To elaborate on a 140-character rant: Somehow I suspect Ferran Adria would know exactly where to shove that monocle merde: Back into the end of the alimentary canal from which it spewed.
Archive for the ‘onward and downward’ Category
This odd, dispiriting, dispirited but “ain’t ancient hippies cool!” piece should have been headlined Funereal Is the New Modern for Farmers. But it did contain one valuable nugget. “An Oregon seed farmer” notes that he got into that corner of the business because he saw “seed was the key to wealth and independence.” Whatever else you think about the GMO issue, know that the key to Big Ag’s patent&destroy strategy is exactly that: Control the seeds and you control everything. (Sorry — nothing funny about it.)
Maybe I have eaten/shopped in too many real-world joints. But somehow I suspect California’s new law requiring food handlers’ hands to be encased in latex is not gonna make anything better. Hands get washed. Gloves, I have seen too often, go into bathrooms and come back out to serve again.
The latest evidence America just ain’t exceptional: Brits are going hungry, too. I did like this line, that the working poor have been “long a part of the social landscape in America.” Sorry. I remember there once was a shining moment when the rich didn’t have to wonder what the poors were eating that night. But then, as the muddled but good-hearted “Place at the Table” illuminates, along came a useful idiot out of California. My consort “rented” that doc the other week from our own public Netflix, the NYPL, and I saw new merits in it even though it remains a mess. “Food insecurity”? It’s complicated — li’l kids can be obese, hungry kids can own horses, well-meaning teachers can sweet-sell $5+ honeydews to kids whose families can’t even afford an apple to slice up for five. But in the end, you walk away from the teevee thinking food banks and soup kitchens are just like everyone else in this country post-Alzheimer’s-Patient-in-Chief: Trying to pretend the trickle-down is not actually a golden shower.
The reaction to the kicking-a-cripple cuts in food stamps made me wish the Big O would indeed open his FEMA camps and start the impounding of the “patriots” already. So much ugliness is being spewed, even by people who would have you believe they believe “food is love.” I keep hammering away that fast food chains and Walmarts are mooching much more, letting taxpayers compensate for their shit wages, but resentment is the stone-soup du jour in this country. Jay Gould was on to something: “I could hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.” And his heirs sell Brawny paper towels and Dixie cups.
I could understand the awe the nonagenarian rich guy inspired with his $100 nightly treats for himself. Sure, he earned it. But given that one in five olds in NYC relies on food assistance, you gotta wonder about his priorities and the weird tone-deafness of a section that natters about the great divide but celebrates excess (tell us what was on the table, ye who have no money worries?) Forget the four-dollar organic greens. The average geriatric female in NYC would be happy with a feast o’Friskies.
And I’m way behind on excitable exposés, but the hometown paper’s big one on the mad scientists’ struggle to save the orange industry (not crop: industry) caused a dustup that somehow didn’t produce a single good answer to why the world needs so much juice. I mean, really. What is it good for? Scurvy’s been cured, while the stuff always rationed in teeny glasses when I was a kid is now poured and drunk like water. One of the most valuable lessons I learned in a weeklong course in “nutritional cuisine” at the CIA is that you might as well be drinking Coke — it’s about as caloric and only slightly less nutritious. Better to eat an orange and get the fiber. Or at least read up on how metastasized an industry built on fruit once seen only in Christmas stockings has grown. . . .
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.
We get two newspapers a day except (until just recently) on Sundays, and one informed us that feedlots are now in withdrawal from something I didn’t even know existed: “Vitamin Z,” a growth additive that turns cows into “muscle-bound athletes” in a matter of weeks. I immediately clicked over to the hometown paper to see if I might have missed a big story, and at that point the keyword did not turn up a single instance. And this is so far beyond pink-slime-scary it’s insane. Cows are staggering into slaughterhouses after being drugged to fatten them without the need for suddenly pricey feed. Anyone who eats supermarket/burger-chain beef is ingesting a product so freaky it makes test-tube babies look edible. And yet whole business plans are built on a commodity that was never meant to be a commodity . . .
I grew up with guns and am very lucky my parents were responsible owners; otherwise my 17-year-old blood would have been all over the living room one whacked-out night when a friend picked up a rifle, only to be thwarted by the empty chambers (or whatever the word is). So I really wonder why America’s Most Overrated Coffee Chain won’t keep the people-killers out. After all, what could possibly go wrong? Caffeine is the drug that insures you can’t shoot straight.
I would transition with “speaking of yellowcake,” but whatever Twinkies are, it is not “a mixture of flour, eggs, milk, sugar etc. baked as in a loaf.” What fascinates me is how their “return” is getting so much coverage with so little discussion of why they really “went away.” Greedy guys in suits needed to make more megabucks. So the workers got hosed, their pay whacked and their pensions gutted, while food writers were waxing nostalgically saccharine. With all the cost savings, you’d assume the price would be lower now. But you would misunderestimate American business today. Apparently the bonuses got bigger. It’s the Twinkies that got small. I do hope they’ve upped the high-fructose corn syrup to cut the bitterness.
One of the most depressing stories I’ve read in some time was about a free summer lunch program for kids in one of the states that make up the richest country in the world. People are worried about ducks getting force-fed for foie gras, and here’s a whole generation being undernourished. What was doubly depressing was seeing what was on offer. Suffice it to say I’m just glad I grew up poor before Lunchables. Also, too: Call food stamps what they are — supermarket subsidies — and you’d see them busting the budget.
You have to give the golden-arched evil empire props for balls. On the same day its honchos were denying any role in the ballooning of the human race, the chain was boasting that it had come up with its most caloric item ever. Which happens to be merely a mega-order of enough fries to feed a village, but I’m sure they’re counting on suckers not realizing the so-called meat is not what packs on the lbs. It’s the sides. And not just the liquid ones.
I was also fascinated by the huge fuss over KFC deliveries coming through the Gaza tunnels, which was a story that came out of nowhere and was suddenly everywhere, Somewhere a flack has to be cashing a mega-check. I first saw the “news” on a British site, with the photo attributed to an agency. Other outlets sent their own lensmen to get the pic, but in every one the logo was front and center and very clear. You’d think it was Coke in a Hollywood movie. Once upon a time you would say you couldn’t buy advertising like this. Now you can ask: Why would you? Journamalists will do it for free.
All my notes are connected: Which is scarier, antibiotics in the ground turkey, or shit in the ground turkey? And the WSJournal reported two pink slimesters are in a race to the bottom now, trying to compete with ever-lower-priced “meals” even as workers are increasingly walking off the job to protest their Bangladeshi wages. And as you eat those fat strawberries, know the pickers may have been fired for protesting life-threatening conditions in the field. Also, too: “Worker dies in large meat grinder in Clackamas.”