Wednesday, February 23, 2005

media sickness

Do you ever feel like every time you pick up the paper there's an article in it about something you just did, or you're about to do, or are attempting to do at that very moment? It's disconcerting, at best, but always with more sinister implications: you've entered that demographic now, i.e., you're getting old, i.e., you're going to die soon. Not to mention the destruction of that illusory agency we're all so desperate for. A supposedly obscure thing I can never do again, because you just wrote an article about it and told the whole fucking world. No wonder everyone buys SUVs and customized "coffee" drinks at Starbucks.

Anyway, check out Corie Brown's excellent article on Mexico City, featuring choice quotes from Diana Kennedy, who seems to think, as one correspondant put it, that she's the Pope of chile town. Of course, she really is the pope of chile town, whether you call her "La Kennedy" or "pinche gringa."

"When we want to know something about Mexican food, we go to Diana Kennedy. I can't read my grandmother's recipes. She wrote down 'add chiles,' but she didn't say what kind or how many." Now that the anthropological heavy lifting has been done, anything is possible, she says. "Before you can break the rules, you have to know them."

More substantial interviews: Bruce Cole/Jacques Pepin:

Me, I'll take a tomato if it's an extraordinary tomato, even if it's not organic, over an organic tomato that has no taste whatever. People think that because [something's] organic, it's extraordinary. I've had lousy organic food.

Sound familiar? Also, David Leite/Paula Wolfert:

What's authentic? Nothing. I veer away when anyone says the word authentic, because authentic isn't what I'm interested in. I'm interested in the truth. There's a difference between the two. The integrity of the dish is important, but I'll change the recipe to make it work. Integrity is using the ingredients of an area, it's using what people recognize as what comprises the dish, but there's not just one way to make something. Even Bordelaise sauce has seven different ways to make it.

He may be a whore, but Jamie Oliver is trying to do something about school lunch, just like Alice; Asimov on the sideways effect; the first certified-organic restaurant; I fear Georgeanne Brennan is rather too easily astonished, which is a polite way of saying: "what the fuck are you talking about?"; truffles the new tobacco?; veganism = child abuse? cf. David Shaw on people abusers against animal abuse.

I just want to let it drop, but it is profoundly irresponsible to call salmon "tired". It's not tired, Frank, it's gone, because we ate it all. Char is a former junk fish (despite its [austere] pleasures) that we have to eat now because everything else is gone. And please please please take some French lessons. "Aux" is plural. Maybe Michelin will restore order, but it seems unlikely.

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