And you can’t platter “creme burley”

The National Day of Food is coming, and the flacks are getting desperate. Some of these pitches must be parody. We’re really to be convinced that readers would pass up roast turkey for turkey “cupcakes,” frosted with mashed potatoes and garnished with raisins and cranberries? Trust me: This is no time for novelty. I read that and could only remember one of my favorite Maurizio Cattelan pieces. And the squirrel blowing its brains out in the kitchen could be either the pitchee or the poor soul who had to type that.

Flair for flare

I also have to Tweet Longer on the premature exultation that makes this time of year so miserable for a food writer. Bad enough I’m inundated with xmas flackery before we’re even at Gobbler Hysteria Day. But I’m already getting e-releases for VD. Shouldn’t there be a mandated period of candy corn digestion before we have to start going all dark chocolate?

Make salad. Avoid raw food.

The food world is gearing up for its annual orgy of self-congratulation, but I guess I’m about as likely to find a Peeps shelter as refuge from the endless dithering about restaurants/books/chefs whose names don’t even ring a dinner bell for me. So I’ll volunteer that changing the location of the announcement of your nominees makes about as much sense as dancing about charcuterie. And that another list of nominees should never have gone out with so many misspellings at a time when copy editors and proofreaders and better are in huger supply than busboys. Coleman? Daries? McMeel? Randon House? Pilgramage? All that spewed, though, I will admit that the idea of a People’s Choice award is smart. It would save the stupid Oscars. And it could be a baby step toward Dancing With the Chefs’ Ghostwriters.

Tucking into a “tourchon”

The WSJournal’s take on the quintupling of onion prices in India was typically clueless. The worry was not that the poor can no longer afford an essential ingredient; it was all about the political fallout. As the hed put it, complete with typo: “Indian’s Onions Make Politicians Cry.” And one sentence actually read: “The government has responded as if it were a national emergency.” Onions aren’t exactly freedom fries. As always when food is involved in the Murdoch Crier, though, more questions were raised than answered. The last graf says a Delhi restaurateur is substituting cheaper radishes for onions. If that’s possible, it should be a separate story.

Gourmettes Live

I’m way behind on my book readin’, but a couple of enticing reviews of the new Mastering the Art of Lost Correspondence did finally entice me to pick up my copy. Flipping through quickly, intending to go back and revel at leisure, I was amazed at what first caught my eye. One caption had “traveling in Province,” and another mentioned Curonsky. With so many trained wordsmiths out there, desperate for work for any fee, why would the publisher not run this past one last set of cheap eyes? Or, given the cult of the Child, solicit volunteers?

But the one letter I randomly read almost compensated — Julia ranting in 1953 about our hometown paper: “Such a horrible report of a priest’s speech, supporting McCarthy. The way they say it’s only the left-wingers who are against him. I really read those things and scream from the stomach.” Which sorta describes how the sane feel these days plowing through gushing coverage of today’s wingnuts who think tea comes only in a bag. So to speak.

Spin, PR wheels

As I Tweeted on reading about the Minneapolis freelancer who shocked, shocked his editors by asking for freebies in rating bars: Old media apparently expects contributors to turn water into wine. “Zero budget” is kinda limited when it comes to palate experiences. Even funnier, the note to restaurateurs almost exonerated him. There’s a big difference between asking for “complementary” and “complimentary.”

For the same reason, I do like to see how the tables are turning with restaurant guides in the city. Given a choice between the Maroons, with their ballots more like life lists than scientific surveys, and the inflated tire guy, what self-respecting chef wouldn’t go for the professionals? They spend the money to do it right. And for all the alleged change of heart, I still remember Michelin’s debut awards ceremony. Some pretty tough guys were rather weepy that night. . .

Bacon cherry pie w/last week’s pimenton

I’m starting to worry about myself. First a Holy Foods moves in a few short blocks from my kitchen and I’m not just shopping there but pimping it (maybe locating next to the projects caused a reality check, because the value emphasis is huge). Now I’ve been to the Seconda Venuta and am here to say IWGB. The occasion was the Epicurious anniversary soiree — 15 years, which is 9,000 in internet time — and I’m not just saying this just because they pay me, but it was the perfect place and quite a party. The agnolotti were probably better than I’ve ever eaten in Italy, probably because of the sauce, heavy on the burro. We did get the requisite “do you have any allergies/issues” warning from the waitstaff, which, once again, made me wonder if this country has lost its mind. (Nation of whiners — eat, already.) The place itself was jammed when I got there and still busy at 10:30, when I didn’t have much time to look around. Two things in particular made my evening: Molto’s wonderful dad came over to say hi (oh, we go way back). And a courageous reporter came over to tell me she was responsible for the recent entertainment some sloppy food coverage provided. As I told her, I Tweet because I care. Also, too, because things like sitting on “banquets” eating “diced ginger mushrooms” drive me almost nuts enough to forgive cannelloni beans in the competition.

Pot pies or pot brownies?

Lately I find myself walking by a certain restaurant on Columbus as often as I can just to check out the goofs on the specials chalkboard on the sidewalk, especially the spelling du jour of “meuniere.” Once it was “muñyer;” another day whoever scrawls apparently gave up and settled for “scallops muni.” The silliest part is that it’s not a French joint. Write Italian, damn it! Still, the confusion is not as embarrassing as a newish faux-retro diner’s overdesigned printed menu, which promises stuff “hot off the girdle.” Should I assume all drinks come fresh from the bra?