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.
One not-so-recent Saturday I opened my Sunday paper and found the latest “we need ads and we can’t get ’em” color supplement. After a quick flip through the extravaganza my skepticism was so validated I envisioned hundreds of copies laid flat alongside induction cooktops all across the gullible country as readers followed along. Taking away measurement lists and technique steps but spelling out how to make one dish yields . . . a recipe. It’s not liberation. It’s a change of format. FFS, that’s what Elizabeth David was doing decades ago, and so well.
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.
I’ll tell you how we got this fake president: Hefty packaging a one-inch roll of baggies in a box 2 1/2 inches wide and tall. Everything’s a cheat.
I also suppose it’s no wonder we got Mango Mussolini given that Molto Ego was once considered the most famous chef in America. Orange worship is weird. And I’m guessing there are more than a few women chefs who regret that blurb on their cookbooks. . .
Between the insanity of Horseface and the horror of Bonesaw, good old everyday incompetence tends to get lost. But the mess the “deal” guy is making with tariffs on food is quite something. All this is behind the Murdoch Crier’s paywall, unfortunately, so I have to summarize rather than link: Pork producers are screwed because China is slapping 70 percent tariffs on the meat they export and going shopping in Spain and other countries for the cheap staff of life. Farmers are of course complaining the gubmint handouts cannot be big enough to compensate for those lost sales (and no one’s talking about how the U.S. will be borrowing from China to cover the dole to Heartlanders). But an unintended consequence is that food banks are about to be inundated with surplus pork, apples and cheese that good ol’ Washington is buying up to help farmers as well. Sounds good, given that the richest country on earth has so many hungry people. But dealing with all those donations, especially the perishable ones, takes money, for storing, managing and distributing. As one executive said: “Even free food has a cost,” up to $500,000 a year, another said. All those voters who really thought they were putting a businessman in the Oval Office? I have a bankrupt casino (or two) to sell ‘em. With a vodka-and-bottled water chaser.
Just saw The Cat WCTLWAFW licked the jerk duck skillet. So I’ve put the WSJ section with Shelby Steele’s “why the left is consumed with hate” next to the bed to catch the inevitable hork.
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”?
We bought “leather milk” to resuscitate two geriatric chairs. It’s the first fake stuff in this house. And it came with a joking warning not to “drink it or use it as a dairy product.” Nut “milks” should carry the same.
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.
In an ideal America I would wake up every morning (or every week, at least) and update my website and maybe make some mockery of the 1968 blender cookbook passed down from my in-law equivalent. But we don’t live there anymore. We were promised taco trucks on every corner and instead have to fantasize about developing hemlock cocktails.
Still, slowly, working out my thoughts on the biggest loss of the year, but I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised by the pissing on the urn. Once there was elation that it was playing out like some sort of Lysistrata. Now it just seems to be the Trojan Mare.
Summer’s other sad news reminded me of a coworker at a certain big media outlet who mocked a certain food&word genius for “showing up at the White House looking like an unmade bed.” In retrospect, maybe DC needed more like him and fewer of the polished but incurious.
So one night we all really don’t want to go out for dinner but I feel too guilty about ramming pasta down our throats, so we three go out for dinner thinking at least it’ll be at a sidewalk cafe and at least it’ll be a chance to check out a place we’ve never been. An hour and $$$ later, we’re trudging back home wondering if a flashy restaurant that is mostly empty is actually a front for the types of people who laundered money from Russian catering halls. And why are three profoundly mediocre “Italian” restaurants each only one avenue apart?
I had a book client sorta recently who never mentioned his mother without noting that she was looking up at us at that very moment. I always laughed, cuz I definitely know the feeling. Which makes me almost more amused than pissed that strangers would find a dusty ol’ website and choose the famously departed as excuses to fire off hate email to someone who has always been 50,000 leagues from stardom. The first decided she knows exactly why my biggest fan called me a bitch, and she is damned if she’s gonna waste any time on me. Hitting send musta been like an orgasm (and waiting for a response must be like blue balls). And the second was such a devoted, dedicated fan of Julia he had no idea she was singular. I look forward to looking up at ‘em both one day.