Trend alert: chocolate cereal! Over the weekend I saw TV ads for Life Chocolate Oat Crunch and Kellogg's Special K Chocolatey Delight. I guess cereal is trying to move out of the breakfast corner and into the world of 24 hour snack option. One of the ads (I think it was Life) said something like "rather than eat a whole chocolate bar, enjoy a bowl of chocolate cereal." I can't even imagine eating a bowl of this.
In case you haven’t been keeping up, Anthony Bourdain slams the Food Network and its stars over at Michael Ruhlman’s blog. Then Ruhlman defends Bourdain and describes the Food Network as a bastion of mediocrity. And then today Grub Street steps in to defend Rachael Ray and accuses Ruhlman of snobbery for calling the network and its stars mediocre. It’s nice to see, even on a slow Friday, someone’s still looking out for the common man, though I rather suspect Grub Street’s wishing they’d gotten Bourdain’s post instead. It’s hard to believe any food writer worth his weight would defend Sandra Lee, or encourage someone who uses the word “sammy.”
You're really cool when you order Secret Off the Menu Items. But how do you know what they are if they're secret and, uh, off the menu? Buzzfeed has the link. And now you too can get the secret rib-eye at Nobu.
Here's a food trend I'd like to see in New York City: mâche. Enough with designer burgers, fancy pizza, chocolate in savory dishes, and heritage pork. Bring on the yummy French lettuce! It's easy to get mâche in Paris, but hardly anyone ever serves it here. Could we please replace ramps this spring with mâche, trendmakers? I'd be very appreciative.
Update: Several readers have emailed to point out the Trader Joe's sells pre-washed bags of mâche. Good to know, I will check this out asap. Thanks!
Oysters vs. Chocolate: Which Is Sexier? "Judges will be fed a three-course meal of oysters, then go home and have sex. In the second round, they will be fed an equally delicious and light three-course meal of chocolate, then go home and have sex. After each round, judges will fill out a brief 'Sextionnaire' asking them to rate their arousal and pleasure on a scale of one to ten." Finally! Some journalists willing to undertake important work in the name of food.
Anyone can cook from any cookbook out there, but it takes a special kind of nutjob to attempt every recipe in The French Laundry Cookbook. It's like the Julie/Julia Project but with less recipes, and more insane amounts of work. Hats off to you Ms. Diner Girl, I wish you all the best. And I look forward to the day you attempt the torchon of foie gras.
We're in the grips of a large national problem of fish fakery. Investigators find menu listing doesn't match fish being served! "In many instances, not only is the 'grouper' in fact farm-raised Asian catfish from Vietnam or other species that swim with grouper, but the filets have shown signs of salmonella and traces of illegal carcinogenic fungicides, NOAA law enforcement officials said." Reminds me of some stories I heard on Cape Cod about the cheap sea scallops. Unscrupulous fisherman would catch dogfish and punch out sea scallop shaped rounds from its flesh, then ship them to the midwest where they claimed people couldn't tell the difference. [via Jason]
Fairway's foie gras sign, now removed
While I was out of town, there was an anti-foie gras protest in front of the Fairway Market on the Upper West Side. Farm Sanctuary, "the nation's leading farm animal protection organization" is trying to get Fairway to remove foie gras from its shelves. They've gotten the store to remove a sign they posted last year proclaiming the store "Foie Gras Central" and now, buoyed by their success in gaining bans in Chicago and California, they've set their sites set on New York. According to the New York Sun, "the group recently opened an office in the city and hired a full-time development coordinator." Poking around their site, I see that they've got protests scheduled every Sunday for the month of February to "educate Fairway's customers and other Upper Westsiders about the truth behind foie gras."
First of all, Fairway shouldn't have folded and taken down their sign. They have every right to sell foie gras, and they have every right to explain why they're doing so to their customers. By removing the sign, they've clearly emboldened the anti-foie grasists. Second, is anyone complaining to Fairway about the protesters in front of the store, trying to push their values on Upper Westsiders? If I shopped there, I certainly would.
Maybe what we need is a pro-foie gras contingent to go up and hand out pamphlets explaining the migratory behavior of ducks and geese that causes them to gorge and naturally fatten their livers. Or maybe not. Maybe everyone should spend their Sundays making their own decisions, not being pressured by strangers trying to get their value system codified by the government.
Missed this as I was scrambling to get ready to head out of town: Kate's got some information about the introduction of the Cloned Food Labeling Act, sponsored by Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) She also lists some good resources for how you can help support the bill.