Too bad our uppity mayor is too short and too non-Mormon to ever fly as pres. Despite some restaurateurs’ laments, he has been good for food. The latest move is allowing city agencies to buy local. Given that NYC is the second-largest institutional buyer in the country, after the military, that could be very, very good for upstate farmers. And even for Brooklyn/Queens artisans who are thinking out of the crate. Sixteen-ounce mayonnaise? Bring it on.
Archive for June, 2012
No wonder Hellmann’s is now going for upwards of $8 a 30-ounce “quart.” Gotta cover that $40 million in preying-on-the-witless advertising somehow.
Also kinda suspect Paul Newman would be spinning in his grave if he knew his legacy was advertising dog’s dinners. And I don’t mean pet food. Upscale Hamburger Helper, indeed.
Where are almonds going to go to get their reputation back? I always knew they were a smart choice if you care about what you eat. But now I’m wondering, given that the people who turned pomegranates into bogus live-forever juice are marketing their version. How many millions did it take to demonstrate the healthfulness of roasting and salting?
I was half-joking when I Tweeted to any homeless that I’d spotted a big tray of fancy picnic food — sandwiches, Taleggio, bruschetti, expensive fruit etc. — laid out for sharing atop a trash can near our apartment. But it was reTweeted. Which made me wish there could be some actual way to alert the hungry to easy pickings, because I’ve been thwarted so often in trying to donate perfectly edible food over 31 years in this town. Either pantries don’t want anything in jars or the firehouse has no idea what food drive advertised in the paper I’m talking about or the big-time gatherer doesn’t think I have enough mega-party leftovers to matter or everyone’s just afraid of home cookin’. Maybe the city should just hand out Twitter-enabled smart phones. We might hear the last “I’m honnngrry” hard-luck story on the C train.
Also born (not borne) of Twitter, the new-to-me knowledge that ducks and geese sleep with one eye open — half the brain at a time checks out so the other half can stand guard against predators. Which is just the ultimate evidence that California’s ban on foie gras is not about preventing cruelty but about opening up the slippery-slope chute to no meat for anyone. If force-feeding were so unnatural/horrific, wouldn’t the birds snap fully awake as the gavagers came close?
I am notoriously not a kid person, but every time I see a pint-size entrepreneur out on the sidewalk hawking food or drink, I’ll buy. Usually I just toss whatever his/her grubby little nose-excavating fingers produced into the trash can at the next intersection, but I do want to encourage anyone who understands food is the future — once the banksters finally destroy themselves and the economy, we’ll still have to eat. But that’s boosterism for kidz. Full-grown astronauts and the people who support them should not be running bake sales to raise money in the richest country on the planet. Not least because you can’t invent Tang if you’re busy hawking brownies.
Other thoughts from over to the Twitter, some posted, some not, some bloated:
–Nothing Twittsults worse than having some wingnut with 30 followers dissing you. Stings like a GMO-doomed honeybee.
–I’m always grateful for lists of “kid-friendly” restaurants — I take them as a warning.
–I tasted buckwheat sprouts at the Greenmarket for the first time and loved them. Came home and Googled, though, and learned they’re either the greatest thing ever. Or they’ll kill you. The internets never disappoints.
–Inside fudball, but it seemed kinda bitchy to shove Marcella into someone else’s sendoff. Mean girls should not evoke the scent in a Richard Thompson song.
–This very well may be be the saddest cookbook ever. But runner-up has to be the new collection of 200 recipes using canned fish. Paul Krugman is right: We do need to end this depression now.
–Grown in Amercia (& endorsed by soda companies/Deenabetes — you are what you excrete)
Guess I should be flattered a reader took the time to use my own private comment option to advise me to “keep your content current.” But it feels a little like a free-sampler at Holy Foods complaining the schmears of Vermont Camembert are too small under the Dalmatian fig spread.
Still, I can take a hint. I realize I have gone off the once-a-week rails. And so I’m back, with my long-mulled reaction to the greatest infringement on soda liberty since the 5-cent deposit for bottles and cans gave freedom to the homeless to scavenge for food pennies. One reason I still resist posting daily is that knee-jerk is never a safe reaction. Jon Stewart immediately beat me to the punch line on the lack of self-control with all other portions. (Has the so-called evil “Sugar Nanny” seen candy bars lately? A single Butterfinger would feed a small borough.) And of course this rule could just make New Yorkers buy one drink in two cups, but I now agree that he at least has them thinking they’ll need a hand to carry the nachos to the movie-theater seat. Mostly I agree with everyone who noted that Americans just have no idea what a normal portion is in a world where husky has become the pant size even for kids in commercials. Sometimes Big Gubmint has to help them out; we are, after all, a country with stoplights rather than roundabouts because drivers apparently can’t think for themselves. Plus the thing I fear least in this city is getting blown away in a restaurant by a deranged upholder of the Second Amendment; our nanny is among the few to push back on gun insanity. Then there’s the reality that if he had imposed the drink limit at JFK or LaGuardia, there would not have been a peep of protest. Travelers would even be taking off their shoes and laptops after obediently dumping their Big Gulps. But mostly I’m fascinated that all the civil libertarians are up in arms over this while insisting women surrender their rights to control when or whether to have kids. Maybe everything would be okay if the Pill were dissolved each day in a half-gallon of Mountain Dew?
I also read an artfully regurgitated page out of a Marketing 101 textbook on how Big Food is appealing to Americans’ emotions. Somehow, when honesty and local and nostalgia are allegedly so big, a company is introducing “pizza dipping strips.” “Cheese” and “pepperoni” on “crust” you can dunk into a two sauces, one “a departure from the standard Ranch.” Why don’t they just fill each one with chocolate and coat it in Doritos?
Obvious question debated at HH one afternoon this week: Which came first, the food truck trend or the French with their food trucks? Not debatable was the silliness of a reviewer trashing a chef for producing dated food while describing his place as sounding like a go-go bar. Didn’t karaoke kill those off? In the last century?
The internets is a very small place, so as much as I read of the obit for “artisanal” sounded awfully similar to the one for “facts.” But two things about the idea made me laugh. One is that mayonnaise would be the tipping point. Does no one remember Hellmann’s originated small-batch in a shop on Columbus Avenue 100 years ago? So what if it took all these decades for it be flavored like Brooklyn? And the second is that the word that really needs a stake through its heartlessness is “artisan.” Which is the noun being used as an adjective for Dunkin’ Bagels. Just as you have to wonder with “vegan terrine,” what exactly is the secret ingredient involved?
My only regret in wildly killing out about a thousand writeme emails stacked up over the month is that I might have erased evidence for when press trippers later write up press trips in pure and holy outlets with shrinking budgets. Out with serious food people recently, we had a good discussion of the hypocrisy of the hometown paper in shunning contributors who may have indulged when, say, a Chilean wine expedition is converted to a food feature. “But maybe the rules are different for staff?” LOL. Guilty on two counts.
Some things I Tweeted, some I didn’t:
–Silverskin sounds the Tiffany condom, endorsed by the miraculously child-free Callista.
–Not sure saffron should be pitched as an appetite suppressant; to me it always tastes like bathroom tile to begin with.
–Say what you will about Bloomberg, but he’s good for food entrepreneurs.
–Dug out my Cuba notebook as friends are heading off to Havana. Apparently what once were tourist traps are now teevee-validated . . .
–Will never get used to the NYT needing a PR agent to tell the world what’s on its front page . . .
–Why the gun slaughter in the Seattle cafe was worth more than a brief in the NY.
–Please, CCA, open re-education camps for supermarket execs oblivious to how dependent they are on public benefits. Food stamps R them.
–Hate to rain on anyone’s tomato fields, but if you’re seeing “local” tomatoes in May in the Northeast, they are still coming from the greenhouse.
–And a bar sign from Portland, O.