Weekly Roundup: The Silver Queen Of North Carolina Edition (With Video!)

For the first time in my life, I heard about the naturalness, tradition and superior flavor of New Jersey produce. “Taste-wise, nothing compares to Jersey Silver Queen,” the New Yorkers declared, clawing at ears of a fat-kerneled, North Carolina-grown supersweet hybrid, all sugar and no corn flavor, nothing like Silver Queen. They tossed the husks on the ground for me to rake up.

The depth of our society’s current obsession with food is impossible for me to plumb, and painful for me to contemplate. Observing the central role that consuming food has taken in the lives of so many successful and influential people is enough to bring out my inner Wordsworth:

The food is too much with us, late and soon;
Eating and shitting, we lay waste our powers
.

Don’t get me wrong — I know why things are this way. We’ve drastically increased the salaries of the upper class while also demanding that they all maintain apartments in our rabbit-warren cities. It’s no great trick for me to find a place to stash an extra motorcycle, mountain bike, stereo system, or automobile; all of these purchases are impossible to contemplate when you’re dropping 2,980 non-deductible dollars a month on a one-bedroom apartment. You can’t even own a lot of clothes, because very few of these places have enough closet space. So what do you with the difference between your $300,000 post-tax annual draw on commission and the $150,000 it costs you to merely exist in Manhattan? You spend $200-300 a day on swallowing things and digesting them. Poof! Problem solved. You’re now free to lecture others on living simply.

This is the lowest form of human existence, really. Even a pig can hunt a truffle. It’s so base that we have to make it complicated. There’s no cultural or contextual apparatus necessary for you to appreciate great art, great music, or great literature; you need only pay attention. Nor do we make it particularly difficult for you to do so. The Internet is free, as are most museums and libraries. Great food, on the other hand, has to erect a Byzantine scaffolding’s worth of intimidation to prevent the unwashed from noting that wine reviews are mostly imaginary or that the color of food plays a large part in what it tastes like.

Alternately, it might be that I have the taste of a twelve-year-old reform-school inmate and am therefore extremely anxious to believe anything that paints foodie-ism as a total fraud. Your choice.

Either way, it’s easy to see why I would be charmed by “Lessons From A Local Food Scam Artist”, from which the opening paragraph derives, and I was — until, of course, things got funky.

The setup is simple: An Asian-American woman (this is 2019, race enters into everything) gets hired at a “local food” stand in New Jersey some twenty years ago. She sells a variety of widely-sourced fruits and vegetables to New Yorkers who are on their way to, or from, “the country”. She delights in telling us all the ways in which these idiots are easily duped regarding the actual provenance of their purchases:

But I dreaded the New Yorkers. They were my first foodies, a type that, until then, I hadn’t known existed. Growing up in a middle-American, meat-and-starch-eating household, I had never before met people with strident opinions about vegetables’ quality, freshness and origins, who would use their children as mules to smuggle forty-cent nectarines to their cars.
.
Their foodie-ism was the worst kind, all about visual aesthetics, immediate gratification — and bargains. They fetishized the ideal forms of Jersey produce, but had no idea what the real thing looked, smelled or tasted like, much less the state of agriculture in that rapidly developing part of the country. In their quest for perfection, the foodies tried to haggle with me. They squeezed and bruised the tomatoes. They pawed through my displays to find the two prettiest peaches at the bottom, dropping the rest onto the ground. They asked me to pick a pound of the best cherries one by one, to wrap each tomato in a separate plastic bag. They sneaked extra corn into their shopping bags and paid for only a dozen; when caught, they protested that the stand down the road sold baker’s dozens. “Fourteen’s not a baker’s dozen,” I told them. They grumbled all the way to their Mercedes.

The author’s assertion that the foodie-ism of these city mice is “the worst kind” is, unfortunately, a hint that in the near future the article will be discussing the foodie-ism of the best kind, and sure enough, after a brief paean to the farmers and rustic folk that only she has the delicacy of prole-touch to understand, we start hearing about this higher foodie enlightenment:

The New York locavores taught me that “local” didn’t mean a quasi-mystical authenticity, or, for that matter, only a special kind of deliciousness, but also a relationship with the people who’ve produced the food, in a sustainable, equitable, regional network of labor and land stewardship. I could now buy honey and stone fruits from a farm just outside my hometown, whose existence I’d never even suspected. I got involved in the day-to-day work of CSAs based in upstate New York and Pennsylvania; the farmers delivered to Brooklyn, redefining “local” again.

You’re free to see a new form of feudalism here, if you have eyes to do so; that, of course, was the original “sustainable, equitable, regional network of labor and land stewardship” in which farmers busted their asses and rich people ate expensive meals.

…And that nothing smells as good as a heap of thin-skinned, bursting tomatoes in August, except a cantaloupe when the softened stem end exudes a droplet of honey-like juice.

Fifty Shades Of Red right here, ladies and gentlemen. How foolish I was to think that this was an attack on food fetishism when it was really a call for a deeper, more involved, and more expensive form of the perversion! Shame on the New Yorkers whose obsession with eating fruit was limited to a quick stop at a roadside stand. Why, that would be like suggesting that you can be Fox Wolfie Galen by stopping at a Halloween store and buying a set of kitty-cat ears! It’s not that these people should be ridiculed for spending a moment’s worth of time thinking about whether they could get Silver Queen corn instead of another equally palatable and digestible item — they’re supposed to enter into a BSDM master/slave top/bottom relation with a sustainable network of regional farmers first!

Listen, I’m not immune to this sort of idiocy when it comes to other endeavors. I’ve spent the price of a new economy car on a guitar and then spent months agitating on the precise hierarchy of desirability between two different kinds of South American fenceposts. I am willing to destroy friendships over whether the “Kashima Coat” surface treatment given to Fox Factory mountain-bike forks makes them indisputably superior to the Fox Performance Elite forks, which do not have it. (Hint: it does.) In my defense, however, if you look in the toilet one morning and realize that you’ve shit out a $14,000 guitar, you have much bigger problems than the resonance frequently of the neck wood involved. There’s a bit of permanence in any crafted object, even if most cars are junked after ten years and most bicycles after three. And even the ephemeral products of human ingenuity last longer than a mere piece of food. A first-rate live performance of music or ballet or theater elevates the mind and thrills the spirit; a $5,000 bottle of wine creates the same urine as Four Loko or White Claw.

Which isn’t to say that I’d rather eat some things than others. I am simply free of the notion that doing so makes me a better or more refined person, and I don’t seek to justify my gluttony as culture. That being said, it would be uncharitable of me to not demonstrate some common ground with the sustainable fruit lady, so: This column is brought to you by Prairie Vodka. It doesn’t taste any better than Tito’s or Ketel One, but in my experience you get much less of a hangover from drinking it. I have no idea why this is so, but it’s a real thing. Consider this a public service announcement. And some day, when my career in automotive journalism is over, I’ll tell you all the story of a “local” fruit stand in California and how it led to a well-known autowriter breaking down in tears to his girlfriend of the moment over the phone — but that, my friend, is a tale that needs to ripen on the vine a bit between now and then.

* * *

This week at Hagerty, I did something different — I hosted a one-hour video interview with driving instructor and all-around good dude Ross Bentley. You can watch it here.

I also wrote about the Mach-E and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

Proving that my brother and I do not always agree, Bark had a different Mach-E opinion.

83 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: The Silver Queen Of North Carolina Edition (With Video!)”

  1. AvatarRyan

    This topic was recently brought up within my friend group where we basically, we had the “experiences vs. things” debate. Someone told me that I was “too materialistic” and would be better off backpacking Europe instead of “buying useless shit” (the most exotic place this person has traveled was probably Myrtle Beach, but I digress).

    I told them that in 50 years, I’ll be able to pass guns/cars/watches/antiques to my grandchildren. As for the memories, they’ll eventually fade.

    Reply
    • AvatarNewbie Jeff

      “Someone told me that I was ‘too materialistic’ and would be better off backpacking Europe instead”

      The most amazing, gratifying, and intense experience I’ve ever had is racing cars wheel-to-wheel… I can confidently state that as a human experience it’s superior to traveling to other countries, camping, backpacking, or whatever, because I’ve also done those things. You also need a race car to do it, and a helmet, and a suit, and special shoes, etc… so color me “materialistic”. That useless shit gets a lot of good use.

      Reply
      • AvatarRyan

        That’s actually what sparked the discussion. I’m presently in the middle of a move and a friend is letting me park one of the race cars in his shed.

        I love camping, but it’s never provided a “life-altering” experience. Man vs. nature/machine/man, that’s an experience to me. The only hike where I learned something about myself is when I buried my Jeep off of some abandoned PA mining road and had to hoof it back with nothing more than a compass.

        Reply
        • AvatarNewbie Jeff

          Absolutely. Camping is great… it’s also easy and cheap. I like to go when the opportunity comes up…

          … but I live for racing cars. It’s become like a second job for me. The work on the car is never done, it always needs something. I’m constantly learning… you can’t afford to not know about tires, or suspension, or weather, or regulations, or the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors… every advantage is crucial. It’s stupid expensive. Almost to the point of being fiscally irresponsible… and I’m solidly mid-pack.

          …and yet, there’s no experience in the world like it. I’ve been strapped into a machine, hurtling through Road Atlanta in a herd of other machines. I’ve been in dogfights with other drivers, flogging my car to death, demanding everything from it’s beating heart, emerged soaked and exhausted, and still ran to the other guy’s spot in the paddock where we hugged each other like schoolkids…

          If I had the money, I would fill giant hangars with all sorts of race cars, and stack tires from floor to ceiling, and every weekend load them into a ridiculously extravagant hauler and point it towards some far away racetrack. People would call me materialistic, and I would feel so sorry for them because they were so hopelessly safe, their “challenges” so predictably derived from manufacturered adversity, their entire existence one of a billion documentaries on lifestyle but utterly lacking in life…. they can have all the foodie-fusion in the city, and it won’t come close to a burger at a racetrack.

          Reply
          • AvatarRobert

            Amen.

            Tangentially related…this weekend as I was swapping brakes and tires on my humble Civic after a SCCA Track Sprint, I realized a cocaine habit would be cheaper.

    • Avatarstingray65

      One problem with the argument that services or experiences are less materialistic and hence more “environmentally friendly” is that the service providers don’t bury the money they receive for the experience product they are selling. They are very likely to buy something with the money they earn so at best the purchase of an experience only shifts the makes the “materialism” to someone else. Another problem is that backpacking in Europe or mountain climbing in the Himalayas are not exactly low resource experiences when the emissions from jet travel, equipment, meals, etc. that come with the experience are added in. Just another example of Leftism advice bereft of any actual economic or environmental thought.

      Reply
  2. AvatarDuong Nguyen

    If I ever won the lottery I would open a hipster looking “foodie joint” and secretly serve food from Applebee’s using fancier names and presentation.

    I would then record the foodies gushing about the meal and crush them by letting them in on the secret.

    Reply
    • Avatarviper32cm

      There’s a Penn & Teller’s Bullshit where they did something similar. I believe they called it “The Best” or something like that.

      Reply
    • Avatarbaconator

      If it’s any consolation, those foodie joints don’t make any damn money at all. Here in SF, they’re closing left and right – there’s not enough margin in even a $129/plate prix fixe dinner to cover both the labor cost and the insane retail-space rents.

      What does make money is steak. It’s simple to cook, you can charge a good margin on it, and the clientele is typically on expense account, so their beverage tab (where the real margin is) is commensurate to your rents.

      I live deep in the heart of this foodie culture and Jack is spot-on: It exists because it’s the only status symbol that the urban upper-middle-class can actually afford. People spend shocking amounts of money on food that is … well, sometimes interesting in a good way, but never, in my mind, worth the premium over a double cheeseburger and a milkshake at In-N-Out. But a fancy meal, at a restaurant the average schmuck can’t get a table at, is the way to get laid in these parts. Once you know that’s the game you’re playing, are you in or you out?

      Reply
      • AvatarBooty_Toucher

        Sorry, but this is just plain incorrect or outdated. Even though it’s expensive, steak is well known for having the lowest markup and therefore technically being one of the best values at restaurants. The margin at steak houses is on drinks, but it’s also on sides (like $15 baked potatoes). The idea that steakhouses are super profitable because of expense accounts is also antiquated thinking – steak houses are on the decline, and they by no means have a monopoly on expense accounts. Any restaurant will take your money.

        Reply
        • AvatarGreg Hamilton

          I grew up in New York and was often told (perhaps incorrectly) that most restaurants didn’t exist to make money, they existed to launder money. Obviously I can’t go to much into detail.

          Reply
          • Avatareverybodyhatesscott

            That worked better when people still paid with cash. If you want to launder money, get a low end place where 80% of receipts are cash. If you try to launder money at a high end place anymore, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.

  3. AvatarMike

    I do wish I had the imagination to take advantage of people with too much money. I have a cousin who out of sheer boredom started making Christmas ornaments by cutting up old Christmas cards and advertisements she found a flea market and glitter gluing them to thin pieces of wood. She started selling them on eBay where inexplicably those ornaments started selling for hundreds (yes, multiples of $100) EACH. By the end of the year she paid more than $10k cash for a laser cutting machine, cut her work load by 2/3rds, and has a machine that expands her business opportunities while freeing up her work load to explore those opportunities.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Reeb wants me to have a Helm on the 2020 Sqweeb I’m discussing with them… I kinda want to go Factory 36 just to be safe though.

      Reply
  4. Avatartoly arutunoff

    re the cards: just another part of ‘appreciation’ of modern ‘art.’ re foodies: we travel in france and boy do we eat well! skip their beef, though; it’s mostly Charolais and kinda bland. but regular meals range from doggone good to near incredible. and we don’t eat anything like the designer food I’ve read about, mostly in the usa. squid with plover’s eggs toasted in a rare seaweed, to make up an example that isn’t far off the mark. and the service is generally great; you hardly know they’re there. we’ve led 4 ‘rallies’ of a dozen or more friends on eating–I really should say dining–tours of france, and never in major cities. although I must say you should have breakfast at laduree in Paris. I don’t know how ham, eggs, and croissants can taste so good; laduree is where the macaron was invented. yes we’ve had some good food in the usa but have also been served ‘convention food’ in a few expensive places. in france my wife pointed out that all the flavors in a dish are perceptible, not glommed together. I have limited tastes; don’t like seafood. fish is good and I’ll always remember a sardine raviolo from 20 years ago. I don’t go for oyster sorbet but my stepson slurped it up. one more thing before I go: we had the ‘cognac menu’ at la truffiere near the pantheon in Paris. each course came with a shot of different cognac, room temp, chilled, or warmed. by dessert we were about as happy as people sitting in public could be. oh! I could rhapsodize about racing too, but only on narrow tires…

    Reply
    • Avatarstingray65

      Did you know that France is the country where the public eats at McDonald’s more often on a per-capita basis than any other country outside the USA? Go by any McDonald’s in France and there is a line of people waiting to order their LeBig Mac, and this popularity drives the elites with their pride in French food culture absolutely mad.

      Reply
      • Avatarbenjohnon

        My definition of a gourmand: Someone who understand that McDonalds has basically the best pomme frites in the world, can loves a $7 bottle of table wine that the local farmer is making illegally in the basement, and will try a bite of Vietnamese street food.

        Reply
  5. Avatarstingray65

    100 years ago when life expectancy was about 50 years, virtually everyone ate locally produced organic food. If such food was so fantastic why did processed “frankenfoods” become so popular? Perhaps because it was much more convenient and tasty? All I know is that there is a great deal of empirical research that finds organic foods are virtually never judged to taste better than factory farmed equivalents in blind taste tests, and local foods and organic foods are virtually never found to be more sustainable or environmentally friendly than factory farmed foods because of lower efficiency and yields, nor do they offer any more vitamins or nutrients. In fact, if organic/local food movements would became mandated by some Leftist regime, it would result in mass starvation and loss of wild-life habit as the lower yields would require much more cultivated land to produce less food. Of course, the same Leftists will then say that all we need to do is give up eating meat so we would no longer “waste” grain on animals, but the same Leftists also want to ban fossil fuels that are the source of much “man-made” fertilizers, so without animals and associated manure, how do they plan to fertilize their organic artisan foods? My guess is they plan to utilize the same magic unicorn farts to fertilize crops as they also use to pay for free college and healthcare, and provide low cost CO2 free electricity for all those subsidized electric Mustangs.

    Reply
    • Avatar-Nate

      What’s wrong with sr65 is no small thing ~ so scared and afraid he can’t even discuss eating a nice bit of dead cow without making it a B.S. rant about ‘leftists’ ….

      Whew .

      -Nate

      Reply
  6. AvatarGene

    Pictures of fat women stepping on bugs are illegal? Only through reading Jack Baruth do I learn such things.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  7. Avatarpaul pellico

    thank once again, jack.

    as always, you make sitting in the back of the class, feeling way behind the other students, enjoyable. your words make me realize the feelings and thoughts i have always felt deep down but can never put together as you can, a great feeling of self affirmation.

    i wanna call crap, and do often, but always am held back by the lack of words when it comes to telling these woke holier-than-I in real time. i know there is a reason they are stupid, but its always on the tip of my tongue or buried deep inside, lost in a file long ago misplaced.

    i tell them…i’ll get back to you on this….

    your thoughts make my thoughts feel as if i have a kinsman out there and i can stop feeling frustrated with my ever growing inability to put the stupids in their place when they dump their righteous buckets of culture over me.

    but they all received this in a 5 am email this morning.

    again, thanks and keep making me feel i am not alone.

    Reply
  8. AvatarNoID

    “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.”

    In my heart I agree with you, in my head I must admit that in the end a bike is no better than a bowel movement. But you said as much yourself, so I suppose it’s just a matter of the degree of hedonism to which one subscribes. They find happiness in disposable vanity, where you find it in (physically and mentally) durable vanity.

    “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”

    Reply
  9. Avatarrwb

    You know, the highlight of a good eating experience is supposed to be the going in, not the going out. Are you looking for some satisfaction in the second half that you aren’t finding?

    The bulk of your argument (no pun) seems to hinge on the poop thing, and is effectively the same as saying live music is actually a bad thing in general, because you’ll probably stay up late and be tired the next day, and that’s the same net result as if you’d just stayed up late and stared at a wall, so what’s the point?

    It’s fine to not like something, but this doesn’t seem like a very solid rationalization, and it doesn’t really have any relevance to the rest of the points about the cultural fetishism.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I get what you’re saying but the reason I hammer this aspect of it is because it serves as synecdoche for the whole. All meals, however grand and elevated, end up the same way — and immediately, as opposed to in years or centuries.

      Most human fetishes and preoccupations are at least demonstrably human… but even a dog can demonstrate a preference of meal.

      Reply
      • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

        My ex and I took the kids camping in the Upper Peninsula every summer. Though we generally ate pretty well (like whitefish right off the boat) while camping, we’d always bring ’emergency food’ like hot dogs and other stuff that can be made in a hurry. One of the items was a can of turkey meatballs in tomato sauce, made in Israel. While most Israeli processed foods I’ve had are generally as good as what U.S. producers make, these were so bad we emptied the can into the bushes next to our camp site. While we were making something else for dinner, we noticed a neighboring camper’s dog sniff at it and walk away without taking a bite.

        Reply
      • Avatarrwb

        Yeah but then basically every experience that doesn’t leave you with a tangible object or change your behavior or perspective in some way is really only as valuable as you want it to be.

        If I take in some piece of art, something distinctly human, that’s simply enjoyable, and tells me a story, and isn’t necessarily teaching any overarching lesson, what I’m left with is a pleasant memory, same as with a nice meal. The poop is tangential, as are the capabilities of dogs.

        Maybe there’s some conflation of the thing itself and the experience of it? If I own a painting or record I like, I can look or listen at any time and enjoy it, and the object will exist for a while if taken care of. If I know a great recipe, I can make that food at any time and enjoy it, or do so for other people. What’s actually on the plate will become poop, but the experience is also available any time. Besides, knowing where the food comes from plays a part in being able to do so, so to put effort or money into it shouldn’t be considered “fetishization” any more than preparations for any other hobby.

        Obviously it gets weird at a certain level of gross sybaritism but that’s true of pretty much everything, and those who ‘gram their every meal might not be doing it the way I’d like, but I can’t really ask anyone to enjoy something more deeply than they do.

        Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      We hear that a lot but it’s not exactly true, is it? Otherwise the pro sports leagues would be filled with the upper-class children of foodies, not people who spent their youth on purple Hi-C and HFCS-slathered cereal.

      Reply
      • AvatarGregory

        A lot of pro athletes are genetically predisposed for the sports they play. You can teach a seven foot tall man to play basketball, but you can’t teach a 4 foot man to dunk one in the hoop. (I know he will rebut me with a witty exception).

        (As an aside I was invited to a Vikings football team dinner from my work since no one was available to go. I spoke with many of the players and since I don’t watch football I didn’t know who they were. They were all very like able. Many had very little interest in nutrition and had just seem to win life’s lottery as far as their physique and coordination were concerned. One thing most of them had in common was they were living in fear of their coach Dennis Green. It was quite something to see the coach belittle a 280 pound player for hurting his shoulder so he couldn’t play, but I digress.)

        Reply
        • AvatarWill

          When you burn over 10,000 calories day, nutrition goes by the wayside and you just need to fill your body. As someone who played college sports, I would sometimes lose weight even after eating 3 square meals and going to Wendy’s. People forget that. It’s only until you hit about 30 does the nutrition part kick in as it helps your body not break down faster.

          Reply
  10. Avatarpaul pellico

    well, not to get to busshist on ya, but really, this whole thing is poop.
    existence for the sale of existence.
    not supposed to look really close.
    just go along with the auto immune defense we have of enjoyment, love, you know…all the things built in to keep us doin.
    yes, music, like food and drink, just comes n goes and does what it is supposed to do, but is still a bit more non-elitist.
    i mean, music and music lovers aren’t doing it and then turning around and lecturing the rest of us…not counting the music critic and such.
    the music critic, the wine n food critic, the auto critic…hell, just get out and eat, drink and drive what makes YOU feel good.
    and i suppose there are those who do the from grower to your table purity JUST for themselves, but Jack, i THINK, is addressing the more noble of these. he is specifically addressing the do as i do…as i do at this moment cause it is what i feel is the pure for now…until the next word from withing strikes.

    Reply
    • Avatarpaul pellico

      corrected…remember…the stroke

      well, not to get to buddhist on ya, but really, this whole thing is poop.
      existence for the sale of existence.
      not supposed to look really close.
      just go along with the auto immune defense we have of enjoyment, love, you know…all the things built in to keep us doin.
      yes, music, like food and drink, just comes n goes and does what it is supposed to do, but is still a bit less non-elitist.
      i mean, music and music lovers aren’t doing it and then turning around and lecturing the rest of us…not counting the music critic and such.
      the music critic, the wine n food critic, the auto critic…fuggetaboutem. hell, just get out and eat, drink and drive what makes YOU feel good.
      and i suppose there are those who do the from grower to your table purity JUST for themselves, but Jack, i THINK, is addressing the more noble of these. he is specifically addressing the do as i do…as i do at this moment cause it is what i feel is the pure for now…until the next word from withing strikes.

      Reply
  11. AvatarCompaq Deskpro

    I have a difficult relationship with food. I have a history of eating irresponsibly, I have to exert mental effort to not be a fatass, and I was in the past. I try not to love any food that I didn’t cook myself. There is also the financial side, cooking and preparing food and budgeting it for the week saves hundreds off of buying a lunch for $5-15 every day for a month. The disciple of needing to cook the food, stretch it out throughout the week, is a balance of health and money that is the epitome of the adult experience. Control, not obsession.

    As far the article goes, the sexual innuendo is hilarious, but it looks to me like she wants food snobbery to be substantiated with actual knowledge of food. I can’t argue with that. Eating food has a profound effect (good and bad) on mental health and I can’t agree with “I’m so enlightened I don’t even need food”, its just yet another level of snobbery. What’s the end game, Buddha?

    Reply
  12. AvatarMarkXJR

    I feel the same way about musical concerts (shows, etc.). People make a huge deal about being “lucky” to pay hundreds of dollars to see some huge-today-forgotten-tomorrow band (artist) play and sign poorly at some crowded smelly arena. 99.9% of the time, live performances are nowhere near heavily massaged studio versions.

    Reply
    • AvatarNoID

      See: Red Hot Chili Peppers.

      I suppose you could argue how subjectively or technically “good” they are, and I sure wouldn’t call myself a fan (nor do I despise them), but they’re the first mass-market group I that comes to mind when I think of a huge gap between the quality of their studio albums and the live performances I’ve heard.

      They’re awful in person.

      Reply
        • AvatarOne Leg at a Time

          I don’t know about the heroin, but I have a friend who worked in/around the music industry several years ago.

          He said this about several of the musicians of the time (Avril Lavigne is the name that I remember). Rich parents bought songwriting credits, studio time, backing bands and airplay to ensure that their special baby could be a pop star.

          Reply
          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            In Avril’s case, they went so far as to pay the songwriters up front so they would hand credit to Avril. When the album actually sold, a few of them tried to reverse that Faustian pact.

          • AvatarOne Leg at a Time

            I can’t imagine that went well. If parents can afford to purchase the entire “famous musician” package, they aren’t stressing lawyers.

            How much does a song go for, if part of your soul is included?

  13. Avatartoly arutunoff

    then more room for us food snobs! and we eat at French mcdonalds on road trips, because no French restaurant is open from 2pm to about 7; you can get wine and beer at some mcdonalds

    Reply
  14. AvatarNoID

    Re; The Cullinan article.

    The suspension only dampens the body and/or the wheels if the shocks are leaking, to which I’ll add that a leaking shock or two will do a considerably poorer job damping the inertia of these components relative to each other,.

    “The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.”

    Reply
  15. Avatar-Nate

    “Alternately, it might be that I have the taste of a twelve-year-old reform-school inmate”

    _THIS_ .

    I’m told that one’s palate is often discerned by the foods you had and enjoyed as a child .

    Mom’s cooking mostly sucked plus there wasn’t every enough to eat .

    Enter institutional foods and plenty of them, wow ~ who knew I’d ever be allowed to eat enough the get full ?! .

    Oddly this meant my all time favorite food remains liver with onions, preferably way over cooked .

    Once or twice I’ve eaten at some place where you can’t get less than a $100 plate, the food was never very good and always tiny cure looking portions instead of good solid food to eat and enjoy .

    Why do this ? .

    Here and there most every where you go are local “Farmers Markets” where the foodies go to buy more expensive produce .

    Often it’s the same stuff sold in down town where the local supermarkets buy from the huge agrico farms, just re boxed and three times the price .

    I’m pretty good about picking fruit out of the bins at Food 4 less, I too see others slamming them round and bruising the living crap out of it and I know storage fruits when I see them, gotta look carefully .

    I never did learn the knack of choosing the best corn by pulling open the top and looking at it o I just buy the pre packaged stuff, it’s never silver as I dislike too sweet .

    One needn’t buy a race car unless your skills are up to it, few are at Willow Springs from what I see .

    Just find a whip you like to drive fast and set it up to suit, take good care of it, it’ll still be expensive .

    I like my basic tastes, as I gas out I’m not enjoying the burgers and pastrami’s like I used to dammit .

    Pooping is good ! =8-) .

    If you have a proper fiber balance you’ll never have to strain .

    -Nate

    Reply
  16. Avatarviper32cm

    When you say that the SN95 was “sometimes unlovely and often underpowered” are your referring to just the 94-98 cars or the entirety of the post-fox body production (94-04)?

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I sold these cars for a living and I’ve raced them with joy but I have to say that I dont think they ever looked quite right. The Terminator Cobras were the best of the bunch. You always got the impression that they’d styled a car and then shortened it to fit the wheelbase.

      The V6es were always behind the competition, and the 32v engines didnt deliver the numbers. The New Edge 4.6 was probably the most competitive as a value proposition.

      That being said, they were always a joy to drive and the two runs of Mystic cars will be worth something until the end of time.

      Reply
      • AvatarNewbie Jeff

        Don’t forget the 2000 Cobra R!!

        That car captivates, even today… parts like the intake manifold and Recaro seats are automotive gold. First Brembo’s on a Mustang. Hilariously underrated at 385hp. STFU Red. I have always, and will always, want one.

        Reply
  17. AvatarBlueSilverWave

    Re: Mustang Mach-E vs. Thunderbird, I asked around a bit about why the “Thunderbird” name didn’t win out, and apparently internal opinions about that vehicle are fairly negative. Sentiments (pretty much all engineering) wavered between “why associate it with that piece of crap?” and “that name still needs to stay buried for a while”. The T-bird was developed long before my time, but I get the sense that there’s no love for that name. (and a surprising amount of fond memories for the Lincoln LS?)

    Reply
    • AvatarOne Leg at a Time

      That’s too bad about the “Thunderbird” name. I think it was a great vehicle in all of it’s iterations, except the most recent. And even that was a bit ahead of its time – the ‘retro’ pony cars took off just as the latest T-bird went away.

      In any case, I think the styling of the ’02 was either too bold, or not bold enough (stealing Jack’s Rev 3:16 quote here…)

      Reply
      • Avatardanio

        The danger with going bold like Ford did with the last T-bird is that the arc of popularity can be very steep and descend into backlash, like the PT Cruiser, or Nickelback.

        Reply
        • AvatarOne Leg at a Time

          I imagine that Chrysler would take the backlash over the PT Cruiser – didn’t they sell a million in the U.S. over ten years? Heck, GM even copied it with the HHR, and sold a bunch of those.

          It reminds me of the Neon – they sold a ton, never updated the styling, and then replaced it with basically nothing.

          Question – was the rise and fall of Creed worse than Nickleback’s?

          Reply
          • Avatardanio3834

            Yeah, the PT Cruiser worked out well as a business case. But like the T-Bird, it can’t come back any time soon.

            IMO Nickelback’s reputation as a pop-culture butt-rock band far overshadows any negativity associated with Creed. In the current year, anyway.

  18. AvatarGreg Hamilton

    Every time I read a Jack Baruth article it’s like I am taking a Rorschach test for an MK-Ultra experiment. I don’t know what to expect.

    Reply
  19. Avatardanio3834

    I’ve always considered myself a foodie, until they redefined what foodie meant. I always thought it meant ordering four Whoppers for lunch when I was in high school. Or when my friends and I eventually put a restaurant out of business for having the audacity to offer all-you-can-eat chicken wings for $7. What it means now is getting all conceited about over-paying for basic bullshit.

    Anyhow, I recently bought a house with a very glorious brick wood-fired pizza oven that’s build as part of the structure of the enclosed patio off the back of the house. It’s proven to be great IG fodder for my “foodie” friends. Especially when my cousin the award winning pizza chef comes over with his “curated” toppings.

    Fundamentally, it’s a great excuse to eat pizza and get drunk with my friends without having to go out. I’ve smoked brisket and turkey in it too. Making poo has never been so fun.

    Reply
  20. Avatargtem

    A good read and a good laugh as always Jack. I’d probably classify my wife and I as foodies (functionally, secretly), we appreciate high quality food and within reason, are willing to pay for it. Granted, the vast majority of our meals are home cooked, but a nice dinner out at our favorite latin fusion place to the tune of $100-120 with drinks a tip is something we enjoy once a month or so. I contend that I can make a pan fried $10 NY Strip steak at home taste better than a $40-50 one at most steak houses I’ve been to. But for certain asian cuisines I don’t have mastery over, or moqueca seafood stew at the aforementioned fusion spot, I’ll pay to play.

    I will say, hipsters jerking it to produce aside, paying more good quality meat and produce, or growing some of it ourselves while avoiding processed foods when reasonable, is a worthwhile endeavor if you can afford it. I very highly recommend the book “Deep Nutrition,” an anonymous twitter body building buddy recommended it to me and it’s an eye opener. The parts about our nutrition and its links to epigenetics are what really drive the point home for me.

    Reply
  21. Avatardejal

    I buy most of my food at ALDI. If what they have sucks, I go to the place up the street. Pro tip, stay away from the frozen Chicken Wings. Do “I” think it tastes good? Yes or no is the only opinion that counts.

    Same for this. Not my money. Do with yours what you want. If you like Silver Queen buy Silver Queen. I’m sure if you asked a foodie down south about corn on the cob, you’d find an equal # that say New Jersey Silver Queen blows chunks. I do see throwing ones money around locally as a good thing regardless of what your “local” is. So, I’d probably buy SQ based just on that. And, corn on the cob is not just corn. Some stuff is tasteless and some isn’t.

    I grew up around head cheese as a delicacy. Can’t stand the stuff to the point even looking at it wanted to make me vomit. But, to family members it was the food of the gods. Same for blood sausage. WTF?

    Reply
  22. AvatarCliffG

    It is testament to the wonders of industrial capitalism that we live in an age when we can choose our diet rather than our diet being chosen by our environment. Anyone can wander through a Kroger’s today and have a better choice of food than the richest man on the planet could have enjoyed 120 years ago. I do love my Washington strawberries but other than 3 weeks a year, if I want a strawberry it is grown somewhere else. Veganism, locally sourced food, fill in the blank for your favorite form of food onanism, for a large part it is just variations on Louis Vuitton luggage. A luxury good that has trickled down to even the middle class. Amazing what Western Civilization doth distribute.

    Reply
  23. AvatarCJinSD

    The climate hoaxers would have us subsist on diets of cockroach protein and cannibalism. We’ll still have nice cellphones though, maybe via implants.

    Reply
    • AvatarOne Leg at a Time

      Climate change aside (or ignored – that is the third rail of the internet), the human race has a very real problem. World population keeps growing, and we have a finite amount of land and water that we can use to provide food.

      Insect protein is an interesting potential food source. I have spoken with sales folks who claim that their equipment can create a “meat” substitute from larvae, and that you can’t tell the difference.

      It is a fun discussion with them – no one argues that people will willingly purchase a bug-steak, but what about pepperoni, or the filling in your hot pocket? Do you really read the ingredients in the ‘sausage’ pizza rolls? And don’t get me started on hot dogs, or Slim-Jims.

      I, for one, welcome our new insect food stuffs.

      Reply
      • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

        It is worth noting that none of these plans to eat bugs ever involve, say, Leonardo DiCaprio doing it.

        Reply
        • Avatar-Nate

          Or _ME_ .

          Just kill off some more cows ~ they fart too damn much anyway, right ? .

          I’m hoping to have grilled beef liver with onions and bacon to -morrow….

          -Nate
          damned tree hugging kids, GET OFF MY LAWN !

          Reply
        • AvatarOne Leg at a Time

          I am interacting with the people who make and sell the machines. They are trying to sell this as a cost reduction (meat substitute) for consumer packaged goods, rather than as a “save the world” / “save the humans” kind of approach. Their issue is that they can’t not tell you its bugs – so how do they make you not care that its bugs.

          I am sure that there are some of our ‘betters’ who think that we proles should eat insect protein as a way to reduce the impact of cow farts, or some drivel; but they don’t let engineers talk to those kinds of people.

          You do raise my favorite talking point – I think it was Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) who said “I will believe that Global Warming is a crisis when the people who tell me its a crisis start acting like its a crisis.”

          The aforementioned Mr. DiCaprio travels all over the planet on a private jet. His lifetime “carbon footprint” will exceed that of everyone in my (not-so-smallish) city.

          Reply
          • AvatarCJinSD

            There are large scale seawater desalination plants in the middle east. The only problems that exist when there is cheap and abundant energy are those faced by the virulently avaricious, because they can’t stand seeing others living well. All this Malthusian bullshit is just misanthropy being drummed into us by evil people.

  24. AvatarRonnie Schreiber

    If you do like sweet corn and can buy it from a farm stand, I encourage you to do so. It will likely taste sweeter than what you can get in the grocery store because by the time it gets to the grocer’s shelf some of the sugars have already been metabolized to starch.

    As for being a foodie, I keep a kosher diet, and don’t live in the New York City or Los Angeles areas (LA has some very good Sephardi restaurants where the hosts practically shove food down your mouth) so my food options are limited. It also means that I was exposed to a lot of home cooking growing up so I know how to keep myself from starving. There’s a decent kosher steak place here in Detroit, Prime 10, and their food is outstanding, but for the cost of one meal there I can broil three steaks that will taste almost as good, so I only eat there when I feel like rewarding myself.

    My daughter is a private chef and a bit of a foodie. I told her my recipe for “potato vegetable soup with cheddar cheese”: I crush some cheddar flavored potato chips into a bowl, fill it with V8 or store-brand vegetable juice, and nuke it in the microwave. “That’s not cooking!” she said, rather indignantly. “What else do you call preparing something tasty and nutritious?”

    Reply
  25. AvatarCrancast

    Agree with Bark on the Mach-E. The whole save the planet BS is a sham, but BEV’s as a form factor coupled with maintenance and performance gains are the future.

    The real question is how do you get Leno to write a piece for Hagerty?

    Reply
  26. AvatarPaul M.

    In my opinion one of the pleasures of life is eating. Taste is what matters. Whether it is organic or not, is a personal opinion. There are some things at the grocer that do indeed taste better when organic (Try Gala Apples from store compared to non organic next time), and some things that don’t (normal non organic grapes from California seem to be crisper and taste sweeter to me than organic grapes that are normally mushy). Or next time at the store try organic eggs vs. non organic. I bet you can tell a difference when you cook. Organic chicken also seems to have less fat when cooked (try the organic drum sticks vs. non organic).

    For me more importantly taste comes down to whether the produce and vegetables are local or not. That is why in the south I mostly frequent Publix, since they are Florida based and get the best Florida oranges, strawberries that have the strawberry scent (compared to no scent ones from Kroger) and Athena cantaloupes and great watermelons from Georgia. When I go to Kroger, their stuff tastes like it was frozen for a long time. It never has the scent. of-course i spend time and touch and smell stuff before i buy. I know that is not what many do. Same for tomatoes. Publix rules, but another reason is because it is employee based and i think they care compared to bad staffing at Kroger (or non staffing as they push cashier-less registers).

    One other place that here in Atlanta area I have found change recently is Whole Foods. Whole Foods near me in (Duluth/Johns Creek area) was fantastic. This is pre Amazon days. Great organics, great mix of everything. Happy friendly employees. Then Amazon took over. All the old employees are now gone. Variety is so deteriorated. The local stuff is so few. At the back of the store they have smelly sweaty people filling bags for people too lazy to come to store so someone can drive it to them. Whole Foods was expensive but good local produce with bunch of organic stuff. Now it is just expensive. So sad.

    Reply
  27. Avatarhank chinaski

    In one roundup : foodies and poop, a hotlink on furries, and a reference to Moloch in an article on a Mustang branded vehicle.
    bravo. /b/ achievement unlocked.

    I’d say the next step down the ladder would be dog-foodies, but that’s probably already a thing.

    Speaking as someone who’s recently helped deal with houses full of relatives’ ‘stuff’ left behind, catalog all the good stuff, lest it end up in a dumpster, yard sale and eventually on Antique Roadshow in some stranger’s very surprised hands.

    “Did you ever notice your shit is stuff and everyone else’s stuff is shit?”

    Reply
    • Avatar-Nate

      @Hank ;

      I’m at that point in my life right now : time to cast off all my stuff (crap) and no one wants it .

      My son doesn’t want to even look .

      SWMBO tells me to hire a big roll off bin and empty the entire house and we’ll start a new chapter : old folks toddling off into the sunset .

      Bummer this but no point in leaving my crap for others to wrestle with …..

      I thought I had a Motocycle guy lined up but he’s gone quiet on me ~ maybe time to scrap it all .

      -Nate

      Reply
  28. AvatarTyler

    Old Betty Crocker cookbooks and the like were full of recipes designed to feed *families* with minimal prep, on a budget. In a dual-income world with 1.9 children per woman of child-bearing age, well… Did we make fast, cheap food because we were too busy making babies, or were we busy making babies because we weren’t spending all our time and disposable income on food and Instagram?

    Reply
  29. AvatarDisinterested-Observer

    A freshly made spicy Popeye’s three-piece and a biscuit is way better than 90% of the crap pretentious people eat.

    Reply
    • Avatar-Nate

      I don’t think Popeye’s chicken is in any way good for me/you/us but I sure love it….

      HAPPY THANKSGIVING ALL ! .

      -Nate

      Reply
  30. AvatarTristan Yates

    I enjoyed this article – I’ve always thought that restaurants were a tax on the lazy and self-important and the more “refined” the food, the higher the tax is.

    Reply

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