Archive for October, 2015

Episode: 140

Does Foodiness™ cause wrinkles?


I was thinking about apple-head dolls the other day. It IS apple season, after all, so don’t you think of apple-head dolls every year? No? Really? Look on Pinterest, I bet there’s a hundred pages of them.

So what’s an apple-head doll? Well back in colonial and early American and Laura Ingalls’s time, little girls would take a spare apple, peel it, carve a face into it, and then hang it in a warm, dry place, like an attic, for a month or so until it dehydrated and shriveled and shrunk up (and hopefully didn’t go all moldy). When it was fully dried up, it would uncannily resemble a wrinkly old person’s face, usually a woman’s face, as the men tended to drop dead in the fields at 50 but the women back then lived to be at least 60 and would be apple-doll-faced wrinkly and shriveled up by then because sunscreen.

Then they’d take these apple heads, and stick them on a body of two sticks lashed together, like jesus on the cross, and then if they were really crafty, upholster the sticks with rags to form a body shape and then if they were REALLY crafty, or just bored out of their gourds, since radio wouldn’t be invented for another 75 years, they’d sew little dresses for the dolls too. And then they’d have hours and hours of long, cold, wintertime fun, playing with the 19th century version of Barbie, unless the rats got to her and ate her face off. Life was a little more…. “raw” back then, wouldn’t you agree?

So myself, being a big fan of all things colonial and early American and laura ingalls, due to living in a colonial era town and participating in Bicentennial festivities where we all dressed up and reenacted crafts and activities from the era, like rolling big hoops with sticks and playing with dried fruit, made many an apple-headed doll in my youth. I just liked the way the apples dried up and turned into faces, all shrively and crinkled. You could really exaggerate the features by carving them deeply and then as they dried the chin and nose would really pop and droop, like a witch’s face. Being only 8 or 9, I had the smugness of a smooth-faced child, and never gave a thought to the fact that I too, one day, would start to see my once-flawlessly unwrinkled face, start to give way and resemble an old Cortland, left for dead in the attic.

But it’s happening. My rosy apple cheeks of youth are starting to fade and I see lines forming across my forehead and little crinkles around my eyes, and I know my appleheaded days are upon me. It’s ok, I can deal with it. I look pretty good for my age, mostly because I never had kids, which ages you worse than smoking two packs of camels a day, but now that I’m acting and am a “lifestyle” model (yeah, really, I know…) I’m getting more calls to audition for menopause drug ads and a lot fewer calls for I don’t know…cool apps? But I really don’t want to linger on the subject. We all get old. We all age, you can accept it or look like Meg Ryan and then you die anyway, so…The end.

Oh and also, Foodiness™ does cause wrinkles, we’ll discuss that too, on today’s show.

Episode: 139

I can’t hear you, there’s too much Foodiness™ in my ears!


Now I’m no teenager, I’m pushing 50, but I went to my share of arena shows, I saw the Clash, and the Ramones at small, acoustically challenged rock clubs and listened to a Walkman and then an Ipod for years and still do when I run, and not to sound like an old geezer, but WTF is up with the volume these days? Are we collectively losing our hearing, so we collectively turn up the volume on everything? SO LOUD. Restaurants? Forget it, I won’t go in if it’s too loud in there. I have a decibel meter app on my phone, and it’s always in the red zone. And if you’re playing candy crush on your phone on the subway, do you need to keep sound effects turned on? Could everybody, please, just SHUT UP?

But since this is a show about food, and Foodiness™, let’s talk about food noise.

Sounds from real, actual food, are fine. Crunchy, juicy apples, or spooning up creamy, real yogurt, licking runny, ripe cheese right off a plate (what, you don’t do that?) tearing into a crusty loaf of bread, those are all fine. It’s the sounds of Foodiness, that drive me nuts, because those sounds are highly engineered, and carefully calibrated, to deliver the snappiest snap, the crispiest crunch, the slurpiest slug, and that makes me crazy. Because in the same way that all those engineered, manufactured foods are highly calibrated to appeal to our top thresholds for salt, fat and sugar, making us unable to appreciate the complexity and subtlety of real, diverse, actual food, the engineers also calibrate the SOUNDS of Foodiness. Making the Pringles crunch just so, based on hundreds of hours of consumer test panels and market research. Making the viscosity of the yogurt in a tube just right, so that when lil’ Fletcher sucks it down in the minivan while he’s glued to his Ipad, it won’t drip onto the faux leather seats and stink up the place, and it’s thick enough that he thinks it’s more like pudding, than actual yogurt.

The engineered sounds of Foodiness™ are the noise pollution of our food environment. They drown out the sounds of our actual food. A droning microwave humming and then “ping”! delivering a piping hot, but previously frozen burrito cancels out the sizzle of a skirt steak on a grill, the slap-slapping of a hand making a tortilla. The breaking airlock seal on an opening can of soup, with a pull tab these days because a can opener is too much technology for the Wall-E crowd, is a steamroller of sound compared to a slow, simmering, dreamlike bubbling of a day-long braise or broth. How can we learn to appreciate and embrace the real, when the cacophony of the Foodiness™ is all around us, drowning it out? Maybe we need anti-Foodiness sound retraining seminars, down here in the shelter… We sit in silence, and eat the quietest foods we can find. Bananas, mushrooms, pudding…sshhh. We’re eating.

Episode: 138

Got Breast Cancer Awareness Donuts?


But soft, what pinkish light through yonder window breaks? It is the sun, and Breast Cancer Awareness month is the east! Sorry Shakespeare….

So if we thought the Pumpocalypse was bad (listen to the show today to hear about that)…just wait, because here comes the PINKOPALYPSE.

Yes, it’s breast cancer awareness month, which apparently is necessary because there may be 5 people in America who aren’t aware of breast cancer, I guess. Because maybe they were born three hours ago or maybe they’ve all been in a coma since 1997 after eating contaminated candy corn in the great candy corn scare of ‘97?

Oh and that reminds me, my faithful superfan and sometime stalker, Erica Pilgram, sent me two pics of canned frosting she found in her Pittsburgh area Giant Eagle market, just to make me more insane than I already am. The first one was artificial Candy-Corn flavored canned frosting, and the other?… artificial Maple-Bacon flavored. Canned. Frosting. Artificially flavored.

Seriously? In this great agricultural nation, with so much natural bounty and abundant farming, wouldn’t you think that they could have at least used REAL candy corn to flavor that first one…I mean, with all the corn grown in the USA, artificial candy-corn flavor? No comment.

But back to what pinkish light through yonder window breaks…yes, in case you weren’t aware, or have been in some kind of Kimmy Schmidt-type bunker cult for a decade, the pinkwashed, pinkopalype is HERE. And oh no, it’s not just the little ribbons anymore. It’s the breast-cancer industrial complex total takeover of the month of October.

Including…pink ribbon-shaped DONUTS. In case the other shaped and colored donuts didn’t contribute to your breast cancer, you can now nail your own coffin shut with these, and help your own cause at the same time! America is AWESOME.

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