Saturday, July 18, 2020

EAT THIS FUCKIN' GEODUCK! EAT IT!

Tony, the prick, the snide, superior bastard, had my heart from the first.  My husband and I were confirmed foodies, the Biker all about flavor, me technique, and Tony was our culinary Hunter Thompson - Sonny Barger.  He was our thing.

I had to learn to like Andrew Zimmern.  I used to call his show "Watch the Fat Jew Eat a Bug."  Still, over time, I got over his shtick.  What he has to say about food is valid, if gimmicky.  You have to watch his face and listen to his descriptions.  Just because the man will put anything into his mouth and swallow doesn't mean that he really likes it, despite his seeming enthusiasm.  "I mean that in the best possible way" is code for "God I hate this, but I can get it down."

It's pretty clear when Tony and Andrew are being paid to play.  Their commentary becomes smooth and sincere.  Tony suddenly develops an acute case of inflection. Speed-delivery occurs.  Pork is glorified to ridiculous excess.

Here's my problem:  Austin, Texas and the Pacific Northwest.

Tony could not, and Andrew can not DEAL with Austin, or Portland, or Seattle.  Both men came up worshiping France and being awestruck by El Bulli. The French Laundry and Chez Pannise? Anaethema.  Too out front.  Too West Coast.  Too young. Smells trendy. Pass.

Fuck'em.

We've been out front and making change since I can remember, it's nothing new.  It's not 'hipster'.  It's not 'new wave' or 'Pacific Rim'.  It's what we do with what we have since 1960 and a lot longer ago than that.  After all, where was chow mein invented?  San Francisco, during the Gold Rush years.  Hangtown Fry?  Salmon in dulse? Tex-Mex?  The pioneers were eating that stuff, kids.  I have the old, old cookbooks, put out by Ladies Auxilliaries, Junior Leagues, Bible Study Groups and all the small town, rural organizations of women making do with what was at hand since the native Americans were living here side by side with the settlers, to prove my case. I have boxes of those cookbooks.  They are history. They are naive and crude and often egregiously non-P.C., but they are real as fuck and relevant fact.

Amazing things continue to occur in Austin, in Portland and in Seattle.  Some stuff, yeah, it's ridiculous.  I am not a fan of the 'polymerized tamari on a long wire' school of eating.  To me, food is meant to feed hungry people.  But the chefs out there on the screaming edge are the ones who are taking the heat and making change happen, if only in defiance of their preciousness. 

Out here we have secret chefs, people who work for the extremely wealthy and reclusive in the San Juans, or the very poor and in need of a carb fix cheap along Guide Meridian Road, who are doing excellent things. 

Chicken finished under pastry with the tips of fir branches is astounding, and it was invented here.  Dulse and geoduck sushi; invented here.  Camas and celeraic, mashed - here. Air-dried oolichan smoked over alder was invented by stone age people and it's killer good, from right here, on the beach, looking out over the Pacific toward the East.  The California roll, well, that's from California, but give it a break.  The salmon taco, here.  The Sikh feast made with wild local garlic that comes up all over my garden (anything that the Guru Nanak Gursikh Temple wants from me, they get, and it's here about five miles down the road.)  The Chinese buffet that uses local ingredients and turns out stuff that you've never seen before because the Guatemalan and Montagnard chefs in back are substituting stuff that grandma used to save cost.  That's here too, and it's astounding.

Learn to deal with it, people.  We're here.  We're weird.  Get used to it.  And have a salmon taco already, OK?





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