Archive for January, 2012

Episode: 17

Bacon doesn’t come from turkeys…


Hate to break it to ya, bacon is bacon, it can only come from a pig. Yes, there are chefs making lamb bacon and veal bacon, all good and interesting, but let’s split us some  hairs here. Those cured, smoked slabs of otherness technically aren’t bacon. These dopplegangers come from the same anatomical parts as the pig part that gives us bacon…but they’re not bacon. The part in question is the belly, or side, of a pig. Salted, cured, dried and smoked.

Turkeys don’t have bellies, or sides to salt and cure. Calling turkey bacon “bacon” is like calling “coffee-whitening-powder” cream. It’s not just Foodiness, it’s Franken-Foodiness, made by evil men in lab coats, stitching together bits and pieces of one creature with another creature to create a monster.

Back when I went to Art College, we tossed around a lot of fancypants words like Simulacra, which is defined as an inferior impersonation or impression of something else. Like the Venetian Hotel in Vegas, vs. Venice, or Imitation Crabstix vs. Real Crab. Simulacra, it’s a good one to throw around at a party. (But be careful with simulacrum – it sounds a little dirty.) Turkey Bacon is Foodiness Simulacra. Designed to give you an approximate bacon experience, but with a “health-halo”, Orwellian double-think to make you buy and eat something you think is better, but is really much, much worse.

When it comes to Franken-foodiness, getting real is pretty easy, because all you have to do is not buy the Franken-foodiness products and instead by the real thing. So buy cheese, not soy cheese; or put milk or cream in your coffee, not creamer powder (which also sounds a little dirty). If you want blueberry pie eat blue berry pie, not blueberry pie flavored sugar free yogurt. And if you want bacon, just eat the damn bacon!

Episode: 16

Vodka doesn’t taste like cupcakes….


…It tastes like alcohol. Hard, neutrally flavored alcohol, which is what it is, which is why it’s for grownups. Grownups who can appreciate drinking and eating things that are complex, bitter,  salty, and not necessarily sweet. Grownup flavors for grownup palates. The kind of flavors you grow into, slowly, as your taste matures…like wine, or caviar, or coffee…

But flavor your vodka or other spirits like a cupcake, or marshmallows or whipped cream, or chocolate or candy canes or gingerbread…and you have dessert, or treats for children. I like dessert (sometimes), and I like alcohol (most times), and children…(usually) but I don’t want them to all hang out together. I want them to stay in their separate corners, and only pair up where its appropriate. Dessert and children, ok. Alcohol and children, not ok. Alcohol and dessert, ok only when its something time-proven and classic like port and chocolate, or peaches in brandy, or bananas foster…flambe!

But put all three together, and you have the newest Foodiness foolishness to hit the scene; vodka and other spirits flavored like dessert, and not-so-subtly marketed with the goal of bringing the tweens and teens to the bar, by luring them with flavorings and sugar. There they go, all those crackhead sugar-loving kids, following the white rabbit down the rabbit hole where they encounter a fully stocked bar brimming with all those candy-colored and tasty-flavored offerings. And standing on a box behind the bar, there’s Snooki, with her own line of fruity-candy-flavored vodkas, ready to mix it up and party hardy. She knows there’s no way back out of the rabbit hole, so she’s going all the way down. And so there they drink…the oversized toddlers and their elfin leader, sucking down that marshmallow-coconut-blueberry-acai-pomegranate-chocolate-cupcakey booze, or is it booziness? Because in 21st century America, you can have your cake and drink it too…no fork required. 

And it’s not just the kids bellying (literally) up to the bar, its all the rest of sugar-addicted America, happily regressing back to nursing sippy-cups of spiked Hi-C in adulthood, “martinis” made from melted ice cream and coconut rum, antifreeze-blue colored frozen slushy drinks in tall plastic cups made for drinking while stumbling down bourbon street. (For reference see the Kids in the Hall Girl Drink Drunk prescient early 90s skit.)

What happened to a Martini? Vodka and tonic? Scotch and soda? Even a greyhound? Or a Screwdriver? Where’s Don Draper to mix us a bloody mary or pour us a little bourbon over ice as we meet in his office before (!) lunch….

Like Julie Andrews sang, “just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”….but we don’t like to take our medicine, unless its really sweet. So I think now it’s the reverse, just a spoonful of booze helps all the sugar go down….nice and easy, making us into big, fat, drunken toddlers, too drunk and too engorged and too stupid to find our way back out of the rabbit hole, where Don is waiting for us, in his cool tailored suit, with a tumbler of scotch on the coffee table.

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