Depression, Saltines, and I

I was fascinated with his "nicotine-stained" fingers -- that's what everyone called them then, even though the chemical is colorless -- as he plucked saltines one by one from the box and crumbled them into the soup. Campbell's Chicken Gumbo, Beef Noodle, or Cream of Anything, made no difference, in they went. "Thickening," he said, and of course Dad was right, because after he stirred it, the mingy housewife shortcut became something a man might want, a solid stew, a filling meal. Yet his stained fingers treated the crackers with a delicacy … [Read more...]

Kim’s Video Pizza War

Almost any restaurant is better than, say, Alan Greenspan at analyzing the economy. After the 1987 crash, eateries in New York and elsewhere began a process that I, as Village Voice restaurant critic, named "bistroization," by which I meant a dumbing down of the astonishing menu invention of the previous decade to a more affordable steak frites yawn that would keep customers coming into the same expensive space. Prices did begin to crawl upward as business improved, but the kitchen creativity that made the '80s the most thrilling culinary … [Read more...]