Kindness of vintners

Almost as tone-deaf was the front-pager on chickens being raised on four-star food scraps imported from Manhattan. I’m a longtime huge fan of the innovator, but there’s a reason chickens in Third World countries have richer flavor than Perdue’s. They don’t get their protein from (undoubtedly GMO) corn and soybeans. I did like imagining Molto Ego fighting the hens for the last ort of carrot, though. From what I read in the New Yorker long ago, chickens would starve in that kitchen.

Real extortionists hire lawyers

It was rather ironic (or not) that the Butter Guzzler chose to make her return to impolite society on the same weekend as the 50th anniversary of the bombing of the Birmingham church that killed the four little girls. At least her supporters only whined she’d been “crucified” by the media. They could have called it a high-tech lynching.

Gruff & graphic

Times must be getting less tight down to the Taj Pinch. Dinners that cost almost as much as a Chanel bag are getting written up (surely no one only spat). But the bigger laugh was seeing how the sausage was made with the Putin placement — flacks typed something up and “it went through the normal editing process.” Maybe that explains so much about how someone I was warned “is not a very sophisticated writer” can stiffen up to 20 inches.


I’m so old I remember when coke fueled the fud world. Not Coke. // What’s filthier than lucre? Touch screens as menus. // Sad to see “legit” journamalists touting sponsored content. But then Butterball pandering predates BuzzFeed. // Who needs terrorists when we have Big Ag?  // Was told at @UnSqGreenmarket it’s “last day for the blues.” Except for berries, j’doubt it. // I’m so old I remember when Meatpacking District had a double meaning. // Oilier than molasses? //And yes, I am going to stage my own intervention, thanks very much.

Mrs. O & skinny kids & all

Getting hit with e-updates on Panchito’s innocent-abroad tour was fascinating, not least as he hit the Asian Carnegie Delis. Was there really once a time when a major international news outlet could just pluck a lightweight off the Spanish Steps next to McDonald’s and make him arbiter of tastes in a city with so many representations of vibrant, authentic cuisines? But mostly I laughed. The guy who sold a totally bogus “compassionate conservative” to America can now spot fraud in China?

Big red SunGolds

Speaking of the place where sausage is made, I was intrigued by how quickly the death-powers-that-be were persuaded to regret an error of omission. The obit should have been a no-brainer, not least because she was a longtime, widely respected contributor in addition to all her other accomplishments. But soon enough calls were made, pressure was put and there you have it. Once upon a time this would all have “just happened.” Now everyone leaves a digital trail of panko.

700 cases of BBQ ranch chicken salad

And I’m way behind on excitable exposés, but the hometown paper’s big one on the mad scientists’ struggle to save the orange industry (not crop: industry) caused a dustup that somehow didn’t produce a single good answer to why the world needs so much juice. I mean, really. What is it good for? Scurvy’s been cured, while the stuff always rationed in teeny glasses when I was a kid is now poured and drunk like water. One of the most valuable lessons I learned in a weeklong course in “nutritional cuisine” at the CIA is that you might as well be drinking Coke — it’s about as caloric and only slightly less nutritious. Better to eat an orange and get the fiber. Or at least read up on how metastasized an industry built on fruit once seen only in Christmas stockings has grown. . . .

60 cities, 12 grafs

Sadly, because I’m so distracted by the siren song of link after link, I keep putting off typing my own stuff. Every day I meant to rant about the coverage — and noncoverage — of the fast food workers’ walkouts. This is a BFD, but it’s treated as if these wage slaves are tilting at golden windmills, that no one will pay another nickel for a Big Crap so they should either A) eat it or B) find better jobs. (Obviously, journalists have done so well themselves with both those solutions in a Bushwhacked economy.) As far as I’m concerned, the ballsy strikers have already advanced what the Occupy movement started. I notice more and more people wondering why consumers should have to pay more to cover a living wage. Why can’t the big dogs get paid less? Also, too, there’s a growing awareness of just how fast food chains get away with keeping workers in poverty. We the taxpayers pick up the tab for their housing and health care. Somehow this is all getting communicated despite the best efforts of editors who think the minimum wage is “eight bucks and change.”

Kneeling before wood sorrel

It’s hard to compare a close-enough-to-get-spattered experience with a blurry video, but it did seem as a chicken slaughtered to make a mad point was sacrificed on the altar of machismo. Real chefs learn a calm bird makes a better roast bird. It’s a good thing technology is so transitory, unlike in Mayan times. A thousand years from now, no one will know the feathers flew for stagecraft and not stew.

Just don’t wash

But apparently when it comes to the foulest fowl, there really is no end to insanity these days. Most recently there was the airlift of potential “nuggets” from West Coast to East because some loons were willing to spend 50 grand to try to make a loony point — that animals raised as food are not food. Not even for the millions of  “food-insecure” human animals in this country alone.  And then there was the weirdness of a new regulation that allows the Chinese to export processed chicken as long as the birds were raised in North America, shipped all the way around the world and processed before being shipped back in suitably unidentifiable form. Somewhere, the Wright Brothers and Marco Polo should all be weeping at what they wrought.

Caps made in Cambodia

I know you shouldn’t look a free brunch in the box. But when I opened mine on a boondoggle, all I could think was: Every item a minefield. This is what happens when you pay attention. The yogurt was Chobani, not recalled but not exactly encouraging. The fruit cup was all local but was also all cut, and this too soon for comfort after a Hepatitis A outbreak at a neighborhood market thanks to exactly that convenience item. As for the main course, the bagel was filled with smoked salmon. Farm-raised salmon. But the funniest inclusion was the bottled water. I had never had Saratoga before. After my consort read the fine print and saw the contents could also have come from some poetically named spring in Vermont, I realized maybe I still hadn’t.


Lunch date mentioned a woman who wrote 70 cookbooks. More likely one cookbook 70 times. // Doesn’t “flavor’s only skin deep” imply all that rubbing will leave you thinking “tastes like chicken”? // Washing dishes, I always remember chefs put their names on some pretty shitty shit. // Stocking Halloween candy in stores before Labor Day should be a capital offense. // The everything bagel was a pretty dumb emblem for an NYC campaign. What, you’re seedy and hollow at the core? // Whenever I accidentally ingest papalo, I understand how cilantro haters feel . . . // Young power ladies lunch. Olds buy nights in the George V with chairs & knives. // And blame Columbus for ratatouille.