Bake English, damn it!

I keep thinking that if W2 were a food brand, he would have “honest” on the label. Cuz everyone knows what that means. As it is, this graphic about his attitude toward Big Bird says it all. Just hope everyone planning to vote for him understands that under Mormon rule there will be no zinfandel to wash down the privatized turkey.

Half a gallon of tortellini, “the round noodles”

I also liked the contretemps over W2’s li’l running mate turning up at a soup kitchen after all the souping and kitchening had been done and all the poors were safely out of sight. As commenters noted, of course you leave your expensive watch on to “scrub” pots. And as I’ll note, he complained a hot KitchenAid dishwasher will give you calluses. Spoken like a guy who has never lifted a blister in his life.

Curdling ricotta

I suspect ours will be among the very last households clinging to our print subscriptions, if only to see what online readers are spared. The other week, in the hometown paper, it was a photo that illustrated a little too graphically the line I once had to excise from a secretary-moonlighting-as-a-feature-writer’s piece on boned quail: “Legs splayed like the town prostitute.” For once those editors chose to show rather than tell.

Pressing that cane, making that rum

I got a pretty good laugh from the email that landed in my Writeme inbox the other day. The guy who once snarled at me: “Don’t just stand there, go blog something!” apparently now wants me to blog something about his little event. Sorry. Not enough all-the-same T-shirts in my closet, and too many other cards in my Rolodex.

Phantom smoke

I guess I have to weigh in on the hometown paper’s knockoff of the New Yorker’s food issue and note how amusing it was that the flack paid to promote it in the age of social media linkapalooza chose to highlight some of the lamest material. To me the best piece was, of course, the one on the politics of food, but it could been more explicit. As I learned 20 years ago as we were researching our ill-fated harvest book, money’s what buys you power in this country; even Vidalia onion farmers had to kick in like 5 cents a bushel to protect their AOC in DC. Until there’s an Occupy K Street, Big Food will rule. And it definitely will as long as any old bacon, even the industrial kind, will do in 50 recipes from a sermonizer.

14,000 feral cats

Also, too, they chose a fine time to run a sad song about a diner owner in that strange land known as flyover country. Five days after the restaurant critic whimpers about too much food at a sitting, here we are meant to empathize with a woman struggling to keep a food biz afloat but who “somehow came up with the $35,000” to start it (truck, here’s your hole — HTF did she manage that?) and who never has to address whom she is voting for when she and her husband would clearly benefit from Obamacare. Worse, the real American is never awarded an honorific in this “pith helmet journalism,” as a North Forkser described it. Imagine a story about Ste Alice that used her first name throughout. Or maybe don’t imagine it — it would run over two full pages.

Melts included

Apparently this is National Upton Sinclair Month. NPR has been doing some great segments on his career away from the typewriter, and now news has broken that a worker at a tuna cannery was cooked to death on the job. And why do I suspect the story will hit America’s stomach when the heart should be more engaged?


Is there any honorific more abused than “Chef”? // NYT won’t correct mislocated phone-booth library but will tell you butter is not lard (or vice versa). // Grimmest view of the future in “Looper”: “soy steak” on the menu in the diner. // Congrats to the Drivelist on beating the junkyard dog — as Gary Larsen would illustrate it: Rusty’s in the club! // The only surprise with Taco Bell anointing a Tin Chef is that the chain didn’t aim higher. So many others would have dived for those dollars. // Bad idea of the hour: tofu gnocchi. // Something about the promise of “first-class transportation to Atlantic City” makes me laugh. But I’m sure other food writers will jump on it. // Somehow I doubt Anntoinette bakes her own cakes. // And “free hot dog with drink” sounds like a threat, not a temptation.

Loofahs for all

One more political diversion: It’s telling that a spoof about a falafel ban would be swallowed whole. The piece “reported” that the Girl With the Faraway Eyes, as the inimitable Charlie Pierce has dubbed her, wants schools to stop serving that “gateway food” that would only lead to a taste for shawarma and other staples of “Arabia.” I saw the thing Tweeted and linked everywhere in all seriousness. The kkkrazies are so far around the bend everything’s the Onion these days.

Pig members

Then again, bacon hysteria went viral instantly even though half a second of close reading would have made it clear there was about zero chance the scary crap was going to vanish from supermarkets, or that the small farmers who sell the good stuff were doomed. I responded by Tweeting that the only thing to worry about was that Americans would scrutinize other Americans and wonder: Hmmm. Where else might we find endless belly fat for cheap? It’s a little sad that we can tune out all evidence that we’re fast-rendering the only planet we have uninhabitable but lose our shit over phantom fears. We are all Chicken Little now. Although I have to say: If I ran a chain of restaurants dependent on ground-up cow butts and shoulders, I’d be feeling a little nervous these days. Or wondering how Soylent Green would go with fries.

Pour that crisp wine

NPR the other morning dredged up a real marron on Marseille, with a predictable feature on bouillabaisse. I will say experiencing the proper thing there belongs on any list of the top quadrillion things you definitely need to do before you kick off. But the piece was not only tired but oddly disconnected. Even as I was listening, I was reading a news item about an attack on the Roma in that very city. Given that Marseille is apparently coping better with immigration than most French cities, what about, say, immigrants’ tastes? Surely someone is serving falafel with rouille.

New Yorkers cannot tell mice from baby rats

And not to rag on outlets that don’t hire me, and now never will, I was convinced my copy of USA Weekend was misprinted — the date was current, but the food content was from 20 years ago, the heyday of Snackwells and Snackwells ads. “Crispy oven fries” as a substitute for the real deep-fried thing? Go on — next tell readers to substitute yogurt for sour cream.