I’m late to the Olive Garden brouhaha, but I have the answer to why the water is unsalted, a question that had been bothering me because I went to an all-day “science of flavor” conference over the summer. One speaker there noted that food processors use so much sodium because the only thing cheaper is water. Turns out the company cares more about the warranty on its pots than about adding almost-free flavor to crappy fud. But the most unsurprising revelation about the vultures now pulling the strings is their real mission: sell off the real estate and rent it back to the poor suckers left holding the poop-filled doggy bags. It’s only amazing they aren’t planning to offer unlimited Twinkies. If it weren’t for screw jobs, there would be no jobs at all.
Everyone else can wet their sponsored-post adult diapers over ISIS beheaders. I’m gonna lie awake worrying about MRSA, even if fetal steps are being taken to eliminate antibiotics in animals. Twenty-two aspiring firefighters can get infected in one training class, and have no cure, and we’re supposed to panic over scimitar-wielders halfway around the world who would have their holy water confiscated at airport security? Much smarter to freak out over the notion that I could cut my own hand in my own kitchen and go to the ER and pick up something that would cause my fingers to eat themselves.
Speaking of butter, the consciousness-raising @nyfarmer over to the Twitter posted a photo from the state fair of an elaborate butter sculpture of a food bank. Given that I have a soft spot for a silly comedy, I dutifully reTweeted but had to add that it actually made me sad. All we hear is that this is the richest, bestest country on the planet. And people still need handouts? At a time when a burger is a buck? One thing I learned on a reporting trip, though, is that Big Fud is figuring out how to cash in, with products developed specifically for food banks. The poor, once depicted only as whites to sell the Great Society, will truly always be with us. Mostly because they give cover for wingnut welfare.
I’m so old I remember when donut peaches were the new fruit on the block. And then, again, when mango nectarines first came to supermarkets. Now I can find mango donut peaches. At the Greenmarket. And love ‘em. But I will never buy into the smokescreen that they qualify as GMO. There is BS. And then there is seeded fertilizer.
All that said, I am, as John Hiatt put it, mixing up drinks with mixed feelings about Mrs. O’s endorsement of water as a soda alternative. I’m all for getting kids to step away from the diabetes/obesity funnel, but I’m not sure getting them hooked on plastic is the answer when the oceans are awash in continents of crap. Water fountains have become fraught, which I also realize. But what’s most disturbing is that selling water as something you have to buy makes it easier for what’s happening in Detroit to happen. They want to privatize the second most important need in life. Beware the introduction of Fiji Oxygen. . .
Foie gras is up there with avocado and cheese and chunky sea salt eaten right out of my hand as the last tastes I would want as I headed off into the nothingness that is the afterlife. But I still have to say the news that 13 states are petitioning the Supreme Court to lift bans on it would have the hairs rising on the back of even Marie Antoinette’s neck. Of all of the issues in all of this country, this is the one they want to go to the gilded mat over? The whole problem could be easily solved by declaring a taste for foie gras (and please: can everyone quit shorthanding the name?) a religious right, one held by only a tiny minority. The robed ones would be on it like stink on merde. I agree with the insanity of outlawing any consumable that does not come in a 64-ounce cup. But I also have this silly idea that all the increasingly loony restrictions on abortion merit a lot more activism. Then again, maybe there’s a way to kill two birds with one message. Why is force-feeding ducks any crueler than making a human being gestate and then pop out an unwanted larva?
(Sorry. Shoulda suggested you get out the Chateau d’Yquem before reading that.)
Don’t ask why, but I had to spend way too much time recently in the baby food aisle of every store in our neighborhood. And there was not a jar of lamb and rice to be found, as the vet prescribed. There was, however, a generation of diabetics foretold. Nearly all the options, jarred or pouched, were fruit or fruity vegetable. Even the turkey had to be sweet-potatoed up. Maybe Darwin is intervening from the Great Galapagos Beyond, though. All those thirsty kids set loose in a water-deprived world will speed up extinction. And then the planet can finally right itself.
Also, too, I never thought we’d see the day when riot cops would show up at a McD’s shareholder meeting, but we are living in interesting times: repeating history by refusing to learn from it. All the money can’t go to the bosses without necks starting to look a little blade-worthy. Protesters weren’t too happy about the marketing of processed crap to kids, either. Which must be the only reason they aren’t saying: “Let ’em eat Happy Meals.” Pitchfork Factories R Us.
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.
And it’s depressing to see useful idiots in an endangered profession (paid journalist, that would be) going after food stamp recipients for potential fraud while the banksters and big corporations continue to loot and pillage. Guess I have to quote Jay Gould yet again: “I could hire half the working class to kill the other half.” Imagine if he could have made them get up at dawn and blog, too. . .
I also saw an uplifting little piece on how the site of the meatpacking plant in Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” has been converted into a vertical farm. My sad reaction was that of course it had to involve tilapia; all these enterprises seem to do so. And that just means mud with gills.
Also, too, the non-feathered cardinal with the private chef in his mansion, the one who shows the faithful every day that gluttony is no longer a sin, made a splash by saying you can pick up birth control at any ol’ 7-Eleven. I knew that trashy chain would be the death of Manhattan. Guys in gowns apparently now shop there. But what’s really amazing is how clearly he has exposed wingnut thinking. Attempting to ban Big Gulps is tyranny. Banning “slut pills” is liberty. There must be a revolving-wiener joke in there somewhere.
Thinking some thoughts. Underlining them twice. There must be something really wrong with me. I do not want sick people cooking/serving my food and am very happy NYC now has a law requiring paid leave for restaurant workers (and, of course, others). With all the scaremongering over increased prices, I guess I need to point out that the food biz finds many ways to pass along increased costs. (Try to find a bottle of wine on a list for under $40 these days). As I have noted many times, the sickest I’ve gotten beyond the incident with the baby butt on the falafel counter was after the waiter in Florence wiped his runny nose and set down my plate. FFS, I washed my sauvignon blanc bottle the other day after a cashier with pinkeye merely touched it. So I guess I have to say this one more time: Typhoid Mary was a cook. And Hepatitis C is out there, waiting to shut down your establishment after one worker goes on an unfortunate vacation. It had to be someone like Escoffier who first realized an ounce of prevention is worth 10 pounds of cure. That new miracle remedy, after all, runs a grand a dose.
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.