While I’m talking worshiping the wrong god, I keep thinking of the auction of Bernie FlimFlam’s liquor collection. Way too much of it was made up of mini-bottles. Most news outlets suspected he’d raided minibars. But they sounded more like high-flying booze. Only in steerage do you pay.
I appreciated the Gurgling Cod’s take on “oyster sliders” — they do indeed sound like downsized po’ boys. But as I told him, Roy Blount Jr. poetically proved there’s no way this silliness was possible. Wasn’t he the one who also said eating a raw one was like swallowing a large baby?
I am, however, worried about street fairs, the scourge of Manhattan in summertime. I had the surreal experience the other day of fleeing overly perfumed Bloomingdale’s and walking right into a particularly smelly one, the first I’ve encountered this year, so I walked the length of it just to see how disgusting the food was and wonder, yet again, who might possibly be eating it. And it was dominated by the usual vendors from an alternate universe, hawking their scary charred starch on the cob and “mozzarepas” and Italian sausages reeking weirdly of urine. But I also passed a stand hyping Korean barbecue. And another serving up made-to-order lobster rolls and banh mi. What next? Falafel supplanted by schnitzel? And where are the fucking cupcakes?
Also, too, I have to say I wasn’t entirely happy to be crossing the Peace Bridge back into the United States of Amnesia again. This is a bit of reTweeting, but can a guy with a face only a proctologist could love really be considered presidential? How in the hell did he get his alimentary canal installed backward?
Finally for now, I’ll admit I do wonder if I, too, would be piling onto the Goop trashwagon if I had not been paid to take a look at “her” cookbook for a bit of a listicle on celeb recipe roundups and been rather impressed. For all its glitz, the book is solid. I would recommend it for any cook just starting out because it makes sophistication look accessible (there’s a reason she’s publicly whacking the ducks for ragu; you’d never mess with pork or beef in bolognese again). Sure, it can seem pretentious and silly and easily mockable. But what celebrity book does not? Does anyone really believe any “real” chef with 14 restaurants actually cooked up the type wrapped around “his/her” recipes? That was my point when a WSJournal reporter called to interview me about the “new” phenomenon of celebrities daring to do food books. I’m so old I remember Vincent Price had a cookbook. But mostly I said let anyone who has written alone cast the first stone. And not at Sheryl Crow. Chefs everywhere should be cheering that celeb for doing her book right by hiring a pro first in real life and then getting the book deal. Two ghosts may be better than none.
I’m pondering starting a contest for best e-release, and it will only cost $1,000 to enter. Given that I cleaned 761 unread ones out of my writeme inbox over the weekend, I could award my way right out of penury.
I have no dog in the fight over bike lanes in NYC, given that I own neither a car nor a Schwinn, but I remain mystified as to why they have suddenly become the “ground zero mosque” when they are clearly changing the city for the better (can you say fewest street deaths in a century?) So I had to LOFL when I saw the Wicked of Oz’s smaller outlet fanning the hate with a piece on pop-up cafes that buried the fact that the neighborhoods affected are good to go with the whole concept. Forget the lousy sentence structure (“crowds and rats scurrying for dropped food”). Which is better for the city, gridlock or sales-taxed drinks?
I got a pretty good laugh just hearing about some study finding shopping carts are less sanitary than public toilets. (Cue the Purell commercial.) When will we ever see research on filthy lucre? Surely a buck out of a bum’s back pocket is much scarier than a never-washed cart. And the hands that bag your lettuce don’t touch the handle.
Apparently the new consumer protection agency already has banks trying to be more transparent: Chase, looking to sign up new customers, was out on Columbus handing out suckers. . .
The NYPost ran a way-too-short story on “posh” food stores in Manhattan flunking health inspections, by a reporter who didn’t seem too clear on what the adjective meant. But the funniest line was that Holy Foods in the dread TWC had to throw out ground beef because it was “contaminated with turkey meat.” I’d say the reverse would be a far riskier offense.
The silliest new gimmick of the year so far is the grow-your-own edamame kit. Given the fact that you can go through a big bag of frozen in one sitting, why would you want to engage in “urban farming for dummies,” as TONY ludicrously dubbed it, with one legume bonsai? You’d be better off with a chia pet to snip for salads. A shiitake log I could almost see (although portobellos would be a bigger payoff). But this only makes sense if it comes with a fat federal subsidy for raising soybeans.
Apparently I don’t get out much, because I’m way too obsessed with print fud. So I noticed the erstwhile Mr. Cutlets’ ode to margarine in Time magazine omitted a key detail. Sure, the other yellow stuff is still hugely popular even after the trans fat hysteria. And you know why? The shit is a lot cheaper than real butter. Five bucks for Land O’Lakes or $2-something for suspending disbelief? Your food stamps decide. . . But at least no Spam was harmed in the nostalgia fest.
And apparently “hand-prepared” will not be the last word in food language abuse. Or even “kettle-cooked,” to appeal to the real lizard brains. What I just saw was “hand-craved.” Hungry fingers need turkey.
And there’s a dainty new euphemism out there: prepared. I saw chickens for sale at the Sunday Greenmarket on Columbus labeled “hand-prepared.” The WSJournal ran a caption saying a fisherman “prepared” a huge salmon. “Killed and gutted” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
I can never tell what’s real and what’s parody in my Writeme inbox, but I’m assuming the release for the “automatic pot-stirrer” was the latter. Otherwise I have to think inventors are planning ahead to a world when immigrants are no longer around to staff kitchens. Because, really — who would trust risotto to a machine sold online?