When I read about the flight attendant who was fired for admitting she can’t get by without food stamps, half of me started to hope the DC bloviators are right and the guys who drove the country into the ditch get a fresh chance at the wheel. Maybe people will finally understand capitalism lets airlines gouge for pretzels while relying on socialism to keep the help fed. Heckuva job, free marketeers.
Archive for the ‘bushwhacked’ Category
And speaking of rotten eggs, it’s both amazing and not really surprising that wingnuts have decided the real culprit in the great half-billion-egg recall is not the factory owner who extracts maximum profits with minimal sanitation. It’s the “illegal immigrants” who are paid very little to tend the many, many hens. So give their overlords more tax cuts. And wonder why you order a burger and never get to specify whether you want shit with that.
I used to justify continuing our subscription to the WSJournal by saying my consort prefers it to the NYTimes. But I’ll admit I’m addicted not just to the feces-flinging monkeys on the opinion pages and the slovenly copy-editing in the local section but to the increasing transparency of how the paper’s overlords perceive the other 98 percent of America. One piece, on Restaurant Week, carried a hed referring to “the great unwashed.” Yes, only the little people go out for bargains. Another focused on the wines in first class (not even business class) on various airlines. There’s news you can use while swilling box pours back in steerage.
At least the dots have finally, finally been connected between what Rick Perlstein memorably dubbed E. coli conservatism and the obscenely huge egg recall (which overshadowed news of the cold cut recall, and the latest tons-of-ground-beef recall). There’s way too much trust in the free market policing itself when greed is the national creed, and when profits are all that matter, shit inevitably happens. It’s always mystified me why Americans just take manure in their meat for granted but can be fanned into hysteria over “killer tomatoes.” At least eggs have finally have hit home. About the sickest my consort and I ever got was after spending a day in an onion field in Georgia that abutted an egg factory farm, in 1992. And that was just from breathing in. Anyone who thinks a clean egg can ever come from that environment should enjoy all the lovely products to be made from the befouled ones from Iowa, which are being “salvaged” and pasteurized. If you want cheap food, you get the filth for free.
Speaking of which, I dragged my consort to a party at a new restaurant down near Wall Street, and it turned out to be a total scrum where wine was being doled out in tasting-size dribbles once we fought our way to the bar, while the line for the lavish food stretched for miles. Worse was the crowd, mostly guys with that weekend-in-the-sun-with-alcohol skin color. Bob just looked around and said: “These are the fuckers who stole all the money.” Later I read in the WSJournal that supermarket chains are freaking because their profits are down because more people are dependent on food stamps, and food stamps are being cut. It’s kinda hard to get the “free delivery with $200 purchase” deal when that’s your whole allotment.
We had our Loscar party all planned, as a birthday soiree for our friend Len during the “Avatar” awards, and then my consort had to go and get a gig in California. So we’ll be fete-ing on with only seven of us at table. Guess it’s a good thing I didn’t spring for the full eight Baccarat flutes as touted by the paper that can’t afford its own building. Two hundred twenty-five dollars a stem in this Bushwhacked economy? I’ll have what they’re drinking. Or maybe not. Our best Monte Bello days are behind us . . .
I never, ever thought I would say this, but “Top Chef” and even the worst of the Food Network have to be better for the mental health of this country than what the fringe seems to be digitally ingesting these days. Better to let ’em drink butter than pump their crania full of racism and hate. Could someone please give Glenn Beckkk a cocktail show and save us all? Too bad “Madmen” is taken as a title. . . .
Oceana’s sayonara to 54th Street was one of the most heartfelt soirees I’ve probably ever experienced, but I also have to say it was also the closest to a hostage situation I’ve been in in a good long while. It even featured what looked like a video of the victim just before the beheading. The accolades went on. And on. Luckily, the downstairs bartender had an Energizer aspect, and the kitchen kept the really sensational food coming as well. (Each of the three chefs responsible for consecutive three-star ratings did three mini-dishes.) Unfortunately, guests were the untrusting sort and were hoovering as fast as the stuff could be sent out. One snapped at a waiter that food was coming too slow upstairs; one waiter snapped at a guy who summoned him over with a full tray: “I’m trying to get these to people who haven’t had 12 already.” But it mostly felt like an end of two eras in one space. When I was in restaurant school, one outing was to the kitchen at what was then Le Cygne in a city where the only serious places were traditional French. And when RM first cooked at Oceana, we went for Bob’s birthday and had a blowaway meal. Lolling on a banquette in a room about to be abandoned, I could remember exactly where we sat and half of what we ate. My friend who had never eaten there found the space gloomy, but that would be like judging the hotel in “The Shining.”
Everyone’s moving west these days, and I wonder how that will play out. When I got home, I rode up in the elevator with neighbors just in from an anniversary dinner way downtown at a French restaurant who said: “There’s money out there. It’s just not seemly to show it.” Pizza is the new brioche.
And I know some chefs were a bit freaked that Donatella would be so frank in the WSJ on how to approach restaurants in this Bushwhacked economy, too. But where the pros read her advice — order less, tip less, fill up before heading out — as a death knell, regular readers came away with a more positive message: Go out, go out, go out. One app might lead to another glass of wine.
I was too fried from my gastric bout last week to natter about this contemporaneously, but the WSJ story on the fall of the town of Viking was fascinating on many levels, and not just because the first reader response was “Thank you, Obama.” As if a guy in office all of five months had anything to do with a meltdown that started, as the piece clearly stated, nearly two years ago. My favorite details included why the company even began, which was to come up with a stove for a woman longing for those great old Fifties ranges — you know, the ones now worth more than some of us paid for them fully restored nearly 20 years ago. But as you read the sorry tale, on how a whole tourist attraction was built around one factory producing one appliance only a few could afford, you can see how the house of credit cards had to come crashing down once homes could no longer be used as ATMs. We always knew the pricier the kitchen, the more likely the owners were to be ordering Chinese in.