Sole butter

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 . . .

Guanciale? “Similar to salami”

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.

Tears of a Julia onion

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.

Special needs chefs (cq no hyphen)

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?

Dull guillotines

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.

H, H & raisins

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.

Great Plains oysters & kkkrazy steak

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.”

Apparatchik, you say?

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. . . .

No hotheads, divas, back-stabbers

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?

ZED ZED No Applebee’s

Give this man a documentary. Smartest take in donkey’s years.


Even I sometimes forget ears are different from cobs. // Some cookbooks should be titled “Shoulda Started Yesterday.” // “Nose-to-tail tamales” unfortunately made me conjure pig snout  on pig poophole. // 50 shades of Francis Mallmann: “Weeping Lamb” on facing page from “Leg of Lamb on Strings.”// I always hear chiffonade and think chifforobe. // Every time I have a conversation with a farmer this time of year, I have new appreciation of the term “punch-drunk.” // Got my first VD pitch. And we haven’t even gotten to turkey panic. Why not go straight to Return-of-Jeebus chocolate? // Just got another pitch that makes me wonder why no one has declared National Toilet Paper Day. How many lobbyists does it take to proclaim the obvious?

“A fresh food company”

Not to trivialize the hysteria, but what is the deal with beheadings? Even whacking off the face of a soft-shell crab, let alone the cockscomb-bearing part of a chicken, is anything but easy. How in holy hell are these guys managing to make human head-torso separation seem even more effortless than scimitaring off a Champagne cork? And the bigger question: Why are knife manufacturers not cashing in? Admen, start your engines.

Reynolds Wrap with a glass lid

One of the most surprising things I learned in my months of research for Julia’s obit was that the Bammin’ buffoon was once a very serious chef, with actual gravitas, not to mention humility. Clips at the Paley Center couldn’t lie, could they? Among the many sins of the Food Network was turning him into the Bb, but he has no one to blame but himself for what he’s morphed into: a victim of Obama Derangement Syndrome. He’s not Ducasse because black president? What makes that doubly sad is that I still remember my first lunch at NOLA, when my consort and I thought a famous athlete was at a nearby table because the staff was fawning so aggressively over him and his companion. Turned out it was a waiter, given a chance to switch sides; as I’ve ranted before, there could not be a better way to improve service. And now the boss would prefer they don’t get Obamacare, or a living wage. I guess that figures. My other recollection from that first trip to New Orleans was being invited to Thanksgiving at the crowded house of a bunch of NOLA chefs. Who were sleeping on mattresses on the floor in return for the chance to stage with the great one. Wonder how rich they are now . . .

$20,000 coats, 50 cents off on Goya cans

Maybe I should stable my high horse. I read the Murdoch Crier’s cheerleading piece on farmed salmon and wanted to blow it off as pinkwashing. Then I did some poking around for what it didn’t say. Turns out there really has been a literal sea change in the chicken of the sea. To the point that the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch now rates farmed Coho as a best choice. I still have qualms, because I’m haunted by the Scottish fisherman I interviewed eons ago who saw such a threat to the beautiful swimmers from the chicken-cooped kind, and because all these years of shunning the latter have left me with a taste for the wild ones. But it was one more reminder of how you need to read the business pages for your food journalism these days. So much else is just service.