Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Of noble provenance"

-Gender parity in the literary world. What can be done? If women persist in painting their nails and watching British glorified soap operas about middle-aged lesbians in a part of England where people drop the definite article (not just a Russian thing, it seems), while men are writing Literature about North American obesity and overflowing toilets, how exactly can one expect 50-50 representation? Can the literary world use the contributions of someone Netflix correctly guessed would give the full five stars to "Last Tango In Halifax," based, no doubt, on our interest in "Waiting For God"? Such is the question some of us must ask ourselves when we open up that Word doc.

-Just as I'd predicted, the fashionability of sneakers was not, in fact, the first sign of a feminist revolution, but a trend. And, by definition, trends at some point start looking dated. The time to look of-the-moment in white Adidas is done, and "more traditional heels" are among the replacements.

-Will I try this David Tanis chicken recipe? Probably. (Maybe not, given my immediate chicken thighs -> yakitori thought process.) But speaking of trends, when will food writing stop having paragraphs like this?:

Of course, you should try to get the best chicken you can. Choose organic, free-range, heritage birds when possible. Even at $4 a pound, that’s far less expensive than other prime cuts of meat, and you are more likely to get flavorful chicken if it is of noble provenance. Free-range birds generally have firmer muscles than cheaper “factory style” birds. If you have tasted chicken in other countries, you know that firm meat and flavor go hand in hand.
I like the nod to what's "possible," in discreet recognition of the fact that some of us live in New Jersey. New Jersey, where a trip to the fancy supermarket yielded a spontaneous free glazed doughnut hole (a product they're now "testing," whatever that means; I survived it) and, OK, some baby artichokes that will be used to make a different Tanis-inspired recipe. And... he's right - chickens shouldn't suffer unnecessarily, and better-quality chicken (like, ahem, what's sold for whatever reason in the Santa Barbara Whole Foods but not the Princeton one, thus posing the ultimate of first-world problems) really does taste better.

But... "of noble provenance"? And a random dig at the U.S., and at the poor souls whose chicken experience (and perhaps life experience) is limited to this country? Must recipe-writers insist on budget-shaming their readers? And from an ecological perspective, should they be encouraging those of us who could buy this special chicken to do so even if it means driving around more so as to track it down?

Or is this more to preempt the commenters who'd see a chicken recipe as inviting a sanctimonious lecture on chicken farming? Is it a disclaimer, so that he can't be accused of encouraging anyone to buy that chicken, even if, realistically, this is a chicken recipe, which people will make with the chicken available to them?

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