Friday, July 29, 2005

annals of orthography

While the idea of Peter Luger's Spaghetti Bolognese is intriguing, the favorable comparison with "Emilia Romano" is not encouraging. Where the fuck is that?

Also, Beck was playing at Pancho Villa last night. Hopefully Satan was making tacos.

... and: the origin of taquitos; celebrity farm subsidy ads (that'll help); FDA briefly removes head from ass.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The red count

Of course, both Maryann and Regina declined my invitation to mock the concept of the "blog" "meme", but I can't help but feel a teeensy bit responsible for the former's memoir of nonna (complete with Ellis Island manifest), and the latter's history of the burro (no permalink, so:

I grew up calling burritos burros, which is what my family's Mexican neighbors in the poorest part of a tiny Arizona town wrapped them up as. Lola, next door, made her own flour tortillas and kept them soft in a big pot on the stove, and she filled them not with the luxury of leftovers but from scratch, with not much more than pinto beans enriched with lard. Bean burros were lunch and dinner and sometimes breakfast on a street where the whole debate over farmers' markets vs. supermarkets would sound like so much static from Mars even today.

Put that in your Greenmarket ennui and smoke it.

Miscellany: Further Julie Powell dogpile assembled at OwF; eat Dana's pie; Ibérico is coming, allegedly; shisitos: Japanese-style pimientos de Padrón; the mysteries of Zinfandel; don't drink Greek tequila.

Finally, instead of the correction, why not run a weekly disclaimer:

R. W. Apple, Jr. is drunk on power and free wine, and cannot remember anyone's name.

Friday, July 22, 2005

deus ex machina

Finally, we arrive at today's stupidest piece of information, Julie Powell's shockingly incoherent Op-Ed about elitism, or something. The many unpleasant contradictions that attend our industrial food supply seem to confuse poor Julie, here as elsewhere. Where does this moral opprobrium supposedly heaped on the poor come from? Union Square? Nineteenth-century Savoie? Jenny 8. Lee?

And what do methods of preservation have to do with any of this? We should eat canned peaches in July? Or does she rather mean that we should try to disguise our apparently limitless contempt for those who do? Either way, the "argument" depends on the fiction that canned peaches are cheaper than fresh peaches in season. And even if this were "true," it could only be because everyone's tax dollars are paying for our unsustainable system of agribusiness production, from fertilizers and pesticides to tin cans, to a racist and artificially depressed labor market, to farm subsidies that are directly responsible for the poverty of millions in the developing world.

Julie's complaints, of course, have nothing to do with "the poor" and their betters, and everything to do with her own resentment at having to pay NYC prices for decent food while struggling to get by on her tiny advance. Her own insecurities inspire the fantasies of kicking Alice Waters's ass with a can of Ro-Tel and some Velveeta. It is so sad, considering the very real inequities our domestic underclass has to face, that their self-appointed "defenders" so frequently resort to the manufacture of false outrages like this.

See the Cod and, of course, me for some of the real issues with yuppie food.

P.S. I had a Charentais melon for lunch. So elitist of me! Even worse, it was organic, so it probably cost 50 cents more than those shitty green cantaloupes that have been culturing E. coli for 2 weeks at your D'Agostino. I know how oppressive this is to Little, Brown authors everywhere, but I made an exception so no farmworkers had to die to keep the price down.

too much information

Remember the good old days when there internet was totally useless? It's still useless, of course, but now it's full of useless information (as opposed to uselessly devoid of content). I hereby renounce any attempt to keep track of it.

Merely by way of introduction to the following random linkdump:

Cool baseball stories: Doc Ellis's no-hitter on acid; SJ's Japanese-American league.

Annals of journalism: CNN's supreme sabor.

Yay, a blog about NYC restaurants.

Rodale and OFRF unveil Organic Certifier database, which will be very useful for farmers (and, perhaps, unhealthily obsessive consumers).

Super-slow salmon chez Derrick, and at Slate. Not (as far as I can recall) a frequent Sara Dickerman fan, but this proves she at least knows how to use google -- she cites Bruce Cole's sous vide post, and an interesting 4-question interview with sous vide "inventor" Georges Pralus:

Sous vide, à basse température, les plats peuvent nous restituer les saveurs de la cuisine mijotée de nos grands-mères, mais avec du matériel moderne et sans oxydation par l'air. Un boeuf bourguignon cuisait de longues heures sans bouillir, sur les fourneaux à charbon. Aujourd'hui, avec le gaz, la cuisson est trop violente.

Am I the only one skeptical of the similarities between a slow braise in the wood oven and a tepid bath in plastic? [cf. further doubts from last year].

See above for today's stupidest item.

Oh, for fuck's sake: more finger food. Awesome lede.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

She's my little rock and roll

The future of food: tattooed fruit, "local" seafood processed 8,000 miles away. Fuck the chart: at this point, you better catch it yourself or eat tofu instead.

The past of food: what, you don't feel like making Kurt Andersen's mango chutney? Hey, the '80s are on the phone, they want Bobby Flay back... And Bo Jackson, while you're on the line.

Also: Words of wine wisdom from Olde Hagge guest Lickona.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

elf power

Just because this article is so awesome doesn't mean the author's not a fucking moron for discussing Iceland's "celtic traditions." (Somehow I think she's not referring to the settlers swinging by Ireland for a little rape and pillage on the way over from Norway). This is the Times? Pathetic.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Ce sexe qui n'en est pas un

Oh no she didn't! The Cod unearths an shameful incident in the career of Tony Bourdain. Do not miss this one.

The really shocking thing is that someone was still publishing Spy in 1994.

Monday, July 11, 2005

the abyss

Every year I stare the All-Star break in the face and freak out. I can't even handle off days at this point in the season; what the fuck am I supposed to do for three whole baseball-free days? (No, I will not watch the All-Star game). The range of replacement media I can tolerate is very limited.

I stopped watching movies years ago. It was Anthony Lane's fault. Not because he eviscerated the objects of his criticism so effectively, but because the criticism was obviously so much more entertaining than the object. I have never regretted it.

Around the time that I stopped watching movies, in an unrelated moment of weakness, I subscribed to the New York Review of Books. I have no idea what occasioned this lapse in judgement, unless it was the All-Star game. About halfway through that dark year I started knawing off my arm out of boredom; soon I realized that the arm-knawing was more pleasurable than the reading, and I never looked back.

But before what I like to call the autophagy period, I waded through a review of Guns, Germs, and Steel by William McNeill, and decided that I didn't need to read the book. This, however, was a mistake, because the book is very interesting. If you are so lazy that you can't bring yourself even to read such an excellent specimin of pop-sci, direct your Tivo to the PBS series, which starts tonight.

In semi-related semi-public broadcasting news, NPR is running a Daniel Charles series on farm subsidies. No one has ever managed to make Americans give a shit about farm subsidies, but you should. More on this topic tk.

As long as we're indulging in a rare baseball post: Fuck You New York.

Friday, July 08, 2005

In'n'out of grace

Goddamn I love tomatoes. It's weird, I've been so distracted by the mysteries of strawberries this year I almost forgot about tomatoes. Just in the last week they're gone from the "maybe I'll take a flyer on these Sungolds" to the "how many Beefsteaks can I possibly carry?" stage. Now we're just waiting for the dry-farmed Early Girls. Joe, I'm talking to you.

If you really need tomato ideas, Pim explains the glory of pa amb tomàquet here, and I went into gazpacho and the sandwich last year.

Just the other day we were reminiscing about Forster, Dawkins, and all that other 'nineties shit, but now it turns out they literally cannot give Wired away. Who even knew they were still publishing? I just assumed the site was part of the wayback machine.

Gawker has recently been on fire with amusing items including: best letters to the editor ever?; possible Wonkette sighting?; food editors: gird your loins.

PSA: The burritoeater has launched; now we just need the taco truck site to get its ass in gear.

Damn it people, this is why the Supreme Court matters. They're trying to take away our god-given right to get wasted. I do not, however recommend drinking raw milk or these revolting cocktails [via #1hs] (I note with satisfaction that no one has stolen my best bad drink idea: Aunt Flo's Visit [hint: blood orange scratch sour]). Or fucking with Patricia Wells [thx muse]:

"Would you like a sangria?" the waiter asked. Sangria in Provence? I don't think so. We asked instead to see the wine list and were told we'd have to see Sébastian. Since then, we refer to the lunch as Waiting for Sébastian.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

only connect

feel the burn

"Awesome gourmet blogger" Pim Techamuanvivit, too genteel to perform her own mockery, has "tagged" me for a "meme". Remember the 'nineties? Although I approve of the narcissism, I am suspicious of the epistemology.

Even if I enumerate the tedious personal minutiae demanded therein, you cannot know me. That time I sat on the hibachi (gray coals, wet diaper), the first sting of Lawry's Seasoned Salt on a cube steak, eating Beefsteak tomatoes in the garden; perhaps these things remind you of yourself, but they tell you nothing about me.

What is required is a lengthy memoir of, say, my father's cooking, the seriousness of both purpose and flavor that he applied to his pot roast, the way he steamed our lobster despite his shellfish allergy, his love of Roquefort. Perhaps then we could excavate a suitably "formative moment" that would explain something about the way I think/cook.

But why would we want to do that? That's too much information.

These things are, apparently, communicable. Therefore, I sneeze in the general direction of Maryann and Regina, because they are likely to supply the snark Pim was looking for, and because they have interesting childhoods.

literary supplement: You're a clever little woman, but my motto's Concentrate; the primal scene.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Red Meat

Might as well celebrate your last independence day with a toast to Sandra Day. And ribs... I think I'll be doing rosado and ribs this weekend. Anyway, before you drink yourself into more than the usual stupor, Slate is making it sound like, at worst, they'll kick abortion down to the states. Not a pretty picture for the flyovers, but it could be worse. But who can even imagine what other fresh hells a Bush court will rain down upon us.

ANYWAY, the internets, which have been chugging along just fine without me, offer you the following random bounty:

Applebee's finger salad [thx muse]. Just be grateful we haven't had a foot salad yet.

Self help: how to pick up whores [via #1hs]; how not to play poker.

I want to give Chris Lehmann his own personal Rainbow Party for this:

Instead [the NYT writers] marshal their readers through a leisurely tour of hoary American social mythology. America, they purr, "has gone a long way toward the appearance of classlessness" -- meaning, one supposes, that the downwardly mobile middle classes are actually thriving on the appearance of being in possession of wealth and disposable income, as though, by analogy, it would have been perfectly acceptable to report design upgrades in segregated Southern drinking fountains as a meaningful advance for black civil rights. "Social diversity," they explain, "has erased many of the markers" separating the country’s haves from the have-nots. Yet they fail to recognize that a more socially diverse ruling class remains a ruling class, after all -- an uncomfortable truth easily overlooked when one is writing for an influential organ of said ruling class.

But I'm sure his wife's taking care of it. [Related: the story of Suck].

Via Languagehat, an Alaskan whistling language. And who doesn't love whistling languages? Even better is this Manx language sample, which not only sounds fucked up, but also takes the form of this indescribably awesome dialogue:

Soie sheese.
woman: Sit down.
Cha jean mee soie sheese, my ta.
clergyman: I'll not sit down.
C'red ta jannoo ort?
woman: What's the matter with you?
Cur y muc shen magh hoshiaght.
clergyman: Put that pig out first.
Cha jean mee cur y muc magh, my ta.
woman: I'll not put the pig out.
Well, cha jean mee soie, eisht.
clergyman: Well, I'll not sit then.
Well, immee shiu magh eisht, mannagh jinnagh shiu soie.
woman: Well, go out then, if you'll not sit.
Cur y muc shen magh hoshiaght.
clergyman: Put that pig out first.
Cha jean mee cur y muc magh hoshiaght. Mannagh vel shiu laccal soie, immee shiu magh eisht, son cha jean mee cur y muc magh, son ta'n muc fetch yn argid hym as ta shiuish goaill argid voym, as cha jean mee cur y muc magh.
woman: I'll not put the pig out first. If you won't sit then get out then, for I'll not put the pig out, for the pig fetches the money to me and you take money from me, and I'll not put the pig out.

©2002-2005 by the author