Okay, I need to vent for a minute here about the ubiquitous use lately of the word “humbled” in posts all over the place about various awards/honors/interviews/press/accolades/handjobs that people have received and want to promote and/or link to. Shorter: you’re not. I don’t think that word means what you think it means. Have you been humiliated, chagrined, or brought low before your peers? No? Then shut the fuck up with your humblebragging. See below for a list of words you should use in its stead:
I don’t read a lot of food blogs. In fact, I read fewer now than I ever have. This has come about for several reasons. Though I have spent many thousands of hours in museums and galleries, I find that when I’m working on a painting I don’t want to look at other people’s images. They break my concentration and interrupt that precious state of intense yet calm focus which is the desired mode in the studio. As I write more (and blog less, ironically, though that may change soon) I find a similar disruption attends too much reading of other people’s words. Photography, which I have been doing a whole lot of lately, is somewhat different; I got a big pile of cookbooks in December—some of which I want to write about—and I pored over all of them to pick apart the pictures for technical tips.
There’s a certain look to the books I like, and it tends to involve pictures of the food with very little in the way of props. Other books, especially those aimed at a wider audience, tend to be more visually noisy and overstyled. Recently, that overdone look has become epidemic in food blogs as everyone tries to get their numbers ever higher. I’m not a great photographer, but I have become a decent one. And I have done so not on the strength of my styling or the depth of my prop collection, but through my attention to light and how it can be captured, controlled, reflected, and finagled to flatter a plate of food or the act of preparing one.
French hotels often have a separate little room for the toilet, which makes a sort of sense, I suppose. Unfortunately, because in Parisian hotels space is at an absolute premium, sometimes there end up being rather a lot of doors and cramped little bathrooms (plural) in one’s otherwise comfortable hotel room. The first one I stayed in last week had the two rooms on opposite sides of a tiny vestibular hallway, at the end of which was a closet. With both bathroom doors closed, one could access the closet. With either open, the closet was not operable, nor was the other bathroom door. After struggling with this arrangement for a bit, knocking doors together and cursing, my solution was to leave both doors open wide so that they both pressed against the front of the closet, with one behind the other, and I left my clothes in my suitcase. I could have kept all the doors closed at all times, but by that point I was not going to let the doors win.
There’s been an ocean of indignant digital ink spilled already about Paula Deen’s disgraceful deal flogging diabetes drugs after making herself sick eating the ghastly “food” she has become very wealthy advocating for years. As I mentioned on the Twitter, it’s like having unprotected sex with lots of junkies and hookers and then scoring a fat endorsement deal for STD meds. I’m not going to spend any more time on it, since it’s boring as well as depressing. But it did get me thinking, since it happened around same time I was reading about a few other equally distasteful subjects, all the while thinking about what it is that I want for this blog in the future.
I have always hated advertisements; back in the days when we had TV I was lightning fast with the mute button. I think they look tacky and ugly on websites, too, and the more they move around or occlude what I’m looking at the quicker I leave the site. I’m clearly not anybody’s target audience: I believe that voting with our eyeballs (and wallets) is as important as voting in elections these days, and I find commercials to be ugly. So while I ponder and slowly lurch towards several possible futures as a food writer, I can offer a few examples of what I absolutely do not want this happy second career to become.
In the wake of Scott Brown’s “I am beefcake, hear me roar” crack about Elizabeth Warren and Hank Williams, Junior’s unhinged tirade equating President Obama with Hitler, I have been thinking about why it is that Republicans aren’t ever funny. Brown’s crack was intended to be humorous, but only a frat boy with a tin ear would say such a thing in public and expect it to be well received. And this constant confusion between meanness and humor is epidemic in the modern Republican mind.
We ended up owning a vast cooler full of fruit pursuant to an under-attended neighborhood function recently, and the poor fridge was jammed to the rafters with watermelon and bowls of grapes and such. This highly non-local windfall was begging to have its volume consolidated, since the arrival of fruit fly season meant that keeping any of it outside the fridge for any length of time was a non-starter. I figured that the quickest way to compact it all would be to purée it (juicing not being an option since we haven’t replaced the broken juicer yet). And then there was all that gelatin in the cupboard.
I was going to sit on this for a bit and include it in a later post for the Charcutepalooza stuffing project, but since the Very Serious Media have allowed themselves to be punk’d for like the nineteenth time by Andrew Breitbart and are now running
ball-to-ball wall-to-wall Weinergate coverage, now seemed like an opportune time to wade in, sausage in hand, with a phallic-themed post.
Did anybody read this horrifyingly ignorant drivel about how the alleged conflict between “Foodies vs. Techies” represents “the great clash that now reverberates through American culture?” Holy shit. I thought that Atlantic anti-foodie screed was bad, but this is the single stupidest thing I have ever read in or on the New York Times (which is saying something given the presence of David Brooks on their payroll). Looks like somebody’s angling for a job as Business and Economics editor at the Atlantic once McMegan gets tapped for an endowed chair at Cato or the Heritage Foundation.