I try not to sweat the small stuff and in the overall scheme of things, this qualifies. Even still, I felt the need to pour a cup of coffee and vent a bit. It was the Jan/Feb issue of Saveur that brought this make-me-crazy rant to the forefront, which is probably old news to you by now, but fits the broader trend. Admittedly, I’m behind on couch time with my nose stuck in food magazines, but I’m starting to think I haven’t missed much. Lately, I’ve experienced more grimacing than inspiration as I the peel through their pages, as though someone is trying to wow me with weirdness. Are we so bored with real food we need blood in stew or burnt toast in ice cream? Gross. So here’s a few food foibles gracing print that drive me crazy.
1. Cannabis cuisine. While I would expect to see it in enthusiast newsletters, it’s starting to pop up everywhere. In a New York Times article, Michael Rulman was quoted to say cannabis cooking will hit the mainstream only “when you can give it to someone and not make them a complete idiot.” Well, good luck with that. In the meanwhile, since legalization here in CO, edibles have shown to be a problem with children confusing treats (THC-laced gummy bears/brownies) and is related to a handful of deaths. At this point, it’s just not cool.
2. Using shop tools with food. Mini blowtorches are understandable. Using an air compressor to dry chicken might be teetering toward obnoxious but a chef in Houston is doing just that.
3. Burning food on purpose. Well-done is far enough. Burnt citrus? Charred vegetables? Burnt-bread powder? Psst. That’s what we scrape in the trash, we don’t sprinkle it on ice cream, and we don’t try to oversell it with descriptions of “malty, chocolate-like flavor.” Please. Stop.
4. $48 lunch bags and $200 soup ladles. Enough said.
5. Whole wheat bread that isn’t. Whole wheat should mean something, as in, it’s not predominately all-purpose flour with a nod to whole wheat flour—it’s ALL whole wheat. I’ve had my hopes dashed more times than I can count, tricked by a gorgeous artisan loaf with a lofty title that belies the recipe. I get it; it’s harder to produce great bread without refined flour, but it is possible. Hasn’t refined all-purpose flour been sufficiently covered? How about highlighting truly whole wheat artisan bread bakers? I know, this one gets me going.
6. Vegetable worship. I’m a big fan of vegetables. Really. I appreciate the wonder and versatility of cauliflower, but if you think it tastes like steak you’re eating the wrong steak. I enjoy the inspiring emphasis on vegetable recipes, but there doesn’t have to be a moral cause to eat them. They are delicious in their own right, and even more so when served without guilt.
7. Cooking with blood. Those who know my mom, know she is not one to mince words or keep them much to herself. There is this word-like sound she makes when something doesn’t sound appealing to her, like a drawn out uuhck! with a fair amount of phlegm to it. That was the sound I let out when reading how a touch of crimson pig’s blood enhanced the soup. It was one of those moments you say something and hear your mom. Her question would be, “Why would you put blood in soup?!” I don’t know, Mom. I don’t know.
What say you? Any you’d like to add? Discuss.