Link Buffet: Trend Alert

If you’ve been watching Master of None–I took a glimpse at one episode but I’m waiting for my television buddy to return–you might like this rundown of all the real-life eating places visited by Dev and friends. The article compares the show’s taste for the hip and trendy to Sex and the City in its heyday, which is something I thought as well when I watched Dev and his friends gossip about sex and babies in the warm, subtle light of The Smile. But of course, the look and feel is totally different from the clubs and hard-to-get-into restaurants of SatC; Marian Bull suggests that the difference is that the late 90s/early aughts scene was all about being seen, while today’s savvy diner is expected to be knowledgeable about “authentic” foods and practices. That may be so, although of course the search for authenticity (whatever that is!) can sometimes be just another kind of conspicuous consumption.

For the same reason I love posts that capture historical criticisms of technology (beginning with the invention of reading and writing on through the rise of novels and newspapers), I love this 2014 but new-to-me roundup of times the New York Times hated on brunch since 1939. The sun still rises, the world still turns, and everyone loves to hate the trendiest meal of the week.

Do you enjoy whiskey and vodka cocktails during the cold season but find yourself wishing they were warmer, saltier, and meatier? Try a Manhattan made with mushrooms and other broth-based libations!

It’s been an interesting week for fat studies. The studies that suggest being overweight has some health benefits have been around for awhile, but got some fresh attention. And then there is this: “A healthy food for one person may lead another to gain weight, according to a study out Thursday that suggests a one-size-fits-all approach to dieting is fundamentally wrong.” I had a feeling that the obesity panic of a few years ago was going to turn a corner eventually; it’ll be great, though, when medical research about weight isn’t accompanied by knee-jerk disclaimers that everyone should try to lose some anyway.

A few years ago, when I was writing a regular food culture column, I pitched an article that would take a little food-themed art tour through the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The editors passed on that, but I very much regret not writing it anyway, because I loved this brief tour of the Whitney through food (featuring Warhol, my old fave Oldenburg, and my more recent fave Thiebaud):

Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920). Pie Counter, 1963. Oil on canvas, 29 13/16 × 35 15/16 in. (75.7 × 91.3 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Larry Aldrich Foundation Fund 64.11 Art © Wayne Thiebaud, Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y.

Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920). Pie Counter, 1963. Oil on canvas, 29 13/16 × 35 15/16 in. (75.7 × 91.3 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Larry Aldrich Foundation Fund 64.11 Art © Wayne Thiebaud, Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y.

Curator Dana Miller:

 “Thiebaud painted his famous images of cakes and pies from memory and his imagination, rather than direct observation of actual desserts. He applied oil paint with thick, luscious strokes so that it resembles frosting or cream and the result with Pie Counter is a painting that is mouth-wateringly sensuous. Pie has many rich layers of associations in American society, as evident in such phrases as ‘Mom and apple pie,’ ‘pie in the sky,’ ‘pie in the face,’ and so forth. By choosing a subject with such rich layers of cultural meaning, Pie Counter becomes an observation on the collective desires of American society.“

I’ve also read that Thiebaud’s pastries always look a little cold and inaccessible, like they are just on the other side of a glass case. I can see that a little here: those cool neutral tints, the near-perfect uniformity and geometry of those pie triangles.

I had a yen this month for Lebanese iced tea–a drink I used to get at Mona’s Cafe in New Orleans, which was sweet tea made with lemon and rosewater and pine nuts. I was delighted to find a recipe for it online, and surprised to read that the drink appears to have originated not in Lebanon but in New Orleans.
It also tastes good with whiskey, if you want to know.

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