggers must have fresher eggs to fry.
They are, however, hellbent on taking us back if not to medieval times at least to the dark ages before environmentalism. All the “green” procedures put in place in the Congressional cafeteria in the Pelosi reign are being rescinded, allegedly in the name of cost-cutting but actually just to A) piss off liberals and B) line the pockets of the Kochsuckers. If there’s a hell, I assume it’s stuffed with Styrofoam.
I got a pretty good laugh just hearing about some study finding shopping carts are less sanitary than public toilets. (Cue the Purell commercial.) When will we ever see research on filthy lucre? Surely a buck out of a bum’s back pocket is much scarier than a never-washed cart. And the hands that bag your lettuce don’t touch the handle.
I killed the lunchtime mood on Saturday by mentioning the death of the 575-pound spokesmodel for the Heart Attack Grill just after a heap of French toast, barbecued short ribs, bacon, poached egg, Cheddar and onion rings arrived on one plate, with a huge side of fries. Which was dumb, because the friend who ordered that irresistibly bizarre combination is such a careful eater he can indulge in overkill on any occasion. But you do have to wonder about a country so confused that a restaurant could make international news by proudly promoting killer food while Mrs. O continues to be attacked for suggesting maybe we could all eat better and move around more. As I noted over on the Epi Log, though, lard is the last four-letter villain in the piece. The offending restaurant may have boasted that its fries were cooked in the white stuff, but that’s the least of the problems. Consumption has dropped as asses have ballooned over the decades. Which is just one more reason I wish the Egopedist had been required to do a little more reading before being allowed to step onto the soapbox. A lot happened between the Depression and the Great Backside Inflation. Just Wiki Earl Butz, and not for loose shoes and warm places.
It was amusing to see a trend story lead off with “A few years ago I noticed.” If it were an oil, that news would be rancid by now. Particularly now that more and more people are finally grasping the sanity ring on the nutrition carousel and noting that fat is not the killer it was cracked up to be. But even that was not as silly as a front-pager on chefs who insist on having it their way. The one that was so desperate for examples beyond dedicated steak restaurants that it had to dredge up examples both nebulous and imprecise. Not to mention seriously dated. Couldn’t that reporter send out a Yelp SOS?
The onetime home of the Human Scratch N Match also ran a silly story, on produce prices rising, that actually quoted a woman stupidly musing that it might be “the economy” to blame. Not bad weather and diminishing water, of course. As I noted over on the Twitter, anyone complaining about the price of tomatoes in March is cooking it wrong — this is the season of “better dead than red” in the produce aisle, at least if you want flavor and fair prices. But then there was the way a protest at the newish Upscale Aldi’s was covered elsewhere. Most shoppers interviewed thought it was all about those softballs next to the flown-in blueberries, not the fact that so much processed crap is cheap because tomato pickers in Florida are paid slave wages. Really, if a chain can’t Shetland-pony up a penny a pound more, you really have to wonder how exploited its grape harvesters are. Two bucks might be more than a price.
And I also made this point over on the Twitter, with a nice acknowledgment from the guilty party, but a feature attacking restaurant websites for what I always attack them for could at least have noted that the pot was calling the Creuset black — to read the assault, you had to register and click 65 times. I’d almost prefer a PDF menu after annoying music.
A friend actually emailed me wondering what to think about her sister’s stockpiling food for whatever that rodeo clown is threatening will happen once there’s nothing left of America but a bunch of goldbugs (a k a roaches for the next millennium). Not just because I read “The Road,” I don’t quite understand what good a Y2K2.0 bunker is going to do. All food eventually goes bad, even if it is much later on than easily cowed consumers expect from the “best by” imprints on their cans and jars. And if you have a full subterranean supply, won’t it leave you even more vulnerable to the savages who will be desperately hungry when the money’s gone? I’d think the best solution would be to lay in serious esoterica, not the crap the cretins are being sold. Because one thing I will never get over is the strongest similarity between the super-wealthy and condemned killers. In ordering up their last meal, they both would prefer to eat the unchallenging food they grew up with. To stay safe, invest in tinned foie gras and pasteurized caviar. Leave the Campbell’s Comfort and Chicken of the Chicken to the heathens.
National Nutrition Month turns out to also be National Frozen Food Month. And I don’t think they’re talking baby peas, which really are better than fresh. Shouldn’t the former designation get 12 slots on the calendar? And in other flackery gone bad, someone hit me with the big news a chef is “reinventing” shepherd’s pie using lamb rather than beef. I have yet to hear of a crook for calves’ necks. And no one would ever describe New Zealand as a place where the men are men and the cows are nervous.
I should ignore the great redesign of the Sunday magazine just the way advertisers did (11 non-house ads over 56 pages on debut weekend?) But I was pretty awed at the miscalculation of the premier food column. Weekends are when home cooks want to kick back and think about cassoulet and other Everests they can take the time to climb. Not “git ‘er done” soup formulas from Dinings past. (Don’t even get me started on the Lives column on the “tamale” I read months ago on the infinite internets.) I’m no admirer of the Wicked of Oz, but the WSJ’s Saturday food coverage shows how it’s done: mini recipes that are almost haikus in their lyricism and precision but come from a plethora of different palates. Not from one “boil an onion in plain water, then add spinach” recycler.