Gone Fishing to Escape Gentrification
Moving to New Orleans from Florida in 2000 seemed a really sketchy thing to do at the time. Plenty of my old friends had gotten the hell out of the Sunshine State, but none of them had moved to the South’s murder capital. I figured the city’s vibrant music culture and cheap rents (the key to personal freedom) made it a risk worth taking, and New Orleans looked like the perfect place to hide out as the rest of America marched forward into the corporate maw.
Alas, in the last few years New Orleans has fallen victim to the same kind of gentrification afflicting every other “cool” city. Waves of relatively well-off, seemingly rootless young people have flooded in and co-opted and perverted and “improved” everything from the rents to the cuisine. The trendier parts of New Orleans now feel like Austin, which is to say a bit like Brooklyn, or Portland or… you get the idea. Invited here by politicians and other opportunistic natives, money and its attendant cultural trappings have more or less killed our blessed isolation and, in turn, a bit of the romance of living here. Where New Orleans’s landscape was not long ago dotted with beautiful, naturally occurring acts of originality by many different races, nowadays you can’t throw a gluten-free small-plate entrée without hitting a young, healthy, upwardly mobile person intent on creating something “cool.”
In times like these I’m thankful that fishing will never be cool.
Motherboard’s Brian Merchant spent a month living on nothing but Soylent, the futuristic meal-replacement drink. Watch the documentary
The Restaurant World Is (Still) Sexist
Time magazine has pissed off the international restaurant world. They’ve alienated female chefs. Oh wait—they forgot them altogether. The recently released November issue is titled “Gods of Food: Meet the People Who Influence What (and How) You Eat.” A bro-centric series of culinary stories about key influencers in food, the content includes a list of 13 “Gods of Food” (no female chefs made the cut) and a visual “food family tree” of heavy hitters who have pioneered the current restaurant scene. You won’t find ladies in there, either.
Like a bad train wreck, Time issue editor Howard Chua-Eoan—the dude who edited this entire package—recently engaged in an offensively revealing interview with Eater’s Hillary Dixler to explain the sausage-heavy content. When asked about including groundbreaking female chefs to the “family tree” flow chart, Chua-Eoan responded, “the chart came about because men still take care of themselves. The women really need someone—if not men, themselves actually—to sort of take care of each other.” The chart failed to include key influencers like Alice Waters, Barbara Lynch, Anita Lo, Elena Arzak, April Bloomfield, Clare Smyth, and Dominique Crenn, for starters. And when it couldn’t get any worse, he added that the Time editors, “did not want to fill a quota of a woman chef just because she’s a woman. We wanted to go with reputation and influence.”
The issue and Howard Chua-Eoan’s recent interview are revealing by-products of the pervasive sexism that continues to exist throughout all aspects of the culinary world. Or in the words of New York chef Sarah Jenkins, “the relentless circle jerk between the media, PR agents, and the chefs or countries who employ them than any kind of reflection on what’s truly happening out there in the real world.”
London chef Margot Henderson—chef and co-owner of Rochelle Canteen, and wife of chefFergus Henderson—decided to call bullshit. Here’s her response to Time, the reality of women in the kitchen, and why she believes media will continue to promote men before women.
David Chang, René Redzepi, and Alex Atala look quite charming on the cover of Time, don’t they? I think that most of these chefs set out to become famous, putting themselves in front of newspapers. I think that women are getting on creating great restaurants, but men feel that they have to change the world. Australian chef Stephanie Alexander has one of the top restaurants in the world. She has now—admittedly—stopped cooking, but the people that she has taught are incredible. Her cookbooks are incredible. That’s the thing: women are better food writers than men, aren’t they [laughs]? And they often stop because they’re so successful and brilliant at writing books when the men aren’t [laughs]. That Time editor… what a wanker? To not even include Alice Waters in this piece? It’s pretty shocking.
If you think about it, women didn’t really start working in kitchens in the culinary world until about fifty years ago. We’ve got women like Angela Hartnett and Joyce Molyneux, one of the first female chefs to win a Michelin star. Angela is one of the chefs that influenced a whole generation of young men who went on to have great careers. Maybe men are better at taking? They recognize the good things that they’re doing and go with it. In all of these media focused articles, they’re often based on geography. Ferran Adrià is an amazing chef who has undoubtedly influenced food in this generation. David Chang is great, and so is René Redzepi, but it’s just that the hard hitting punch line of tacking the name “Gods” on the cover of Time, and the Time editor’s recent interview where he alludes to not including women—on purpose—is offensive.
Living on an all-soylent diet—for a month.
My Doritos Loco Taco Gave Me a Boner
DISCLAIMER: this post is in no way sponsored by Taco Bell or Doritos and was inspired solely by the author’s raging hard-on for novelty tacos.
Months before it came inside my mouth, the flavor powder of my Doritos Locos taco lay in a 50 pound bag of chemical funk inside a Frito Lay factory in Killingly, Connecticut. Through a series of chemically and mechanically complex procedures, it was pulverized, dusted onto a circle of GMO corn purée, molded, baked, and shipped to NYC. Upon arrival, it was stuffed with a wet, gushy splatter of room temperature ground beef, thirst quenching ice lettuce, freshly diced tomatoes, and fluffy sour cream, shortly before we met.
Since the release of the Fiery Doritos Locos taco, Taco Bell has sold over a billion dollars worth of these spicy gut bombs—enough to finance a little less than a week’s worth of the war in Afghanistan. Just last year, the corporation hired more than 15,000 employees to help manage the growth of this magnificent item’s popularity. Upon hearing this news, a craving for the billion-dollar taco welled inside of me. And so it was that I recently found myself inside the Bell, where I opted for the Doritos Locos tacos combo meal, which includes one of each type of Dorito Locos tacos: Cool Ranch, Fiery, and Nacho Cheese.
In part two of Fresh Off the Boat - Detroit, Eddie heads to Dearborn, Michigan, home of the highest Middle Eastern population per capita outside the Middle East. There, he mows some Iraqi pastries, checks out Wild Wednesdays where the community does its bulk shopping, and engages in kebab diplomacy with a Lebanese community leader and some young Muslim activists.
Fresh Off the Boat – Detroit, Part 1
In part one of the Detroit episode, Eddie meets up with hometown hero Danny Brown to eat some massive Big Baby burgers and survey the ways in which Detroit has been affected by the economic downturn, and how a select few like Danny are doing their part to turn the city around.