Childrens do cuss

As entertaining as Bill O’Reilly’s shock and awe up at Sylvia’s in Harlem has been, it does make it clear he hangs out with the Chimp crowd. I guess he expects everyone to behave like the Wasp in Chief at table, talking with mouth full and spewing slobbery dinner roll while muttering to Tony Blair that Hezbollah needs to be told to “stop this shit.” Given another famous incident in a restaurant, Al Hunt can insert the motherfucking joke here.

Hold the brains

The most jawdroppingly idiotic statement ever by a chef has to be this, on the new metromix, by a certifiable American praising Keyser Soze for his bashing of people who don’t eat meat: “To be a vegetarian is a very privileged, First World thing. It’s arrogant at times. . . .” Think about it. This guy actually believes nearly a billion people in India alone have access to 59-cent beef tacos and at least a quarter of them just choose to make restaurant kitchens crazy by expecting a little imagination on the menu. What makes it all worse is that he claims to be among the privileged few. Someone should sign him up for a true reality show where contestants have to subsist on less than a dollar a day in a country where they don’t know from lethal E. coli in cheap frozen burgers. This idjit made the videographed beauty contestant who couldn’t find her ass with both hands sound like a geopolitical whiz kid — I’ll bet he thinks offal was considered prime cuts by the Roman upper class, too. No wonder the Vitamix spatula carries a label warning not to use it while the machine is running, and to remove said label before using the damn thing at all. Clearly, the best chef’s knife won’t make you sharp.

Long knives

In other candidate charades with food world analogies, I cannot understand why old media lets Herr Giuliani get away with euphemizing his current wife’s former career. Everybody knows she sold medical equipment demonstrated on dogs that were then offed. In other words, she was a nurse like Sweeney Todd was a sushi chef.

We’re out of BlackBerries?

A new candidate for most idiotic invention ever has to be the $149.95 machine advertised over on allhatnocattle for some reason. You stick it on the refrigerator and talk to it whenever you run out of eggs or flour, then it prints out a shopping list. Apparently no task is so elementary that a gadget can’t be designed to simplify it. The insane thing is that while the shopper who would really need that silliness would be of the age when CRS has set in (Can’t Remember Shit), the list it generates looks too tiny for fading eyes to decipher. Maybe someone can invent a magnifying glass, four AA batteries not included.

A million little pies

The most basic rule of reviewing cookbooks has to be that you can’t judge them by their text. A recipe collection is only as good as its recipes, and the only honest way to determine that is to take the book into the kitchen and beat it up. Otherwise, you’re like a restaurant critic who only reports that the striped bass looked delicious, not whether it was done right or had any flavor. They’re how-to books, for Child’s sake, not vicarious eating opportunities. I know the goal is to be skinny, but this is typing clearly stretched too thin.

Now with more BS

The silliest new product has to be yogurt “hand wash.” It even comes in a flavor: honey vanilla. The label says it contains yogurt protein, which I guess sounds better than the rendered roadkill in most soap. What’s so ridiculous is that said yogurt protein is being touted as a “natural skin conditioner.” But the best ingredient for that, Jack Ubaldi taught in butchering classes when I was in restaurant school, is lanolin. Which is already in most soaps. I guess Dial Lamb With Rosemary doesn’t have quite the same ring.

When the SpellCheck is broken

For a magpie of typos, this is harvest season on the series of tubes. The other day I spotted “Chinatown Brassiere” on one site and “terrior” on another. And then there was the commenter who insisted a restaurant reviewer should possess both an ability to write and “a good palette.” Actually, when you’re painting word pictures, the latter should be enough.


A food writer whose name I actually remembered but was afraid to mangle had a good take on the critical version of Scratch ‘n’ Match when I bumped into her at the Greenmarket. We agreed that the Harvard-girls-gone-wild aspect was key, but she pointed out: “Our president graduated from Yale” — an Ivy League education just isn’t what it used to be. But that might be news to editors who think four pages of Lindsay/Britney/Paris is barely enough coverage every day and don’t seem to hear that awful sound on Tuesdays is prose being tortured. And in other updates on ill-gotten fame, the buzz is pretty strong over on the Padma blog. A law degree definitely isn’t what it used to be.

On the rocks

Tommy Bahama rum must be just as good as the ads promise. The recipe for a mojito made with it calls for a full bunch of fresh mint. With that much to muddle, you could be drinking Hawaiian shirt dye for all you would taste.

At least Reagan had an excuse

Just when you think the Chimp cannot embarrass the country any more profoundly, they send him out to recite the menu for Sarkozy. A 5-year-old would have sounded more statesmanlike. Did he really say “he can have him a piece of blueberry pie”? And what were they thinking, serving corn on the cob when we know from the Blair incident how crude his table manners are? No wonder the Premiere Famille stayed away, “citing sore throats.” Weak stomachs are more likely.

What’s also interesting is that some news stories noted that “like Bush, he shuns alcohol.” And two google links below were a couple of youtube videos labeled “Sarkozy drunk at G8.” Unless Daddy was there as chaperone, the O’Doul’s must have been flowing big time at that lunch.

Low wattage

The biggest laugh lately was the chef suing Gordon Ramsay because what was shown on his reality show wasn’t real. The second-biggest was the lede W buried in its feature on Gwyneth Paltrow: She’s going to be Molto’s co-host for a series on cooking in Spain. The proud spurner of jamon did name her daughter Apple, so she must have some food cred. But this is PBS, not the Food Network. Julia must be spinning. . . .