Bacon queso at the health food store

Now that we’ve started eating outside at restaurants again, I keep flashing back on our last meal inside one before we went into lockdown for what was supposed to be two weeks and is now in the sixth month. We went to the Tang for lunch after the Sunday Greenmarket on March 15. It was slightly surreal — the few other patrons were spaced well apart, but this was weeks before everyone was warned to wear masks, and we were hoping the three cooks making our eggplant and dumplings in the open kitchen were okay, and it was impossible to enjoy the food without worrying we had made a big mistake risking it. As we walked home, we kept passing bodegas where I had tried to interview the Yemeni owners/managers three years earlier, when the nascent fascist’s travel ban was announced and shopkeepers were mobilizing against it. My story never went anywhere, but in retrospect I can see we were witless to believe he would only come for the Mexicans and then the Muslims. Eventually he would hurt us all because, as Adam Serwer perfectly put it: The cruelty is the point. 

To think we were promised taco trucks on every corner and now can’t even eat inside a restaurant. Let alone in a foreign country. 

10 percent solution

One thing about eating in the street outside NYC restaurants now: You really come to see cars as multi-ton killing machines barreling past. And those beautiful planters delineating the “dining room” start to look as if they were modeled on IED fortifications in Kabul.

Panchito & the Spanish Steps

I spent nearly the entire Bushwhacking on here trying to crack wise as the situation got direr and direr and the bodies stacked up higher and higher and corporate media still pretended the dangerous dry drunk was just a harmless good ol’ boy you could have a beer with. Now my advice under “hashtag we’re all gonna die” is: “Preserve your memories; they’re all that’s left to you.” Too many Americans seem to forget what it was like to travel in Italy and be asked “Americana?” and have to respond, trying to save face: “No, New Yorkese!” Now the orange national nightmare has made that designation humiliating, too.

Salt, fat, chocolate milk and Butz, too

Just to get the politics-is-policy stuff out of the way: The so-called prez wants to cut SNAP benefits when I have been ranting for years that food stamps should be rebranded supermarket subsidies, which you would think the “party of business” would be all for. I also keep getting sucked into a bizarre debate over whether a fruit-and-vegetable shortage or a disruption for automakers would be a worse consequence of closing the border. It makes me even more amazed that congestion pricing went through, because car dependency is apparently a hell of a drug. Fords over fruit? Mexico is not just sending avocados and tomatoes — at least half the produce section comes from there and Central America. What good are wheels if the produce aisles are empty when you get to the Piggly Wiggly?

White and Gold and cheese-chopped all over

Inneresting to see the whole Molto Ego scandale being treated as “one bad orange.” Everything’s fine now; nothing to see. Meet the new fud world, same as the old fud world. Also, too: Once an egoist, always an egoist. So the carrot color thing didn’t work out so well. The gadflying for Holy Foods kinda backfired. Why not swipe not just a name but a logo? The only amazement these days is that the Butter Guzzler is not back out on the national stage, letting her Confederate flag fly.

“It’s the nyeture of where we live”

I keep justifying overindulging in sauvblanc, as the server in an Indian restaurant in Sydney shorthanded it, as a way of supporting New Zealand and the world’s most inspiring leader (#putawomanincharge). But I also have to acknowledge that liquid support comes at a cost. We took a winery tour of Marlborough Sound last summer and were almost sobered by the grown-and-raised-there bus driver who lamented, as we looked out on vineyards stretching for miles in every direction: “We used to have apple orchards. Now, it’s all grapes. We lost our birds.” At least that takes some pressure off Northern California. Wineries there can buy the stuff by the tanker load, bottle it in the USofA and charge as if it’s Cloudy Bay. 

Squitters, all

Because we invite only the family we have chosen rather than those we were saddled with, our Thanksgivings are always liquid and raucous and fun, with a mix of old and new “strangers.” So much so that I didn’t get a chance to recount my favorite memory from the 23 feasts over the last 26 years in this dining room:  The time friends looked up mid-turkey to spot a woman in the apartment building across the street vacuuming her bedroom walls. Naked. But at least that was not as unsavory as my recollection of the November when I was living in L’ville and took the bus up to Dayton to meet a friend who escorted me to a cafeteria for our turkey&trimmings. I will leave to the imagination what it was like to ride hours home on a winding highway while lurching back to the bathroom to upchuck on the regular. So maybe that’s why those “real ‘mericans” are so enamored of the trash in the WH. He, too, ate like an Ohioan on the all-American feast day, walking the buffet line for his iceberg salad and pie, glorifying his plastic-gloved main dish as coming from the “carving station.” Allah help all the imported maids who had to clean up the literal shitstorm afterward. 

Jam and bagels

No one talks about the real problem with having white supremacists in the White House: They’re doing their damnedest to keep refugees and other immigrants out when the melting pot needs regular re-seasoning. America can’t live on burgers alone. Didn’t Jesus say “no guacamole for immigrant haters”?

RT/MT/UT

Online menus with no prices send a clear warning: steer clear. // Not sure “it’s tiki time” is the wisest subject line for flack pitch these days. // My inbox is a chronicle of food pages foretold. Spoon-fed stories are always the most filling. // Friend has booked a swanky hotel in NZ that describes itself as “the personification of luxury.” I’d be wary of the breakfast sausage. // Phone changed Puligny to Puking. But that liquor I can hold.