Kindness of vintners

Almost as tone-deaf was the front-pager on chickens being raised on four-star food scraps imported from Manhattan. I’m a longtime huge fan of the innovator, but there’s a reason chickens in Third World countries have richer flavor than Perdue’s. They don’t get their protein from (undoubtedly GMO) corn and soybeans. I did like imagining Molto Ego fighting the hens for the last ort of carrot, though. From what I read in the New Yorker long ago, chickens would starve in that kitchen.

Salad from Mexico, cyclospora for free

Speaking of the four-letter fud, we were just down visiting great friends in New Hope who mentioned they had had the opportunity to tour a model slaughterhouse out in California this summer, thanks to one of their great friends. And what they took away from the experience was that ground beef packed in a chub is the safest to buy, because it comes from one animal, not the bacteria hive you might pick up “ground fresh” at the supermarket. And it can’t have been more than a day or two later that I spotted yet another 25-ton “there’s shit in the meat” recall involving . . . chubs. Even better, a Twitter pal pointed out the brand name on each of those taut plastic casings: Naturewell and Naturesource. Sounds like something dreamed up in the same conference room where they decided to put adult heads on kids’ bodies and call it macaroni without cheese.

Ghost in the hood

Funny to think how the fast the Butter Guzzler scandale went from all-N, all-the-time to nearly forgotten. So I shouldn’t be surprised the forthcoming cookbook is still forthcoming. I do wonder why there are no morals clauses in contracts, though. And I’m enjoying the notion of people mailing butter wrappers in protest when you know most fans can only afford margarine.


So Anntoinette Rmoney is getting a cookbook deal. Unless the meatloaf recipe calls for Rafalca, “Let ’Em Bake Cake” will head straight to the remainder table. As I keep noting, the super-rich eat very much like the condemned. Neither their palates nor their consciences evolve.

“Flashing cleavage”

Meanwhile, the original weapon of misdirection still has a steady paycheck even as one of the smartest guys in NYC food has been shitcanned. “Freelance bloggers” are already being recruited, because everyone knows advertisers will prop up your site if there’s rabble-regurgitation going on on it. Not surprisingly, the hometown paper took an oddly passive tone in reporting the major upheaval, headlining and leading with “loses” and “leaves” rather than “shitcans,” but everyone working for the Pharaoh knows what that’s all about: Speak up/against and you might be next to find your ass on the curb. And so, just as with the Twinkies tale, readers cannot be informed that olds, like union members and the pension-promised, simply cost more. No joke. It’s just sad.

Salumi ain’t all salami

I was happy to learn I was not the only reader feeling cheated by the Omnivore Goes to MetFood stunt misplayed as “let’s draw in our own staffer with his own book to obfuscate on how the fuck you make a pizza for lunch when the oven needs proper heating.” It had more missed opportunities than Trader Joe’s has processed crap. A friend out in Portlandia emailed to say: “thanks for letting me know that Berkeley is a Northern California (!!!!) town that is also home to Chez Panisse. THAT clarifies things. And for letting me know that you can make a decent meal simply by shopping in a supermarket. How does that garbanzo soup sound to you?” At least I had a response to the last point: Soup needs fermentation.

Pop Staples or pop staples

My first thought on hearing Roger Ebert had died: The lede of the obit had better not mention the rice cooker. But the worst part of reducing the rocket scientist to Mrs. Mom With Mushrooms was how the offending dis/dish was simply disappeared. From a paper whose policy is not to “unpublish.” Then again, fast food workers just went on strike all around Manhattan. And all they got was one stinking photo, with a single-line caption.

Stick an insulin needle in it

Nice to see the ghost of Time choosing only the Butter Guzzler as the fud world  candidate for its 100 list. If it was trolling for linkbait, it succeeded. But surely someone, somewhere is doing anything more significant at a time when so much is changing for the better. I guess it could have been sicker, though: It could have chosen a ghost who was happy to slap her name on a spinoff of the cash-in on The Sugar. I guess we should never forget how James Beard made enough to buy that townhouse with the mirrored bathroom . . .

Harry Concepcion

On the way to dinner in the East Village, my consort and I passed a line outside a new spot giving out free “Japadogs.” My first thought was that the name sounds like an epithet. My second? What makes the original snout-to-tail food Japanese? Irradiation?

“Saw” the BBQ

Not sure this was quite the right week to run a feature exploring what the wrecking crew literally feeding at the public trough is eating these days. They get the Styrofoam cafeteria; we get the screws. Considering Congresscritters poll lower than cockroaches lately, maybe next Wednesday we can be treated to what’s cooking in the Cheney bunker. (Chickenhawk heart, probably.)

Caviar on every Filet-O-Fish

The bourbon on every newscaster’s lips certainly pissed away its reputation at hurlicane speed. What company literally dilutes its hard-won image? A colleague of my consort actually had the best reaction, though: In India, where he’s from, they sell hooch in “party packs.” The first bottle is full strength, but the others diminish until they might as well be water. Given the way bourbon is guzzled these days, a 24-pack marketing opportunity was lost.

Thou shalt covet

Apparently Helen Keller was exhumed to redesign DI/DO. What a hot honeyed mess that debut is — the iPad version is actually easier on the eyes, and it’s just a list o’ links. Given that only olds read the damn thing in print, why make it even harder for us? (And I’m RTing myself, but someone really needs to start the equivalent of the bad-sex-writing contest for cheese excess. Some real stinkers were on display, proof that imitation is the sincerest form of stupidity. Besides: Typing about cheese is like dancing about architecture.)