Today’s eGullet kerfuffle on the riches of New Jersey cuisine is exactly the kind of thing that makes us love New York all the more. eGullet co-founder Steven Shaw started a thread in which he berates New Yorkers for their neglect of the Jerz's fine food: The argument goes that with the Japanese market in Edgewater (hm), Newark's inherent awesomeness (um), and the fact that 60 percent of New Yorkers have a car (wha?), we've got no excuse not to visit our neighbors. His conclusion, therefore, is that New York foodies are “lazy” and “lack a fundamental element of cultural literacy about food in the New York metro area.” We're not going to say anyone's got a chip on his shoulder, but … wow.
The responses poured in — but true to our reputation for self-obsession, the only part of Shaw’s post that made any impression on New Yorkers was his rather dubious assertion that a majority of us own cars. As one commenter put it:
The (strictly professional) love affair between Paul Teutul Sr. of TV’s American Chopper and ectomorphic RUB owner Andrew Fischel began with a hour-long special about the creation of a chopper with a meat-smoking sidecar and soon led to RUB cooking for Teutul’s wedding. Now the unlikely pairing has led to a major joint venture.
Manhattan’s first two mechanical bulls (one expected at Johnny Utah’s, coming to the Rockefeller Center Hotel; the other rumored to be coming to a bar called Evan Ford in the Lower Eastpacking District) still haven’t sprung from the gate, so where is one to celebrate the Running of the Bulls festival now under way in San Fermin? New Jersey, naturally.
Late last week, zealous New Jersey assemblyman Michael Panter proposed a ban on foie gras in the state. This whole force-feeding-of-geese and-ducks thing is a perennial controversy — Marshall Sella offered a meticulously balanced analysis of the "culinary culture war" last year in these pages, before Chicago became the first city to outlaw the delicacy. In fact, from the moment humans began stuffing birds to pump up their livers, men and women of conscience have expressed their qualms with the practice. The great nineteenth-century gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote remorsefully of the fowls: "They have not only been deprived of the means of reproduction, but they have been kept in solitude and darkness, and forced to eat until they were led to an unnatural state of fatness." Not that he minded the results. "It is very true that this unnatural grease is very delicious, and that this damnable skill gives them the fineness and succulence which are the delight of our best tables." Charles Gerard, a contemporary of Brillat-Savarin's, was decidedly less guarded in his endorsement: "The goose is nothing, but man has made of it an instrument for the output of a marvelous product, a kind of living hothouse in which there grows the supreme fruit of gastronomy."