Also, too, every time I use Aleppo pepper (like once a day) I feel sad for the actual place and people. Finally someone has addressed the horribleness, with a bittersweet angle.
Archive for the ‘global spin’ Category
Interesting to see the world’s most-starred chef swinging both ways: touting fresh and developing processed. I’d be more scornful if I couldn’t also see the potential, even though his partners in the deal happen to have links to Rmoney of Fail. Eons ago I did a story for Food Arts on how the negative opposite of fresh is not always frozen (think peas, just for starters). But lately fish is entering a new Ice Age that could be good for oceans, fishermen and consumers, assuming the fossil fuels hold out long enough to keep the freezers powered. Glacierized foie gras, though? J’doubt it.
The first time I went to Istanbul I thought a majority-Muslim country would be my own private Betty Ford Center. And what a lovely surprise it was to learn Turkish rosés were not just poured in every bar, restaurant and museum around our hotel in Beyoglu, but they were close to world-class. Wine (plus raki) meant as much to the Istanbul experience as sexy lingerie shops catering to women in burkas. So I should have known the reports in the last year of crackdowns on sidewalk cafes were ominous. From there it had to be an easy slide to jacking up the price of booze and then, eventually, simply prohibiting the secular stuff. Still, I didn’t realize just how grim it had gotten until my consort and I trekked to Grand Central in the cold the other night for a reception for a friend’s work on a promotional photo collaboration. It was billed as a “cocktail and exhibition opening,” but what they were pouring was barely mocktails (as in: syrupy lemonade). I’m no marketing genius, but if I were trying to make Turkey look as alluring as possible to the big wide/NY world, I might at least try to make it taste worldly. I kinda doubt the rich-looking older woman I overheard saying “let’s get a glass of wine before we walk around” is going to be booking a flight to Istanbul anytime soon. Unless she wants to dry out.
I’m no marketing expert, but if I were trying to persuade the world my product was the world’s best I wouldn’t be enacting absurd laws that will do nothing but contribute to the world’s plastic glut. According to this mishmash, Spain is forcing restaurateurs to jettison their refillable cruets for olive oil in favor of single-use containers. I guess, although I can’t quite tell, that will have the advantage of, maybe, a label? Why don’t producers just do what the Italians did and hype the hell out of their product? Bring a buncha American food writers over to taste a little oil, soak up a lot of sangria and then spread the “news:” Spanish oil rocks and rules. And it wouldn’t even have to be all hype. You can’t make a tortilla without either breaking eggs or breaking out the good oil.
*No shit, Sherlock
As I keep saying, I am so glad I’m old and really hope there is no reincarnation. And I especially wanted to yell that the other Sunday when my consort and I were sitting at the window counter eating our Luke’s lobster rolls while watching a family with two little kids out at a sidewalk table. Partway through lunch the mom calmed the shrieking baby by giving her plastic tubular food, in the kind of unnecessary packaging that contributes to the garbage continents (no longer islands) clogging the oceans. I never understand how people can even bring kids into a doomed world to begin with, but seeing the obliviousness was as unsettling as reading this. Heckuva extinction you’re bequeathing her . . .
But apparently when it comes to the foulest fowl, there really is no end to insanity these days. Most recently there was the airlift of potential “nuggets” from West Coast to East because some loons were willing to spend 50 grand to try to make a loony point — that animals raised as food are not food. Not even for the millions of “food-insecure” human animals in this country alone. And then there was the weirdness of a new regulation that allows the Chinese to export processed chicken as long as the birds were raised in North America, shipped all the way around the world and processed before being shipped back in suitably unidentifiable form. Somewhere, the Wright Brothers and Marco Polo should all be weeping at what they wrought.
I’m sure I’ve nattered before that I persuaded my consort not to invest in the evil golden-arched empire after he asked for a non-gut reason beyond “processed crap bad.” Two words worked: mad cow. Just the potential made the stock a crazy risk. But increasingly my second premonition is materializing: The main ingredient is literally unsustainable. The world simply can’t raise enough cattle to fill buns for a population of 8 billion. And now the reports are starting: Drought is taking a toll just in this country, with herds shrinking and prices rising. I’m sure Dubai is loving its falafel alternative. But the burger bubble is about to burst.
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?
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.
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 . . .
I don’t know much about economics, but it strikes me as bizarre that Spain is going down the toilet while jamon Iberico prices are going up. I mean, the country has 30 percent unemployment and even Javier Bardem’s family had to hang the cerrado sign on its restaurant for lack of business in Madrid. I can’t remember if the Soviet Union was pumping out great caviar as it collapsed, but then I don’t know much about history, either. Still, even after reading dog meat from Spain had been found in meatballs in the Netherlands, I was more unsettled to see 10 million pounds of processed American crap had been recalled for the usual E. coli. Personally, I’d rather eat Fido than feces.
Having knowingly eaten horse twice, both times in Italy, I remain undershocked at the scandal consuming Eutopia. What I want to know is why The Cat WCTLWAFW always smells like fish after he eats Science Diet turkey or chicken. (No, actually. I don’t.) Mostly I’m surprised there’s so much horse to go around to so many countries, and into so much processed crap — it’s not as if Romania has a Wild West or even equine stockyards. You have to wonder what else might be in the “meals” when horse DNA is not discovered. But from the beginning I’ve been amazed that people would be upset that Trigger is what’s for dinner. Horse is a delicacy. This is like fools whining that foie gras has turned up in their liverwurst.
Of all the things I could find in my food, horsemeat would be the least unsettling. I’m kind of sickened by shit in the meat, actually. So the hysteria overseas is beyond amusing. All those Brits railing that they’re shocked, shocked their frozen lasagne from France is not made with ground-up cows are sadly laughable. Maybe don’t choose the “Italian” next time? By another name the stuff would sell as well. And cheval bourguignon puts a very nice ring to it.
I posted a few fast thoughts over to the Epi Log on the overseas uproar over horsemeat in the supermarket burgers, but the more I dwell the more I’m amazed at the reaction. Americans learn there is shit in the meat, and they keep on cheesing. Brits hear what the Continent considers a delicacy is in theirs and they lose their shit. I didn’t keep up with the day-to-day coverage, but I do wonder if the real reason all those horse patties wound up being converted to fuel might not be that the mystery meat came from the good old USofA. Where horses are so doped up even the connoisseurs are trotting scared.