Just learned the best word ever for kids: crotchfruit. ($Palin’s, of course.) // Behind paywall, but WSJ has a good story on Citymeals helping olds with their teeth. Can’t chew, can’t be nourished. // To the point where it’s only noteworthy when Marcus is not in the WSJ. // Whose bright idea was supersizing spice jars? // Surimi is not food. // You cap the K before lime because Key is a place. // Things that are one word: Potpie. Snickerdoodles. // Ridiculousness of the day: “amateur chef.” // New rule: If you have to sniff it, maybe you shouldn’t eat it.
For once I’m feeling glad America has Panchito to kick around again. He’s out bloviating on the Florida PAC-attracting monogram, and on a fiscal fraud in New England, when people are still reeling from the Bushwhacking. Fool us once, shame on him twice. And he can’t be winning many converts by complaining that paying $10 for coconut water is the equivalent of rectal rehydrating. Even critics of Karen Finley should be cringing at the thought of hummus up your country’s ass.
And for more “in with the old,” as I try to get on track with regular posting here instead of Twittering my life away, I am still wondering why real reporters finally caught up to a huge food story but refused to call it what it was. A year ago I interviewed a cranberry grower I’ve known from the earliest days of the fresh market who said the harvest was starting with fully 75 percent of the previous year’s crop still unsold. And that was in 2013, with nowhere to go but into more freezers. In layman’s language, that would be “fucked.” My reporting went nowhere slow, for reasons still unfolding, but it has informed my reading. I see “bounty” and “overabundance” and “awash in cranberries” — never the harsh reality of “glut.” When the berries on the bogs are six feet high and rising, though, it might be time to call a man-made calamity a man-made calamity.
Glad to know I wasn’t the only one who thought she got up the other Wednesday a.m. to find herself back in another century. My early emails included two from the other coast marveling that the town crier for most advanced food city in the country would choose to regress to the good ol’ days, as one put it, when the ads had chuck roast for 59 cents a pound. Of course the margarine in the butter biscuits just made that Betty Crocker vibe much vibier.
Then it got worse. Green grapely, and baking-powder-in-the-unbaked-mashed-potatoes, worse. Having lived in six states and eaten in at least 30 more, I wondered why, if they were gonna go back to the Claiborne heyday, they didn’t just pull out their own excellent compilation of regional recipes. Kolaches are not Danish in that compendium. Snickers are not tights, neither.
And now for something straightforward: Why would a positive — regulations lifted, oysters cleaning up the bay, new business booming — be spun as a negative? Watermen are already having a tough time thanks to climate change; the smart ones would start planting “seeds.” But I guess if rent-stabilized tenants are portrayed as a problem for landlords, oyster farms would have to be seen as eyesores. At first I wondered who has a weekend house in that town. But my cynical side suspects that the real problem is who made it happen. Hope and change must always be painted black.
Somewhere a (metal) pot genius is spinning. He grants access to his suffering to promote his book and is “rewarded” with queasy-making descriptions of his short temper and sad nutrition-intaking. At least Senyor Adria can live in peace knowing he only had to stunt-cook with a cretin. A reporter got an audience with an appliance master and came away no smarter on how to make the white stuff fluffy?
How clueless is my old two-time employer these days? It appears to be booking seats in the shouty car on the “Reefer Madness” train rather than doing the obvious: Baking up some rex for edible weed, senza green corduroy jeans. For once an ounce is an ounce the world round. (Click here to buy a digital scale.)
Sad to realize whoever invented “dough conditioners” will probably get an obit. And ponzu will always sound like a scheme. Also, sadly, too: It’s a good thing Orwell is not around to hear “botched execution.” You use that verb for brownies, FFS.
Wednesday whiplash: One story tells you there’s no spring produce, the other says “shell peas!” And then there’s the third, touting the Greenmarket “pantry.” Which of course is better-stocked this time of year than the Greenmarket “walk-in.” You can, after all, cook anything with potato chips and applesauce.
File this under: The new sheriff can’t get to town from Texas fast enough. WTF were they thinking, featuring hard-cooked (cq) eggs a week after readers had to have said, “FFS, enuf already”? Who doesn’t want to roast a whole turkey before the leftovers have even been thrown out? At least the whole enterprise was a reminder that eggs for hard-cooking really are among the few things that are best when they have a little age on ’em.*
*And somewhere a waiter in a toupee nodded appreciatively.
And the Murdoch Crier, which can do so many things so well, seems to be suffering cognitive dissonance lately. One day it ran a story on what not to buy in a drugstore, because of course its readers are so worried about the exorbitant price of saline. But it omitted the best caveat: Stay the fuck away from the groceries — you’d be better off at Holy Foods. And then there was the disconnect between one section advising how to use luxury ingredients at home (err on the side of too generous with that caviar and foie gras, and definitely shave white truffles over your buttered noodles with “Parmesan”) and another reporting on a visit to a soup kitchen in a church dismayed that it still has to be ladling away after 30 years in “the richest country on earth.” Maybe Holy Apostles just needs D’Artagnan to deliver?
It’s easy to walk into the field after the battle and shoot the wounded, but in all seriousness the fatal flaw with a food issue devoted to only the platinum links in the food chain really was the disconnect from a world of hurt. As I’ve been predicting, Walmart has itself seized the day to warn its shareholders to expect lower sales and profits thanks to the food stamp cuts; the Republican obsession with punishing the poors is already boomeranging on Big Biz. And it’s not as if advocacy in a cruelly unequal society isn’t glamorous — Mr. Top Chef himself has been everywhere walking the walk on getting kids nourished better; Mrs. O’s own has been recruiting marquee names to help upgrade school lunches; more and more chefs are signing on for hunger benefits. (And just as an aside, here’s how a kid raised around a soup kitchen turns out.) Instead you got the Egopedist abandoning his usual Mount to sermonize on chefs not staying close to their one-and-only kitchens to keep, yes, the 1 percent satisfied. Which was beyond pot/kettle rich. Are we to believe a cookbook celeb developed every single recipe while building his brand?
And I know yellowcake in the mushroom cloud set a low bar for what qualifies as front-page news, but was there really a day when a mayor not shoving pizza into his pie hole with his hands merited a refer and story? As MoDo went on to show, this was the BFestD with pizza since Bill Clinton stuck a cigar where the sun don’t shine Amid all the ridiculousness, I wondered why no one noted the new Fed boss was also photographed eating her slice politely. Of course that shot turned up in a magazine now notorious for cluelessness on the food front. Its “kohlrabi is the new kale” idiocy was like a tree falling in the forest and the pines sacrificed for paper silently weeping.
I have a lot of catching up to do, but in the meantime I have to note that I can remember every time I ate out, puked/squittered in. The third worst was after a waiter in Florence touched his runny nose while serving us lunch. The second was that time, was in another lifetime, when I took an inter-Appalachian bus to meet a friend for Thanksgiving dinner off a buffet and rode back on my knees, talking to Ralph on the big white telephone. (Well, little stainless-steel telephone.) But the winner was the day I brought home an outstanding felafel sandwich from a neighborhood joint where I chose to ignore the fact that a baby was sitting on the takeout counter. Within 24 hours, I thought I’d died and gone to liquid hell. So I guess it makes perfect sense that visionaries thought people waking up after the most alcohol of the year would want to see a diapered butt posed over a slab of salmon, with beans looking like turds shooting off to the side. The only thing more sickening would be tilapia paired with white chocolate and macadamia.
Panchito certainly has exquisite timing, lecturing his fellow citizens on overeating just as many millions risk losing their buck-forty-a-meal food stamps. And someone needs to alert him to why those poor souls don’t do their binge buying at Costco: Walmart doesn’t charge a minimum of a buck-a-week membership fee.