Archive for July, 2012

Potato-leek soup, served cold

July 2012

I can never get my shit together enough to capitalize on all my “I remember whens . . .” so I’ll throw this out for free: When I read the CIA was shutting down the Escoffier room, I was transported in reverse nearly 30 years, way back to when I decided to give up a lucrative career as an editor at the hometown paper and train as a chef. My consort insisted we check out the Harvard of cooking schools before I wisely followed my gut right into the New York Restaurant School, so we rented a car, drove to Poughkeepsie, toured the anxious campus and ate dinner in the swankiest of student-staffed restaurants. And jeebus, was it both halt and lame. The sauces were stodgy, the cooking clumsy, the service amateurish to the point of parody. By contrast, back in the spring of 1983, my about-to-be alma mater on 34th Street was turning out gracefully light food that reflected how cuisine was melding French style with American omnivorism. Rather than dropping 20 or 30 thousand grand while taking myself out of the work force for two years, I borrowed 5 grand for 18 weeks at the Evelyn Wood School of Cooking. And never regretted it. Not least because I’m now working on a piece interviewing CIA grads and hearing they got their best education after they left that whole world of the ER behind. No joke.

Knee-high asparagus by the 11th of July

July 2012

And my supremely wise consort has long insisted any think tank given print time should be identified by its political bent: Left or KKKrazy. Never was that more needed than the day the Egopedist became the dummy for ventriloquists who hide their animal-rights activism behind the white coat covering 5 percent of their organization. I can’t remember who on Twitter added the perfect hed to the milk dis — “Got ghostwriter?” — but I was glad to see I was not alone in calling BullShit. This is where the editors who mistook a $500-a-week gig for a deal might want to face what a monster they’ve created. An audience of millions needs to be fed truth, not pop science. Especially when it’s being spoon-fed by an organization that cares nothing about health and the environment. Contrast the “milk’ll kill ya” with this sanity. As I have said many times, the first time I was assigned a piece to edit, I was warned: “He’s not a very sophisticated writer.” He was brought on when the 1/2/3 passed on the zombie Franey gig. One day the seersuckers will look back and realize they should have put Panchito on the nutrition-nuttiness beat. At least the word salad could have been doused in Ranch dressing . . .

Starbucks in Utah forever . . .

July 2012

I’ll give Panchito this credit: He inadvertently exposed how easily seduced any campaign reporter can be by a wink and a towel snap. So thank allah and Al Gore’s invention of the internets that America won’t be fooled again. Those who throw away their teevees and let their print subscriptions lapse will still learn about “a pony in every pot.” And about how bogus every food-related photo op with the dog & pony abuser really is. Even those who don’t dwell on gods and guns and religion should be fearing for their coffee. Any guarantee a Mormon in Chief won’t take the caffeine away?

No color for Oreos

July 2012

And whatever else you might think about the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act, you have to agree it made broccoli a star. And made the wingnut justices who kept citing it a joke. They sounded like the old cartoon: “I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.” But of course that was a spoiled kid talking.

Say dressing, or else

July 2012

I can’t count all the reasons future historians will look back and wonder WTF Americans were thinking as our only habitat heated up while a few lunatics decided to make overfed ducks the cause most celebrated. The real abuse with foie gras has been the tortured uses California chefs have put it to while engorging diners before the ban (“he injects jam in one side of the doughnut and foie gras mousse in the other, then rolls it in peanuts after frying”). If cruelty were really the issue, maybe the loons would be pushing to overturn the law that lets prison wardens in Alabama starve inmates and pocket the money saved on food? And how about these poor animals that appear to be suffering for milk? When does California outlaw buffalo mozzarella?

Flavored sunflower seeds

July 2012

I’ve been so distracted by the Twitter this has been languishing, but: My kingdom for a fly on the wall in Grand Forks on the a.m. the Most Important Paper in America weighed in on the silly successor to the Wasilla Hillbilly’s own private happy meal. Apparently it’s a joke for a small-town reviewer to evaluate a chain moving in. But it’s service journalism for a big-city editor to order up a taste-test of the latest in chain stunts. I could maybe see it before Taco Bell invaded the city all those years ago. These days it’s about as exotic as 7-Eleven. You would never read a feature on how plastic slipcovers feel on a couch, or how a Skinny Girl cocktail goes down, but for some reason fast food is always treated like something the sophisticated reader needs to have interpreted. Maybe that’s because those chains don’t advertise and there’s no fear of a JC Penney backlash? Whatever. This is what bacon sundaes distract from.


July 2012

–Only people raised prosperous enjoy drinking from Mason jars.

–What the world did not need: flavored bourbon. Does everything have to be raspberry-nachoed?

–Would like to think the heat’s making people stupid. But those confounded by checkout lanes at Holy Foods are probably just as addled in winter. [That place really needs a line tamer.]

–If food makes you either laugh with pleasure or weep with weepiness, you might want to adjust your dosage.

“Yeah, he’s a lech”

July 2012

I also Tweeted that “it’s been a while since I’ve been to a scarf-and-barf lunch.” I didn’t Tweet that the wolves are closing in on a junkyard dog. Whenever I go out, it seems required-to-come-clean bloggers dominate the guest list and the same question comes up: How does she get away with it?