This is how pathetic we the sane were: We were merely looking forward to taco trucks on every corner. Turns out the traitors were strategizing to guarantee caviar carts at every desk. Joke’s on them, though: We may have to walk a little farther for our Tuesday indulgence, but the 1 percent are hogging all the Beluga. Deplorables will have to continue continue scrabbling for off-brand Wonder Bread crumbs. Using the bags for shoes.
“Orange you crazy?” should be the slogan for our time. Who could have ever imagined, back when the black president was getting trashed as elitist for referencing arugula, that the wingnuts would be fine with a Supreme Court judge touting turmeric in his steak rub? Isn’t that muslin powder?
The latest mass slaughter of humans has me remembering being outside Pittsburgh on a story for Al Jazeera a few years ago and coming to have grudging respect for hunters who use rifles to “ventilate fauna,” as the inimitable Charlie Pierce puts it, to put food on their families (and in soup kitchens). My dad kept guns to shoot deer and jackrabbits, back in the days when the NRA was for hunters, not lethal weapons manufacturers. So I’m not in favor of a total ban, although keeping assault weaponry out of the hands of angry white guys would be a healthy first step. But I also keep flashing back to the frigid morning when my consort went plunging into the icy woods with his camera and audio recorder while I stayed behind in the rental car to try to stay warm. At one point a truck pulled up and two big guys jumped out with huge guns, and I realized I had all the doors locked but was completely vulnerable if they wanted to rob-and-rape. They could shoot out the windows, do their evil and drive right off. Their penis substitutes gave them all the power. But I still don’t think I’d have been any safer with one of my own.
As much as I rant about risotto emails getting us into this mess, I have to remember the botulism goes much deeper. The puke funnel that slimed Hillary for the last 25-plus years was mainstreamed by the likes of MoDo, who had such a giddy old time at a $505 Beluga-and-Porterhouse-and-1990 Corton-Charlemagne dinner with the junkie who would go on to gull listeners into staying behind in a liberal-hoax hurricane while he decamped to LA. Hooker or reporter? You decide.
And at a time when wingnuts are actually debating whether fellow Americans need food to survive, I have to rant yet again that the best way to save SNAP would be to rebrand it as what it actually is. Not a lifeline for the poors. A huge subsidy to supermarkets.
As I’m sure I’ve said before, I’m like the old ladies in “Absurdistan” who read the slingers as if they were newspapers. And so I know why anyone campaigning while trash-talking immigrants is not getting anywhere near a certain casa blanca. The WSJ, famous for simultaneously running stories on $20,000 coats and coupons for $1 off on Bag Balm, included a buy-one-get-one-free deal on a brand of canned beans I associate with trailer parks in Confederate flag states. And the labels were all in Spanish, the contents made with Mexican flavors. But then I guess you have to be in the food world and not the political bubble to “report” endlessly on “solutions” to immigration in America without ever pointing out that it is not exactly a problem. Not with a hed in the WSJ reading: “Even at $17 an hour, farms can’t fill jobs.” Not with newspaper after newspaper covering the struggles restaurants are increasingly having staffing up. Pro tip 2: Don’t invest in boxcar futures just yet.
This ridiculous, and endless, campaign frenzy will only get real when some reporter asks the most important question: What kind of cookies does the chef-suing blowhard’s third (and second immigrant) wife bake? He’s clearly serious about his chances, because she’s scrubbed her Website of all the Photoshopped tits&ass. Maybe this would free her up to pose wearing only an apron to answer: Cowboy or chocolate chip? For Welsh cakes, of course, she’d need Mormon underwear.
Maybe the wingnuts should actually want the poors to be able to buy beans with food stamps. The Cat WCTLWAFW once snared edamame at a dinner party and wound up too full to steal the magret.
And I’ve typed this many times before, but the relentless focus on food stamp “fraud,” that phantom that accounts for at most 1 percent of tax dollars spent on nourishing kids and olds, really would come to a sudden fizzle if the whole debate were reframed to make it clear the program is actually a federal subsidy for supermarkets. If it weren’t, beneficiaries would get cash benefits to spend wherever the hell they wanted, like the fruit cart outside our neighborhood Holy Foods selling produce for a pittance. No wonder drugstores have morphed into hypermarkets. Big Food is a bigger racket than Big Pharma. Now the Duane CVS Walgreen Reade lobbyists just have to get cracking on getting sushi included in the few allowed food groups. At least it’s not lobster. Or canned tuna.
And this week in “I read crazy people,” I actually saw a post on National Donut Day that advised taking two free doughnuts — one for you and one for freedom! Show the gubmint you ain’t gonna be told how to eat. And definitely don’t buckle your seat belt on the way to your free-market handout. It’s as if they have no fucking idea how a designated day gets designated. Little hint? Lobbying of Big Gubmint makes every day a holiday.
Every morning’s food news should come with a warning: If the libertarian in the clown car gets anywhere near the White House there will be no Big Gubmint to get between you and sick chickens and listeria-laden ice cream. The United States of Somalia will have no mandated kills and recalls — live free market and die. But on the lighter side, I was reminded of the first guy I ever heard rave about Blue Bell, a supervisor in a soft-shell crab processing plant on the Chesapeake who described how those beautiful swimmers molt: “They have to be real still after shedding. It’s like a hangover, a bad one, where you wake up and your skin is in the bed next to you.”
Not fud except for the source, but: Traveling in the Obama era is always better than it was during the Reign of Error when we had to pretend to be Canadian or at least insist we were not Americano but New Yorkese. Still, it was illuminating to talk with a Northern Irishman in Turkey who responded to my lament that there’s a whole lot o’ racism and ignorance on display in this country lately. “No offense,” he said, “but hasn’t there always been?” And before returning to irregularly scheduled snark, I have to note that the consensus among the mostly youngish Turks I met was: “Fucking Erdogan is killing everything. But we need the economic stability.” Looking at the rampant destruction of the city for shopping malls and luxury housing, it did seem as if, as one young put it, “We’re losing our birthright.” Unlike Americans, though, they will at least credit their leader for the extra lira in their lives.
On the lighter side, the story about Erdogan installing a food lab in his megamansion to test for poison inspired some animated discussion over one lunch. One tablemate wondered why, if he’s so terrified someone is out to get him through the gut, he doesn’t just have his wife cook for him. My response: “Maybe he can’t trust her, either.”
All this Bill Cosby unscabbing is depressing enough. But, as always, there’s amusement. When someone “reported” that the father of Fat Albert made young women working on a show not exactly known for enlightenment watch him eat, I could only WTF — Big Chicken makes big-time journalists watch him eat nachos. With three scoops of sour cream plus guacamole, to boot.
And the Toppest chef really has more self-control than we knew, because he managed to respond to an attack by the wife of a high-paid lobbyist posing as a simple cooking teacher without once using the words “you ignorant slut.”
Funny how this works: Fearbola subsides after Republicans get elected. But even at the height of the hysteria, I just really could not get terrified when there are so many other things to sweat panic bullets over, like the reality that the server and cook at your local meatball emporium might not be getting sick days. Look what’s happening in Maine, where a science-denying governor refuses to tell people exactly which restaurant put diners on a prospective path to $1,000-a-dose treatment. Every time I pass a certain corner in Chelsea I remember how it took exactly one pizzaiola, back in the days before that word had currency, to infect hundreds of people with hepatitis. The chances of eating mucus off the sidewalk are far lower. And not to mention: If dogs were E-carriers, all five boroughs would have to shut down — that shit is everywhere.