Capon: Josh on the jacket, John in the caption

Idle thoughts: I’m guessing Holy Foods bagels are not really “hearth-baked.” Red Waddle would actually be a better name for a heritage breed (especially if we’re talking mandrills). Plus it turns out “a new way to eat a burger” is not with your toes; it involves trying to turn beans into a Reuben sandwich and confusing the headline writer, not to mention the reader. And please alert the Page One editors: A hero may be just a sandwich, but it isn’t made with a bun.

Under-the-counter calorie counts

I did my spleen-venting on the Butter Guzzler elsewhere, but I guess we’ll never be “Deaned” out. One thing that got lost in all the bloviating is that diabetes is no joke. And for all the knickers-knotting over the Photoshopping of an amputee who really isn’t, that poster says more than 500 magazine pages of ads for a $500-a-month treatment that may not even work. But it is amusing that the same paper in high dudgeon would run clearly Photoshopped photos of the poor, poor celebrity victim.

“Two Fat Ladies”? Chicken liver.

And Panchito of course had to go and make things worse with his dodging and weaving on a subject he really should stay the hell away from. (And I don’t mean politics.) The last thing people need at this point is silly scare stories on how you have to kill yourself to stay thin. Ask Mme “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” Hard as it is for him to imagine, and once was for me, it’s all about a healthy relationship with food. Which is possible if you tune out 99 percent of the merde you read/hear. But the funniest thing is imagining what tune the round one would be playing if the satanic drug dealer had been caught selling a line of food for companion animals that gave them diabetes. Somehow I suspect his editor the dog diarist would call out the pitchforks.

“Kills 4”

One zombie myth just can’t be beaten back, though. And that’s the cretinous insistence that crappy eating is a class thing. Props to these guys for acknowledging that everybody goes to McD’s. But whenever I cross the park I think about how similar both the 1 percent and death-row convicts are when it comes to food. The average last meal of either would be exactly what they grew up eating. A palate that never evolves is obviously a sign of a sociopath.

Any fact-checkers looked at Taste of Home lately?

Relatedly, I’ve long argued that journalism went down the tubes, and not the ones Al Gore invented, once it became a profession for the elite rather than a job open to a college dropout like me who learned by doing. And nothing made that clearer than the sad tale of the pea & the princesses (or, more likely, princes) down to the Taj Sulzberger, whose refined sensibilities are so refined they simply cannot work amid the aromas of meat cooked by those lowly tradesmen in the lobby. They’re apparently actually allowed to work from home while the ventilation is tweaked. In a just world, a Subway franchise would take up residence there; nothing smells more foul to me than that fake yeast. But then they would probably think it smelled like Team America.

Loose meat and Gatorade

Very glad I took my lazy time processing my thoughts on the war story of the “veteran” vegetarian (“nearly lifelong” wouldn’t sound as ruff-and-tuff a struggle at 30ish, I guess). So many other blogs/sites/commenters have laid into the parochialism, condescension and general cluelessness on full display under the most idiotic graphic. What I’m savoring is how it took a silly food story to expose just how under-qualified Dash, Son of Pinch really is for that huge job in an age when no one else invests in standard coverage of “real America.” Way back when, I learned there’s a reason Madame X was hesitant to fall for pitches from correspondents aside from Johnny Rotten: Very few who had not invested the time and forkwork in developing expertise off the “serious news” beat could deliver. Lots of us do it, but food writing is not women’s work. Some heavy lifting is required — if you don’t know it all, you have to find it out.* Over to the national desk they’re probably fine with hiring stringers and throwing emergency ermine over the emperor’s spawn.* But eatin’ and drinkin’ and watching fud teevee is not much to draw on when you get a tossed-off salad of under-reporting and over-padding. You don’t have time to see all the odes to KCMO as the next city destined to conquer stockyard palates. So you go to press with the embarrassment you have, not the one you wish you could kill.

KCMO had some crazy little men, too

And not to get too bogged down in the race to the bottom at a place where I was glad to have worked twice (seeing sausage made does give you insight), but I almost wonder if Dash wasn’t just providing cover for the public editor’s WTF. His smashed beans and lard definition were forgotten once the ugly truth was revealed: Reporters no longer put the truth first. The best reaction I’ve seen so far reaches farther back in time than I understood, since I trace the rot to the Reagan years (“first they came for the air traffic controllers and we said nothing”). That was back when Pinch padded the newsroom in stocking feet, treating us as if we were serfs hunched over keyboards in his den. I know I’ve recounted this many times, but one of the tipping points that tilted me out of that newsroom and into restaurant school* was having an editor storm the desk on deadline and bellow: “We can’t run this. It makes Washington sound like Calcutta.” Up until that very late night, I had always believed journalists operated without considering fear or favor. But if a story about soft-hearted Capitol Hill staffers passing out sandwiches to the homeless in the nation’s seat of power was so dangerous, what else had to be skewed? Whitewater/Coke Can/Yellowcake, here we come . . .

Dash it

Need to think overnight on just how embarrassing it was to set Son o’ Pinch loose on a food story with an editor who knew even less. I mean: I lived in Nebraska and Iowa nearly 40 years ago and, somehow, didn’t see such a barren landscape. . . One word, though: Lard.

“Less than 50% peanuts” is still 49.9% peanuts

All the Twinkies hysteria has made me understand, yet again, how easy it is to fool nearly all of the people all of the time in this new age of endless infotainment. And how easy it has been for Trump to gull cretins into believing he’s a huge success even though bankruptcy is not his bug but his feature: It always gets him out from under the crushing debt he invariably racks up, so he can go forth to rampage another day. This Ho-Hos “crisis” has nothing to do with Americans craving whole grains and spurning artificial pastries and everything to do with how capitalism works, especially in Bushwhacked America. Going into Chapter 11 is just a nice end-around with pension plans. The processed crap will keep being processed. But for 19,000 screwed-and-tattooed employees counting on retirement benefits, it’s “let ’em eat Ding Dongs.” Or Friskies.

Did someone say inordinately pleased?

This is nothing personal on the phenomenon formerly known as Mr. Cutlets, especially since he once bought me a cheezburger and let me make an ass of myself as he was starting his first “real media” gig. But the Tweets about his take on the end of Ms. Perfect’s teevee run make me worry he has mastered the Clickiverse a little too well — call it “say anything.” Whatever killed her show, it was not a disconnect from America in hard times. Her whole grand scheme started, after all, in the Reagan recession — my going-away gift from co-workers on the national desk at the NYTimes in 1983 was a copy of “Entertaining” that they’d bought for $45, nearly what Keller’s opus went for a full 16 years later. Her whole schtick has always been selling an inaccessible lifestyle. Didn’t this country survive the first Depression through fantasy? And I definitely don’t buy the notion that the EVOO One is the new false idol. Once upon a time in America, Jeff Smith was Martha’s big competition. High and low always coexist on the gravy train. So let me rephrase that “say anything.” I meant to type “verbal mandrill.”

No limp fish were killed by handshake

I’ve been wanting to write about this for $$$ but will go ahead and spill the legumes here: My consort and I are now eating more meat than we have at any time in three decades together. Neither of us was ever big on the four-letter food, particularly beef, but the mad cow outbreak, which broke out while we were in Hong Kong on one of his shoots, pushed us both over toward ABC — no cows for us. Then a funny thing happened on the way to near-vegetarianism: Better, cleaner, safer, better meat kept  turning up wherever we shopped/stopped. Heritage Foods started marketing great pork, Fairway started carrying organic, Niman Ranch and Chipotle built businesses on non-mystery meat and, especially, the farmers at all the Greenmarkets started offering meat with both taste and integrity. Others may be eating less meat. But I seriously doubt that it’s because the Egopedist is now arguing against the industrial protein he hawked like a Crisco Deen for 13 long years.

Skanks on a liquid diet

I’ll acknowledge being rather brutal toward the Lump in the Bed (as her husband christened her with less affection than he showed Panchito). But she did kill someone (who was it who said there are no accidents?) And she did sit by “smoking and reading” while her dry drunk drove the country into the ditch. But even she didn’t deserve the ugliness of the attacks on her successor, which all seem to have something to do with melanin. So I was glad to see Media Matters dig around to prove the ugliness has nothing to do with nutrition. Guess whose administration was pushing the very same “eat less & exercise” message. And of course it’s down the memory hole because, like everything the Texan Lady Macbeth was involved with, it was a fail. Processed crap gets crappier, kids get fatter. You can’t explain that.