Archive for April, 2013
And I really wish we were living in the future and none of this had happened yet. So now the Boston suspect has been charged with having a “weapon of mass destruction” and I guess everyone had just better prepare to surrender their pressure cookers. I grew up with one of those scary things — my mom used it every day to cook dried beans or, when the freezer was otherwise empty of venison, boil a deer heart into submission, and all seven of us kids would cower as it rocked back and forth on a burner, looking ready to detonate. I wasn’t surprised one could be converted by an evildoer, but I remain amazed at how many “reporters” seemed unaware it is not “like what you might use to cook rice,” as NPR’s terrorism expert helpfully explained. (Yeah, you might, but you might be thinking rice cooker.) At first I was going to make a joke about how airlines will one day no longer allow Prestos in carry-on bags, but then a Twitpal informed me Williams-Sonoma has already pulled those potential IEDs off its shelves. The crazy gets crazier and crazier. While I keep wondering why those founding fathers never thought to write in any rights for those of us who would just like to fly home with a bottle of wine or olive oil without having to check a bag. Didn’t Jefferson produce both?
I was a bit embarrassed to have a copy of a famously “salmon-colored” publication lying among the morning papers on my kitchen counter the other Wednesday when an editor came by for a “shoot.” Not sure she believed me when I insisted: “They send it to me for free.” And that’s all the hint I’ll give on this burning question after a particularly desperate-looking piece on local farmers: What if you published a steaming pile of trollbait and nobody read?
Trend reporting gets more suspect by the hour, but I still thought it was amusing to have a piece on “cupcakes waning” pegged to a drop in sales at a chain whose problem is not that the phenomenon is fading but that said chain simply churns out crap. Mediocrity sells Subways, but no one would want even a foot-long macaron if it cost the world and sucked, too.
If you buy food from the people who produce it, you never have to bother with stuff like “the dark side of strawberries” (no link, cuz I’m not encouraging ’em). This, however, was another dark side. Maybe it would be cheaper for the Greeks to pay pickers than pick up the tab for sewing up gunshot wounds?
America: Where the women are butchers and the pigs are nervous. // If you want your fud-world book read, spring for the index. // Blanked out where I read someone referring to something tasting like angel food cake. Shorter description: Like nothing. // Official end o’ Internets: RT @LaughingSquid: True Facts About The Duck by Ze Frank via @linecook // There’s a difference between a chef’s “rip” on a classic and his “riff.” One is both less aromatic and less ignitable. / / No calf’s liver, please. We’re PETA.
Finally, for all my scorn for food personalities who are the opposite of vampires and only come out in the limelight I’ve mostly made an exception for Jamie Oliver because he tries to do some good — and also does stuff intelligently. Consider his latest venture. I’ve been to Istanbul twice, and it is one fascinating, seductive megalopolis, but you can eat pretty badly there, even without dropping mega-lira for tortured food with a view. As with any tourist city, the best restaurants have to please the locals, and that is something best done “on cat’s paws” (to steal the perfect metaphor from @carr2n). Which must be why I first learned he was expanding there from an Istanbul news Twitter stream and, when I went to see what’s been reported, found he first had his food magazine run a travel feature on the destination and now has this up. If Molto Ego gets evicted from the old Coach House, he now has a road map to where the West meets the East. Although I suspect diners there, too, will still expect the chickpeas to stay lodged on the crostini.
It may not be poetic, but the justice meted out for one of the Kochsuckers is rather amusing, if you like your wine with a hefty chaser of hypocrisy. So a huge believer in the free market got taken in the capitalist wonderland and then betrayed his own belief in tort reform by . . . suing. The whole thing would be funnier if people whose lives will actually be ruined might have even a chance of winning $12 million if they believe fracking will pump Petrus.
I can’t say I “liked” the wake-up call of the Hepatitis A in an NYC restaurant. But I was happy to see it at least slightly nudge all those who believe food workers should cover their own health care and be denied sick days. As this outbreak proved, one infected worker will cost an employer 400-plus vaccines for patrons rather than the few needed for prevention’s sake. Might I quote myself, just as a new book is out reminding everyone of the very same thing? Typhoid Mary was a cook.
What the hell ever happened to Go Ask Ms. Fuckyourself? With luck, editors realized insisting on linen napkins over paper might be a bit much in the Great Recession. But I only ask now because someone over to the Twitter mentioned a certain avocado shake and my longtime suspicion was confirmed: A Filipina maid has to be locked up in the kitchen, doing all the work.
I stole this from the comments on one of the many blogs that keep me dicking around on the Internets rather than creating anything for anyone else to pick to pieces: “There’s a reason Somalia has no Mickey D’s.” Apparently the only thing you build yourself is the E. coli.
I started to Tweet this as the saddest food story of the week. But then I reconsidered. Starving would be a far crueler way to go than a bolt through the head. Too bad the banksters who created the crisis will never experience the former . . .
In all seriousness, Harper’s cover story on beef by Ted Conover is a must-read (you have to either subscribe or buy a dead-tree copy, though). I don’t think I’ll be having a burger anytime soon, for sure. The piece is packed with revelations, but the most disturbing is that Eli Lilly has a rep standing by to gauge the impact of antibiotics. Not surprisingly, substances given to promote growth tend to, shall we say, promote growth. The whole thing is gripping. Since I’m shallow, though, one silly detail sticks with me: You can now get mortadella even in Schuyler, Nebraska?
I started out thinking I would blog this over to the Epi Log, after running down 14 flights of stairs the other day and spotting at least three Quaker Oats boxes in recycle bins on various floors: Why in hell do people buy that stuff instead of the better/organic/cheaper oats at Holy Foods just a couple of blocks away? But I realized I couldn’t even Tweet it, at the risk of some neighbor taking Twoffense. So I saved it for here, after plucking a double-truck out of the latest “buy $1,095 skirt/save $1” Murdoch Daily. The slinger showed me you can buy QO cookies and snack bars and chips and more if your yogurt isn’t sugary enough. For all the crap McD’s has taken for marketing overly sweet/unhealthful oatmeal, that chain had nada on the processed crap behind the old-fashioned label. It now makes everything but the insulin syringe.
Sunripe is a shrewd brand for tomatoes: leave off the s for truth in labeling. // Other people’s enviable trips were easier to stomach when you had to wait a month to get a postcard . . . // Funny to see “farmers’ market roasted vegetable tacos” on a menu after just leaving a Greenmarket selling mostly potatoes and beets. Gracias, no. // Overheard obviously new cat owners at Petland today, reading can labels: “What cat eats lamb?” Um. Any that get a chance? // Wondering, as always with OpenTable: What does it profit a restaurant to appear fully booked online if it suffers the loss of half the dining room?