A senator the other day described the so-called president’s foreign policy as “a dirt soup of incompetence, amateurism, neglect and braggadocio.” I’d say it’s worse. It’s a bone broth.
I had to get a bit agitated over on my Trails page about one of my two crazy experiences with airport “security,” which I’m apparently doomed to suffer into perpetuity (in this country at least) because no one would suspect I’m packing a titanium hip. But mostly I came home from the Food Wonderland on the Great Lake saddened by all we’ve given up to keep a shoe or underwear bomb out of 36C. My consort succumbed to two really good bottles of Freedom Run (how’s that for an ironic name?) at the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers’ Market, and of course we couldn’t finish both in one night with the in-law equivalents watching. So $40 went wasted because USAir charges $25 for each checked bag so we only had carry-ons. Just as depressing, we had to leave one of the $5 jars of as-good-as-Swiss yogurt behind in the I-L E’s refrigerator. The other we spooned up while waiting in a lounge to hear if our flight would be canceled, Bob being smart enough to advise postponing security hell. And he’s more cautious since he had even peanut butter confiscated by a uniformed goon this summer. Too bad we don’t have kids. We could torment them with tales of how we once traveled all over the world and brought home oils and sauces and rums with no hands up our groins.
The French seem determined to prove they are all Americans now. What’s up with this whacked idea of taxing foods the government decides are fattening? This is a country that invented half of what is worth eating, or at least makes life worth living. What is the adjective before “fry,” for Sarkozy’s sake? My French is about as good as my Swahili, but I would say it’s a slope slippery. Do you tax the Epoisses and not the baguette? Eat enough of anything, foie gras or chicken feet, and you can make yourself into Mr. Creosote. Next they’ll be putting warning labels on their wine bottles. And electing dry drunks. (I know, I know.)
As cynical as I am, though, I was still surprised to see Jersey farmers this summer have to spring for big signs reading: “Our tomatoes are safe to eat.” This was on 97th Street, and at least the photo looked like what was on offer, too-perfect specimens straight from the greenhouse, not the field. But once again, it made me wonder why we are not all storming the Capitol with pitchforks over the unbelievable fiasco the FDA has fermented with its bungling of the salmonella scare. Now the fools allegedly watching out for both bioterrorism and regular old food safety are saying the culprit might be jalapenos. Or maybe cilantro. And don’t forget scallions kill, too. Thank allah it’s only food, or half the produce aisle would be penned up at Guantanamo.
Eberhard Muller has had my vote ever since the summer day I trekked out to the family farm with a bunch of chefs and saw the “village in Texas missing an idiot” bumper sticker on his truck. But his and his wife Paulette Satur’s beat-back against Immigration overreaching makes him look even more like a true American patriot in a country unwilling to feed itself through its natural-born labor. With Halliburton busily building private prisons, this German emigre clearly knows that first they come for the farmhands. . . . The NYT played the story well enough that you could almost forgive them for giving the Jodiator front-page real estate on one of the hoarier campaign “stories,” rife with cones and corn dogs. But then they had to go and screw it up in the slide show by referring to one of the action hero’s “popular” clients as Union Street Cafe.
It’s starting to feel like the summer of 2001 all over again, but instead of shark attacks and hoof-and-mouth disease we have botulism and hoof-and-mouth disease. Oddly, everyone seems about as worked up over the fatal toxin as they were over Osama the last go-round. Two big producers issue recalls, and stores apparently keep stocking those cans of chili topping for hot dogs. The compassionate thinking must be that anyone eating canned green beans this glorious time of year deserves to get poisoned. Or is it just that everyone knows the FDA is doing a heckuva job?