Monday, January 28, 2008

Bacon Sluts, Your Time is Now

I felt both indignant and justified when I saw this today on BuzzFeed, via meat husband* Mike Cosentino.

Indignant because I thought I had invented the bacon cocktail at a brunch last summer.

Justified because everyone at that brunch was looking at me like I was crazy. In fact, I was super cutting-edge. A bit tipsy...

In any case, I'm not sure which is most perverse:

1) The intense desire to claim 'bacontail' as my own,

2) The possibility that there may be a collective baconsciousness, or

3) The fact that a site promising Step by Step Photos of the Bacon Vodka Enfusion Process is so popular that it has exceeded its bandwidth and temporarily shut down.

I have no such uncertainty about the following product:

I mean, seriously - who wouldn't want a Bacon Scarf for Valentine's Day?


* a meat husband (or wife) is one who, with full authorization from the vegetarian spouse, adopts a surrogate dining partner for the purpose of eating carcass.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Back to School/the Future

I have just returned from a lengthy seminar on molecular gastronomy, put on for free by Paris AgroTech and starring the indefatigable Hervé This.

My companions and I, over two days in a stuffy salle, produced copious doodles and counted the minutes before the next coffee break. All in all, there were sixteen hours of lecture. For a field that is supposedly dead, This sure found a lot to say about it.

My notes from the seminar include terms that would be more at home in an episode of House than in anything to be found on the Food Network. Is maceration d'enzymes proteolytiques a concept with delicious applications, or an auto-immune disorder?

For further "research," I will today visit les Magnolias, my first 1-star and a purported proponent of molecular cuisine. I don't know whether to look forward to or fear eating food that may have been mixed with sodium alginate and dunked in a bath of calcium chloride.

In any case, I will report back.

Unless my throat is burned out, or I have turned into a robot.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Paris: International Shopping Coffee Break Destination

Listen up all you cosmopolitan art farts: the city of Paris has a shopping plan for you.

"Artistic tourists and other adventurous creators," are the beneficiaries of a new creative circuit promising "alternative places, inventive concept stores, designer fashion workshops, old-time hangouts, fair trade stores...a subtle combination of pop culture and artistic expression."

Sounds good, right?

Upon closer examination, however, the plan begins to look a little troubling. The circuit, part of the Soldes By Paris stunt, is not so much a shopping agenda as a death march of twenty-two cups.

Beverage boot camp will begin with an 8am breakfast and continue with a coffee break at 10. Lunch is proposed at 11, an hour when not a single restaurant is actually serving. If you can eat and gulp down your after-lunch coffee quickly, you'll have at least three hours before your next coffee date. Any shopping must be finished before the three scheduled café visits between 3-7pm.

You'll be starving (you ate at 11, remember) and more than a little jittery by the time you arrive at 8pm at "Le" Spring. Beat those empty shopping bags against the glass all you like, but Daniel will not be opening up unless you booked back in October. Skip ahead to your next destination, le Divan du Monde, and hope for some peanuts set out on the bar. Or give up and stagger down the street to join the tourists at the Moulin Rouge.

The worst part about this shopping circuit, aside from the near-absence of shopping, is that the coffee being so shamelessly pimped is among the worst in the world.

More and earnest coverage of these important sales can be found on the site of every other Paris blogger.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Blogosphetiquette and the Salad

Rule #42 for the aspiring novice: If an established food writer is having difficulty with her camera, lay your head down upon the counter and offer yourself as a tripod.

Results will vary, but may include something like the promise of a recipe for homemade Cheez-Its.

This pictured salad is what I brought, in lieu of Velveeta, for last night's pot-luck.

It was very simple: tarragon leaves, seeded grapes, vinegared shallots, and citrus cured scallops - all mixed at the last moment with a smooch of olive oil.

The portions were small because there was plenty else to swallow from the fine food fiddlers in attendance.

I may have nodded along at times, pretending to know the well-known, but humility has never tasted so good.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Potluck Requiring Both

I am up at 7:30 and have crossed the frozen floor three times before settling with coffee to work. Sleep was scarce as I spent the hours last night in a lost zone between dreams and anxiety.

There is a dinner party tonight.

Under normal circumstances, I am not a nervous cook [those who know me snort aloud and begin composing their corrections]. But tonight is a bit exceptional.

I am the only person attending this potluck, save for accompanying eaters, who has not or is not currently writing a cookbook.

"Why on earth," you ask, "are they letting her in?"

It's to make them look good, I assume. They must be counting on Kansas to bring the nacho cheese dip, the crock full of weenies, the Triscuits. I will provide the contrast by which their own plates/verrines will dazzle.

In writing this I have almost talked myself into bringing "a modern update on the cocktail weenie" or a deconstructed dip in which seperate piles of Velveeta and Ro*Tel are served in a millefeuille of Tostitos.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008: Predictions

Last year at this time, things were not looking good for Le Meg.

My Chinese horoscope told me that I "should not expect to have any achievement in 2007." And The Onion, not one to mince words, predicted that I would shoot myself.

On the bright side, the Chinese advised that I "would enjoy much satisfaction and happiness from 2008 onwards." I had only to wait twelve months.

True to their word, 2007 was indeed full of shit challenges.

I was mugged. I had a two month-long root canal. My widowed landlord went a bit nuts and threatened that her "husband the Préfet" would be coming for me. My carte de sejour was not renewed and I was instructed to return to the U.S. And while I left in late '06, 2007 was the Year of the Divorce.

With decidedly wobbly knees, I consulted those same stars again today. It was no small relief to read that the naysayers are now singing a different tune:

Love: "You are blessed by Hong Luan, the most powerful star of positive relationships. With this star shining on you this year, your romantic future looks all set to flourish and bloom."

Work: "Are you a freelancing Rabbit or do you own your own business? If so, there’s good news for you. You may have to work hard but the rewards you reap will be phenomenal."

Paranoia: When choosing friends and business partners try and determine whether that person loves you or hates you."
Even The Onion seems, in its own special way, to be rooting for me:
"Love awaits you where you least expect it in 2008—anatomically speaking, that is."
And a french version tells me that "the stars support me in taking professional risks, but that I can expect to suffer from headaches."

Taking these three together, it's clear that The Year of the Rat will be good for me. I should be ready for love, success, and perhaps aural penetration. But not by anyone who hates me.

Bonne année!