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?
Archive for the ‘global spin’ Category
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.
NPR the other morning dredged up a real marron on Marseille, with a predictable feature on bouillabaisse. I will say experiencing the proper thing there belongs on any list of the top quadrillion things you definitely need to do before you kick off. But the piece was not only tired but oddly disconnected. Even as I was listening, I was reading a news item about an attack on the Roma in that very city. Given that Marseille is apparently coping better with immigration than most French cities, what about, say, immigrants’ tastes? Surely someone is serving falafel with rouille.
Finally, for all my bitchiness, I am very impressed by this new generation of chefs ignoring the whoring route and instead focusing on what they do best. Anyone who has never eaten in Oz will probably not understand how momentous it is that David Chang’s outpost was just named the hottest restaurant on that continent. I ate my way through Sydney/Melbourne so long ago Saddam was still believed to have yellowcake, but even then the food scene was extraordinary. And it’s rather awesome that a New Yorker has beaten them at their own game. All that said, I’ll now go back to storing up bile . . .
Which brings me to the grotesquerie that is the doughboy Bake-Off. I see the winner is “ravioli” made from crescent roll dough teamed with whipped cream spiked with caramel syrup and dusted with cinnamon sugar. How “ravioli” can be baked-not-boiled things is never addressed, although my suspicion that these are really empanadas was countered by the fact that some other diabetes-inducing travesty won with that name. I’m sure I’ve written before about going to the bake-off back in the last century and being horrified at how much processed crap could be combined into new weirdness — those contestants made the Semi Ho look like an fantasy-deprived amateur. But I’ll have to reprise what I learned: A million-dollar prize is pretty cheap for a business most interested in getting a sense of how America gorges. The cagey company reveals only that “tens of thousands” of entries are received each year, but no consultant could map the territory as effortlessly as letting the sheep herd themselves into the pen. And now, with the internets, the contest can probably cut the prize to nothing more than publication online (shades of the hometown paper’s payoff for its “ethical meat-eating” contest, which I will not encourage by linking): Dreamers of the industrial dream are giving away all their flavor fantasies in “the community” it has created online. Black garlic ice cream, indeed.
I’m slow but get it eventually: Eating at one of our favorite new restaurants again the other night finally made me realize why the owner is always here and not minding the stoves in Greece. When the going gets tough, the tough move their money. And patrons follow.
I acknowledge that we’re living in interesting times, as the Chinese curse goes, but it’s still amazing how little we know in the most amazing age of shared information in all of human history. Thanks to my consort, I had lunch the other day with a woman who knows from Chile and who mentioned just a few of the “Darwin’s Nightmare” things she’s seeing there: pesticides on northward-bound fruits and vegetables overused to the point of poisoning farmworkers, plus farmed salmon pumped with 700 times the antibiotics even the free-dosing Norwegians are using. Which made me wonder about the grapes transformed into the sauvignon blancs I love. Guess I shouldn’t have asked — there’s a reason why they’re cheap. (And why the industry is flying so many writers down to get snockered and snookered [excuse me: wined and dined]). But there’s always a pony to be found in the heap o’ manure: All this made me not at all surprised to read that wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest are now infected by a virus thanks to their penned-up cousins bound for supermarkets everywhere. Americans wanted chicken of the sea. And have they ever gotten Perdue with scales.
Among the many changes in Beyoglu, count the reopening of the gorgeously restored Pera Palace in the top five. Last year this hotel, where Agatha Christie famously wrote “Murder on the Orient Express,” was just a shell with more guards than workmen hanging around. This July it was, I heard, attracting the likes of Ben Affleck to the terrace bar. Where the menu, I’m sorry to say, was heavy on quesadillas and burgers rather than the wonders that Istanbul kitchens can produce. I guess even the best hotels will always be hotels, pandering to travelers craving safety over adventure, serving food everywhere that you could get anywhere. My new name for it is stateless cuisine.
Finally, there’s something beyond ironic in the Germans of all people stepping up to declare foie gras a product of such unspeakable cruelty that it can’t be sold in their homeland. Of course, the fact that the Israelis have mastered mass production of the stuff is also unsettling if you think about it too much. But how can a country that tortures cabbage be passing judgment on any food?