Also will always be mystified by cookbook reviews that buy into the illusion that the name on the cover did anything more than lend their name and throw a few coins to a plethora of collaborators. Especially those by reviewers who really know how the andouille is made. #howdidwewindupwithaconmaninchiefanyway
So I posted a partially sighted item over to FB and a hockey game broke out. Mimi, it turns out, is not the only one who has zero tolerance for self-aggrandizement. And you know who else confused a bigger megaphone with expanded power?
Just back from Philadelphia, I have a higher suspicion that the hometown paper’s bacon-saver might not be. Judging by a lively discussion over dinner one night, the more some cooks see it the more they wanna get back to the Garten. And if you search but can’t rate, you’ll go find 17,000 choices elsewhere.
Ideal implement for cracking Turkish pistachios? MOMA letter opener. // I’m enjoying imagining the Sysco truck traveling the back roads, searching in vain for a resto not supplied locally. // In Pierre Franey we can always trust. // Food photos should never look like an unscooped litter box. Unless you want to be video’d. // Pope sez he wishes he could go out and eat pizza. Fud world wishes it could trash him for doing it wrong. // Kinda shitty for a new Californian to say the magic ingredient in a pasta dish is water when the state has only a year’s supply left . . . // And NYC chefs really need to start smoking butter.
New abbreviation: t(oo)s(tupid)/d(idn’t)f(inish). And that would apply to two “buy the book!” journalism-as-shilling features. One made me wonder why an old, and an old white guy at that, would be given such a platform to lecture moms on cooking for kids. (Didn’t help that I threw the magazine down shortly before heading out to lunch with a friend whose two young sons complained only that they had been eating too much Burmese and would prefer more from the Yunnan and Malaysian side of the menu.) I would have plowed on if Mme Ami had been weighing in.
And then there was that cold mess over to another weekly, a recycling of a far smarter writer/thinker’s typing points coupled with random cheap shots (the day I spent handing out campaign literature for my neighbor running for office opened my ears: Hotel union guy teamed with me said his young boys are learning to cook because fud teevee has gotten them interested). All I can say is that anyone who follows advice to make soup with (presumably canned) stock and frozen vegetables flavored with just onion and garlic is going to fire up the garbage disposal and head straight to the Progresso aisle. “Hack” is not just a kitchen verb. It’s a noun.
Not going to hold my breath waiting for the exposé of how, without a “ghostwriter,” you can come up with 2,000 recipes while bloviating and Hoovering on different continents. Fast, he said, and not like Friday fish.
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. . . .
Sad to realize whoever invented “dough conditioners” will probably get an obit. And ponzu will always sound like a scheme. Also, sadly, too: It’s a good thing Orwell is not around to hear “botched execution.” You use that verb for brownies, FFS.
File this trollbait under: Someone is wrong on the Internet. If we lived under a dictatorship, I would be the first to lay all the blame on the White House for the lack of huge progress (as opposed to “the fail”) in changing the way Big Ag forces America to eat. But it is impossible for one branch of government to push back hard enough when the two others have been bought off along with much of the media. (Even the so-called heroes among the latter are villains to dairy farmers, BTW. Lookin’ at you, Mr. Cream Cheese For Me, Not For Thee.) I do want to hope that one day, when all the black smoke has cleared, the country may see the bigger picture. But look at what’s happening with the fight over the minimum wage for fast-food workers. What the NRA (either of ‘em) don’t want, the country don’t get. The 10.10 bucks don’t stop in the Oval Office. But at least now it’s perfectly clear: Kale was brought in as the arugula assassin. Call it the Manchurian Crucifer.
File this under: The new sheriff can’t get to town from Texas fast enough. WTF were they thinking, featuring hard-cooked (cq) eggs a week after readers had to have said, “FFS, enuf already”? Who doesn’t want to roast a whole turkey before the leftovers have even been thrown out? At least the whole enterprise was a reminder that eggs for hard-cooking really are among the few things that are best when they have a little age on ’em.*
*And somewhere a waiter in a toupee nodded appreciatively.
Today’s lesson: ice cream sandwiches are meant to be craptastic. Artisanal don’t cut it. // Finally settled a little debate over what espelette is: Separatist paprika. // Apparently if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. Ms. “How to Cook a Wolf” must be spinning in her urn. // Funny how it’s always mice in a fancy fud joint. And rats in a real one. // A whole generation is growing up not knowing a kittybag was once an aluminum foil swan. // Canard was word o’ the day on a couple of political blogs. No mention that you need to shred a few birds to make rillettes. // Pizza, you ask? Didn’t we already get the ultimate advice? // Maybe we could both vanquish the abomination “foodies” and disempower NRA nutz by calling them “gunnies”? // Remember when the smart kidz were thinking you should watermark your fud fotos? Good times, Getty would say. // And some deaths you the e-slimed just want to note with a hearty R.I.Pee. Funny how that “hefty but healthy” tome never sold.
We are definitely living in interesting times. When I was putting in my post-pee-in-the-cup 46 months at the hometown paper, even a spouse was not allowed to slap a bumper sticker on the family car, lest some reader suspect bias. Today you can be an op-ed columnist and do a promo for a salad shooter, no problemo. But why should the Egopedist suck up all the gravy? Mr. Chunky Reese Witherspoon should team up with Chik-fil-A. And MoDo with Skinny Girl. Those two could redefine “mean martini.”
It’s easy to walk into the field after the battle and shoot the wounded, but in all seriousness the fatal flaw with a food issue devoted to only the platinum links in the food chain really was the disconnect from a world of hurt. As I’ve been predicting, Walmart has itself seized the day to warn its shareholders to expect lower sales and profits thanks to the food stamp cuts; the Republican obsession with punishing the poors is already boomeranging on Big Biz. And it’s not as if advocacy in a cruelly unequal society isn’t glamorous — Mr. Top Chef himself has been everywhere walking the walk on getting kids nourished better; Mrs. O’s own has been recruiting marquee names to help upgrade school lunches; more and more chefs are signing on for hunger benefits. (And just as an aside, here’s how a kid raised around a soup kitchen turns out.) Instead you got the Egopedist abandoning his usual Mount to sermonize on chefs not staying close to their one-and-only kitchens to keep, yes, the 1 percent satisfied. Which was beyond pot/kettle rich. Are we to believe a cookbook celeb developed every single recipe while building his brand?
Just as nutz is getting caught with your shells down, with an ode to shrimp just as the warnings are out on just how risky always-risky shrimp are about to become thanks to those very same kkkrazies shutting down food safety inspections. You could say nobody coulda predicted, but only if you weren’t paying attention to where most shrimp comes from, and I’m not even talking irradiated waters. “Decomposed, covered in filth or or teeming with salmonella” is just “the treat of the wild.” Guess it was no coincidence the magazine was fat with ads for lawyers. Even in the US of Somalia the wingnuts aspire to, lawsuits will always be the American dream.
I also quite enjoyed a long “bloggers killed the restaurant world” screed that quoted not a single restaurateur pointing a finger at “new” media. It used to be that bad restaurants blamed bad reviews for their failure; now it’s the impossibility of keeping the buzz machine fed? Somehow I just can’t imagine most patrons of a Ducasse joint were making their dining plans based on the noise and not the signal. Far more persuasive was the actual restaurateur who pointed out that the Old Gray Lady ain’t what she used to be. I’m clearly in the minority in actually struggling to read the thing in print, and I can barely find the review in the acres of dull type. Increasingly I think the paperguy has brought me the Des Moines Register. A picnic story with ants in the hed? A picnic story with a tuna sandwich as the photo/recipe? As someone Tweeted, there should be a separate section for readers who don’t go back decades with the section; we never forget while moths fly out.