Just back (well, sorta just back) from Buffalo, I’m obviously having a hard time getting back on my high horse after too many weeks of distractions and deadlines. So I’m posting a few quick thoughts after sifting through a lot of chaff scribbled in a notebook and noted on paper and in Pages. I do hope my outrage meter is not wearing out after nearly 10 years. Or is it that I just need the Twitter version of Viagra to help me write longer?
As I said over to the Epi Log, this is shaping up as the foodiest campaign ever. The son of a Mormon man made a fool of himself by dissing bakery cookies, his wife had to face down a revolting birthday cake ordered by a classless fraud and all the KKKrazies lost their dung over the Big O having eaten dog as a child in Indonesia. Leave aside the embarrassment that his having done so proves he must not be a muslin (strays are not halal). What this really makes clear is that the cretins shrieking about an unvetted candidate had the straight dope all along. Next they’ll be screaming no one told them there are mega-calories in Big Macs.
Speaking of dog as dinner, though, I have to retell the story of our friend who traveled all through Vietnam for National Geographic while constantly feeling frustrated in his quest for duck. Only on the last night did his handlers understand he was not demanding dog.
Take a month or so off the bitching beat and the faux outrages fly right past. Was pink slime really a 24/7 obsession? Dirty eggs and filthier chickens? Chickenshit in the meat aisle? Pink slime from tuna? Salmonella from tuna sushi? You can’t even keep up, and certainly there’s rarely any followup. But I see everyone is determined to beat the food-deserts issue to death on a daily basis — anything that proves the poors don’t have it so bad is front-page news, even though figures lie and liars figure. As my consort always rails, every article/op-ed quoting or written by someone at a think tank should carry prominent notice of which way it leans. (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine? Hide your fur!) Reality may have a liberal bias, but no one figures like a wingnut. (I did catch just enough of the scandale over the bugs busted for coloring drinks at Starbucks, thanks to both Colbert and the Murdoch mouthpiece. No one had better alert vegans to the bugs in their chocolate, their flour and, especially, their raisins. . .)
Dr. Vino over to the Twitter passed along the best oops in a long time: an invite to a lunch showcasing Burgundy “appalachians.” I thought it meant to hint at hiking a certain trail, but he topped me with the potential of a reality show: “The Burgundy Hillbillies.”
Mme Ami had some good thoughts on the sorry state of old-line food writing as a career these days, but I thought she was most right in directing people toward more tangible ways to connect with the third-most essential element of life. So many MFK Wannabes just seem vacuous. Maybe if they did something, they could say something?
A lot of “Dining” sections went unremarked while I was busy and away, but I did save a note or two. The Trotter reprise was a surprise mostly because they ran the same photo as the last time they put him under the microscope, as if there were no permanent digital microfiche. But everything you need to know about the media today lies in the fact that the story actually said our President could not enjoy a last meal at the restaurant because that might associate him with the 1 percent. While the reporter had no qualms at all about boasting about eating there. Again.
And that disconnect helps explain why coverage of how the poors eat is so abysmal. Credit NPR for going to India to scope out how not-the-richest-country-in-the-world manages to feed its schoolkids on pennies a day. But it took the BBC to do a piece on hunger in Las Vegas that was devastating in its graphic descriptions of privation. Not long after I listened to it I was out with a group that included a writer working on a book on Depression eating and heard an anecdote he’d collected about a child back in the Thirties who confessed he had had no dinner because it was his brother’s turn to eat. Um? Guess what’s going on today in the shadow of the most over-the-top restaurants on the planet? But at least fish welfare is covered.
As for the lame pizza issue, my advice on the Twitter was pretty much “throw the damn thing away and take a class at Pizza a Casa.” An overextended poseur is not going to change your life with his food processor and his first-draft “prose.” The paper seems intent on creating link bait, though, so I’ll suggest the ultimate: “I was the Egopedist’s ghostwriter!”
I keep railing that Amtrak really needs to work on its food service, although the WiFi could use some investment, too. I made the mistake on the way of not packing lunch, so I had to forage in the bar car, settling for a wrap made with a tortilla that could have encased a review copy in the mail. But the funniest thing was the very cool barman telling me, when I asked about the “menu,” “Everything’s good.” And that he liked the “Italian baguette” best, with its salami and ham, although he had also heard the egg-and-sausage biscuit was good except that “I don’t eat pork.” Please, no one tell him where bacon comes from.
My favorite restaurant typo lately: “Curside” service (Willard would not allow). And the stories about how Apple executives met in swankola restaurants to try to destroy competition on e-books made me think the wrong way of spelling one term might actually be right: price-fixed. Also, too, and kind of unrelated, this FB update almost works as a short story: “Claiborne memoir bought in Fort Erie for $4 bears a raised seal, ‘From the library of Felipe Rojas-Lombardi’.” So much food history, so little remembrance . . .