Lately I’ve been starting way too many Tweets with “So old I…” as history just keeps echoing, repeating and sequeling. But it was still both surprising and sad to see the latest news on killer cantaloupes. Salmonella, again, 32 long years after I had the great honor of a cartoon by the awesome Seymour Chwast accompanying my little rant about eating local. Clearly, no one listened. It’s cranberry season, FFS. And maybe one day we can have an honest talk about working conditions in the fields warm enough to grow and harvest melons?
If I ruled the food newsroom, I’d assign a story on just why a Butterball is so cheap while the “elitist” bird the paid-gazillions FauxNews guy bought has to be so pricy. (Sad thought, tho? Probably neither farmer is really breaking even.)
How New York is New York? I sent my consort out via text to find poppy seeds and suggested Trader Joe’s first for price considerations, but he wound up at Zabar’s cuz of course the chain conceived as an oasis for the “overeducated and underpaid” didn’t carry ’em. I anticipated they’d be crazy-expensive, especially when he came came home and said they were shelved behind the fish counter, where the caviar and dried morels (and Angostura bitters) are kept. Joke’s on me, though: He had no idea how much to buy, given that I tell him 5 ounces is for fish and 4 ounces for meat and never let him near the spice rack. Two ounces, in short, is a shit-ton when you’re making lemon cookies and not hamantaschen.
I think the Sacklers have gone into a new business. How in holy hell have my consort and I spent the last three years facing down dozens of home-baked cookies every week and nibbling only one or two but can’t stop gobbling a PayDay after a Twix after a Snickers? Maybe there are drugs in Halloween candy.
My last Tweet ever will probably be about canned peaches. We are so fucking fucked on this #RoadToNowhere. (I mean. I was born in Phoenix. A swamp cooler used to be enough. Now the Murdoch Crier is in full-on climate denial. #DontLookUp)
Just hit me that 2023 should be a bigger year. I dropped out of college in 1973, quit the NYT (the first time) in 1983 to go to restaurant school, spent 1993 fighting with a publisher over an ill-fated cook/photobook and hit my Gastropoda stride in 2003. (2013? Twittered away…)
Almost have to feel grateful for Meatball Ron for educating Americans on how propagandized we’ve been on real American racist history. I now read cookbooks from plantation gift shops in a new light: Never see any mention of enslaved cooks, just praise for the “skill” of the “mistress” in “managing” “a large staff.” Margaret Mitchell did a number on this country…
We just had the misfortune of eating Mama’s Too’s reliably awesome pizza next to a table of apparent “influencers” performing for their phones — not sure what was grosser, their narcissism or the bro at our table talking about his sister hurling in an Uber on the way to the Hamptons (“and the driver didn’t even charge her extra”). One realization was that it really should be spelled “influenzers.” Another was that they eat as if they’re in Barbieland: Not one bite actually ingested.
And speaking of influenzers, I can’t be the only food old who found it pretty rich for the Dash Daily to run a screed insisting young narcissists who work the system are the new threat to restaurants cuz they dine and sometimes don’t deliver. I mean. I repeatedly tried to warn the powers that be. (Typical exchange? Editor: “They’re like the family retainer.” Me: “But they’re stealing the silver.”) And no one listened…
Always suspected steelhead trout had no flavor cuz of how it’s “raised.” Passed the factory “farm” in the Hudson Valley on the ride back to NYC from a tick wedding &? Holy fishfeces!
Nothing sez “tax the super-rich!” quite like showing up for your reservation at an art museum restaurant, being escorted to a great booth with a view and having the host get shut down by a blonde server who interjects: “Zoe requested this booth for the window.” Host, pointing at a back booth: “She can sit there.” Karen: “She wants the window.” Consort, who has already slid into the booth: “We’re here, and Zoe’s not. Can’t we have the booth?” Karen: “Zoe is a trustee of the museum.” Oh. Kay. So we take the “lesser” booth, which turns out to have not just a far better view of the entire room but a pretty fab window view. As we’re Googling Zoe and where she got her money (hint: the old-fashioned way, married into it with a guy who inherited his starter fortune), she finally shows up, slides into the primo booth and immediately demands that the shades be drawn. For the whole dining room. And they comply. The most 1% thing ever. Actually? Don’t tax ’em. Eat ’em.
Even before Muskmelon came in to blow up the Twitter, I’d been getting so many “what would you take for gastropoda.com?” emails from Nigerian princes and others that I (and my consort) decided I should dust this cranky old joint off and start posting like it’s the birdsite, where words also go for nothing. Waking up every morning since I last updated Bites and realizing the orange one was not dead yet defeated me. But I’m gonna to give it a shot. Everything is still broken. Might as well say it.
Probably coulda monetized this silly site if I’d charged for decoder rings. So many of the evil ones shoulda been self-revealing but apparently weren’t. I will now say it clearly about the Sulzbergers, though: Punch became Pinch who, to me, has become Dash. And he’s the worst one yet. Sheet pan recipes or no.
After Bob’s and my luxurious outing to the newest incarnation of Gage & Tollner, I would almost think I imagined writing about the gaslit joint after 9/11 for the NYT. The story doesn’t show up in search, but I still remember arguing with the copy desk over my description of the rice looking as if it had been molded in Madonna’s bra. Post-traumatic shock is still with us…