Survival Rule 1 for NYC: Never. Make. Eye. Contact. Walking to the C train after dinner after “Chef,” my consort and I paused in Washington Square to see what everyone was staring at in a tree (last time it was a red-tail hawk), and I stupidly linked irises with some over-tanned nitwit in a baseball cap with a beanie propeller on top who wanted to inform me that he could tell said tree was 200 years old. “I’m a vegan, and I know things about plants — I can commune with them because I eat them.” And it was hard, but I stopped myself from responding: “Yeah, I’m the exact same way with cows.”
As for “Chef,” it has its problems as a film, but it definitely lives up to the chef hype. We usually never talk in movies, and still Bob had to lean over and say: “This food looks like real food.” Later, I said that just reflected all the other social media themes in the script — people now know what real food looks like thanks to all those much-maligned Instagrams and Tweets and Vines: No stylist involved. Otherwise, my favorite line was “the nanny can’t get on the airplane.” But my second favorite was “what if I have to poop?” Because that subtly cut to the real issue with rolling kitchens. Where do the food handlers do their business? A whiz behind a wheel is one thing. There really had better not be Adult Pampers stocked along with the rubber gloves.
Also, too, a little trip to the Women room at the bag-checking theater we braved reminded me of an observation by a friend while we were all in Paris many years ago on what I called a corporate boondoggle and they knew as serious hard work: “It smells different in the bathroom here.” And what was emanating from the stall next to me literally brought that home. American poop stinks; there’s a sweetly sickening aspect to it. You won’t smell that in Italy, or Turkey, or Spain etc., most likely because denizens don’t live on processed crap. My one trip to India was a nasal revelation. I’d gone there with a photographer friend’s tale echoing through my cranial sieve, about shooting the gorgeousness of the Taj Mahal while standing in what he soon realized was ankle-deep “human waste.” But all I smelled for two weeks from Kolkata to Bangalore to Mumbai was the opposite of GI/GO. It was spices in, almost perfume out.
I pay way too much attention to this mierda del toro, but the more I read about the kkkrazies attacking Mrs. O’s school lunch do-over, the more I realized the ol’ yellowcake/Whitewater media machine was getting spun on high yet again. And sure enough, after story after story of lunch ladies rebelling because healthy fud was being wasted, the real story comes out. Kids are indeed eating the healthy fud. And once again, a lie made its way around the world before the truth could get its apron on. Meanwhile, the “squirrel” distracted from another inconvenient truth: The new rules are just new marketing opportunities for Big Food. A sad thing I learned last winter is that factories are already churning out products designed solely to scarf up food bank dollars. Now I guess it’s all “let ‘em eat Whole Grain Hot Pockets” in school cafeterias.
All that said, I am, as John Hiatt put it, mixing up drinks with mixed feelings about Mrs. O’s endorsement of water as a soda alternative. I’m all for getting kids to step away from the diabetes/obesity funnel, but I’m not sure getting them hooked on plastic is the answer when the oceans are awash in continents of crap. Water fountains have become fraught, which I also realize. But what’s most disturbing is that selling water as something you have to buy makes it easier for what’s happening in Detroit to happen. They want to privatize the second most important need in life. Beware the introduction of Fiji Oxygen. . .
Somewhere a (metal) pot genius is spinning. He grants access to his suffering to promote his book and is “rewarded” with queasy-making descriptions of his short temper and sad nutrition-intaking. At least Senyor Adria can live in peace knowing he only had to stunt-cook with a cretin. A reporter got an audience with an appliance master and came away no smarter on how to make the white stuff fluffy?
Wrestling with an overdue story, I turned up what was billed as an Arab proverb: Better to have bread and an onion with peace than stuffed fowl with strife. And nothing brought that home more than hearing from a big name who said he is giving up on a plan to lure investors into tasting the potential of Modern Israeli cuisine. No peace, no hummus. . . .
Throughout the whole Rudy-wouldna-taken-it mayoral vacation, every time I wanted to mock the over-coverage of our socialist leader in Italy, I remembered I read every word, mostly to see what he was eating (and whether the reporters could transcribe and the copy editors could clean up behind them). Of course everyone went right for investigations of the pizza and whether it was tackled like a dollar slice. Having wrestled so many pizzas over so many trips, though, I know the stuff should be eaten not with a knife and fork but a spoon. It ain’t pie. In Italy, it’s soup.
And every time I read about the huge fruit recall thanks to listeria, I had to Tweet/FB/rant that the big bug scare does not affect anyone who eats fruit only from a local farmer. But I have to add that the doomsday effect as Big Ag/Big Food tries to recover will undoubtedly be a new study underwritten by BA/BF “proving” locally grown fruit is more dangerous/less nutritious than the supermarket kind. I always steal this line from a grower/vendor at our neighborhood Greenmarket: Better to pay the farmer than the doctor. But then I don’t hold Big Pharma stocks.
I’ve totally come around to Holy Foods, not least after getting in and out the other day for $7.57 for a jar of salsa, a packet of flour tortillas and a pound of butter. But I still have to mock: You can try that recipe on the 365 Cheddar label. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to make pimento cheese. . . .
Never buy the green salsa. // One of those weeks to remember you can die at TOTC and everyone will just move on. #countmeamongthegutless // More gracious women than I will not point out that there was some serious “you didn’t build that” warranted in the fud world lately. // Scoured BizDay looking for its story on the French effort to regulate restaurant food claims. Guess you don’t need three to make a trend now. // Saw “curated” and “crafted” used in the worst way possible: to advertise condos. // “Italian Grandma Salad”? I’m not sure sure about the main ingredient. . . // Always hope the sad souls flogging booze get to tipple before typing. // Just a suggestion, but any Thanksgiving release from here on out should come with a shot of hemlock. // Constantly amazed by NY burger lists that rank feedlot beef so high. #nomadcowinthegrass // Knew nothing about German bread last week. Now learning left and right down to the museum. // “Prochetta,” “prociutto,” “zuccini” and “vinegrette.” In just one release. // Message from Crab Weekend: Sunday Styles pages make the best absorbent for the yellow gunk and picked-clean shells. // Drollest note from an email from a friend advising a neighbor on how to bait an electronic mousetrap: “The peanut butter does not have to be organic.” // Got two $25 gift cards in the mail for one resto. Decided neither was worth subway fare for what Biff described as “if clowns had a cuisine.” (Dream on, Hairy Anus. No one as creative.)
Foie gras is up there with avocado and cheese and chunky sea salt eaten right out of my hand as the last tastes I would want as I headed off into the nothingness that is the afterlife. But I still have to say the news that 13 states are petitioning the Supreme Court to lift bans on it would have the hairs rising on the back of even Marie Antoinette’s neck. Of all of the issues in all of this country, this is the one they want to go to the gilded mat over? The whole problem could be easily solved by declaring a taste for foie gras (and please: can everyone quit shorthanding the name?) a religious right, one held by only a tiny minority. The robed ones would be on it like stink on merde. I agree with the insanity of outlawing any consumable that does not come in a 64-ounce cup. But I also have this silly idea that all the increasingly loony restrictions on abortion merit a lot more activism. Then again, maybe there’s a way to kill two birds with one message. Why is force-feeding ducks any crueler than making a human being gestate and then pop out an unwanted larva?
(Sorry. Shoulda suggested you get out the Chateau d’Yquem before reading that.)
And I forgot to post this in my last blast here, but I wanted to praise the hometown paper for running two important stories, a graphic one on the horrific pig virus pushing up the price of industrial bacon (you’ll notice sustainable is not affected yet) and down the quality of drinking water, and the other on how food chains actually do well by paying well (or at least better than minimum wage). But I also have to complain that both ran on a Saturday on a long holiday weekend. When virtually no one but an old print junkie who calls out the crazy price in the Chanel ad every morning was likely to see them.
Have to say I never would have thought Americans would grow up enough to accept pork belly & not a euphemism. // Once upon a time “frozen profiteroles” would have qualified as a good name for a band. Or a blog. // Always a reason why poaching is penalized. Crappy way to cook a fish. // Great moments in NYT display type: “Chips of a different munchability.” // Lamb is my deer meat. // Anyone asks where to eat in the West Village, save your brain cells. They’ll just wind up happy at #Barbuto. // Squanto is a vastly underrated character in American history. // And: Good question from a friend — wonder if Squanto had any regrets . . .
I was half-relieved when the Big O was seen around the food world reaching over a sneeze guard (and who hasn’t been tempted to do that while trying to communicate with the salsa sloppers)? At last there was a true scandal to get worked up about! But then he went and jumped the line for barbecue, and that was a brisket too far for libtards. Still, imagine the shitstorm if he had had his retinue stand down for that $300 worth of smoky bliss. The kkkrazies would be foaming at the mouth over the billions in tax dollars wasted by the wait. Instead, they have to pray away the gay.