If I were prone to conspiracy-think, you’d find me walking into a Chipotle, lunging over the sneeze guard and grabbing a stack of burrito wrappers with which to craft a tinfoil toque. It really is hard to wonder if the whole scandale was not some sort of sabotage, given the glee the processed-crap media took in reporting that people claimed to be sickened by food marketed as clean. Even I never imagined the day would come when the Murdoch Crier would run a hed shaming “fresh ingredients.” Seriously? Jack-in-the-Box did much worse than inflict the squitters, and it’s still cleaning up. I’ll admit the higher-standard-bearers were a little late in confessing they’re using beef imported from Oz. But their pork integrity should still be the standard. Meanwhile, someone actually died after eating Dole greens, and there’s not a hint of Kochian outrage. No one will ever know if Chipotle’s troubles were leaf-driven, but maybe all those salad startups with megabucks could get their McComeuppance as well.
The Murdoch Crier was also guilty of reprinting a press release on the early opening of the TrumpTravesty of a hotel makeover of the old Post Office Building in Washington, but all it did was make me appreciate Jose Andres’s cojones even more for bailing on the deal. Other marquee chefs may have to lie back and think of the balance sheet. He walked the walk. But the real pussyspeak was the story’s careful explanation of why: “remarks that Mr. Trump made that Mr. Andres said disparaged Mexicans.” What part of “rapists and drug runners” do those copy editors not get? Also, too: Unmentioned in the piece was who stepped up to the stove. So I’ll just put it this way: This country is not always kind to immigrants even from France.
Tumors or cauliflower? And which ones are malignant? // If the menu says Tuscan kale, those leaves had better be crinkly. // Two levels of no-copy-editors-left: Mr. Meyer is not “the chef behind Shake Shack.” // You know what tomatoes are really good in winter? Canned. // Hand pies always sound kinda dirty. // If someone walks into your place and asks “Are you making kimchi?” you’d better hope you are. // Mystery of winemaking: Why Americans would waste vines and time on insipid pinot grigio. #ohiknow // Finally baked a four-month-old buttercup squash. And it tastes grass-fed. Not in a good way, either. // And: We live in the age of $11 carrot appetizers . . .
As a deadline cruncher, I’m happy to say the thought of the fork about to be inserted into a certain campaign has finally motivated me to post: It’s almost gratifying to realize Jebya is such a terrible candidate that even Panchito at his puffiest would not be able to sell him as a guy you’d love to have a cheeseburger with. But I’m surprised no one has pointed out the you-are-what-you-eat reason for this fail, which is also the only happy outcome of this run. He is proof positive that the paleo diet makes you not just “low energy” but staggeringly stupid.
Speaking of diets, news that kids are getting fat from too many antibiotics should be news to exactly no one who understands the food system. They fatten chickens, don’t they?
Speaking of (slightly staler) diets, this is timely if you conjure “food tasters in the Vatican.”* Given that the Pope was on a pretty restricted regimen, on doctors’ orders, it looked more than a little unseemly to have manicured celeb chefs out crowing about what they were cooking for him. For cripe’s sake, he wanted to sleep on sackcloth and they forced him to lie down on Frette. Not only was it a little too look-at-me, get-me-press, but it was also kinda cruel. If your guest can have only fish and rice, why show off with truffle-and-mushroom risotto and fresh burrata? God forbid Gandhi ever came to town. It would be beef in barolo sauce.
*Not fud, but still amusing: When I was working late overnight on the copy desk at my new gig at the Bulletin in Philadelphia in 1978, we got word that the pope had died. Everyone said: “Yeah, we know. Last month.” Then, on hearing it was the new pope, a cheer went up: “Overtime!” Every decade that passes makes me wonder what they put in that wannabe reformer’s Communion wine. . .
So I posted a partially sighted item over to FB and a hockey game broke out. Mimi, it turns out, is not the only one who has zero tolerance for self-aggrandizement. And you know who else confused a bigger megaphone with expanded power?
Groundhog Day now occurs in October. Every fall, food outlets fall for the “OMG, there’ll be no Thanksgiving without pumpkin!” And every winter stores remain stocked with the stuff. It’s as if Googling “pumpkin shortage” won’t give 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, etc. options. Pro tip: Don’t believe the hype about cranberries, either. Growers will never blow through that glut.
As I’m sure I’ve said before, I’m like the old ladies in “Absurdistan” who read the slingers as if they were newspapers. And so I know why anyone campaigning while trash-talking immigrants is not getting anywhere near a certain casa blanca. The WSJ, famous for simultaneously running stories on $20,000 coats and coupons for $1 off on Bag Balm, included a buy-one-get-one-free deal on a brand of canned beans I associate with trailer parks in Confederate flag states. And the labels were all in Spanish, the contents made with Mexican flavors. But then I guess you have to be in the food world and not the political bubble to “report” endlessly on “solutions” to immigration in America without ever pointing out that it is not exactly a problem. Not with a hed in the WSJ reading: “Even at $17 an hour, farms can’t fill jobs.” Not with newspaper after newspaper covering the struggles restaurants are increasingly having staffing up. Pro tip 2: Don’t invest in boxcar futures just yet.
It’s always 5 o’clock on the Internet. Or closing time. // Never omit the fish sauce. // Flip through a Sur La Table catalog if you wanna see a million solutions to non-problems. #buyonegoodknife // So many food photos online are just Technicolor yawns. Is it soup or is it hurl? // Also, too: Biscuit or Googled squamous cell cancer? // Tuna tartar is what’s scraped off fish teeth, no? // So old I remember when Krispy Kreme generated the NYC excitement Bigot Chicken now is. // On the 7 train I read a review that had editor boot prints all over it. Narcissism must be the greatest fuel of all. // Bylines are more than enough, thanks. // Overheard woman in white linen pants at the Greenmarket telling her husband they can’t buy Ray Bradley’s amazing tomatoes cuz “they’re out of season.” // Wanted to say “go to hell” to every flack flogging New Year’s Eve shit. And then I got a VD one. Skinny VD, at that. // Have you tried penne alla Vicodin?
This ridiculous, and endless, campaign frenzy will only get real when some reporter asks the most important question: What kind of cookies does the chef-suing blowhard’s third (and second immigrant) wife bake? He’s clearly serious about his chances, because she’s scrubbed her Website of all the Photoshopped tits&ass. Maybe this would free her up to pose wearing only an apron to answer: Cowboy or chocolate chip? For Welsh cakes, of course, she’d need Mormon underwear.
The stomach-turning news that cilantro was being harvested in fields of mierda in Mexico should have come as no surprise. As the kids’ book is titled, “Everybody Poops.” If you don’t treat farmworkers like humans you will wind up with, as some site dubbed it, cacamole. Bad enough the pickers aren’t provided portajohns. I doubt there’s much Purell pumping, either.
Mick Jagger gets around. One day he’s popping up on the Acela, the next he’s prancing into a Buffalo restaurant. I enjoyed the former, laughed at the latter — of course he would blend right in there. It’s where we went for my in-law equivalent’s most recent birthday. Her 86th.
I always wished the prison predecessor of “Fast Food Nation” had gotten the same traction, and maybe now, as a book, it will. Profit really is the toxic ingredient in the criminal “justice” system in this country — millions and millions disserved is the feature, not the bug. Even so, this exposé struck me as profoundly sad. A friend emailed the link with “dang, so much margarine,” which is ironic given that the gubmint, which sets the rules, is now cracking down on trans fats. My reaction: “Shit, so much diabetes.” Calories on these trays are as empty as the souls of those who come up with them. Although I do take tiny comfort in knowing most of the 1 percent have palates that never evolved to appreciate anything much more challenging. As I’ve often said, the tastes of Park Avenue gazillionaires and Death Row inmates are sadly similar.
Speaking of crimes, the Marquis de Sade supposedly said only the first murder is hard, and I thought of that again when the obit for the White House chef ran, with the reminder that Mrs. O’s predecessor had canned him after she and her pretzels-and-O’Doul’s husband moved in and didn’t want any of that fancy Clinton food — let the dignitaries eat brioche enfolding hot dogs. Some say she has her Lady Macbeth moments, and apparently the deepest corners of her closets are scrubbed very clean. But I envisioned her reacting to the sad news out of New Mexico by just taking another long draw on a cigarette and languorously turning the page of some potboiler involving a highway out in West Texas.