Other people’s diets are notoriously hard to follow, as a writer on the trail of Tom Brady and Gisele, as well as a New Yorker visiting Los Angeles, discover in detail. Political conventions cause reason to scramble for a seat at restaurants in Philadelphia and Cleveland, while across the country small communities find comfort at McDonald’s. Snails are bred quietly throughout Europe, and an eco-conscious food lover bemoans wastefulness of food trends. Soak up these great stories with this week's top long reads.
So one of the first challenges on this diet is to give up coffee, the light of my life and the fire of my loins. I have never actually done this before. When I wake in the morning, I feel the familiar ache in my head that tells me I need caffeine. But instead of responding to it like a drone who is controlled by an overlord, I just let it settle into an intense and unusual headache that never goes away.
I wanted to visit not just generic juice bars, but the most extreme juice bars: ones that use ingredients like "brain dust" and shinzandra berries, and restaurants that serve breakfasts with cream cheese made from cashews and yogurt made from coconuts. I was prepared to roll my eyes at camu camu and charcoal-infused "purifying" lemonade, but a part of me wanted to believe that yes, in fact, the inky-black swirls floating in my water would latch onto and destroy the impurities surely clogging my body, mind, and potentially even my soul.
There's a good reason why Cleveland restaurateurs were psyched when the Republican National Convention was announced. Restaurant spaces, which generally sit in the center of the action, are prime retail during these conventions. They're perfect for delegations and lobbyists planning swanky soirees. But they're also good solutions for media organizations and corporations who are sending employees to the conventions and need temporary headquarters for the week.
Walk into any McDonald’s in the morning and you will find a group of mostly retired people clustering in a corner, drinking coffee, eating and talking. They are drawn to the McDonald’s because it has inexpensive good coffee, clean bathrooms, space to sprawl. Unlike community centers, it is also free of bureaucracy.
At night, the joint will be hopping; in daylight, most of the snails remain huddled under unostentatious particleboard slats, hemmed in by an electric fence. It may look quaint, but this little business is part of a loose network of small farmers and their distributors across the country, one link in a chain that has made the former Eastern Bloc the continent’s ground zero for commercial heliculture, or snail farming.
But as no end of other right-thinking crusades have shown, there’s a fine line between right conduct and smarmy self-righteousness. As we weather one discursive foodie sermon after another and choke down the aristocratic excesses of today’s foodie media complex, we may long for a sweet taste of silence. After all, there’s scant evidence that the vogue for artisanal cuisine has produced anything close to a more just, affordable, and robust food economy.
Southern Foodways Alliance
Like catching beads at a parade, after the fifth or sixth time, do you even want it anymore? Is it still just as special as it was on Twelfth Night? It feels unfair to hold king cake to such a high standard. High demand, simple structure, and ability to be shipped nationwide (FedEx even has a specially sized king cake box) have turned it into the Bourbon Street of New Orleans desserts.