All hands on book

For all my disdain for Enron on 12th Street, I have to say I am impressed that reviewers for the cookbook competition are held to a higher standard than those at a couple of food portals I could name: You wanna say a recipe collection is good or bad, you gotta try at least two recipes. These two have already decided they like the look of the new Citizen Cake cookbook, without ever dusting up the kitchen with flour and cocoa powder, and happily recommend that readers run out and plunk down $35 (oh, wait, that detail is not disclosed). Right now I’m reveling in Kingsley Amis’ “On Drink,” and his take on wine writing applies just as acerbically to cookbook “reviewing:” “You can commit to memory everything Lichine has to say about Gevrey-Chambertin and still have no idea whether you would like the wine. Reading must be combined with as much drinking experience as pocket and liver will allow.” So is it worth trying those chocolate chip cookies I was going to start with before considering the weird shit?

Words are all we have

The subscription gods are apparently in retrograde. My New York went missing, so I was spared some Pollan wannabe’s reportedly idiotic attempt at eating locally. Other delivery guys managed to get through with a decent Panchito finally noticing that accessibility is meaningless in the Rbox (crutches are no easier than a wheelchair when there’s “one step at entrance”) but also, unfortunately, with a Mighty Wind that, a far-off friend pointed out, nattered on about a jellyroll pan but depicted the usual casserole. And for some reason the real birdcage liner just will not take no for an answer and keeps sending us the hometown’s worst paper (well, maybe after the Sun, which has only the food pages and oversized photos of photo shows to redeem its waste of trees). A great young friend in Italy with an especially endearing way with his second language once used the term “bust-ballers,” and I thought of it on reading “impeccably serviced” and “designer-clad” (they’re actually wearing the human Armani?), not to mention “corpulent” dumplings. It’s as if this pretentious prattle is being written in Roget’s English and run through Babelfish. And they won’t make it stop.