Tag: food

amō, amāre, amāvī, amātum

by on Feb.14, 2010, under Uncategorized

For one of my early Valentine’s Days in Los Angeles, my now-ex and I went to Campanile, one of Los Angeles’s best and fanciest restaurants, located in a vaulted home where Charlie Chaplin’s production company once resided. The waiter was efficient but exhausted, and towards the end of his shift, as we struggled down the rest of our second-cheapest-bottle, he saw sympathy in us and unloaded a little.

“Valentine’s Day,” he said, passing us a secret of the trade. “A lot of amateurs come out to eat.”

We weren’t any different, of course — kicking it up one notch in honor of Mandatory Romance — but we appreciated that we were young and somehow assured enough to attract his confidence.

The following year found us exhausted and filthy on the night of February 14th. I’d been sanding the floors in our apartment, and she had been late at work, preparing a gallery show. Unshowered and dusty in our workshirts, we headed out to Palermo, a neighborhood red-check Italian default, and plopped ourselves down at the first available table.

And then we looked around, and saw that Palermo was like every other restaurant on Valentine’s Day, a place where people go one step further than usual. It was mostly teenagers, dressed up better than the restaurant’s usual casual-dining customers in blowy suits and shiny, short dresses, sporting single red roses or buying them from a girl on the floor. A good number of working-class adults were there, not as spiffy as the teens but wearing the ease of having found a babysitter and made it out to the first restaurant in a long time.

We felt a bit out of place in our stains and flannels, but no one was there to notice us. It was a fine dinner, with amateurs everywhere.

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Big Cola Strikes Back

by on Feb.09, 2010, under Politics

The Los Angeles Times has given good consideration the prospects of taxing soda to pay for rising healthcare costs. An op-ed in October made the case for such a tax, and a front-page story last Sunday detailed the proposal’s murder by the beverage industry.

A few weeks after hearing testimony that a penny-an-ounce tax on soda could reduce consumption by 23%, Rep. Linda Sanchez proposed the tax to colleagues on the House Ways and Means committee to a favorable reception. Beverage industry lobbyists went to work, raising questions about the science and, significantly, bringing minority groups that they had long supported out in opposition to the tax, saying that it would affect minority consumers disproportionately. (It would cost minority consumers more, but these are people with higher rates of diabetes — Sanchez herself was recently diagnosed with gestational diabetes).

As dog ever bites man, lobbying scares Democrats:

By the time the Democratic caucus held its next closed-door meeting in early summer, the atmosphere had changed, Sanchez said — an assessment shared by Pascrell and some committee staffers.

Democratic Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights pioneer who represents Atlanta, the corporate headquarters of Coca-Cola, argued that the soda tax could lead to taxes on other foods, raising prices for hard-pressed consumers during a severe recession. If you begin taxing one sugar product, where do you draw the line?, he asked.

Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), who represents a rural district where dairy farming is widespread, said he became concerned about the fairness of targeting one industry. Kind had heard from local Pepsi and Coke distributors, and he and other members also received letters from the National Milk Producers Assn. concerned that the proposed tax could apply to chocolate milk.

“We went from having real interest in this idea to it just falling off the table,” Sanchez said. “It was my perception that opposition increased as members began hearing from local businesses” that were part of the beverage industry coalition.

Michelle Obama debuted today her Healthy Food Campaign. The most regulation proposed inside it would grant principals the ability to ban unhealthy foods in schools, which is good, but altogether too localized. A soda tax would have discouraged consumption of a product and would reigned in the externalization of its costs.

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Squid Ink

by on Aug.13, 2009, under Uncategorized

But here inventiveness, confined to a fairy-land reality, must be applied only to garnishings, for the genteel tendency of the magazine precludes it from touching on the real problems concerning food (the real problem is not to have the idea of sticking cherries into a partridge, it is to have the partridge, that is to say, to pay for it).

–Roland Barthes, “Ornamental Cookery”, Mythologies

I foodblogged!

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