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Journal Archives

Foodie Culture as We Know It Is Over

A wave of culinary experts is responding to the pandemic with an accessible and empathetic approach to home cooking—and audiences can’t get enough.


In recent weeks, you may have seen YouTube clips of the Bon Appétit chefs fancifying boxed mac and cheese. Or a viral recipe for an easy shallot-pasta dish. Or Ina Garten getting real on Instagram about what her freezer looks like. Food media during the pandemic have, sometimes surreally, seemed to abandon elitism in favor of a less ostentatious approach to cooking. These cultural products don’t just emphasize accessible ingredients and techniques. They also present an inclusive vision of foodie culture that’s refreshing all on its own, especially at a moment when audiences are craving programming that cares about their daily realities.

The seeds of this new ethos were planted before the coronavirus crisis arrived. For years, The Great British Baking Show comforted viewers with its friendly, low-stakes competition—the spirit of which was captured by the Season 6 winner, Nadiya Hussain. Now the culinary champion is among those bringing that attitude afresh to American TV, via her Netflix cooking series, Nadiya’s Time to Eat. With good humor and charm, she visits “time poor” households and shares speedy recipes, celebrating food without sacrificing pragmatism.

The series is an engaging watch in large part because—like many other recent shows, YouTube channels, books, and blogs—it seeks to democratize the often-elitist landscape of food media. When Kim, an overworked mother of two, says she’s embarrassed by how haphazard her family’s meals have become, the host shakes her head. “This is real life,” says Hussain, herself a mother of three. “It’s hard juggling the cooking and trying to spend time with each other.” She then shares one of her quickest go-to recipes: a jazzed-up ramen that can be stored in the fridge the night before serving it. The dish is no panacea and can’t alleviate all of Kim’s frustrations, but the tasty, replicable meal acknowledges a daily quandary for many Americans.

Nadiya’s Time to Eat, which first aired on the BBC last year, wasn’t filmed with the prospect of a worldwide pandemic in mind. But as Hussain visits families, she speaks with candor and compassion about the profound, if mundane, stresses that many people face. This sensitivity to the concerns of everyday people—and to how those concerns inform the kinds of cooking they’re willing or able to do—feels timely. It’s common to see articles recommending lengthy baking projects and time-consuming individual dishes, which may be most appealing for those who can work from home or aren’t caring for young children. (Hussain’s fellow Baking Show finalist, the anesthesiologist Tamal Ray, recently wrote about how baking calms him after long shifts at the hospital.) But these kinds of diversions are often impossible for parents, especially mothers, whose schedules are even more congested now during the coronavirus crisis.


The End of Hong Kong

China has moved to take away the city’s autonomy, one of several aggressive actions by Beijing across the region.


Over the course of April and throughout May, while much of the world’s attention was trained on the coronavirus’s spiraling death toll, hardly a day passed in Hong Kong without news of arrested activists, scuffles among lawmakers, or bombastic proclamations from mainland officials. Long-standing norms were done away with at dizzying speed.

In that time, Beijing was undertaking aggressive actions across Asia. A Chinese ship rammed a Vietnamese vessel in the contested waters of the South China Sea, sinking it. Off the coast of Malaysia, in the country’s exclusive economic zone, a Chinese research vessel, accompanied by coast-guard and fishing ships—likely part of China’s maritime militia, civilian vessels marshaled by Beijing in times of need—began survey work near a Malaysian oil rig. The standoff that followed drew warships from the United States and Australia, as well as China. Beijing then declared that it had created two administrative units on islands in the South China Sea that are also claimed by Vietnam. Chinese officials have reacted, too, with predictable rage to Taiwan, whose handling of the pandemic has won plaudits and begun a push for more international recognition.

The moves were capped this week when China’s National People’s Congress announced that it would force wide-ranging national-security laws on Hong Kong in response to last year’s prodemocracy protests. In doing so, Beijing circumvented the city’s autonomous legislative process and began dismantling the “one country, two systems” framework under which Hong Kong is governed, setting up what will likely be a fundamental shift in the territory’s freedoms, its laws, and how it is recognized internationally. The announcement late Thursday evening stunned prodemocracy lawmakers, diplomats, and many of the city’s 7.4 million residents, who awoke Friday questioning Hong Kong’s future. The stock market plunged, interest in VPNs shot up, and Hong Kongers wondered whether 2047, the year in which China was set to take back full control of the city, had arrived more than two decades early. “I’m heartbroken,” Tanya Chan, the convener of the prodemocracy camp in the city’s legislature, told me. “Last night was a complete setback.”

Though much of the world has come to a standstill as a result of the pandemic, China’s regional ambitions and grudge settling clearly have not. Beijing has offered provocations—with a dash of propaganda and medical diplomacy—pushing forward its agenda despite the unfolding public-health crisis. “This is business as usual—in the South China Sea, towards Taiwan—it’s all the same,” Greg Poling, a senior fellow with the Southeast Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., told me. “Business as usual during a pandemic that people partially blame on you—it is more scandalous.”


WaPo: Klobuchar, amid Biden VP search, scrambles to fix relations with black community


Just before February's South Carolina primary, Amy Klobuchar landed a coveted chance to address African American leaders. When the black activist and journalist Roland Martin learned about it, he was outraged. Martin fired off a text to Al Sharpton, the longtime civil rights leader hosting the event: How could he offer such a valuable platform to Klobuchar, who he felt had ignored the black community and brushed off his interview requests? Sharpton let the senator from Minnesota speak, but when she was done he instructed her to talk to Martin, pointing him out from the stage. "Y'all need to talk to the black press," he told her as the audience looked on.

The unusual public scolding underlined a chief weakness in Klobuchar's current drive to be Joe Biden's running mate: her strained relations with African Americans. The tensions, rooted in part in her record as a Minneapolis-area prosecutor, hurt her presidential aspirations and have come storming back into the spotlight now that she is increasingly seen as a top candidate to join the ticket. In response, Klobuchar is urgently courting the black community. In recent weeks she has aggressively reached out to African American groups, introduced a voting rights bill, joined an NAACP town hall, worked with black leaders and granted interviews to African American journalists.

But some say it's too late to improve her standing after decades of friction. "In the next two weeks? I don't know what that would look like," said Rashad Robinson, executive director of the Color of Change, a racial justice nonprofit. As a county prosecutor, Klobuchar was too harsh toward nonwhite defendants, particularly African Americans, critics say, and as a U.S. senator she's done little to help the black community. In seriously considering Klobuchar, Biden's camp is making "a dangerous and reckless choice," said Aimee Allison, a leading activist for women of color. Biden has strong support from African American voters, but many of his allies in the black community warn him not to take it for granted. On Friday, Biden told an African American radio host during a discussion of black issues, "If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black."

After a furor, the Biden campaign rejiggered a conference call with black business leaders, having the candidate personally call in to the meeting instead of just staff as planned. "Perhaps I was much too cavalier," Biden told them. "I know that the comments have come off like I was taking the African American vote for granted. But nothing could be further from the truth." The radio host — Lenard Larry McKelvey, who goes by Charlamagne Tha God on the show — told The Washington Post that Biden should definitely not pick Klobuchar, especially after Friday's remark. "I think that would be suicide for Joe Biden's campaign," he said. "If he did that, especially at this moment, after the comments that he made. . . . He would be a fool not to put a black woman as his running mate."


BBC: Coronavirus: Dominic Cummings visited parents' home while he had symptoms


Dominic Cummings travelled hundreds of miles from London to County Durham during the lockdown when he had coronavirus symptoms. Mr Cummings and his wife went to his parents' home to self-isolate, a source close to the PM's chief aide told BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg.

The source insisted Mr Cummings did not break official guidance because the couple stayed in a separate building. Labour demanded No 10 provide a "swift explanation" for Mr Cummings' actions. "If accurate, the prime minister's chief adviser appears to have breached the lockdown rules. The government's guidance was very clear: stay at home and no non-essential travel," a spokesman said. "The British people do not expect there to be one rule for them and another rule for Dominic Cummings."

The Scottish National Party's Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Mr Cummings should resign or be dismissed by Boris Johnson and that it was a "key test of leadership" for the PM. And Ed Davey, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, added: "If Dominic Cummings has broken the guidelines he will have to resign, it is as simple as that."

No 10 declined to comment on Friday night after the story was first reported in the Daily Mirror and Guardian newspapers. Both papers reported Mr Cummings, the former Vote Leave chief who was the architect of the PM's Brexit strategy, had been approached by the police.


Tory bellend needs to get the SACK!!!!

Pat Lok 駱哲彦 'Gone Is Yesterday' EP [Kitsune Musique] (Tech House)

Free Stream >>>>>>> https://soundcloud.com/patlok/sets/goneisyesterday

Canadian producer Pat Lok has been on a massive run already this year with the high calibre releases of ‘Salvation’ and ‘Freefall’ (with Australia’s Thandi Phoenix), and now he’s come through with the goods in the form of his long-awaited EP ‘Gone Is Yesterday’ which continues the flow of good vibes all around.

What is most evident in ‘Gone Is Yesterday’ is the polish used to create a sophisticated blend of electronic/house music that you don’t normally see on the market. Lok utilises significant depth in production through a mix of industrialised and contemporary soundscapes to bring forth an artistically driven palate full of colour and drive that immediately gets you moving.

“Musically, I set out to write a dancier record, shifting towards the club with classic sounds (and hardware synths) and an almost pan-Asian sonic palette. My family is from Singapore originally, so I used various bits of percussion and melodic inspiration from the broader region (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand). That’s probably most obvious on “Get Dawn” where I started with a simple theme, and then produced the rest of track around the climactic final scene.” – Pat Lok


The 25 Whiskeys You Need to Try Before You Die


The 25 whiskeys herein are not the best whiskeys in the world. There isn’t a rating system or greater calculus behind them. This is a list of whiskeys that, in one way or another, matter. Some, like Johnnie Walker Blue Label or Old Grand-Dad 114, tell a story about where whisk(e)y has been. Others, like Bulleit’s ubiquitous rye or Buffalo Trace’s Blanton’s line, quietly reshaped whiskey history. And then there’s whiskey that’s just so good, so unique and so iconic, it makes the cut by force of will; like Four Roses’ 2017 release dedicated to and co-designed by the legendary Al Young, or the cook-kid-scotch Lagavulin 16. These are the whiskeys every would-be whiskey drinker should try before they die.

Is there Pappy? Maybe.

Buffalo Trace Antique Collection

Shortened to BTAC by its followers, the crown jewel of Buffalo Trace’s whiskey-making empire is an annual show-off session for its best juice. The collection includes an uncut rye bomb, extra-aged Eagle Rare bourbon and Sazerac rye and, what every bourbon enthusiast is perpetually hunting down, George T. Stagg and William Larue Weller. The former is essentially extra-old, barrel strength Buffalo Trace, the latter is a barrel strength Pappy that can be even trickier to track down.

Availability: Allocated
Price: ~$250 to ~$750


Weller 12

A $20 Buffalo Trace bourbon available everywhere is now $200 and nowhere to be found. What happened? Hype. Whiskey writers, shop owners and bourbon lovers started calling it “baby Pappy” because of a shared wheated bourbon mashbill, and it began to disappear. Is it worth the skyhigh price it goes for nowadays? That can only be answered after you’ve tried it.

Availability: Allocated
Price: ~$200


Hibiki 21

A number of Japanese whiskies undory the Suntory flag could be here, but Hibiki 21 is a classic example of Japanese whisky decadence. As with all Hibiki entries, it contains spirit aged in American oak barrels, Spanish Olorosso sherry casks, ex-bourbon barrels, ex-wine casks and the iconic Japanese Mizunara oak barrel, which is easily the most expensive maturation barrel money can buy. It is the pinnacle of a line that was created to cater to the Japanese palate, and shows incredible finesse in its intense, almost tea-like floral structure. Its rarity and price in the US represent the downside of the category, which hasn’t been able to keep up with demand in close to a decade now. It’s always Suntory Time.

Availability: Allocated
Price: ~$900


Henry McKenna Single Barrel

This is a time capsule to whiskey hype in early 2019. What was once a $35 bourbon available everywhere became a $100 ultra-premium whiskey lining the top shelf overnight, all it took was a San Francisco World Spirits Competition crown. The price may droop from peak hype, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever see it next to your regular old Knob Creeks, Four Roses and Buffalo Trace again.

Availability: Allocated
Price: ~$75


Nikka From the Barrel

Nikka’s From the Barrel is the best widely available Japanese whisky to ever arrive on American soil. Unlike Suntory’s near-extinct Yamazaki and Hakushu lines (and its highball-focused Toki brand), From the Barrel has never been hard to find. It arrived in the U.S. in 2018 and Japan three decades before that and the makers claim there are more than 100 unique malt and grain spirits blended within. It’s prototypical Japanese whisky without the assumed Japanese whiskey price.

Availability: Widely Available
Price: ~$60



HBO Max Will #ReleasetheSnyderCut of the Poorly Reviewed 'Justice League'

Fans have been demanding Zack Snyder's version of the maligned DC superhero blockbuster for years.


Don't you just want more Justice League? Didn't you watch Justice League and think to yourself, "Man, I wish I could watch this movie again, but slightly different, and longer"? We have incredible news for you -- incredible, meaning that none of us actually saw this coming in a million years: the "Snyder Cut" of Justice League, which is the theorized alternate version of the 2017 movie that had been completed by its former director Zack Snyder (we'll get to that) before the movie was handed off to another to finish up, will be released on HBO Max in 2021.

Now, for those who may be wondering, "What the hell is the 'Snyder Cut'?", let me explain. Zack Snyder, who directed the most recent live-action run of DC superhero movies collectively known as the "DC Extended Universe" (though no one officially calls them that) starting with Man of Steel (and not including Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman or James Wan's Aquaman), left the long-awaited team-up film Justice League midway through production after his daughter Autumn died tragically by suicide in March 2017. Snyder initially took some time away from the film to privately mourn and then came back to the project before leaving again in May, explaining that what he most needed during that time was to be with his family. To keep the movie on schedule for its November release, the studio hired Joss Whedon (who proved his skill at ensemble superhero movies with The Avengers) to finish it up.

After Whedon joined, the movie went through massive rounds of reshoots -- $25 million worth of reshoots -- to punch up the humor and to cut the runtime down to a studio-mandated 120 minutes. Now, reshoots are not some strange, worrisome thing -- I guarantee you every superhero movie from the past 10 years has done it, usually for stuff like fight scenes or to perfect certain shots they didn't get right the first time. But reshoots like that don't run up a $25 million tab, which got fans wondering how much Whedon was actually changing.

Zack Snyder has a lot of fans. They are very loud, they are very loyal, and when Justice League finally came out, they parsed through every minute of that film trying to figure out how much of Snyder's material had made it in. The various trailers for the movie didn't help at all: Many of them contained shots and lines that never made it into the final cut of the movie (also not an abnormal thing to happen, but, again, it doesn't usually happen to the extent it did here). Fans started to speculate about an alternate "Snyder Cut" that had been buried by the movie studio in favor of Whedon's safer version. The stars also seemed to be stirring the pot -- Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, and Ray Fisher (who plays Cyborg) all tweeted about the Snyder Cut on the same day last fall on the movie's second anniversary, and Jason Momoa has given shifty comments in various interviews about having "seen" the cut. They all seemed to be rallying behind Snyder, which makes sense, given the heartbreaking circumstances of his exit, but it also gave fuel to the fire for fans who were casting Joss Whedon as the "villain" who had stolen and bastardized Snyder's work for his own.


Charlamagne tha God defends Biden's support for black community


Charlamagne tha God defended former Vice President Joe Biden's support for the black community following their Friday morning interview. In an interview on Charlamagne's popular radio show, "The Breakfast Club," Biden said, "If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or for Trump, then you ain't black."

The quote generated much backlash against the presumptive Democratic nominee, prompting him to issue an apology Friday afternoon, saying, "I shouldn't have been such a wise guy. I shouldn't have been so cavalier." Before Biden's apology, Charlamagne defended the former vice president in response to a request from Mediate:

"We have been loyal to Democrats for a long time, black people have invested a lot into that party and the return on investment has not been great," he wrote. "As Biden said in our brief interview when I asked him if Dems owe the black community, 'ABSOLUTELY' was his answer. So let's see what you got!!! Votes are Quid Pro Quo. You can't possibly want me to Fear Trump MORE than I want something for my people."

Charlamagne said during the interview following Biden's comment about black voters, "It don't have nothing to do with Trump. It has to do with the fact that I want something for my community." "Take a look at my record, man," Biden said in response. "I extended the Voting Rights Act 25 years. I have a record that is second to none. The NAACP has endorsed me every time I've run. Come on, take a look at my record."


Behold This Terrifying New Face Mask That Allows Wearers to Eat

Avtipus Patents and Inventions revealed its mask earlier this week, demonstrating a built-in mechanical mouth controlled by a lever.


As an increasing number of states reach whichever phase of their reopening plans that allow restaurants to start serving dine-in customers, those restaurant owners and managers have the unenviable task of figuring out how exactly they're supposed to do that. They've been given a list of brand new requirements and restrictions that could include anything from having to construct physical barriers between the tables that can't be pushed six feet apart, to investing in disposable menus and single-use condiments, to ensuring that they have some way to securely keep track of customer data in case someone's subsequent swab test comes back positive.

Although hanging shower curtain liners to keep customers separated comes with its own set of challenges, another yet-to-be-answered question is how face masks are going to work in a situation when people need to have access to their own mouths. Some states are already advocating for dine-in customers to wear masks when they're walking to their table, when they interact with members of the restaurant staff, and when they go to the restroom—but what about the rest of the time?

An Israeli company says that it has invented a mask that will work for anyone who wants to keep the bottom half of their face covered, even while they're eating. Avtipus Patents and Inventions revealed its mask earlier this week, demonstrating a built-in (but visually terrifying) mechanical mouth that opens and closes with the use of a hand-controlled lever.
"The mask will be opened mechanically by hand remote or automatically when the fork is coming to the mask," Asaf Gitelis, a vice president at Avtipus Patents, told Haaretz. "Then you can eat, enjoy, drink and you take out the fork and it will be closed, and you're protected against the virus and other people sitting with you."


Chef Edward Lee Admires Louisville's Warmth and Slow Pace of Life

He also loves the city’s most storied liquor, bourbon.


Edward Lee is the James Beard Award winning author and chef/owner of 610 Magnolia, MilkWood, The Wine Studio, and Whiskey Dry in Louisville, Kentucky, and the culinary director for Succotash in National Harbor, Maryland and Washington, DC. He has authored two books: Smoke & Pickles and Buttermilk Graffiti. He is the co-founder of The LEE Initiative which is helping to feed restaurant workers during the COVID-19 shutdown. As told to Kat Thompson.

Life in Louisville is slightly slower-paced. There’s a real sense of community: a spirit of generosity, curiosity, and good times. We do things a little bit differently here. We drink way more bourbon than the rest of the country, which probably contributes to our unique way of thinking. And the bourbon definitely tastes better here. I came to Louisville after 9/11 to start a new life and didn’t think I’d stay forever. I thought I’d maybe stay here for a year or two and see how I liked it. It’s now been 19 years. There’s something about this place that really captures you and puts its arms around you, so it’s hard to leave. Personally, for me, it was really special that I came here and I found my voice. I found my cooking style, found my wife, and had my child here. I also found a city and a people that accept me. I’m a Korean kid from Brooklyn and to come to Louisville, Kentucky and not only be praised for what I’m doing -- but also to be loved and to be honored by the people here -- is really special.

But it makes sense. From the beginning of Louisville’s existence as one of America’s most important port cities on the Ohio river, there has always been a tradition of outsiders and business people coming in. There’s a very rich history of African American culture and food and contributions here. There is a historic depth of German culture that came in from the East and down from Appalachia many generations ago. There’s a midwestern work ethic coupled with a Southerner’s love for food, drink, and storytelling. It is a commerce city, but it’s a city of people who are open minded and want to start something cool. We’re not a big city, we’re not a small town, we’re somewhere in between and that gives up a lot of freedom to do things. We don’t have a singular identity that defines us. There are some cities where you can open the best restaurant in town but you’re just another restaurant. Here, I feel like people really have a vested interest in seeing me do well. People come to my restaurant and say thank you to me, and that doesn’t happen. The people here are truly appreciative; they get it and they support independent restaurants. They’re some of the kindest people I’ve ever met.

This also results in the amazing restaurant scene here. Mayan Cafe and Vietnam Kitchen have been here forever. The owners are like family to me and people you’ve grown old with. You see them and witness their struggles and their successes. And then you have newer restaurants -- places like Decca that are doing amazing things. The chef there, Annie, is a trailblazer and creating a new generation of food that’s fantastic to see. There’s a place called Bar Vetti that is young and vibrant and delicious, but with an attitude. It’s definitely a generation younger than mine that’s taking whatever Louisville is and doing it even better.

There are soul food restaurants that are definitely a mainstay of my diet; places like Indi’s Fried Chicken, which is an institution here, and Big Momma’s soul food. One of my favorite Indian restaurants is called Dakshin and they are located in the most inconvenient neighborhood you could ever imagine, but they serve some of the best food. They’re feeding hundreds of people during the crisis right now. They’re community-driven people with some of the best Indian food I’ve had. There’s a beer and gastropub bar called Holy Grale, which is in my neighborhood, and I probably walk over there once a week and grab a beer, sausage, and a pretzel. These places are treasures and they really sort of create this multilayered city where you can get everything -- they’re worth supporting and they’re worth saving.

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