Archive for July, 2011

Lush wine groves

July 2011

And I’m so old I remember when the hometown paper had people whose job description included keeping ads and editorial separate. Food stories are obviously generated to lure advertising, but at least a sheen of a veneer of respectability was needed. So I really never thought I would ever see a feature on booze right next to a full-page ad for booze. Of course that was in the magazine. Wednesday doesn’t have to worry — there are no ads.

Foie gras dog biscuits

July 2011

I can’t adequately express how happy I was to have the food show moved down to where the money and dolts are this year. My feet thank the organizers, and my gut is even more grateful, because I am one of those 25+-year veterans who knows the only way to tackle those miles of aisles is to plunge in, start tasting and just keep a list of what went down the gullet (and, more important, what could not be swallowed without spitting up). There are no trend stories with credibility to be nailed. It’s a trade show, one that attracts the scary side of America, the rolling thunder thighs in their mobility carts (painfully, I know from wheelchairs — what you see at the show are different; they’re what you need when you’re too grotesque to walk). I always go partly to see people in the business I like, but also for what I disguise as “research reasons.” You never know what you might turn up as you indulge in once-a-year borderline-bulimia. But even from afar, I remained convinced of one thing: If you have time to Tweet on that gorge march, you’re doing it wrong.

Combine fig and flatulence

July 2011

And this is almost enough to make me wish sheeple could be put to good use with mint sauce. I came home from Italy and read a great story in the Guardian about a new study showing a severely restricted diet could actually cure diabetes. Cure, not control. Sure, it was one study, and the results were beyond dramatic. But the potential could be game-changing in the middle of an epidemic. When I linked it on Twitter, though, I started getting kickback about what a flawed study it must be. Which made me despair. A drug company, or a food importer, can invest millions to produce the desired result, and people will run out and clamor for Fosamax-for-life prescriptions and pomegranate snake oil. Let someone try to inject some science into the debate and skeptics are all, “Where is the video?” Too bad the same rigidity is not required when it comes to things like virgin births and resurrections. Then again, if it were, we would not have Christmas and Easter candy. . .

Collared greens

July 2011

Some things I Tweeted: You should never need to Wiki a celebrity chef. Here’s where I stop in a review: When a restaurant no longer open is described as successful. Bad restaurants could clean up by offering $12.03.5 deals, priced right. Thursday Styles sees black people, doesn’t note they’re now outnumbered in Harlem. Water-packed tuna is the chickenshit of the sea — worst legacy of the fat-fearing frenzy. And David Sedaris goes there, on grossness in China.

Like water from a fountain

July 2011

I guess this is one way to create jobs: pass a law requiring restaurants to hire armed security guards to watch out after 9 o’clock. This is happening in Newark, after an off-duty cop was killed, but I can see where it could lead. Someone gets food poisoning, you have to hire a health inspector. Someone in a wheelchair can’t get from car to table, you have to hire an aide. Just in case the grease-encrusted vent does up in smoke, keep a fireman on staff. John Galteria would be a great concept for a chain if we could eat the namesake. But it’s not hopeless here yet. I read about an American now making and selling cheese in Russia whose biggest problem is “bureaucracy.” Which makes him sound like a whining teabagger until he points out that the system provides a way around it: “Corruption can work against you, and corruption can work for you.” Break the law in Russia and you can pay off the cop. In the United States, “one has to deal with the paperwork.” Call me a libtard, but in which country would I rather risk a raw-milk Camembert?

Anti-Cobb

July 2011

Wasn’t it rich that the same guy working up a head o’ outrage about industrial tomatoes was simultaneously flogging a recipe using a fruit that was then, according to farmers in our market, weeks away from being locally available? And I’m not talking melon. And how sad was it that the same chef who was humiliated by one jackass picked himself up, dusted off the Pepsi foam and did it all over again? Almost makes me long for the good old days of Betty Crocker, when a fake home cook really was a fake home cook.