If your eggplant flesh is almost devoid of flavor, you’re buying from the wrong farmer. And shouldn’t it be “from Parma to Pittsburgh”?
I also read a whole story that came off like a PR stunt to promote a book. Then read a review of said book that proved you can so easily shortchange your work by promoting it. There’s an actual hook there, about the rights and wrongs of supermarkets. Instead we got the oldest tale in the Kroger’s — the poison is in the center, the good stuff is around the perimeter, it’s all processed crap and blah and blah and more aisles of blah. So much for the “skillful portrait that might make you want to catch a flight to Cleveland.”
Glad to know I wasn’t the only one who thought she got up the other Wednesday a.m. to find herself back in another century. My early emails included two from the other coast marveling that the town crier for most advanced food city in the country would choose to regress to the good ol’ days, as one put it, when the ads had chuck roast for 59 cents a pound. Of course the margarine in the butter biscuits just made that Betty Crocker vibe much vibier.
Then it got worse. Green grapely, and baking-powder-in-the-unbaked-mashed-potatoes, worse. Having lived in six states and eaten in at least 30 more, I wondered why, if they were gonna go back to the Claiborne heyday, they didn’t just pull out their own excellent compilation of regional recipes. Kolaches are not Danish in that compendium. Snickers are not tights, neither.
And I’m not even going to get into how dumbed-down comestible coverage is becoming as high-minded Dining sinks to Des Moines-worthy Fud. Zombie recipes exhumed. Woman’s World-worthy prose. Two shades of grey in a Holi-colorful world. But I will note that dinner with someone who would know echoed my bafflement at how the Egopedist graduated beyond snippets that had to be edited for half a day to be made deep. Limp handshakes must move fast. . . .
Meantime, I have to sorta RT myself from the other day, after we got back from an outstanding outing to the West Indies of Queens: I saw a sadly, seriously obese toddler on a subway platform and realized how rare such a sighting is these days. Somehow the Obama Fail and the Nanny State have helped moms realize there is such a thing as nutrition, and it matters more than cheap sugar water sucked from a baby bottle in a stroller. Too bad we don’t have a dictator who could return home ec to the kiddy curriculum so future parents of America could learn my NYC-public-school-educated mom’s math: beans + cornbread = complete protein.
I was a bit embarrassed to have a copy of a famously “salmon-colored” publication lying among the morning papers on my kitchen counter the other Wednesday when an editor came by for a “shoot.” Not sure she believed me when I insisted: “They send it to me for free.” And that’s all the hint I’ll give on this burning question after a particularly desperate-looking piece on local farmers: What if you published a steaming pile of trollbait and nobody read?
Trend reporting gets more suspect by the hour, but I still thought it was amusing to have a piece on “cupcakes waning” pegged to a drop in sales at a chain whose problem is not that the phenomenon is fading but that said chain simply churns out crap. Mediocrity sells Subways, but no one would want even a foot-long macaron if it cost the world and sucked, too.
I see lots o’ change down at my old place of employment, both encouraging (new public editor) and ominous (departing multimedia editor). And I liked an interview I saw that acknowledged the guys who, when I worked there the second time, thought the Internets was for playing solitaire but are now jumping onto the Tweet train. But I also found it just absurd considering the barrage of e-releases I get every week touting DI/DO contents. How lame is your content in a viral age that you have to pimp it out? For Pinch’s sake, start making videos with kittens added to taste.
I can never remember one cappuccino makes your brain larger; another makes it small. And I will never understand how Helen Keller got a job as a photo editor. Also: Never clean your stove before sautéing a duck breast (or, come to think of it: never sauté a duck breast). And I posted on the Centenarian twice without getting to my point: What about making her birthday a national holiday — imagine the food! (Although it would undoubtedly mean fucking beef stew in hottest August.) And, finally: How many times do I have to tell you about lard?
But I’m trying here. At this point there isn’t much left to say about the fact that movie theaters rigorously police outside food and drinks yet have no problem with “guests” strutting in with assault weapons and 6,000 bullets. And I anticipate no abatement of the insanity, given how inured Americans have become to not “rampage” but slaughter in so many fast-food joints over the years. But at least I understand why bottled water is, as James Fallows noted, one thing an Aurora-style mass murderer could not bring through airport security. If you have to pitch yours, you have to buy another. And what’s more lucrative than sugar water? Tap water in a fancy bottle in a non-compete environment.
I Tweeted this but will elaborate: That fetid air you felt after the latest Di/Do click-whoring was ol’ Craig, spinning as he saw how horrifically his accomplishment was being corroded. He spent his career elevating the food conversation in America. And now it’s descended to the allure of processed crap. No wonder they have to define harissa and gribenes — readers are now too confused on whether they should make their own ketchup or glug out what the attention-whoring chefs do. If I hadn’t lost my faith in the stock market thanks to Pinch shares, I’ve be investing in Jell-O. Can Rush salads be far behind? Maybe run the main with a sidebar on “make your own marshmallows”? No ads will ensue no matter what.
Obvious question debated at HH one afternoon this week: Which came first, the food truck trend or the French with their food trucks? Not debatable was the silliness of a reviewer trashing a chef for producing dated food while describing his place as sounding like a go-go bar. Didn’t karaoke kill those off? In the last century?
Also, too, I couldn’t slog through the dirge, but was Duncan Hines mentioned in the hometown paper’s onanistic ode to one of its own? Too bad for the premature exultation, too. One more day and they could have trotted out their guy to insist he was also responsible for evolving the Big O toward marriage equality.
As for the lame pizza issue, my advice on the Twitter was pretty much “throw the damn thing away and take a class at Pizza a Casa.” An overextended poseur is not going to change your life with his food processor and his first-draft “prose.” The paper seems intent on creating link bait, though, so I’ll suggest the ultimate: “I was the Egopedist’s ghostwriter!”
I could swear I heard the top editor of the hometown paper give an interview saying journalism comes first there, but the very next day I went to a media event where the question of the day was: Which food section reads like Page 6? After two stints there, I really can’t imagine any other part of the fit-to-print paper running a piece with so many anonymous accusations, with none of the indicted given a chance to respond. Even worse, there was zero comment from the ghostwriter with one of the longest lists of cookbooks to her credit. You know, the one who might really have some stories to tell, or at least be able to offer a defense of the good clients. Guess peeing in your own pool is not advisable (don’t get me started on the public farter). Which is probably why there was no mention of the Egopedist, either, although average readers would be stunned to realize even Mr. Knows Everything doesn’t write all the words/develop all the recipes. Almost the worst part is that this all of this link baiting came off as a glass house situation — as someone on Twitter asked: “Do all New York food writers have chefs cater and provide spaces for their weddings?”