When a chimichanga story is datelined Phoenix, you know you’ll have to read it with a gimlet eye. Make that a double. The chimichanga was essentially the city sandwich of Tucson when I briefly went to college there. But to cawcaw the other silliness: In the age of Chipotle, no one needs to have a burrito defined as a “tortilla wrap.” Burritos are actually king-size versions of the burros I grew up eating, not the other way around. “Fried corn tostada” is redundant, and whatever the hell Taco Bell serves is not a chalupa. And I assume there was a reason the perpetrator of the lobster chimichanga was not identified? As always, I wish the copy desk cutbacks had some benefit for my stock — did no one notice the caption contradicts the text? Mostly, though, you know things are bad when the Schnorrer has done more research. “His” dictionary of American food notes that Diana Kennedy describes chivichangas (cq) in Sonora in one of her early cookbooks. Plus I really kinda doubt anyone’s riled about a deep-fried burro “immigrating,” or thinking naming a state food will help more than recalling a Kkkrazy just did. Poke around on the series of tubes, though, and you’ll be left with the biggest question. When did two restaurants that less than a month ago were united in pushing for state recognition for the chimichanga start fighting over who invented it?
The older I get the dumber I feel. Until the self-described Black Walnut was exposed for his attempted sexy-time on the job, I always thought the National Restaurant Association was just a factchecker-proof source for statistics and quotes on trends. And even now reporters continue to say he’s just a folksy pizza guy, “an alternative to rivals with years of political experience.” But it and he are/were lobbyists. Very powerful ones. And not for the little guys who are lining up to support him in the wake of attacks by the “liberal” media. He beat off (to so speak) Hillarycare, which would have benefited small restaurateurs, the ones whose dues went to pay off those he slimed. Although the best detail is how different “a year’s salary” sounds from “$35,000.” Extra toppings do cost extra.
Just because I’m a cynic, I Tweeted a link to Time’s piece on the new project by one of the world’s most starred chefs, training poor immigrant women in Paris to become cooks. I carefully phrased my reaction by calling it “interesting” and “small,” just to watch the reaction. And I think it might have been RT’d almost more than any of my 12,000-and-counting other 140-character outbursts. Only one follower, who not coincidentally is a restaurant critic in Brussels, had the right reaction: “Nice PR operation.” Because if you poke that story too ungently, you see that 15 women is the proverbial drop in the bucket with a problem so pervasive. And as the piece noted, some of them are too old ever to make it into a professional kitchen, let alone one as male-dominated as those in France. With such a huge empire — 27 restaurants alone — his heart is in the right place, I guess. But his wallet is stowed somewhere even safer.