It’s not the molecules, it’s the moochin’

Finally, my compliments to the typist, but overindulgence in sugar, especially by the subsidized poors, is not “the biggest public health challenge facing the developed world.” That would be denial of climate change as the population keeps growing (and as the kkkrazies try to outlaw birth control). Crops all over the stressed world are being wiped out by drought and floods, hurricanes and tsunamis, freak ice storms and aberrant warm winters. I’ll even list nuclear meltdowns, because it’s 30-some years since the push-back against that energy source, and still we’re vulnerable. (I’ll throw in oil spills for the same reason.) You won’t hear it put this way, but we’re simply destroying our own habitat while refusing to acknowledge the planet will still be here, evolving with sugar cane, long after obese and diabetic humans have gone the way of pterodactyls. I’d also believe less in string-pullers if this screed hadn’t targeted the poorest people in this country. A cake a day was antidepressant for my destitute family; deprivation could equal cruelty if sugar got swept away along with HFCS. If you want to regulate the white stuff, please say you mean the little snots on Carnegie Hill will have no access to cupcakes at any price. Otherwise it’s clear sugar is not the only thing that can be spun.

Chocolate fountains?

I tuned in on the Twitter just enough to see potpie was served at some Oscar party where the “stars” gathered. Only one question: Why the fuck? Potpie is one of the most ill-conceived things ever pulled out of an oven: Not only is it underseasoned soup with a crust, the soup is always hot enough to melt the spoon, so you spend half the encounter knowing the thin top is getting soggy while the bottom is bubbling into boring. But I guess slopping it out makes sense — it’s one of those dishes both the super-wealthy and death-row convicts seem to value with their undeveloped palates. Maybe if foie gras were relabeled liverbest they’d go for it.

Beet sandwich for the Egopedist

No wonder my 200 shares of stock in the hometown paper are now worth about one copy of the weekday edition. On the day of the “Superball,” as a flack dubbed it (I hope intentionally), the top recipe for snacks linked on the home page was for chicken wings. While all I’d heard mentioned on the Twitter and in real life in the whole week beforehand was Momofuku’s pork bo ssam. Having worked there twice, I really hope there’s not still an indebted-to-Columbia U grad slaving away as an intern dredging up cliches. Because algorithms would do the work for free.

Armagnac by the bottle, even

I did insist on Momofuku Ssam for lunch with a friend on my big day, and something else struck me. She and I have been connecting midday for probably 25 years; usually she was the one with the expense account, but I did have my 46 long months with Pinch bucks. When she paid the check on this occasion, and out of her own pocket, she tipped 20 percent on the after-tax tab, which made me realize one more thing that’s been lost in the race to the bottom in publishing. Women have such a terrible reputation as tippers, but today you can point the fingers up the ladder to executives unwilling to pay fees, let alone expenses. Once upon a time, a rising tide really did lift all lunch ships.

Frozen food? It’s what’s for Con Agra dinner.

Wish I could say I was thrilled to learn access to good food is not what’s holding back Americans without cushy jobs and lots o’ lucre from cooking and eating well. But my unneutered-steer-manure detector definitely went off when I went looking for the methodology on the study. And if I read right, the 1,500 happy respondents were recruited online or by email, then interviewed by landline or mobile. I know the Kkkrazies are busy persuading the not-quite-poors that the serious poors own too many appliances, and have too much gout, to be hungry. But cripes. How many have internet access at home or time to hit the library?

Any fact-checkers looked at Taste of Home lately?

Relatedly, I’ve long argued that journalism went down the tubes, and not the ones Al Gore invented, once it became a profession for the elite rather than a job open to a college dropout like me who learned by doing. And nothing made that clearer than the sad tale of the pea & the princesses (or, more likely, princes) down to the Taj Sulzberger, whose refined sensibilities are so refined they simply cannot work amid the aromas of meat cooked by those lowly tradesmen in the lobby. They’re apparently actually allowed to work from home while the ventilation is tweaked. In a just world, a Subway franchise would take up residence there; nothing smells more foul to me than that fake yeast. But then they would probably think it smelled like Team America.

KCMO had some crazy little men, too

And not to get too bogged down in the race to the bottom at a place where I was glad to have worked twice (seeing sausage made does give you insight), but I almost wonder if Dash wasn’t just providing cover for the public editor’s WTF. His smashed beans and lard definition were forgotten once the ugly truth was revealed: Reporters no longer put the truth first. The best reaction I’ve seen so far reaches farther back in time than I understood, since I trace the rot to the Reagan years (“first they came for the air traffic controllers and we said nothing”). That was back when Pinch padded the newsroom in stocking feet, treating us as if we were serfs hunched over keyboards in his den. I know I’ve recounted this many times, but one of the tipping points that tilted me out of that newsroom and into restaurant school* was having an editor storm the desk on deadline and bellow: “We can’t run this. It makes Washington sound like Calcutta.” Up until that very late night, I had always believed journalists operated without considering fear or favor. But if a story about soft-hearted Capitol Hill staffers passing out sandwiches to the homeless in the nation’s seat of power was so dangerous, what else had to be skewed? Whitewater/Coke Can/Yellowcake, here we come . . .

Fud wrestling

I always feel guilty dragging Murdoch’s WSJournal back to bed along with the hometown paper most mornings, so I’ll blame my consort for insisting we need it as a counterweight. And it does some things really well. Like a feature the other day on how your jawbone’s connected to your lifeline — undiagnosed and untreated gum and tooth disease can kill you. Which got me wondering, again, why dental insurance is sold separately from health insurance, and why it’s so shitty. Alert Blue Cross: Your piehole is a portal.

And cheesy was once a dis

Naturally it’s behind the paywall, but the New Yorker has a great feature this week on the richest woman in India, who made all those rupees developing drugs. One graf near the end is worth the price of the issue: Her company has been working on the “holy grail” for Big Pharma, which would be oral insulin in a processed-crap world where everyone is developing diabetes (50 million in India alone). And Biocon came close until the patients who were given placebos in trials improved because they wanted to impress their doctors. “Suddenly, their control group of diabetics had started exercising and eating better.” Message? Diabetes is both preventable and curable senza drugs. Maybe it’s time for Occupy the Pharmacies. Walk away from the Lipitor. And eat beans.

Mocha and caramel frappés and oatmeal

I read the WSJournal’s cheery report on the boom in fast-food deliveries in China and just envisioned a worse “Wall-E.” Isn’t getting the diabetes diet to consumers quicker, with no effort, only going to make humans fatter and more unhealthy? Isn’t the use of millions and millions of motorbikes just going to mean more pollution in a country where the air is already pretty near apocalyptic? And I don’t know which detail was more chilling, that two-thirds of McD’s sales in this country come from drive-throughs or that overlords of the evil empire are salivating at the prospect of web orders enabling them to shut down call centers (a k a places where actual humans earn money). Good move in a 99% world. Maybe next they get rid of the workers who pack the crap into the special compartments on the motorbikes. And then ask Henry Ford why they need to move to Pandora.

Winter ratatouille

I’ve been rather sadly entertained by the kale kerfuffle, not least because the wires and the blogs were in a lather at least a week before it became news fit to print. But mostly I think we’ve seen this movie before — you start out bashing teh gays and then head for the hippies. And it’s not a game of chicken.