That explains the Russian Tea Room

I have to say I was shocked, shocked to read the comments on one provincial paper’s website after Mrs. O had the audacity to take the kids to Grimaldi’s. (She’s a Communist, she’s spending taxpayer dollars, yadda-wacko-and-out.) There is good news, though: Wingnuts grow in Brooklyn. Which means it has not been totally overtaken by the food hipsters.

Autodial the news

Marriage is a mystery to me, both the why and the how of it, but so many of our friends have been divorced that I flatter myself in thinking I understand a little bit about what goes down. And I can’t think of many (or any) of them who stay tight with the people they were so disillusioned by that they could no longer live together. Of course, none of them built a brand with “and” in it, and none of them try to sustain a living milking it. Which could explain why one high-profile review of the Fred Harvey bio contained exactly zero critical evaluation, just a recapitulation of the plot. Maybe the two warring parties writing together as one couldn’t agree if it was good or shit?

Time for food trucks

Everyone else can obsess on the supersizing of the Last Supper over the centuries (although I did like “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me!”’s take: they might need a bigger cross). I was dwelling more on the scary thought that Big Food is developing a “special” salt for garbage we don’t need. It’s a testament to how over-sodiumed most processed crap is that the reasonable amount of salt you would use on your own fresh tortilla chips is way too imperceptible in the stuff that needs to last for months in a bag at an inflated price. Unfortunately, I read about this new sprinkle in the same paper that informed me, by way of a UK restaurant critic, that blue cheese has twice as many calories as other cheeses. This in a piece debating the merits of the calorie accounting on restaurant menus required by the new health reform law. We’re longtime subscribers, but I am really starting to wonder how long we can stay with the Foxes at The Wall Street Post.

Maroons to the right of us, jokers to the left

Someone over on the social media site that ate my life suggested bringing the Egotist to the White House to consult (or some such nonsense). I’d suggest bringing the guy who actually wrote the original script for what matters. He, after all, looked at a full page in the hometown paper devoted to cult cow and saw that it was actually only ordinary feedlot beef.

Goat virgins & violators

Of all the silliness in this country right now, the way the Teabaggers are taking offense at being called what they named themselves ranks right up there with no-mierda stories on how cheese has turned trendy. If they don’t like their chosen label, maybe they could find a new way to attach tea to their ridiculous hats. I guess the problem is that loose tea is elitist, and Teaballers would sound worse. But really, they’re as laughable as that Asian soup company would be if it changed its name to Rooster and attacked anyone for calling it Cock.

Party of eight, dinner for two

I Tweeted this, but was that hash brown photo the “before” in the JGold Wannabe’s clarified butter lesson? Those potatoes were not “golden brown” but charred to the point of sending them back. I’d sooner eat Tater Tots. And come to think of it, someone should do a Tumblr on the magazine’s food shots like the one mocking Dwell’s photography — so many pictures have been stripped of anything sensual and just have a depressing flatness. The URL could sub Stylists for Pets in WhoWanttoKillThemselves.

Hecho en Dumbo indeed

And at least one mission was accomplished by the salsa mess: No one could accuse Dining of talking into a well of mandarins. I kept reading and reading, waiting for something that would justify a story on such an obvious topic that has been mined so exhaustively. But as a Twitpal noted, this is the paper that refers to corn tacos. Maybe the education was simply starting at home.

Packing salt

We may be living in a digital world, but my consort is kind enough to still bring home paper from his travels, particularly menus, which is how I came to see the latest charge: Cake Cutting, $2/Slice. Given the kerfuffle over a too-hip joint here penalizing a patron for bringing her own, it should be the coming thing. Or at least should make cupcakes even more inescapable. The whole incident really was a coals-to-Newcastle — or coffee-to-Stumptown — situation anyway. The secret to the place’s success is what my friend Leslie Wong always says: The more New Yorkers get fucked, the more they like it.


Maybe because I happily pay whatever dollars the government wants to tack onto wine prices, I honestly do not understand the resistance to taxing soda. Apparently NYState has just caved on that perfectly intelligent plan, and it makes no sense. Carbonated high-fructose corn syrup is already dangerously cheap. And it’s not as if it’s as essential as salt. What but benefits could be accomplished in adding a few pennies to the price of half a gallon and applying it to the general good? Are they worried the poor will suffer? That would be a first.

Just as insane was a report that the Legislature is backing off on letting grocery stores sell wine, as they do in civilized places. So New York, one of the leading winemaking states, is going to remain a backwater. To know how ridiculous this is, just take a walk up Columbus or a plane to Buffalo. Holy Foods sells wine, but only in a store with a separate entrance. Premier has one of the best wine selections for states, and the door to it is separated from the food side by maybe six steps. Neither is putting the mom-and-pops out of business. Both are just inconveniencing customers. This is the new Prohibition, because the same sorts are cleaning up with it.

While Rupert outlets gripe in harmony

I’m so old I remember when the Big Homme published a newsletter on cooking what was in season, back when the idea was about as alien as pork belly in this country. And it was truly excellent; I saved the whole run in my cobbled-together binder for story ideas as editors finally caught up to the wisdom of eating locally/seasonally. So it’s doubly odd to see “his” latest column in the Bullfighters’ Mag, with a recipe for zucchini-tomato tian to go with Easter lamb. Whiskey tango foxtrot? Bad enough that so many allegedly serious cooks are already jumping the gun and using asparagus when it’s still coming from Mexico. But tomatoes and zucchini belong in basil season. They make as much sense as Peeps in August.

No grass-fed beef with tax refunds, either

For all the wailing about the death of print, I’m pretty amazed at how huge controversies online go unnoticed. Or maybe it’s just that when you’re Twittering away your life, it’s easy to forget not everyone is keeping up with all the important stuff. Like the provocative column Salon ran on “hipsters” using food stamps to buy good food, which provoked other sites to rage back, pointing out the obvious: People who buy junk with food stamps get slammed, and those who try to eat well get slammed. And it’s really no one’s business how those benefits are used. A commenter at one site noted that she was an Americorps volunteer whose salary was so low she qualified for food stamps. Perspective, much? So of course I set off an Orson Welles-level war of words by Tweeting about the well-dressed older woman I saw buying extra-virgin olive oil at the Food Shitty and by mockingly adding, “For shame.” Instantly I was slammed with outraged Tweets from people who thought I was serious. Didn’t they realize I was off in the kitchen by then, boiling babies to feed the homeless?

No cake bibles allowed

Talk about taking the bait: Some particularly deluded wingnuts (if that phrase isn’t redundant) started saying the Big O was going to ban sport fishing, and of course every kkkrazy lost it. If he were the malicious sort, he could wake up every day with a new way to yank their chains. Like threatening to take away their Cheetos. Or tax them.

Who will sanitize the hand sanitizers?

And speaking of hysteria, the media obsession with Toyota is turning me into the equivalent of a Prius birther — maybe it actually is all a careful campaign designed to make hybrid cars look dangerous and keep Americans dependent on oil. The same thing inevitably happens with food. If there’s an E. coli or salmonella outbreak in anything relatively natural, it’s always attack of the killer tomatoes, suicide-mission scallions, lethal-weapon spinach, death in an eggshell. But if the government recalls a few million tons of it-will-kill-you-level contaminated processed beef, good luck finding out about it. Worst of all has been the coverage of the recall of hydrolyzed vegetable protein. That shit is in everything (153 products on the FDA warning list alone), and it’s not making tabloid headlines and leading the teevee “news.” Big Food gets to keep its dirty secrets secret. Maybe Cheetos eaters deserve what they get: messed pajamas