And reports that Tavern on the Green reneged on its cookbook deal are not exactly shocking. The only surprising aspect is that anyone really thought a catering hall never known for its food would have recipes worth the sacrifice of trees. I still remember the poor young Swiss chef who was canned back in the last century after the NYT, when it still mattered, awarded only a “fair” for his ambitious cooking. His wife, a then-friend of mine, had given me a tour of the kitchens and the watchword was obviously not quality, only quantity (the only place I think I’ve seen bigger vats was a pumpkin factory in Illinois where tons were reduced for canning). But it’s still a little unsettling to read reports implying potential concessionaires are pulling out because the staff is unionized (read: deal-breakingly expensive). If your plane is going down, would you prefer the pilot with training and benefits or the co-pilot who doesn’t know nothin’ ’bout no de-icing and had to come to work with a cold? Swine flu hysteria made no sense not least because no one wanted to consider how many food handlers can’t afford either a sick day or a doctor. And with sneezing and wheezing, those ridiculous latex gloves are not protection but kabuki. Especially considering the waiters long ago got kinder reviews than the food.