“Biscuits” in the bedroom with bananas

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. . .

A button in the belly

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?

Embetterment, they say

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.

All that cilantro washed away . . .

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.

RT/MT/UT

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?

Once was a restaurant called Peaches

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.

Salad or salmon a literal tossup

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.

Tripe on weck could be a thing

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’ll save dessert for later”

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.

Earth tones for Panchito

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.

Beard nets are the new toques

A friend emailed me with a funny of a food site’s Tweet noting that “the lifespan of a human hair is three to seven years on average.” What the hell would that have to do with food? The more I thought about it the more I realized the memory of a hair in your food is forever. And not on average.

W.C. Fields makes a casserole. Trust me.

You could watch a chop suey video. Or you could just shove chopsticks into your eyeballs. More and more the megalomania stories just keep rolling in. And then there’s the case of the disappearing chef indictment. Too bad that trick wasn’t possible when a certain hotheaded Brit decided to sue for libel. And won.

RT/MT/UT

The most dispiriting cuisine is Sysco-to-table. And you can always tell by the lobster ravioli on the menu. // Now this is an ad (although I wonder what the wingnuts in the trailers who face retirement living on cat food will make of it). // One of those nights to ponder how much better the fud world would be if Chef 1-2-3 had not turned down the gig. #everythingmonster // New rule on booking guests to discuss farmers’ markets: Ask when last s/he went to one. #seasonschange // The biggest file in my crammed office has to be meaningless menus (I have clung to). // Pretty clear that most Americans who say “looks like Calcutta” have never eaten in Kolkata. // Prosecco is the best sparkling water. // A Communion-size pour of rosé  should at least come in a spotless glass. // Given that someone once actually died at a boozy event, maybe not reach for a “how to survive” hed? // Consort brought home the first edible Clif bar ever, a freebie handed out in what was once known as Needle Park. Coat a Payday Bar in chocolate and you’re talking brown power. // Why in holy hell would you put cannellini beans in potato salad? For the after-effects? // Do they have National Daiquiri Day in Cuba, or are they spared lobbyists? // Can’t say it enough: An egg is not a chicken. // And it’s probably good thing the media mob never heard AA Gill killed a baboon. . .

Tom Waits to the Small Batch piano . . .

Got up and told The Cat WCTLWAFW I was going to spend the whole day eating and calling it work. Let him envy me for a change.

And he was getting all ready to come with me until reality intruded. His day would be spent sleeping on the refrigerator as usual.

Second thing I heard on walking into the press office: “Did you bring The Cat?” (His fame was my fortune: fast retrieval of a badge despite some glitch in registering.)

Walking to the show I felt 23 (I have been to old age but got to come back). Three hours in I was 83. Feets don’t fail you. Guts do.

Vosge banner reading “what would chocolate not marry?” makes cacao sound like a total whore. (Raspberry is also shameless. Even lies down with wasabi.)

Sriracha apparently can be rendered tasteless.

Brooklyn aisle was almost an alternate universe of hipster overkill. Jarring to walk out and encounter a booth with sampling from the Ozarks. #clichesareclichesforareason

As always, “no” and “free” were the most ballyhooed ingredients. And more and more, it was ironic to notice “salt-free” and “low-sodium” were nowhere to be seen. At least 20 vendors were shilling salt, salt and more salt, even shaped into a mortar and pestle.

So much water being flogged you’d think there’s a drought on somewhere.

Jerky went crazy and I finally realized why: It’s the new power bar, gluten-free and high-protein.

Terrible crimes have been committed in the name of gluten-free.

Chickpeas can be made into many amazing things. Pasta is apparently not one.

Saved myself many letters in my notebook all day: Foul could be reduced to F. Why don’t their loved ones tell ‘em it sucks?

Probably not the best week to roll out your crab sensation with a shoutout to the Robert E. Lee plantation. . . Especially when the recipe yields nastiness.

So “fancy” latkes are just Jewish pakoras?

I actually tried a “sea salt caramel cheese straw.” Cannot say I tasted it.

Things I saw but did not try: Frozen risotto from Italy. Sun-dried tomatoes from England. Jalapeños from Vermont. Camel milk. Things I kinda understood: Powdered blue cheese. Powdered peanut butter. Thing I did not: “Autism approved.”

You can put beets, orange and quinoa together in a jar. But you really shouldn’t call it salsa.

One more place you will never spot Bill Cunningham: The Javits Center during the food show. #glamourdonts

Props to Jeni’s for having a presence if nothing to sell in the midst of the listeria crisis.

“Troll-caught tuna” makes you think those online assholes should just get out and fish.

Indian, with so much overlap with Mexican, should be taking over the world. Instead, Korean rules. And don’t get me started on how many weird juxtapositions with kimchi there were.

Funny how the backlash against the “fancy” food show looks even more ridiculous now. Not only did I see more artisanal, more vegetables, more fresh (or frozen) meat. I also noticed at least three booths with a certain kimchi that apparently only wanted to be invited into the club. Call it Dumboing Down.

Two more changes in the show over the decades. The frenzy to find a distributor seems to have subsided — many people just told me I could find their stuff on Amazon. #greatdisruption And “press” on your badge no longer marks you as prey. “Old” media is clearly not essential to getting a product promoted.

And while the amount of garbage generated is still staggering, with all those plastic mini-spoons and plates and endless plastic cups, there are hints of hope: Paper spoons and edible spoons might save the oceans a tiny bit.

Nothing, however, will save us from grownup kids of moms who didn’t check English homework. Cow’s and cook’s also on board.

Oh, and there was a lot of drinkin’. Ice creams touting alcohol content, wine brownies, bitters on bitters and Bronx ’shine. I’m not crazy about Mr. Semi-Homemade, but he has been very, very good to NYS firewater, both the making and consuming of.

Finally: If all this food is so super and so smart, why does it all wind up in the toilet?

Reformable torte, now with no artificial flavor

Maybe the wingnuts should actually want the poors to be able to buy beans with food stamps. The Cat WCTLWAFW once snared edamame at a dinner party and wound up too full to steal the magret.