Eat the Week National: Bacon Barter, Burgled Bunker, and Barack’s Big Bear Hug
1. Oscar Mayer’s putting a new spin on the phrase, “Bringing home the bacon.” This week and next, actor/comedian/writer Josh Sankey is trekking across the country, towing a trailer filled to the gills with one-and-a-half tons of the new Butcher Thick Cut bacon and little else. From New York to Los Angeles, in this hands-on ad campaign, the absolutely penniless Sankey must trade Oscar Mayer bacon for food, gas, and shelter, indirectly living off of and effectively promoting the bejeezus out of this “new gold standard.”
2. Remember pink slime? It’s that stuff nobody knew existed until everybody knew it existed, and then, suddenly, everybody was throwing stones and hurling invectives, swearing it off, up and down. The influx of quick hatred against lean finely textured beef trimmings — the name by which pink slime is known amongst meat packers and those concerned about the filler’s lifespan — alienated so seriously a cheap, long-standing staple of beef producers that sales of ground beef were badly, badly bruised. Now, Beef Products, Inc. (BPI), out of South Dakota, is suing ABC for “intentionally” crippling their business (reducing their sales by about 80%) with defamatory news stories and uninformed on-air slams. This seems like a fruitless endeavor on BPI’s part, because simply seeing pictures of pink slime would turn off the most omnivorous of eaters, and also because, as any bullied child can corroborate, you can’t really hold any single source accountable for the spread of a nasty nickname.
3. Bloomberg’s officially got New Yorkers pissed, banning big sodas from nearly all proprietors’ coolers and drink fountains, as has been long discussed, thanks in part to a decision reached Tuesday by the New York City Board of Health. By March 12 of next year, movie theaters, restaurants, and street vendors will no longer sell sugary beverages in cups or containers exceeding sixteen ounces. Parents concerned about obesity and others of their ilk praise the supporting vote, but representatives of the American soda industry, along with normal folks madly in love with pop, plan on contesting the ban, maybe in court.
4. Celebrated brewers Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head have linked arms for a second go at joint brewing, this time with an Imperial IPA called Rhizing Bines. Two varietals of hops, two strains of yeast, two brewery stops — first Dogfish in Milton, DE, then on to Sierra’s new post in North Carolina — and an heirloom red winter wheat, for sweet nuttiness. Look for this 8% ABV hop-heavy lovechild on taps and shelves in February 2013.
5. For generations, distillers have been piping off the “angel’s share,” or bourbon vapors, from warehouses into the air without much ado. But now, the Air Pollution Control District (APCD) of — where else — Louisville, KY, has been brought in by surrounding denizens complaining about pervasive whiskey odors and an apparently resultant layer of black mold which has accumulated all over their properties. London-based Diageo, owner of such beverage peddlers as Bulleit and Bushmills, received a violation letter from the APCD last Friday, and is only one of five big names named in an air-quality suit against the bourbon makers.
6. An industrious resident of Kissimmee, FL, was outed by his snoopy neighbor this past week for converting his backyard into a massive dig-site. How does this pertain to food, you ask? Well, after authorities were called to investigate the supposed “little fish pond” being backhoed next door, they discovered that the paranoiac was building an underground apocalypse shelter, featuring a buried, stolen food truck. So that’s why the bibimbap guy hasn’t been around for a few weeks.
7. Master of molecular gastronomy credited with bringing the small plates concept to the States — José Andrés — will soon be serving up some hefty material as the new culinary consultant for NBC’s upcoming series Hannibal. Besides the guy who crossed mountain ranges on the back of a war elephant, the first Hannibal that should come to mind is the one this show’s about: Lecter, the fictional Lithuanian cannibalistic psychiatrist with a refined palate. Andrés will recreate dishes highlighted in affiliated films, like Silence of the Lambs, for one, and attempt to tease out Hannibal’s non-serial killer side through cooking, to portray the character aside and apart from his better-known attributes. Like psychosis, for one. Hannibal’s air date is still unknown.
8. To beat everyone to the punch, McDonald’s announced on September 12 they’ll soon be posting itemized calorie counts on all menus, inside and out, nationwide. Rather than wait around for the FDA to mandate this huge move in impending health care regulations, the Mechagodzilla of fast food slyly preempted to make it look like they actually care about your well-being.
9. An all-time first for Disney World: Weary adults will have a moment’s respite in the form of booze. A gigantic, new French restaurant (believe it or not, it’s also themed) called Be Our Guest, modeled after Beauty and the Beast’s manor/castle/fortress of emotional outburst, will serve meat-and-cheese plates, ratatouille, mussels, tiny desserts, and will actually allow adults to do the one thing they’ve always wanted to do at Disney World — dull their senses with alcohol. Open December 6.
10. Some monstrous pizza vendor (the man, Scott Van Duzer, not the pizzas) greeted Obama at his Fort Pierce, FL, shop, Big Apple Pizza, this week with what the Web’s calling a “bear hug” and a lot of genuine excitement. Obviously, the affair hit Yelp like a pie thrown at a wall, comments on the pizza place, political-affiliation nonsense, and slews of irrelevant chatter immediately peppering Big Apple’s previously barren review page. Part of this is due to the appearance of the President at a local restaurant and the other part to the fact that Van Duzer is a registered Republican who, outspokenly, plans on voting for our incumbent. We think the real news here, though, is that a civilian was allowed to embrace Obama and lift him off the ground without being tazed into unconsciousness.
Photo: Ben Husmann