I wasn’t sure which was more depressing. That this steaming pile of Rafalca dung was printed. Or that readers (and some smart bloggers) did not fully grasp how staggeringly stupid it was. Economics experts at least took apart the cretinism related to personal finance (while I wondered how the columnist’s NYT-underwritten 401K evaded the 201K-ing mine underwent in 2008). But there was so much WTF it was hard to process it all. One quotee spends $60 a week at the Greenmarkets and is blown off; the poster girl drops $250 or so a week at scenes like Spice Market and Morimoto, which have about as much to do with “curated” and “exquisite” as cosmos do with barrel-aged cocktails. While the columnist drops the Chanterelle name as if every 20-something could have been dining there on her way to a more fun party (sorry: it was a big-deal dinner for us at twice that age). Also, too, if you remember nothing from a neighborhood bistro, maybe it’s because the fud was forgettable? And that was a better age, how? The most ludicrous angle, though, was the hauling in of the two-grand PR stunt at a restaurant I will lay you cash money kiddles would never enter. Food at least is sustenance. When do we get the column on the financial toll it takes on women who do not in any real sense have the income to afford the hot new haircut?
And I realize one of the things boring the mierda out of me about the fud world lately is that it has, apparently, become a place where even bitching has to be done by slideshow/listicle. What could be bleaker than seeing newish media reduced to chasing after the same ad crumbs the old hos do, with content no less fatigued? Just as bad is the Groundhog Day feel to even the long-form stuff. I formally parted ways with hostage-situation tasting menus the year Sydney newspapers were showing the worn-out soles of dead Iraqi soldiers’ shoes after our country decided to invade. Maybe the time to trash Charlie Trotter was back then. Or at least before he closed?
Not to stay too political, but it’s been amusing seeing Texans clamoring to secede since the melanin-gifted candidate won. Considering Thanksgiving is coming, and the grease is getting hot, they had better hope volunteer fire departments are up to saving them in their new Somalia.
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.
And in other old-media fail, I only tuned in to the arsenic-in-rice brouhaha after another food writer at an over-the-top press event mentioned it. My first question was: How does the lethality get into the grains? When I came home and searched online I turned up way more “OMG, we’re all gonna die!” than science and sanity. If I had a cynical side, it would suspect we’re all supposed to switch to KraftP&GSmucker’s quinoa — gluten-free, of course. It just depresses me how many people freak out about every health scare but refuse to consider it’s a corporate-controlled food supply really doing us all in. Latest proof: Researchers actually had to document the obvious and found too much sugar water makes you fat. Next, maybe they can determine whether drain cleaner makes you dead.
Every time I hear some drooling report on $tarbucks or its ilk, I always wonder why it is that Americans who are so wrought up about pressing 1 for English never bitch that they are actually being forced to use pidgin Italian just to get a burnt coffee.
Much as I love the Murdoch Crier’s local news pages because they actually cover a beat the hometown paper has pretty much abandoned, I’ll also admit I read it because I also love counting how many copy-editing glitches make it into print when anything involving food is involved. Last week it was “charcuteries and salumis.” Which I guess are like swines and geeses. So when I saw a mention of “mou sauce,” I was sure the slot had nodded off again (or was still in shock from having proofed the wackadoodle editorial pages, with all those Uranus datelines). But whaddaya know — it is a thing. Not something worth explaining, of course, so I will even though I couldn’t find it in any of my many Italian cookbooks/references, including Waverley Root and the exhaustive “Silver Spoon”: It’s a toffee or caramel or butterscotch sauce, depending on which Google link you click. Of course, you have to click. . .
Our new game is getting in and out of Holy Foods while spending as little as possible and extracting maximum pleasure in the whole brilliant marketing experience. When I go in for milk and leave with just a half-gallon of local/antibiotic-free at a bargain $3.39, I feel as if I’ve won. But I also love the little things that mean a lot, like 365 brand milk chocolate that comes encased in a wrapper with a label warning it contains milk products. I Tweeted about that and got some pushback on the stupidity of consumers and the greed of lawyers and then was reminded of the Nutella marketing coup. Sued for deception in marketing chocolate-sugar processed crap, the producer settled and reaped no end of free publicity. Lesson from that stunt: People will believe any old bat guano. Put out a crazy claim, get sued, offer refunds, bask in endless buzz. Do not rinse. Do not lather. Just repeat.
Only editors raised on hamburger that never needed helper could be swept up into the drought panic enough to produce this headline: “Food shortages could force world into vegetarianism, warn scientists.” Their message is “be afraid, be very afraid,” which is ridiculous — going meatless would not be the worst thing in the world (spend a couple of weeks eating in India and see if you ever miss red-blooded anything). The real scare is that there will not be enough water or arable land to produce protein substitutes for sacred cows on an overpopulated planet. Actual truth-tellers would type up a hed along the lines of “Food shortages could force Chipotle into leaving both rice and beans out of tortilla-free burritos.” And eventually: “Rat — it’s what’s for dinner.”
Relatedly, I really wanted to make fun of a stupid roundup on “food insecurity” with a link, but I can’t find the original (maybe for a reason). So I’ll just rely on trust, not verification to say it lamented that people are now so down and out they have to “create their own dressing.” If you can’t mix oil, mustard and vinegar, you probably shouldn’t be allowed down the Wishbone aisle. And it whined that people were reduced to buying canned rather than fresh fruit. If we had any sort of education in this country, those sad sack grocery baggers would understand they can buy several cans of no-sugar-added pineapple for one 50 percent-waste fresh one — not all canned is crap. Worst of all, it had people whimpering about having no hamburger. With no directions to the Goya aisle.
This might not be the dumbest thing to see print in donkey’s years. But it’s close. In a thumbsucker on how sweltering it is in Phoenix (Phoenix, I tell ya!), we were informed it’s even “too hot for spicy Mexican food in the barrio.” Funny, I don’t remember giving up chimichangas for August. Better pass that along to the Oaxacans, not to mention the billions in other torrid climates who know chilies are to food as salt is to sweat. When the sun starts beating, you don’t get out the blanc mange.
Not to pick on that one paper too much. We also get the other, self-branded hometown paper on Sundays only, and one of our penalties is USA Weekend, which has decided it’s 1988 all over again on its food page. Not only are the recipes all low-fat this and reduced-sodium that (and without even the payback of any craptastic processed ads), they also seem divorced from how real America eats. At the most glorious time of year for produce, when the hardest part of shopping is resisting buying every piece of bursting-ripe perfection you see, why run a recipe for macaroni and cheese made with frozen squash purée? Yeah. Turn on your oven on one of these 90-degree days, coat your baking dish with cooking spray and open up a box of Birds Eye. I’m a big believer in recycling, but not of tired ideas. At the very least the damn thing could have been freshened up with kale — before that frenzy passes its sell-by date.
Maybe I’ve traveled too much. But when I see someone in the hometown paper mocking Rome for being swept up in Eataly mania, I just wonder if she had any idea what the Italians thought when New Yorkers lost their shit over Disneytorino.
Given the blatant deception the Wall Street Crier engages in every day these days, I should just ignore the lizard-brain action going on over at the Antichrist’s lesser organ. But I did have to wonder how a paper that falls over itself to celebrate every $1,000 gold-leaf truffle-burger of an ice cream sundae can condemn a serious restaurant for an $18 vegetable entree. Mouth breathers probably bought right into the math: three carrots that cost 90 cents at Holy Foods marked up 2,000 percent! I would ask where the editors were, but that would be pissing into the wind even farther to the west in Times Square. That crew would probably be equally confused by what else goes onto a plate. Just for starters, freekeh is not free (buy/try it sometime). More important, you would never see this same team feeding those empty beaks the reality of all they eat. As I learned in restaurant school, chicken is the rising tide that lifts all other entrees. Given what the white slime sells for in supermarkets, even KFC is a gouge.
File under “once a copy editor, always a nuisance:” I passed an UWS cafe that has “dougnuts” emblazoned on the window in gold type not once but twice — Doug must be speaking in a very high voice. And if one corn picker is selling, it’s a farmer’s market. If more are trying to control their anger while watching urbanites shuck their ears, it’s a farmers’ market. Never is it apostrophe-free. Does anyone go to the mens room? Also, too, I am not sure I would want to eat any sushi joint offering “Grandma roll.” Is that Japanese for Soylent?
Dick around on the internets long enough, and you might even find a new peg for a punch line, American Samoa style. Are the KKKrazies now making Girl Scout boxes a big deal? All of which is by way of saying I can’t even begin to describe how weary the Ann-v-Michelle cookie contest makes me feel this election. So much bullshit, so little oats. Editors with imagination would at least have realized a real contest would involve cake. And I’d guess the super-rich wife bakes a mean brioche.