Bogota on $3,000 a day

The latest reminder that I should type faster: Skittles have overtaken broccoli as the sad fud in the news. Before that, wingnuts were spewing spittle over the report that the Big O told kiddles his favorite edible is broccoli. I’m half with ‘em — it’s a weird choice. But even if it were a whopper, was it really worse than the Chimp and his yellowcake? Oh. Right. One was a white lie.

Hamburger Helpless

I would transition with “speaking of yellowcake,” but whatever Twinkies are, it is not “a mixture of flour, eggs, milk, sugar etc. baked as in a loaf.” What fascinates me is how their “return” is getting so much coverage with so little discussion of why they really “went away.” Greedy guys in suits needed to make more megabucks. So the workers got hosed, their pay whacked and their pensions gutted, while food writers were waxing nostalgically saccharine. With all the cost savings, you’d assume the price would be lower now. But you would misunderestimate American business today. Apparently the bonuses got bigger. It’s the Twinkies that got small. I do hope they’ve upped the high-fructose corn syrup to cut the bitterness.

Ghost in the hood

Funny to think how the fast the Butter Guzzler scandale went from all-N, all-the-time to nearly forgotten. So I shouldn’t be surprised the forthcoming cookbook is still forthcoming. I do wonder why there are no morals clauses in contracts, though. And I’m enjoying the notion of people mailing butter wrappers in protest when you know most fans can only afford margarine.

Cool in the second kitchen

One of the most depressing stories I’ve read in some time was about a free summer lunch program for kids in one of the states that make up the richest country in the world. People are worried about ducks getting force-fed for foie gras, and here’s a whole generation being undernourished. What was doubly depressing was seeing what was on offer. Suffice it to say I’m just glad I grew up poor before Lunchables. Also, too: Call food stamps what they are — supermarket subsidies — and you’d see them busting the budget.


A market with a single farmer is just a stand. Apostrophes matter. // Always remember hearing of an 80s megarich socialite who would lunch at Le Cirque on a (plain) baked potato and a diet Coke. // Green Tea Jesus wept: a recipe for Rice Krispies Treats using matcha? // Never order a mixed drink in a beer bar. (Wine, I already knew.) // I guess we should feel glad wingnuts only want kids to starve, not be poisoned as in India. // Hope no one drowns at TCOT this year. // And things I enjoy typing: Oh, fuck the JBF.

Pants on the ground

Finally I have something to thank Panchito for: rousing me from my torpor here. So much silliness flies by in the fud world that it’s hard to get worked up these days, but his about-face on the Butter Guzzler really was beyond the pale, so to speak. Suddenly “the champion of downscale cooking” scorned by elitists is now a “Confederate caricature” to be scorned by elitists. It’s telling that the guy who sold America a dangerous dry drunk in the guise of a good ol’ boy never bothered to weigh in when the ultimate shill for garbage food cashed in on her secret diabetes. And it’s laughable that he and his colleagues now all seem shocked, shocked by her blatant racism on their very own stage. Somehow, they had to wait for “cyberspace” to address it. Not for nothing is this my favorite photo in the whole mess. Just like the Lump in the Bed, they have an “out, damned spot” on their hands.

No lard, please, we’re in the New South

The other “lie down with dogs, wake up with butt scent” angle to the summer scandale is the way a longtime collaborator has suddenly gone silent as a ghost on their BFFness. All those cookbooks churned out together, and not even a whiff of her true colors was detected?

A is not just for agoraphobic

Mostly, though, I go back and forth on the whole overblown mess. As fascinating as it’s been to watch the Guzzler destroyed, you do have to wonder if the punishment fits the crime when so many have been complicit in it. All these years everyone pretended she wasn’t just the $Palin of the fud world — as if grifters don’t gotta grift. Even the paper taking such glee in covering her downfall not only ran gullible features on her but sold those tickets after the fecal storm over the diabetes deal. She’s always been what she’s been revealed to be, even though so many outlets showed only her Photoshopped visage, not the melting mess she now appears to be. But now everyone’s only looking at the bottom line. So I also go back and forth on whether she’s a zombie. As bleak as things look now, she could still come back if someone sees a few bucks to be made. After all, no friends were shot in the face in the making of her career (and I still remember when Martha was “dunzo”). Even if the wicked one herself doesn’t resurrect, she could very well see her own private South rise again after she’s dead. The most depressing part of the scandale has been watching people trying to rehab another reputation — pederasty is forgiven because he was so good on the teevee. You only hope he did those boys with butter.


So Anntoinette Rmoney is getting a cookbook deal. Unless the meatloaf recipe calls for Rafalca, “Let ’Em Bake Cake” will head straight to the remainder table. As I keep noting, the super-rich eat very much like the condemned. Neither their palates nor their consciences evolve.

Gin before Noon

Forty thousand-some Tweets in, I still misunderestimate how easy it is to be misconstrued in 140 characters, especially when I refuse to dignify a garbage story with a link in this grand age of trolling for clickbait. The other Saturday I noted that a certain columnist had built an entire column out of wine gouging in a certain restaurant without noting that the most prominent review of said restaurant had taken points off for exactly that greedy practice. Not only that, she threw in a gratuitous insult to restaurant reviewers: They don’t understand wine and its rarefied world. The pushback was fascinating: Quote marks be damned, I was doing the insulting. If I were dead today, my head would be exploding at my desk.

To cut back on meat, figure 4 ounces a person

I also quite enjoyed a long “bloggers killed the restaurant world” screed that quoted not a single restaurateur pointing a finger at “new” media. It used to be that bad restaurants blamed bad reviews for their failure; now it’s the impossibility of keeping the buzz machine fed? Somehow I just can’t imagine most patrons of a Ducasse joint were making their dining plans based on the noise and not the signal. Far more persuasive was the actual restaurateur who pointed out that the Old Gray Lady ain’t what she used to be. I’m clearly in the minority in actually struggling to read the thing in print, and I can barely find the review in the acres of dull type. Increasingly I think the paperguy has brought me the Des Moines Register. A picnic story with ants in the hed? A picnic story with a tuna sandwich as the photo/recipe? As someone Tweeted, there should be a separate section for readers who don’t go back decades with the section; we never forget while moths fly out.

Lobster is the new tuna

At the same time, it’s fascinating to watch the food world divide in real life as well as digitally. I went to one media event recently where I saw exactly one other old and to another where I knew almost all the print bylines. It’s interesting that both affairs were lavish in their swag bags, but only the e-writers would have to disclose their freebies. Call this just one more way the new generation is getting screwed: out of the gold bidets as payback for placement.

Fallopian fertilizer

At least the big head of a burger chain understands that tits and asses sell ground-up cow on a bun. Too bad he seems to think employing healthy people to handle the end product is just too expensive, even with Big Gubmint coming to his rescue as he screams “no.” Just as sad was the NYTimes story about the epidemic of diabetes in Vietnam in just the last few years as American fast food has taken hold. That’s one way to win a war, with Big Pharma moving in to rake up all the dough. Wonder if all the wingnuts screaming about the cost of Amtrak upscaling its cafe cars have any idea what taxpayers are shelling out for a gallon of gas for the pointless exercise in Afghanistan. Hint? The price of lunch for two at the French Laundry 11 years ago.


Buttered necks are harder to choke. // DOMA Day would have been a good time for the Butter Guzzler to announce she was marrying a Lady. // Scary movie concept: “Last Tango in Savannah.” // “Literally anything you can think of, you can probably find on a cruise,” said Carolyn Spencer Brown, the editor in chief of Cruise Critic. Shit on a shingle, perhaps? // “A Hijacking” is one great movie about a cook, a fish, a goat and greed in a global economy. // Had papalo in my cemita. Now understand how people feel about cilantro . . . //  “Grade pending” is the new “keep out” sign in NYC. // Unfortunate sign at a farmers’ market: “I am standing for Turkey.” Breast or legs? // Specials are like tryouts in Philadelphia. But you’re paying for NYC tickets. // Chef is a grievously abused word. A 17-year-old w/out a kitchen staff? Does. Not. Qualify.