Archive for September, 2012

Six centuries of corn separation

September 2012

I’m already dreading the descent of the holidays, with flacks hitting me even now with “halfway to St. Patrick’s” pitches. But once in a while something tantalizing flushes up amid the dross. Like the announcement that a smart company has come up with “just add wine” mixes, right as wine targeted specifically at moms is making news. This could be the best mother’s little helper ever. Macon & cheese again?

RT/MT/UT

September 2012

Sorry, Pillsbury: your pizza crust can never be “artisan.”//Should never have to look at the food in a food photo and imagine the mohel sucking the blood off it.//You might be a wingnut if you want the gubmint to get out of the food stamp business but open up a commodities Costco.//”Finger sandwich” sounds bony.//On National Punch Day, can we all sock an annoying promoter in the face?//And did I really get a “to remember 9/11, here’s 20 percent off” email from a tea purveyor?

“It’s not our job”

September 2012

Finally, it’s only taken 12 years, but Panchito is finally getting the towel snap across the fanny he deserved. Lesson for voters: Make sure the guy you want to have a beer with can actually drink. Otherwise, you could sign up for some boozy FB group and wake up in a FEMA camp — or, in a fate after death, baptized as Mormon.

Off the Iowa ranch

September 2012

The shot seen round the world will go down in history, but something else struck me on seeing the photo linked everywhere by everyone. Over the three decades I’ve been writing about food, we’ve all, readers and writers alike, come to believe fast and chains are all Americans have. And yet somehow the Big O’s campaign finds independent after independent. Maybe the choice is clear: Pizza lift. Or car elevator.

Larkin calling

September 2012

Speaking of which, I read many years ago — I think in Harper’s — that bodybuilding has a downside when it comes to package perception. And so I saw this and immediately thought a sequel to a certain restaurant memoir had been published. Pull quote: “Being very thin makes your dick look enormous.”

Barbecue brownies

September 2012

I also think we’re definitely into the silly season when it comes to cookbooks. Archaeologists tens of thousands of years from now will wonder why climate-cooling trees were sacrificed for entire collections of recipes for cinnamon rolls, or for crap cupcakes with crap baked into them. Even so, I also understand why publishers keep committing. I just tried my first recipe from a best-selling legend (legendary best-seller?) and it was positively craptastic — the pan size had to be wrong, the effort was not worth the time/vice versa and the finished cake was a tooth slog with six times as much dough as peaches. Yet friends and others I trust are constantly raving about the titular creator’s comforting recipes. Now I’m wondering how many have actually taken them to the stove as opposed to bed. Can there be 50 shades of vicarious eating?

RT/MT/UT

September 2012

Dear PR peoples: There’s a difference between fame and notoriety. A big one.//Latin food is not the same as Latino food (for starters, one involves garum).//And I do not miss having periods at all.

St. Ronnie of Cancer Sticks

September 2012

As for the clearly suspect organic-is-no-better study out of an allegedly incorruptible university, may I remind everyone of Larry Summers and “Inside Job”? The crazy-making research that wound up on the wrong rural route really was problematic, but the pushback on it reflected a couple of encouraging trends. Simplest: Readers don’t have to just yell at the teevee anymore when they hear “news” that is so clearly wrong. They have many ways to push back and hold “real” reporters’ feet to the flaming fire. Strongest: No one just yells “but I know it’s better” — the sentient line up arguments that touch on the larger issues, ecological first of all.

More stories of pizza for 100 pennies or less

September 2012

I see lots o’ change down at my old place of employment, both encouraging (new public editor) and ominous (departing multimedia editor). And I liked an interview I saw that acknowledged the guys who, when I worked there the second time, thought the Internets was for playing solitaire but are now jumping onto the Tweet train. But I also found it just absurd considering the barrage of e-releases I get every week touting DI/DO contents. How lame is your content in a viral age that you have to pimp it out? For Pinch’s sake, start making videos with kittens added to taste.

Brown-nosing through history

September 2012

Finally, don’t get me started on the new incarnation of the Bitterman as Buddha. Or on any interviewer who could throw out a burrata-ball like: “Do you ever get tired of accepting awards?” Forget the weirdness of the carpet not matching the valance. Really: “It’s wrongheaded and immoral to attack the writer, and I don’t forgive anyone for that?” Guess that means it’s only a sin if it’s done by email.

White House beer, no pretzels

September 2012

Given that “We Lie” is apparently going to be the Rmoney campaign’s slogan, it’s probably not surprising that the usual bogus bake-off between the womenfolk has been ratcheted up a notch. Mrs. Cleaver actually staged a photo op in her kitchen as she whipped up a batch of Welsh cakes (not sure where she hid the help). And then she was brazen enough to hand them out to the gullible stenographers on the plane. I didn’t know you could buy Christmas cookie tins at Costco in August.

“Kids can spread and dip themselves”

September 2012

One more and I’ll get to the meat, but I have to steal from the best political blogger working this election. Why ever would it be that the presidential candidate has a real “up from hardship” tale to tell about his dad that ends with power, riches and fame, while a token supporter has to admit his immigrant dad “lived and died as a banquet bartender”? Even though he undoubtedly made a mean mojito?

Zipped

September 2012

For some reason my MacBook has decided I can only watch/hear some videos, not all, even though I’ve reinstalled Flash repeatedly. And I’m actually enjoying digital silence. Never is that more true than when I click on a restaurant website and am shut out — no music, no slideshow, no overdesigned bullshit that inevitably fizzles into a PDF. This bug should become a feature.

XO, once a sauce but then a feature

September 2012

Much as I love the Murdoch Crier’s local news pages because they actually cover a beat the hometown paper has pretty much abandoned, I’ll also admit I read it because I also love counting how many copy-editing glitches make it into print when anything involving food is involved. Last week it was “charcuteries and salumis.” Which I guess are like swines and geeses. So when I saw a mention of “mou sauce,” I was sure the slot had nodded off again (or was still in shock from having proofed the wackadoodle editorial pages, with all those Uranus datelines). But whaddaya know — it is a thing. Not something worth explaining, of course, so I will even though I couldn’t find it in any of my many Italian cookbooks/references, including Waverley Root and the exhaustive “Silver Spoon”: It’s a toffee or caramel or butterscotch sauce, depending on which Google link you click. Of course, you have to click. . .

Fake in China, scandal of

September 2012

I’ve probably typed before that I walked out of “Food, Inc.” ready to go order a burger, just a burger made from a cow that had been raised right, on grass rather than E. coli-inducing corn. And I know I’ve noted my consort and I eat more meat than ever now that we can find pork and beef raised right. And I am totally sure I have observed before that beans and rice, or corn and beans, are a far better choice than ground filth for those who can’t afford $20-a-pound grass-fed hanger steak. Still, nothing brought all those thoughts into focus more clearly than reading that a farmer is actually feeding his herd candy rejects during these tight times. Sure, his moneymakers aren’t dropping dead yet. But old Elsie was not designed by the Big Guy to thrive on slop. I was once commissioned to review a book that laid bare food fraud over the centuries that, to my warped mind, paralleled exactly the bankster thievery that was then threatening to bring on a global meltdown. So I know that, once upon a not-so-long-ago time, NYC feasted on “swill milk” — “milk from cows kept in vast, darkened cow sheds and fed the hot grain mash left over from distilling” — a nice little mess responsible for both the death of babies and the suffering of animals. Who was it who said that history does repeat itself — the motherfuckers just don’t listen?