"The juiciness is found within you," Adam Perry Lang was saying at the head of the room, a mic clipped onto his camouflaged shirt. Students scribbled down notes. The chef and pit master, who trained at French stalwarts like Guy Savoy in Paris and Le Cirque and Daniel in New York City before turning his sights to the smoker, gestured passionately with his hands, occasionally slapping the 22-pound rib roast that sat on a cutting board in front of him for emphasis.
It doesn't take long to realize that the Chrome Grill, which functioned perfectly well for sparsely attended 49ers games, is not quite ready for the Super Bowl and its crowd of 71,000. Our cooks, three temps who earn $10 an hour for typical Levi's Stadium events, but $15 an hour for the Super Bowl, are cranking out food. Still the lines keep growing. It doesn't help that the fancy new registers tend to freeze up, or that we sell out of the jumbo dogs an hour before kickoff, which means that we have to waste precious time absorbing complaints.
This reflects the myriad ways Americans take their morning meat, Jimmy Dean variety or no: pan-fried on the side, baked with eggs and cheese in a casserole, stirred into gravy, rolled up in pancakes (or sprinkled directly into the batter), and, frankly, however else we want, dammit, so long as it's flavored with sage and/or maple syrup.
There may be white Beyoncé fans who also carry around their own personal bottles of hot sauce, but hearing her say she has hot sauce in her bag isn't a shout-out to them. She's talking to the Southern and Great Migration Black Americans listening â to them, to us, it hearkens to home. To childhoods spent at fish frys, church picnics, and visiting relatives.
This greatly distresses Klee. "I have a lot of worries, and one is that we are raising a whole generation of people who don't know what a tomato is supposed to taste like," he said. "If they go to Italy and buy a tomato at a roadside stand, it's a life-changing event." For now most Americans are stuck with massive, perfectly red, eminently tasteless tomatoes.
They watch for the red-striped grasses that tend to grow near matsutake; check for the signs of deer and elk, who love to eat them; and scan the ground for the telltale crack of an underground mushroom pushing up the earth. They follow animals and crawl through underbrush. They keep their nostrils open for the distinctive, pungent matsutake smell that has become part of the fungi's legend. Pickers often know the smell well enough to determine whether a mushroom has made their lives with lodgepole, oak, or the pungent-in-its-own-right "piss fir."
It's actually somewhat ironic that China feels the need to steal grain secrets from America. Henry A. Wallace, the early-20th-century father of the modified seed industry, aimed to revolutionize crop yields not to line his own pockets but for the good of global food security. He imagined his research as part of a nonprofit, perhaps government-supported endeavor, but was forced to create a corporation by the prevailing laissez-faire sentiments of the 1920s American political establishment.