Wednesday, August 10, 2005

good things, day 3

God, this is exhausting. The last New Yorker almost killed me with that Jonathan Franzen bullshit. Although I suppose he does deserve some credit for crushing the barrier between pitiless and pitiable with his trademark battery of self-obsession.

But our relentless happiness was restored by Wednesday's Thing that Doesn't Suck: the pluot. Yes, we could all survive just fine on the old-fashioned plum. But the march of interspecific hybridization has finally produced a fruit that is more than the sum of its parents. The texture is almost crisp, what children secretly want from plums, but soon discover is invariably accompannied by suboptimal sugar. Pluots are, I admit, usually too sweet, but not insipidly: there is enough acid (in some varieties) to go with the sugar. And there is a kind of hybrid vigor/chocolate-peanut butter effect on the flavor that makes it particularly delicious. Some varieties, like the Flavor King, are so ridiculously sweet they make you laugh out loud. My favorite is probably the Flavor Queen, which seems to have a better acid balance.

Addenda: Further research has revealed that the "heft" noted in Monday's trebbiano is likely due to the abuse of sawdust: i.e., rather more oak than belongs in a trebbiano (that would be none). Despite this defect, the wine is still drinkable. Some good news: there are no transgenes in Oaxacan corn [PNAS open access]. USN&WR American food issue. Haven't read it, but the "food timeline" devoted entirely to allegedly labor saving devices does not bode well. Ag schools are starting to realize that there's no money in farming except for niche markets. As, apparently, is the Pork Board, which appears to have started nichepork.com to compete with Heritage Foods. Coming soon: Chili's Berkshire babyback ribs.

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