I’m happy to admit I Feel Bad About My Dreck thoroughly redeemed herself with her review of the mismatched cookbooks on Food52. The competition really was like pitting an earnest indie film against a Robert Downey Jr. extravaganza. But the writing and the smarts in her takedown were like the great old days of “Crazy Salad” and “Heartburn.” I’m still not sold on the notion of the great unwashed voting for what’s worthiest with food — in the immortal observation of Mimi, if popularity were all, McDonald’s would be serving the best burgers in the world — but the reviews almost validate the silliness. Icing on the cake was seeing the Drivelist tout that review. As if all those warning words for cookbook authors did not apply. . . .
Something must have been lost in translation in the hometown paper’s piece on how the French are receiving the “Julie & Julia” juggernaut. Personally, I am unaware of the “cliché of beef, baguette and canard farci,” although I would love to see a Willy Ronis shot of a Parisian kid rushing home with duck in hand. I have no idea how shellfish oil could replace mayonnaise in a crab cake. And WTF is “Julia Child with real fish”? Don’t even get me started on the description of Guy Savoy as merely “owner of the restaurant that bears his name in Paris.” Earth to Eighth Avenue: He’s now as American as Las Vegas.
And since even I am obviously incapable of resisting the celluloid meth of the summer, I have to add that I’m a big admirer of Madeleine Kamman’s recipes; her roasted duck legs changed the way we eat. But I like a catfight as much as anyone else and so appreciated the dredging up of the old rivalry with Mme Child. It’s yet another gauge of character that the nastiness was kept buried until she was. Could you imagine that today? I Feel Bad About My Dreck should consider making a sequel: “No Reservations, Rachael.” Targeted at two such disparate audiences, it would be a blockbuster.
My compliments to I Feel Bad About My Dreck. The turkey is officially off the ground, although it was not surprising to read that the stinker that is “GI Joe” is actually flying. I may have to break down and see the thing eventually now that we just heard our friend and neighbor has a role in it, proving real actors were involved; I had been wondering if the entire cast was made up of food and media personalities who would help in the relentless promotion. (Some time ago I Twittered that if this thing were a cow, its udders would be aching from being milked so hard.) But first those seriously annoying trailers are going to have to stop popping up on so many websites. From the look of them, Meryl Streep disappears into a role about as well as a wiener does into a corn dog.
Can “I Feel Bad About My Dreck” hustle that movie any harder? Or should the question be: Will there be anyone left to pay to see the thing once the free screenings are exhausted? Countless food bloggers have already been thoroughly co-opted, and food writers with bit parts are doing their swooning part in promoting it, too. But I find it rather amusing that formerly arboreal and other so-called legit media are apparently being asked to keep their reactions to themselves until the official opening (if you can believe one annoyed reporter on the other coast). And I wonder if that all started once the New Yorker got a whiff of turkey.
Obviously I’m too taken just with my ability to take photos and type, too, or I would be plunging ahead into the great mashup world of multimedia to make Streep slumgullion. What I wouldn’t give to see Meryl the unmistakable in one crazy clip melding her patently obvious “warbling” Julia voice with her absurd housewife in Iowa kitchen, her “me talk pretty today” role in “Sophie’s Choice,” her dingo howl, her Irish faux brogue, her whatever. Team her up with Ms. Saccharine and we’re sure to feel bad about the Dreck.
Whatever you do, do not click on any link breathlessly “reporting” on anything related to the Julia mashup being filmed by someone who really should feel bad about her dreck. You’re guaranteed to feel like a contestant on that new “Hurl” reality show. This gives new meaning to the term circle-jerk. Or the Barney theme song for old people. What most amazes me is that when I worked at the Paper of Highest Integrity, reporters were not even allowed to slap political bumper stickers on their cars for fear of being perceived as biased. Yet culture critics can just take roles — however ridiculous or small — in movies that will be covered in their sections. Breathlessly, I might add. And if you want to start taking bets on the suckability quotient of this project, just consider this: When in the history of tortillas has anyone gone shopping for salsa at the temple of elitism? You know all those earthquakes shaking Reno? It’s a 6-foot-tall icon thrashing in her grave.
Anyone else notice the insidious trend on a couple of the “serious” food blogs? It’s creeping Rachaelism. Throw out an EVO here, and a yum there, and pretty soon you’re talking real drivel.
And speaking of dreck, and not feeling bad about it, the NYT’s sin was not only hiring a wrong-about-absolutely-everything wingnut but allowing a “contributing columnist” to phone in a few centimeter-deep thoughts to be awarded prime display. Chicken soup gives you colds. Breast-feeding gives kids allergies. This tossed-off crazy salad made Andy Rooney look like Socrates crossed with George Carlin.
But then these are high times for misdemeanors down by the Taj Sulzberger. What was that Chipotle Grill Bizday/Metro/Styles mishmash all about, anyway, besides filling up column inches amid the house ads? And the Indian restaurants viewed through the cloudy eyes of an academic? The hell he says. Holy Mother of Teresa: I’m an alien but eat with my hands at Saravanaas, and so do half the regulars there on a given day (fingers make amazing pincers for rice and sauce). The only good part was that it made me even more appreciative of how vibrant and rapidly evolving the real India is. What would a sociologist long out of Bologna possibly make of Molto?