John-George: “First the duck must be dead”

Huge points to the hometown paper, though, for the photo of the come-hither chicken. If ever a Rorschach test was designed for the “animal rights” wackos, this was it: The sane saw a visual joke; the loons saw a “get out the Nivea and head for fapping privacy.” A sick/smart photo editor would showcase a different meat next week. And a simply clever copy editor would work into a headline that old joke about Oz: where the men are men and the sheep are nervous.

And busboys making $100,000!

I’m with Shakespeare on the lawyers, but I still have to say they are doing some good for restaurant workers in NYC despite the bluster from Molto Ego’s partner. If you screw people, you should have to pay, not blame overregulation and whine about moving jobs out of New York (that should build loyalty here!). It’s ironic that this pro-biz story would run the same week a guy who may have been innocent of a murder was put to death; from the sound of it, restaurants just hand over mega-bucks rather than even try to prove they did not commit the crime. The ultimate irony, though, is that a newspaper that squeezes blood out of its turnips has a rutabaga out taking up the cause of the exploiter rather than its own readers. You’d think the tits-and-ass underclass would empathize more with the beaten-down. Someone should start advertising pitchforks.

Pyrex made in China

You have to give the Italians credit. They’re no happier with their corrupt government, but they always think food. And so they dumped mussel shells in Rome to protest politicians who are insisting on austerity while “clinging to their privileges like mussels cling to rocks.” Could you imagine the Teabaggers doing anything like that here? First they would have to know a mussel was not anything gay, despite its beard. Then they would have to know where their shellfish come from. Hint: Not Walmart.

Cokie, on the beach

Speaking of which, I could not believe NPR’s report on how food stamp demand is way up in the US of We’re-No.-1 A. I listened to it thinking yet another hack from a Kochsucker think tank was hammering home talking points, only to learn it was a staffer whose salary is underwritten thanks to liberals (step away from the “sources,” reporters). My desperately poor, over-kidded parents were too proud to take “government handouts” and would trade with the Mexican neighbors to get commodity peanut butter and mystery meat, so I can sort of understand the wingnuts who think this is an every-cook-for-herself country. But really. We can afford $75 billion on “homeland security” but $68 billion on something that returns nearly double that to the economy is going to break us? Most disgusting was the “some say” assertion that food stamps discourage recipients from growing their own happy meals. You can’t buy a hot roast chicken with food stamps. But you can damn sure invest in bean plants.

“Somon caviar” and lamb heads

And speaking of American stupidity, not much can top the zaftig young blonde in sausage jeans and designer sunglasses on the ferry back from Kadikoy in Istanbul who succumbed to a vendor’s tout for packages of what looked to me like rice paper rounds. She handed him a Turkish lira, tore open the plastic and pulled out what could have been a styrofoam waffle. And, after two bites, took it over to the trash can. When the vendor came by again, she stopped him and started railing: “That was not pita!” He just looked at her and kept walking, so she continued ranting to the women in headscarves on the opposite bench: “That was not pita.” Yeah, and you’re not in Kansas anymore.

Old doughnuts, new outrage

Finally, there’s something beyond ironic in the Germans of all people stepping up to declare foie gras a product of such unspeakable cruelty that it can’t be sold in their homeland. Of course, the fact that the Israelis have mastered mass production of the stuff is also unsettling if you think about it too much. But how can a country that tortures cabbage be passing judgment on any food?

Combine fig and flatulence

And this is almost enough to make me wish sheeple could be put to good use with mint sauce. I came home from Italy and read a great story in the Guardian about a new study showing a severely restricted diet could actually cure diabetes. Cure, not control. Sure, it was one study, and the results were beyond dramatic. But the potential could be game-changing in the middle of an epidemic. When I linked it on Twitter, though, I started getting kickback about what a flawed study it must be. Which made me despair. A drug company, or a food importer, can invest millions to produce the desired result, and people will run out and clamor for Fosamax-for-life prescriptions and pomegranate snake oil. Let someone try to inject some science into the debate and skeptics are all, “Where is the video?” Too bad the same rigidity is not required when it comes to things like virgin births and resurrections. Then again, if it were, we would not have Christmas and Easter candy. . .

Frosting for cowpies

Over at my Dr. Jekyll outlet, I’ve already commented on the idiocy of a cake mix company trying to re-target its crap to Food Network followers it thinks might be willing to put in two and a half hours on a dessert from a box. But in retrospect Ms. Hyde started dwelling more on the apparent naiveté of the reporter who brought the marketing campaign into the Timeslight. His last graf noted that Duncan Hines “began attaching his name to food products.” Licensing/franchising, you mean? I believe that’s called selling out.

Zombies on iPads

ReTweeting myself, but I was pretty amazed that a flack would actually send out an e-release, in this the year of equality 2011, hyping “Mrs. Wolfgang Puck.” My first thought was: Which one? But it got worse. This was actually shilling a profile whose second graf states that “she prefers you not to know her simply as the woman behind the mogul chef.” Then why not show us what she does before you tell us who she is? And how insulting is this? “The Puck family isn’t exactly counting on Gelila’s share of their income to make ends meet.” That’s as far as I got. But I now know a new epithet. It’s the job description of the profiler: content producer. Which is very different from sentient being.

Straw basket, meet Awl video

This was a disturbing weekend for readers of newspaper supplements. In one I actually read this phrase about peeling asparagus: “it will look, taste and bite more nicely if you take the time.” Diagram that sucker. Unless you mean “good dog!” And then there was the bizarre correction on a featurette on the most pretentious dinner party hostess ever featured by T for Twaddle, one so dumb it had to be run twice. Seems to me, if a blogger changes her domain name after a piece goes to press but installs a redirect, that’s not an error. It’s a glitch. The real correction should have been on the site itself, which I looked at only to see if there was any there there. “Desperately seeking saffron,” indeed. That’s one way to do a 404.

But I got more annoyed on skimming Useless Weekend and the profoundly stupid Mother’s Day food feature. Note to the daughters attaching themselves to mom’s apron strings: Eggs without hollandaise cannot be Benedict. Substituting salsa went out in about 1995,  when fat was being scorned as the high-fructose corn syrup of its time. What you “created” is just huevos rancheros on an English muffin. And I kinda doubt any mom who was presented that for breakfast on her big day would be flattered to think you were worried about her getting fat. Better to buy some lo-cal chocolates.

Gold saves

Kinda funny to watch people who were so complacent about the Chertoff-enriching cancer boxes at the airports now freaking out about radiation in food thanks to the Japan meltdown. Hope no one tells them most spices are already irradiated, and a whole a lot o’ ground beef is, too. Even so, it’s kinda sad to see Popeye’s magic green bullet reduced to a wimp in the aftermath of Japan’s megadisasters. What is it about spinach that leaves it so vulnerable first to E. coli and then salmonella and now radiation? You’d almost think it was chicken.

Culinary iced coffee (TM)

While everyone’s still hating on “foodie,” I’m really not sure “drinkery” needed to be coined. Although my “once a copy editor, always a nuisance” side does note that it makes more sense than eatery, given that a winery is where the grape is converted while no one churns out diners anywhere.

Mighty fall

I know what it was touting is only a content farm, but I was still astonished by the most cretinous story pitch ever: using fast food to save time when entertaining. Great basmati rice takes 20 minutes start to finish, less time than cold crap could be biked to your kitchen. And a branded biscuit is a hell of a way to show guests you care enough to serve the very best; cold fries in congealed grease fries would be even worse. But any reader too stupid to think of ordering in a pizza and laying some prosciutto across it really should have her/his cellphone taken away before he/she hurts her/himself. Ditto for the flack.