11/11/2008

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

William Butler Yeats

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

 

Don’t Order The Halibut

They say that hope springs eternal. They also say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing every day and expecting a different result. Continental Airlines did an excellent job of transporting me to and from Europe. Everything worked well, including the security checks at both ends. But…the fish was overcooked. Impressively overcooked. The other food was tolerable, bordering on “not bad.” So on the flight back I did the only thing that made no sense and ordered the halibut again. My rationale was that it was a different preparation, so it would be cooked perfectly. It wasn’t. Maybe I should stick to the chicken.

Treating The Busboys Like Crap

We have 16-year-old who sleeps, eats and does his laundry (sometimes) here, when he isn’t doing what most kids his age do. What that is, I have no idea. I just hope it isn’t what I was trying to do when I was 16.  Anyway, he mentioned that one of his friends just got a job as a busboy in a popular local bar/restaurant. It’s a family-oriented place, where the focus is the food-drink combination, not the number of shots you can throw back after work. But that doesn’t prevent some of its patrons, complete with kids in tow, from treating this kid badly enough that even I, jaded and bitter, was surprised. This isn’t some professional waiter who should be held to a high standard; this is a kid trying to make some extra money so that he can buy a car, or pay for gas, or maybe even earn enough Continue reading “Treating The Busboys Like Crap”

Ah, Oysters

oysters.jpg

The Walrus and The Carpenter

Lewis Carroll

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright–
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done–
“It’s very rude of him,” she said,
“To come and spoil the fun!”

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead–
There were no birds to fly.

Continue reading “Ah, Oysters”

“The Agony Of A Food Snob”

Don’t click on this link unless you want to be irritated. Written by Daniel Gross, the Moneybox columnist for Slate, this is a pompous, elitist, self-important whine about high food costs. But not just any food, or the foods that most people eat, this is a whine about organic eggs and $43 olive oil and $22 Parmigiana Reggiano. And just so he can irritate everyone, he makes a profoundly stupid comment about the politics of most food snobs. He partially redeems himself at the end, but it is still an obnoxious article. And yes, I know that it is, at least in part, tongue-in-cheek. But it isn’t nearly funny enough to get away with being so pretentious.

The Dumbing Down Of Cooking: Celebrity Chefs

Years ago the only chefs on TV were people like Julia Child, James Beard, and a few other professional chefs. Nowadays of course, there are what seem to be hundreds of people, cooking sometimes nasty looking stuff, on dozens of networks. There is even a network devoted entirely to food.  But the problem is that many of them aren’t real chefs. When Jacques Pepin says something about cooking, you can take it to the bank. But when some moron spouts off about food on her own cooking show, when her last gig was as an extra on a sitcom, and her only claim to fame is a lovely body, you can safely ignore it.*

Maybe I am being harsh, but cooking shows without the benefit of professionals are just silly. Here is an article in SmartMoney magazine I found through the website of a local media company’s food blog (they used to be called newspapers): 10 Things Celebrity Chefs Won’t Tell You. There is nothing shocking in the piece, but it skewers most of the shows, and that is just fine with me.

*In the interest of full disclosure, if some “media company” offers me a cooking show or a book deal, I will smile, say “thank you very much,” and run all the way to the bank to cash the check before they realize what fools they are.