I’m so old I remember when people complained that soda was cheaper than water. . . // Language debasement continues: “Culinary nutritionist”? The fuck! // Best lemon-tart filling advice ever: “Beat it like it owes you money.” // Spritz or sponsored? You decide. // “Senza Expense Account” would be a helluva wine blog. // Hate it when I cut into an expensive cheese and think I could mop the floor with it. // Trying to figure out why there would be an expiry date on a box of sugar. // Culinary is a long-winded way of saying food. // I can be the food shrink for the holidays: Throw out all the hysterical “advice.” Just marinate your guests. // Two more in head-scratching: a burger described as a delicacy and a tarte Tatin as a confection. // When guests say “I don’t want to make you have to cook,” I hear: “Please fucking don’t.” // Outlaw superlatives and you put fud magazine cover-line writers out of biz. // Was a dentist what invented Halloween, no? // If you love something you should spell it right — it’s La Lunchonette for a very good reason.
Not going to hold my breath waiting for the exposé of how, without a “ghostwriter,” you can come up with 2,000 recipes while bloviating and Hoovering on different continents. Fast, he said, and not like Friday fish.
File this under “what’s good for Big Pharma is good for America:” The best way to get coverage of Piglet Ebola is to send out a release touting better factory farming through chemistry. Leave it to the reader to see “1.3 million pigs died in January alone” and “the need to bury carcasses has even raised concerns about the effect on groundwater” flashing neon. The obvious question is never answered: Why? What part of the lie of evolution caused this? Meantime, half the nation’s sows have a disease that causes their litters to shit to death and people are panicking about fakes on a plane. . . .
I went off to college freshman year with a grant, a scholarship and a loan, and still the only way I figured I could get by would be if I lived on Del Monte green beans, which I loved and which cost 17 cents a can. (This was way back in the last century, when you could also save money by not buying bras.) Turned out the dorm had vending machines with everything nukable from honey buns to cheeseburgers for just a couple of coins. Not only did I not starve. I managed to pack on 30 pounds, fast. So the Murdoch Crier’s story on food pantries at New York colleges really jumped out at me. It’s actually come to this in the richest country in the world? Cereal handouts? The saddest deet is that much of the demand comes from the unemployed who are going back to school in a time of shrunken financial aid. I’m feeling lucky I only had to lose the weight, not the crippling debt. And you really have to wonder why the story is behind a paywall. Charging rich people to read about the poors makes you think it’s all just sports. Or “Hunger Games.”
Call me ready to be roped out of the culled herd, but I just can’t freak out about Ebola. Not when the bigger story is consistently buried far inside the newspapers, dead-tree and digital both: Antibiotic overuse in animals bred for fud is flat-out out of control. Just imagine if the only cure for the latest plague were the very same stuff the farm greedsters squandered on quick profits. As always, I am very glad I’m old. And there had better not be reincarnation. Fear the lipsticked wineglasses . . .
I do, however, wonder if any of the diapered xenophobes calling for bans on flights from West Africa have any idea where a lot of chocolate comes from. Or how it’s made . . .
And this is a great story on bacon mania that stops before it gets to the nasty bits: the shit lagoons and the piglet Ebola. Keep choking that drugged-up chicken, America.
Here’s the hed if anyone wants to input the text: What’s Eating Bam Buffoon? I wrote it off to Obama Derangement Syndrome, but then My Biggest Fan noted that the poor guy appeared to be needing a hug in his latest get-rich-despite-the-Kenyan-Muslin- Socialist scheme. Now I wonder whether it was the Bamming or the attacks on the Bamming that sent him off the rails. He really once was an icon, and a trailblazer. I still remember one of his acolytes marveling that he even insisted on making his own Worcestershire sauce. And he obviously once knew how to treat his staffers well. But I still marvel that he couldn’t be bothered to comment on that acolyte for the obit I was writing, presumably because I was writing it. It’s been downhill to the bank ever since.
I Tweeted the other night that my best cookbook advice would be: Don’t believe the photos. Someone responded that any cookbook without photos is worthless, and I had to note, again, that Elizabeth David’s words alone can make you want to get out of bed at midnight to roast mushrooms in grape leaves. But I should have typed that even the best photos cannot redeem crap recipes. And, as dinosaurs who still read print saw the other day, a demo photo that needs an explanation maybe should be a video?
I’m obviously behind in my typing, but the New Yorker’s look at how fast food is fueling the resurgence of the labor movement is well worth the read. And much more attention needs to be paid to this buried detail: A McD’s employee in Denmark makes $20+ an hour, and the Big Mess is only 35 cents more. Which puts the lie to one idiotic argument against paying people a living wage so taxpayers don’t have to subsidize their health care and housing and even food.
Relatedly, I got in quite an argument over a lovely dinner the other night about whether the picklers and uppity-mayo-makers are good or bad for America. My debater noted that franchisees ain’t getting rich in fast food, although the New Yorker makes it clear that the wealth is not all trickling up to the CEO’s gold-plated suite. Now comes this lovely revelation of how Cold Stone Creamery succeeded: the old-fashioned way, with gubmint help. To cap off the craziness, another CEO was in the Wacko Street Journal the other day opining that raising the minimum wage will hurt those poor franchisees. So I immediately Googled his annual compensation. I guess $4.5 million is too little wealth to share? The only consolation is knowing the jackboot on his workers’ neck came from Payless compared with what the real MOTU make.
Great thing about cooking/baking: No matter how long you do it, you can still fuck up. // Lunches do eat up a day. // Funny how there are so many classes on how to become a food writer. (Pro tip: Type.) Almost none that teach how to make a living by eating. // It’s not lard but the lard comeback story that’s having a comeback. // Hope Ten Speed has hired more monitors for the slush pile — good piece on publisher via @Soumak. //Shouldn’t all chefs be described as hot, unless they’re using microwaves? // Hate it when I flip through a cookbook and hear trees weeping . . . // And w hen do you really know how to cook? When you can do it without a recipe.
Now I read my three-year-old (literal) snail mail. And learn a bay leaf (or many) in the fancy flour will forestall a giant leap into the food of the future: Bugs. Guess this is also a good time to remember why sifting originated. Screening is everything.
The digital haboob over the hometown paper’s clearly incompetent teevee “critic” raised another question beyond “how in holy hell does she keep her job?” And that would be: Whom do she and the Chimp Shill blow? But the most depressing thought is the response I got over to the Twitter from someone noting how bad political coverage is these days: “They are all Panchito now.”
And I’m not even going to get into how dumbed-down comestible coverage is becoming as high-minded Dining sinks to Des Moines-worthy Fud. Zombie recipes exhumed. Woman’s World-worthy prose. Two shades of grey in a Holi-colorful world. But I will note that dinner with someone who would know echoed my bafflement at how the Egopedist graduated beyond snippets that had to be edited for half a day to be made deep. Limp handshakes must move fast. . . .
On the plus side, the hometown paper did publish this fascinating look at the robot the Thai government is going to employ as a finger in a very large hole in the digital dike. The world really is awash in bogus Thai food, not least because it is part of what I’ve come to view as Glasian — global Asian. Eons ago someone did an excellent story tracing the mediocrity of pad Thai to the fact that most “chefs” were immigrants just trying to get by doing anything they could do to stay afloat here in the promised land (which also must account for the abysmal state of Mexican restaurants). And a metallic palate cannot possibly do worse than some of the paid tasters these days. Does anyone give a petite merde about what the tire guy says anymore?