I’m not going to link because there was nowhere to link, but I was rather amused on reading some private club in London has apparently caved to the loons and stopped offering foie gras. Really, fools? Fattened duck livers are like abortions. Don’t like ’em? Don’t get ’em. Also, too, what does it profit a cause to save the geese and fuck the Amazon workers?
I also have to note yet again how funny it is every Saturday to open up the Murdoch Crier’s getting-and-spending section and have a slinger fall out. Most recently, tucked inside pages covering $10,000 coats, we got an offer of $1.50 off on TWO (2) bags of any frozen “chicken” “product.” Maybe that’s for the staff? Or at least for the ones who have to make Ginny Noonan’s sloshings publishable?
And I don’t even know where to begin with how fucked up the Teabaggers have made government involvement in food aid. So farmers should continue to get subsidies whether they farm or not, but the poors should pull themselves up by their Nike laces and go get jobs and feed themselves — no matter that taking benefits away from them is literally sucking income out of supermarkets. (Again: Beneficiaries don’t eat those debit cards; the tax dollars are laundered through the Krogers.) The bigger question is why, if farmers constitute a protected species, Willie Nelson was on his bus, out on the road again, raising money 38 years on from the first Farm Aid. Surely billions can trickle down? But what it’s really all about comes clear every time some whiner goes into the comment cesspool to bitch that the food stamp users they see have better cars/clothes/shopping carts. My response? Get a better fucking job, loser.
Also, too, the Fools’ Arches picked a fine time to announce a major move into fruits and vegetables. Just as Americans are coming to understand the only thing scarier than pink slime is green slime.
As for the short-lived pasta backlash, it’s a pretty safe guess Barilla is not eaten in the politically correct Vatican these days. Even though the price point would put it in the sweet spot. It’s the durum equivalent of a beat-up Fiat.
And now to Marcella, whom I never met and never cooked from but about whom I know a story I can never write even though she is the good guy in it. I’m not sure Signora Hazan should be blamed for the Olive Garden, but she definitely made Americans savvier about the way Italian food is provisioned, cooked and eaten in Italy and should be done right here. And she did it without the advantages Julia Child had, television and (chirpy) personality. (I got a sense of the prickliness when I did a featurette by phone on her condo kitchen in Florida — cabinets behind kickboards turned out to have a double meaning.) For all her transformational power, though, it’s interesting to see the food she was so repulsed by is now almost celebrated at hip red-sauce places like Parm. It’s Italian-American and there’s no stigma to it. Meanwhile, I wonder how many other cookbook buyers are like me today, looking more for specialties from one region rather than an overview of a whole historically disjointed country. The Italy shelves in our dining room are dedicated to Parma and Rome, Veneto and Sardinia etc. and to books by the types of chefs Marcella would scorn, with her insistence that Italian is “not the created, ‘creative’” cooking in restaurants. Every healthy thing evolves. I always contended Italian is not a cuisine. It’s ingredients on a plate. And that is what she proved.
A few last thoughts on the way the news spreads now: The Hazans’ daughter-in-law announced the death on Facebook (although she was omitted among the survivors in the Times obit) and from there it spread through the Twittersphere, users exhibiting an almost unseemly urge to be first to RIP. The Guardian based most of its obit, included in the Life & Style section, on an old interview on Epicurious. Safer than swiping from “news” sites, I guess. We also live in an age of obits teamed with recipes, and apparently I’ve been doing tomato sauce wrong. (Cynic that I am, I was also amused to see how very few recipes were cited time after time as iconic. Shades o’ Julia & her stew du beef)
Finally, I can say from experience it’s much easier to write an obit of a legend when you have months to research it. There was some grumbling that Penelope Casas did not get her NYTimely due; as an email right after the Marcella news predicted: “This is one they won’t skip.” From those lips to the Page One editor’s ear. Cynic that I am, I wonder how many editors with resources are in Grim Reaper mode today, speculating on the next to go to that big kitchen in the sky . . .
I could understand the awe the nonagenarian rich guy inspired with his $100 nightly treats for himself. Sure, he earned it. But given that one in five olds in NYC relies on food assistance, you gotta wonder about his priorities and the weird tone-deafness of a section that natters about the great divide but celebrates excess (tell us what was on the table, ye who have no money worries?) Forget the four-dollar organic greens. The average geriatric female in NYC would be happy with a feast o’Friskies.
Used, again, Emeril skillet I got as swag. Reminded, again, that chefs put their names on some pretty shitty shit. // “The bigger the set, the crappier the quality.” // “Underground chef” sounds like one who cooks in a cavern. Beware the roast stalactites. (Necromuncher, @dirtydiningdsm responded) // “Hangar” steak should only be served in airports. // The poor heartland — shut out again. Kolaches to me will always be Nebraskan. . .
Panchito certainly has exquisite timing, lecturing his fellow citizens on overeating just as many millions risk losing their buck-forty-a-meal food stamps. And someone needs to alert him to why those poor souls don’t do their binge buying at Costco: Walmart doesn’t charge a minimum of a buck-a-week membership fee.
Almost as tone-deaf was the front-pager on chickens being raised on four-star food scraps imported from Manhattan. I’m a longtime huge fan of the innovator, but there’s a reason chickens in Third World countries have richer flavor than Perdue’s. They don’t get their protein from (undoubtedly GMO) corn and soybeans. I did like imagining Molto Ego fighting the hens for the last ort of carrot, though. From what I read in the New Yorker long ago, chickens would starve in that kitchen.
Speaking of the edible safety net, I’m kind of mystified as to why the supermarket industry is sitting by silently while soulless wingnuts threaten to cut stores’ income by $40 billion. It’s not as if the poors eat their debit cards. . . .
It was rather ironic (or not) that the Butter Guzzler chose to make her return to impolite society on the same weekend as the 50th anniversary of the bombing of the Birmingham church that killed the four little girls. At least her supporters only whined she’d been “crucified” by the media. They could have called it a high-tech lynching.
Times must be getting less tight down to the Taj Pinch. Dinners that cost almost as much as a Chanel bag are getting written up (surely no one only spat). But the bigger laugh was seeing how the sausage was made with the Putin placement — flacks typed something up and “it went through the normal editing process.” Maybe that explains so much about how someone I was warned “is not a very sophisticated writer” can stiffen up to 20 inches.
I’m so old I remember when coke fueled the fud world. Not Coke. // What’s filthier than lucre? Touch screens as menus. // Sad to see “legit” journamalists touting sponsored content. But then Butterball pandering predates BuzzFeed. // Who needs terrorists when we have Big Ag? // Was told at @UnSqGreenmarket it’s “last day for the blues.” Except for berries, j’doubt it. // I’m so old I remember when Meatpacking District had a double meaning. // Oilier than molasses? //And yes, I am going to stage my own intervention, thanks very much.
Getting hit with e-updates on Panchito’s innocent-abroad tour was fascinating, not least as he hit the Asian Carnegie Delis. Was there really once a time when a major international news outlet could just pluck a lightweight off the Spanish Steps next to McDonald’s and make him arbiter of tastes in a city with so many representations of vibrant, authentic cuisines? But mostly I laughed. The guy who sold a totally bogus “compassionate conservative” to America can now spot fraud in China?