Thin air

One of my favorite media mysteries is why anyone succumbs to the horse shit shoveled out by airlines hiring “celebrity” chefs. Escoffier crossed with Robuchon with a few Jean-Georges genes thrown in for good measure could not make anything decent to eat seven miles up in the clouds, and the average hostage strapped in cruddy coach would never be able to detect the improvement if he could. Yet this continues to constitute news. And what do the allegedly cash-crunched airlines get for their neon investment? At Delta, hummus. You know, a Todd English “creation.”

But then this is a strange time for travel reporting, with the NYT deciding readers’ comments are fit to print (or just suddenly realizing that content really is free). Among the suggestions for ways to economize in Eutopia with devalued dollars was advice to buy supermarket food to take back to your hotel room “and ask the housekeeping staff to bring the bowls, plates and utensils for your meal.” On what planet? Try to get an extra roll of toilet paper, let alone a wineglass. You would have better luck asking a flight attendant to produce a sharp knife for your Safeway sausage. Hotels are in the business of selling food and drink, not catering to your chintziness. You know that “refrigerator in your room”? It’s called a mini-bar, and they don’t even like it if you move their $75 half-bottle of wine out to chill your bargain Burgundy. Strange to think old media believes everything it reads on the internets. . . .

Advertorial 2.0

On the other hand, it’s fascinating to see blogs, especially the conglomerate kind, morph as they attach themselves to advertising’s soul-sucking teats. Already Big Food is able to slide shills designed to look like posts into some blogs (Hong Kong should sue over the appropriation of the name of one of its assets for processed crap), and the next menace looks to be ads off to the side that rudely interrupt your reading to drop virtual chicken or sausage into the “editorial” well. What’s that old computer term — GIGO?

New media is condemned to repeat the mistakes of the old in another way. When you sign up contributors and the material is recycled from their own chirpy narcissism, who is going to keep coming back? There are 8 million blogs out there. And HBO didn’t get where it is with reruns.

Rollerball with cheese

Fairway prides itself on being first on so many things, so I have a suggestion after getting body-slammed yet again, this time by a cretin rushing to the register who hit my barely healed broken shoulder with all her weight and not even an excuse me. If shopping has to be a blood sport, why not put in an EMT station? Holy Foods would have them in no time.


A food writer whose name I actually remembered but was afraid to mangle had a good take on the critical version of Scratch ‘n’ Match when I bumped into her at the Greenmarket. We agreed that the Harvard-girls-gone-wild aspect was key, but she pointed out: “Our president graduated from Yale” — an Ivy League education just isn’t what it used to be. But that might be news to editors who think four pages of Lindsay/Britney/Paris is barely enough coverage every day and don’t seem to hear that awful sound on Tuesdays is prose being tortured. And in other updates on ill-gotten fame, the buzz is pretty strong over on the Padma blog. A law degree definitely isn’t what it used to be.

Hats off

What if you wrote a tell-all and nobody cared? Maybe it was sex among ghouls that was the turnoff, but apparently a sensational memoir from the food world fizzled rather than sizzled. And there could be a lesson in this for a new generation of lie-down-with-chefs types: Jism is a dish best served warm.

Last throes

Anyone who thinks the Skankier Twin’s wedding announcement is anything besides more sand in the umpire’s eyes probably believed Turdblossom’s excuse for leaving. If she does trade her tequila bottle for a Republican tool, the affair will undoubtedly be West Texas tasteful, with Jell-O shots for everyone. But somehow I suspect the ratings bounce is not going to happen, not when Americans are eating literally 200,000 pounds of painkillers a year and the Chimp misery still won’t go away.

Weak flesh

Apparently the Daily News saw Dining’s tits and decided to raise them. What it’s selling is not exactly expertise and integrity, let alone proficiency with transitions, but then this is a paper that lets Grandpa Hinckley dribble into his culinary diaper on a regular basis, not to mention one that has no money for original food content on Sunday but plenty to send “reporters” flying off after Britney’s flingee. I did enjoy the Porcine Pantload’s professing to be shocked, shocked at the vitriol this silliness has incited, given his history of presiding over feces-flinging of elephantine proportions. The funniest thing is that I told my consort this could be the tipping point, that we might have to cancel our subscription, and he responded: “But what about the comics?” And he’s right. We do need it for laughs, and it looks as if she delivers.

On the rocks

Tommy Bahama rum must be just as good as the ads promise. The recipe for a mojito made with it calls for a full bunch of fresh mint. With that much to muddle, you could be drinking Hawaiian shirt dye for all you would taste.

Curds way

So much for trying to drink the right thing. I bought organic milk three days in a row, and every single container was right on the edge of sour even though it was at least a week away from the sell-by date. The three brands came from three different stores, including Holy Foods, and not one of them was out of refrigeration for more than the 30 minutes max it took me to get home. It was almost enough to make me quit straying from Ronnybrook, except that the fourth container I bought last week came from that great dairy, and the milk was this close to off. But then things are already turning on the milk front. As a compulsive reader of coupons, I see Horizon organic now comes with “DHA Omega-3.” You tell me why milk needs an additive replicating something found in
fish oil. The carton says it “helps support brain health.” And if you’re stupid enough to believe that, I have some Stouffer’s “artisanal” lasagne to sell you.

At least Reagan had an excuse

Just when you think the Chimp cannot embarrass the country any more profoundly, they send him out to recite the menu for Sarkozy. A 5-year-old would have sounded more statesmanlike. Did he really say “he can have him a piece of blueberry pie”? And what were they thinking, serving corn on the cob when we know from the Blair incident how crude his table manners are? No wonder the Premiere Famille stayed away, “citing sore throats.” Weak stomachs are more likely.

What’s also interesting is that some news stories noted that “like Bush, he shuns alcohol.” And two google links below were a couple of youtube videos labeled “Sarkozy drunk at G8.” Unless Daddy was there as chaperone, the O’Doul’s must have been flowing big time at that lunch.

Image is everything

I was kidding about tits in Dining, but I see they may be the mound of the future. This week we got the mother load, the bare-nekkid pate of the south, even true udders in action. Nice of them to include something for the girls, though: cucumbers and sausages.

Stopped presses

A reader more literal than I noticed something more unseemly: The thin line between trend story and free advertising. That milk label was as clear as a product placement in a cheesy movie. The same mostly single-producer sin was committed in the name of uncaged eggs, but that piece was guilty of something worse, a lede so clunky I can only hope it was written by a copy editor with delusions of lyricism. Comparing nickel-premium eggs and $500 phones is bad enough, especially when big business is not beating a path to the Prius factory. But isn’t there a new have-to-have-it product in the world of food about every three hours? The front page, though, seems to be suffering from the same precipitous decline in value as any other real estate. I read that drivel about a Hamptons party all the way to the end, trying to figure out why it was even written, let alone showcased. No answer, just more questions: What the hell are frozen tacos, and why are rich fucks serving them to guests?

Ditalini? Dead

One thing that struck me in the news photos of the subway tsunami was how lardy New Yorkers have gotten. Most photos of people thronging buses could have been shot in Des Moines (if they have buses there). We must all be Americans now. And it’s no wonder, considering Bertolli has started a frozen line of pasta and the shape advertised first is “gigantoni.” Apparently there is such an entry in the noodle lexicon, but it sounds so un-Italian. Also, the label shows a glass of red wine, but you know it will be served with soda. The only wonder is that they aren’t stuffing supersized pasta with cheese, bacon and raspberry fudge.

Tail chasing

Steve Cuozzo has officially established himself as alpha dog in this town. He proclaims the Upper West Side a dining destination and the pack falls right in line, including the teacup Chihuahua who is considered the pit bull. Funny that the homecity paper will barely cover bad news out of Walter Reed or Baghdad if the competition breaks it, but a right-in-plain-sight story gets regurgitated online like a particularly tasty hairball. Maybe blogs are the new editorials.