Wednesday, March 23, 2005

people are talking about...

Is it just me, or is Steingarten's rice article in the new Vogue (Drew Barrymore) more coherent than he's been in a while? Maybe it's because he was my first love (among food writers), but he's seemed a little perfunctory for the last couple years. But the "wild rice is neither wild nor rice" thing is getting a little tired -- especially because he already said that rice is a grass, and then later explains that real wild rice is in fact wild. I guess it's just not catchy enough to explain that Oryza and Zizania are different monocots.

Also, has anyone besides Barrymore made the cover of Vogue after Playboy? And what did Marc Jacobs do to get Cindy Sherman for his ad? Casts a whole new light on History Portraits, doesn't it? You are probably as tired of the edible schoolyard as I, but at least they made Alice lose the bonnet for the photo shoot. And one more thing: instead of "Spain is the New Tuscany," how about "Condé Nast travel writing is the new Special Olympics" (also old news I guess).

Today's Times suddenly seems as good as it's supposed to be. Johnny Apple's Smithfield Ham story is the best thing he's written in a long time, if only for the relevation of Betsey's family's "side meat" custom. It's no Las Halles, but the death of Fulton Fish Market is at best an ambiguous augury. As for Bruni, I don't know whether to be grateful that he managed to review Della Rovere without mentioning Julius II -- is it possible he knows as little about Italy as France, or did he just discover restraint? Of course, on the heels of the Maureen Dowd embarassment, all this hardly matters. (Is this the "Watch! I'm taking my panties down" school of writing? [Rebecca Burke, whoever you are, I love you]). I couldn't even bear to read it; thank God Regina took care of it for the rest of us. And don't miss the Greenmarket love down the page (please get permalinks).

In LA, butter, herbs, and jambon persillé, Plus last week's highlights: Russ Parson's excellent strawberry story, and Corie Brown's report on LA County's ill-concieved venture into mycology.

Of course, what people are really talking about today is Nature which published a paper showing that Arabidopsis can somehow "fix" its genes. The "least mad hypothesis" is a secret RNA backup genome [Times article; Nature's news story]. I kid. Even though it's much less significant, people are actually talking about, the Syngenta Bt11 fuckup, which Nature broke yesterday. Not that you need me to explain it, but all this means is that we have no way to really regulate this industry.

Roundup: Congratulations to Robb Walsh for his much-deserved IACP article and book nominations. [His oyster article is here, in case you missed it]. Enchiladas suizas in the Chron (I had the originals last month, which was fun, but not the best enchiladas ever). The world of fried dough; Pittsburgh grassfed; Herve This in action. Last link via Bruce, who also unearthed the Quintessence de mes roustons in an article alleging the absence of terroir in Haut-Médoc:

Didier Daguenau, who produces outstanding Pouilly-Fumé wines, obtained an AOC label for his worst production, made with bad quality grapes, and which he calls "quintessence of my balls"

Meanwhile, American geologists claim to find Napa terroir, as reviewed by George W. Moore in (of course) this week's Nature:

This variation in personal preference is in marked contrast to the 'expert' opinion of wine-ranking services, which tend to favour blockbuster wines that are extremely intense, particularly on first tasting. This has led to winemakers letting their grapes hang as long as possible on the vines, and extending the time that the wines macerate on the grape skins. Swinchatt and Howell deplore the homogenization that this is causing to the taste of the world's wines. They recommend that consumers ignore the wine-ranking services, seek out diversity, and savour it.

Finally, someone just spilled a red hot latte all over his lap [defamer background].


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