As my consort described it, I went from zero to profanity on Thanksgiving morning after waking to hear the Chimp on NPR with the toughest of interviewers, the female spawn of his hateful mother’s frighteningly withered loins. And of course she didn’t ask the obvious question, how a war criminal could have the gall to “pardon” a turkey. If there were any justice in the world, his wriggling fanny and gushing neck would have been the ones exposed to all the world in the Palin/“Fargo” photo op.
Of course, everything you need to know about how this evil fuck has been able to get away with perpetrating his soulless incompetence on the country for eight long years can be found in one detail of his own Thanksgiving menu. For at least the last two years, countless news reports have listed “Morelia-style gazpacho with spinach salad” among the otherwise clichéd trimmings for the Camp David turkey. Normal inquiring minds might want to know what the hell that might be, exactly. But not the stenographers who have covered this evil fuck the last eight years. They wrote it down, published it and waited for the next handout. “Preznit give me turkee,” indeed.
Contrast that with the sly phrasing in the hometown paper’s piece on the shitcanning of I-Fucked-the-Chef. Rather than say name-comma-age as is usual, it was “who said she is 74.” Doubt much? (And no, I’m not beating up on a village elder. My elephant side has not forgotten a hat-whipping under a previous editor when I presumed to sell a food piece with a fatal flaw: It did not include a friend of the critic.) But the big laugh is anyone presuming she is the “brand” of a magazine now known best for its editor, and not the one off assigning features in the afterlife. It says it all that the reaction came mostly from people whose juiciest years were “the naughty Seventies.” Visualize a hall of James Beard’s mirrors. Or, for your memory’s sake, don’t.
Hard to top the Gurgling Cod on another cover story, as badly timed as a feature on creamed spinach at the height of the E. coli outbreak with “Shit on a Shingle” as a headline. Personally, I didn’t even get that it was all about making the villains of America into role models in the middle of history’s most bungled bailout. Rubin relied on Post-Its rather than an iPhone? No wonder Citigroup’s in the crapper. Give that woman a health beat and let Johnny Rotten rest in peace.
One of the great guests who was around our own turkey happens to work down at the Taj Sulzberger and had a pretty funny tale to tell, how the sleek new elevators always smell like fresh farts. He didn’t say how long this has been going on, but I hope it wasn’t just during the runup to the type kiss for “A Walker’s Guide to American Cheese.” I would love to have been a fart in the elevator, however, on the day the decision was made on which walkee would get to blow the job of logrolling it. Two BFFs and one story possibility equals trouble with a capital truffle.
Given what a beat-down the patron saint of Italian cooking was given by the hometown paper not so long ago, I was sorta surprised to see her darken its pages with an easily missed op-ed on an issue of vital importance, the overuse of the term chef. Didn’t they just make it clear she was not exactly the writer in the family?
Call me hopelessly cynical, but how in the name of Ray Kroc at Baskin-Robbins could any critic ever narrow the list of best hamburgers in America to a mere 20? To rate them the top, you would have to have tasted all the competition, no? Even choosing the best in Manhattan — not even New York City — would be damn close to impossible by that standard. Awarding blue ribbons for two in Philadelphia from the same restaurateur is also, how you say, suspect. At least there was none in New Orleans.
For just short of forever I have been nattering about adding a page to Gastropoda, a sort of annual report for my retirement account, which happens to be memories of all the amazing travel I have been so lucky to have done thanks to my consort’s unbelievable generosity (and patience). It would be called One Perfect Day, and a leading candidate for Post One would be the just over 24 hours Bob and I spent together in Mumbai, near the end of his National Geographic story on caffeine in 2003. I had to fly home while he went on last minute to Vietnam for a coffee shoot, which made the time even more bittersweet after two weeks jaunting from Delhi to Kolkata to Bangalore to the Indian Tibetan settlement and back to Bangalore and finally Mumbai, which was pure and total magic. We got in very late to find a white Mercedes and driver waiting to take us to our hotel, where I crawled into bed with the covers over my head while Bob haggled with a tech guy for hours over connecting his computer to download his photos. But next morning we were up for the London-worthy breakfast downstairs after showers in a glass cube with sandalwood soap I can still smell. Afterward we walked over to the Gateway of India and saw the Taj Mahal hotel, passing this indescribable array of street food and street vendors and street life along the way. We had lunch at an awesome Gujarati place near the hotel, sleek and modern and wonderful, and took a cab to a famous mosque on the water where we were blown away by passing the most staggering display of human miseries combined with forbearance, then walked back toward the hotel, ducking into bookstores and gift shops and gaping at the intensity of the streetscape all the way (having read “Midnight’s Children” on the trip made the place even more cinematic). There is no place on the world like India, with the sounds, the smells, the colors — you need all five senses and could use five more. We had a surreal dinner together in one of the hotel’s restaurants, then walked down the surreal beach out front that was so close to skyscrapers’ glitter before I had one more revel in the glass cube of a shower and Bob took me in a cab to the airport (don’t ask about his ride back).
I got home on Thanksgiving afternoon exactly five years ago. And then all this shit happened, and it was like a flashback, because everything seemed so centered right where we had been. But I never made the connection till the morning after a couple of float parties where a few people mentioned the news. I dug out my food notebook and it was like a kick in the stomach to remember where we had stayed. Yep, it was the Oberoi.
I don’t think it was India’s 9/11, though, more India’s Columbine. And I would go back there tonight.
In an ideal world, Panchito would be off flagellating himself (and not for fun). Instead we are treated to images of the beer-buddy Chimp sucking back pisco sours. I agree with my consort, that we should be happy the towel-snapper is blowing off the last two months of his gig rather than making things even worse by acting like a preznit. But someone should be held accountable. Maybe the NYT could lay off a few enablers with Technicolor Yawn expense accounts?
And the designated Chimpette certainly put on a red-rum show with what All Hat No Cattle dubbed “Deliverance Meets Fargo” at the enviable turkey farm. I hope her motivation was not simply to generate more coverage. Otherwise she’s going to be pulling a Sharon Stone next. And that vagina is a clown car. (I can say that as the middle child of seven catapulted out in 8 1/2 years.) If you think I’m mean, consider how another blogger described the great dim hope: Cheney with smaller breasts. So much for moose chili. . . .
I am so cynical I have to admit I am less worried about fish disappearing from the oceans than about who exactly is writing that alarmist blather (blathering alarmism?) Once upon a time a byline was a byline. Poor old Craig has to be spinning to think of all the opportunities he missed as Max Headnote.
I started my week railing at the obvious BS that the wearer of the yachting cap is only now tasting Spam. For pork’s sake, she ate Elvis, and he was older than this PR stunt (adopted most recently by NPR, whose reporters clearly have not been supermarket shopping to comparison-price a 12-ounce tin against a pound of fresh meat). But I finished the week feeling oddly sad for her having to hit the streets like everyone else these days. At least she has a gam up on the left-behind, with her internet presence. Of course, that doesn’t seem to be worth much these days unless you are young enough not to know whom Craig consorted with professionally. Apparently only the Kool Kidz got invited to the Shangfest. And I’m sure they’ll rush back to drop real money on the sweet meat.
I’m a little distracted lately, but I scribbled a couple of things worth considering. First is that my heart bleeds icicles for binge eaters stymied by rising food prices. Anyone who can’t get engorged on the cheap is not a true American. Then, the Porcine Pantload is doing quite well by milking the teats he has already corralled in his reeking barn. And imagine how ridiculous it would be to send a Mexican chef out to taste-sell top-of-the-food-chain fish. Maybe I’m naive, but why does it necessarily follow that a piscatorial whiz understands the ethnic fit? Send Charlie Palmer DC to Taco Bell!
Nice of the Chimp to start squandering all the high-priced wine before people who might actually appreciate it take over the cellar. I would like to have been a roach on the wall, though, when they ruined his dinner by handing him the menu listing the eggplant and fennel fondue with chanterelle jus. All that freedom food when he really only understands hot dogs.
Seriously, what the Besmirched House dishes up for state dinners is almost parody material. Why, if you were serving smoked quail, would you cite “fruitwood” and not whatever the hell tree you chopped down? Can you actually “thyme-roast” lamb? (In a burning bush, maybe?) And how do you jus a chanterelle? Just like everything else in the last miserable eight years, it’s a heckuva job passing as competence. Pretty bad when even Rick Bayless would be an improvement over the affirmative action chef.