Turmeric shower

When my no-longer-consort made a sweet little video about my baking 150 different cookie recipes over the last three years for a free-lunch program, he wanted to avoid the political angle: All rot leads to Reagan. So it was rather amusing when he just reminded me of one reason I walked away from the NYT the first time. One night a higher-up stormed over to the national desk to object to a story on Capitol Hill staffers passing out sandwiches after hours to newly unhoused people. “We can’t run this — it makes Washington sound like Calcutta!” Forty+ years on, and here we are… 

Hashtag Eat the Rich

One of my regular updates over to Twitter Dot Com is “‘I’m gonna’ is not much of a plan.” But one of my “I’m gonnas” is to eventually write seriously about all the lessons this atheist has absorbed baking over the last three years for the weekly free-lunch program at a neighborhood church. I got sucked in during semi-lockdown, when everyone wanted to bake but no one wanted to put on the LBs; giving away the sugar-and-butter results was one way to scratch the oven itch. And I almost bailed after my third week when a neighbor/friend told me she used to volunteer in that “soup kitchen” — 30 years ago. The “food insecurity” problem seemed intractable. But I forged on, baking two recipes a week, one I knew would work and another new to me so I could keep learning. And then the other month the church gave a party for the program’s 40th anniversary. Which led me to do the math and conclude, yet again, that all rot leads to Reagan. So many food giveaway programs are marking the same milestone. Before that dog-whistling hater of the poors came into power, everyday people could get by without lining up around the block for a little kindness from strangers. 

A quince a day…

Lately I’ve been starting way too many Tweets with “So old I…” as history just keeps echoing, repeating and sequeling. But it was still both surprising and sad to see the latest news on killer cantaloupes. Salmonella, again, 32 long years after I had the great honor of a cartoon by the awesome Seymour Chwast accompanying my little rant about eating local. Clearly, no one listened. It’s cranberry season, FFS. And maybe one day we can have an honest talk about working conditions in the fields warm enough to grow and harvest melons?

Slow harvesting

Just hit me that 2023 should be a bigger year. I dropped out of college in 1973, quit the NYT (the first time) in 1983 to go to restaurant school, spent 1993 fighting with a publisher over an ill-fated cook/photobook and hit my Gastropoda stride in 2003. (2013? Twittered away…) 

Halloween senza white sheets, too

So the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is reduced to slightly less than zero because the con man in chief bungled the #trumpandemic response. Wait till it sinks in that there will be no Thanksgiving dinners this year, either — all these months on, it is still not safe to gather around a table cuz you can’t eat or drink while wearing a mask. Get ready for sheet pan turkey and trimmings. And sadness. Whatever you do, don’t think about Christmas…

Steak and email

Between the insanity of Horseface and the horror of Bonesaw, good old everyday incompetence tends to get lost. But the mess the “deal” guy is making with tariffs on food is quite something. All this is behind the Murdoch Crier’s paywall, unfortunately, so I have to summarize rather than link: Pork producers are screwed because China is slapping 70 percent tariffs on the meat they export and going shopping in Spain and other countries for the cheap staff of life. Farmers are of course complaining the gubmint handouts cannot be big enough to compensate for those lost sales (and no one’s talking about how the U.S. will be borrowing from China to cover the dole to Heartlanders). But an unintended consequence is that food banks are about to be inundated with surplus pork, apples and cheese that good ol’ Washington is buying up to help farmers as well. Sounds good, given that the richest country on earth has so many hungry people. But dealing with all those donations, especially the perishable ones, takes money, for storing, managing and distributing. As one executive said: “Even free food has a cost,” up to $500,000 a year, another said. All those voters who really thought they were putting a businessman in the Oval Office? I have a bankrupt casino (or two) to sell ‘em. With a vodka-and-bottled water chaser.

Showers the color of Champagne

This is how pathetic we the sane were: We were merely looking forward to taco trucks on every corner. Turns out the traitors were strategizing to guarantee caviar carts at every desk. Joke’s on them, though: We may have to walk a little farther for our Tuesday indulgence, but the 1 percent are hogging all the Beluga. Deplorables will have to continue continue scrabbling for off-brand Wonder Bread crumbs. Using the bags for shoes.

“San Marzano style”? It’s plum tomatoes.

And the Murdoch Crier has a great new hire covering thoughtfulness in food, and there was much to like in her debut column (link only works if you subscribe). But I can’t eat an avocado these days without thinking of the tradeoff: 99 cents a pop in the short term, no monarch butterflies for forever. In case you doubted there are worse outrages than $9 for toast spread with mantequilla de la pobre.

A chicken (part) in every wok

More and more, it’s becoming obvious that the guano is getting real with all the foxes in charge of the Orange Henhouse. A report in the unlinkable Murdoch Crier detailed how the chicken industry is carping the diem to demand rollback of yet another rule imposed by the successful black prez, the one that limited poultry factories to whacking up a mere 140 birds a minute. A minute would now have 175 carcasses flying by, sort of Lucy-on-the-chocolates-line pace but now with more salmonella. The LOL, however, may be last on the greedsters. Their racist hero and his brownshirts at ICE are guaranteeing there will be no one available to do the work. Unless, of course, he succeeds in doing away with disability and Social Security. Guys on oxygen tanks and grandmas in wheelchairs will surely flock to feather their mitts with that sweet, sweet unliving wage.