Politics and Food.....
"What does writing about politics have to do with food anyway?"
Right away for some reason I thought of Vladimir Ashkenazy. Who? Vlad was/is a killer piano guy who was a friend of Ansel Adam's. Vlad even bought a house in Big Sur after doing a party for Ansel.
Anyway, for a party in Ansel's house old Vlad would fly in his piano from New York....a big fucking Steinway. Also, he would fly in his piano tuner....because all the stuff would change on the flight and in the truck. Picture what THAT costs......
But our Vlad wanted to be in control of his instruments.....and his work environment. He brought his own stool. He checked with me about the caviar. He checked with me about the placement of the chairs for the guests.
The tuner came back just before the party to retune everything....just in case the humidity had done something.
(And, no.... His name was not Oppor Knockety. And he did not only tune once).
And then Ashkenazy relaxed.... and created great art and blew everyone out of the room......
He had control of his environment.
We ask no less in our pathetic little kitchen in Cachagua. We don't need control....we just want to know what to expect.
We used to be famous for our smoked salmon. I trained with my godfather, Werner Kalmus.....who was famous in Germany before the war, and later in Paris after the war. The king of smoked salmon.....and foie gras for that matter.
Three years ago, Karl Rove personally intervened with the Department of the Interior on behalf of some Republican oat-hay growers on the Klamath River (donation: $300,000) and destroyed TWO MILLION salmon. Karl Rove personally destroyed the fish, big parts of the Native American Klamath culture....and the livelihoods of every fisherman and restaurant guy from San Diego to Portland. And my smoked salmon business.
Is this a political problem.....or a food problem?
My workers are all independent contractors.....they have other jobs on the side. They are all young and bullet-proof, and immune from disease. They also play hurt....they don't go to hospital if there is not a bone showing. Insurance for these warriors is $200 per month. They make maybe a grand from me.....and another grand from their real jobs....so they are mostly uninsured.
My grand-puppy has health insurance....but not my children, wife, or the workers who are my best friends.
Is this a political question.....or a food question?
I spent two hours today on the phone with the new California Fish and Game agent....talking about the bust of two local shitheads for poaching. These douchebags were catching steelhead hens in my fucking river....gutting them, removing the eggs....and using the eggs to catch other steelhead. And tossing the still living, gutted bodies of the hens back in the river to die in agony.
It is almost impossible to prosecute this atrocity. The Gamies have the guys, an eye-witness, the rods and reels and hooks hidden in the bushes....but they did not catch them in the act....so the scumbag fuckheads will probably walk.
Politcal problem or food problem?
Gino Panisi....scumbag fuckhead on Wharf II....Royal Seafood....continues to sell farmed salmon as wild salmon....and despite every effort (including DNA analysis...think OJ with the glove) continues to destroy the fishery and personally profit immune from the law. COOL (Country of Origin Labeling) is being battled in the legislature as being too restrictive to business.....despite the fact that it is destroying the businesses it is supposedly protecting.
Political problem or food problem?
The Farm Bill gives away billions of dollars to soy bean guys, corn guys and sugar guys. Prices for corn are going through the roof and trashing the whole world-wide pricing system...causing famine in Africa..... because dumbshit Americans....including Barack Obama.....are pretending that corn is a good fuel.
Meanwhile, our friend Jamie from Serendipity....who is running two or three organic farms and producing magical foods.....cannot even find an affordable place to live in the area where she grows the food. Don't EVEN fucking ask about her health insurance. Her goats are better insured.....
Food problem.....or political problem?
Yesterday....gobbling fish oil capsules and Wellbutrin...trying to not be depressed.....I watched the Secretary of the Air Force (The United States Air Force) testifying before Congress about the award to European AirBus for the contract to build USAF refueling tankers.
"My position is that there is no industrial base in the United States to build these airplanes. The American industrial base has eroded since 1990, and is now in the position where we have to go overseas for industrial production at modern levels."
Well.....just check out my posts about El Poblet. America can't compete at modern food levels either.....except for Wylie Dufresne and David Kinch at Manresa.
But....this is the Secretary of the Air Force....presumably a Republican.....telling Congress that we now need to buy warplanes overseas because our home-based industry has been gutted since 1990.
Hmmmm. Who was in charge in those years? Bush, Clinton, Bush.
The dollar is now ...rightly.... in the toilet. I can no longer afford to go to Spain to check in with my buds for the inspiration and knowledge that I need for my business and my soul. The dollar is worth half the value of currency in countries where old ladies still sweep the streets with straw bundles wrapped around sticks outside their houses made of mud.
Is this a political question....or a food question? If I think both Clintons and both Bushes are rancid, lying, self-absorbed sacks of shit......is this a political opinion, or a food opinion?
I grew up politically in the Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon era. I was inspired by the Kennedy's...impressed by the efficient corruption of Johnson....and appalled and repulsed by the lying arrogance of Nixon and his cronies.
For the last twenty-eight years our country has been ruled by a cabal of folks who think we are stupid....and are willing to lie, cheat, and steal the copper wires out of walls and jerk off in our mouths and tell us it is ice cream.
There was a time when America meant truth....and hope.....and science.....and technical know-how and can-do spirit.
The Bushies are easy to dismiss....now. The economy is in a rough spot. WMD's. Spreading Freedom. Rape. Pillage. Corruption. Hypocrisy. Scandal. Embarrassment. Wanton stupidity.
It is clear that it is time for change.
Meanwhile.....Hillary Clinton, so intent on fulfilling her family's destiny....has been lying, cheating and stealing on a Nixonian level. Actually, beyond the Nixonian's, because they were dumbfucks. She is so self-absorbed that she is willing to destroy Democratic chances in this election to fulfill her goals of the Presidency next time around.
In my kitchen, life is hard. Our floor sucks. Our septic system sucks. We get no deliveries, and have to drive at $4 plus a gallon for all our stuff. We have no insulation, so we freeze in winter and roast in summer. We have no reliable trash pickup.....so we re-cycle like bandits and compost like bitches.
This no small thing. Brendan spends two long days each month, covered in stale beer and bleeding from small cuts to drive the re-cycle to Salinas for the cost of the gas it takes him to get there....on his day off.
I spend two hours every Monday, and every Friday.....turning stinking piles of compost...hundreds of pounds....and fighting to keep th pH balance and the flies at bay.
We drive miles and miles to get real produce, fresh fish, and properly, humanely raised meats for our people.
Our competitors buy fish from Gino Panisi....and meat from IBP, who brought you the Downer Cattle scandal last week.
We do not lie. We have this weird idea that everyone should always be striving to be better....
America used to about being the best......not spinning shite into cotton candy.
Hillary Clinton did not win Texas. Twenty Republican counties converted their votes to her to fuck Obama, for Republican purposes.
Hillary Clinton did not win Ohio. Ditto the Texas Republican thing....10,000 Republican votes for her per county, just to fuck with the Democrats....but she also lied outrageously in the NAFTA-gate thing. Hillary was instrumental in putting NAFTA in place at the get-go,and then positions Obama as the bad guy?
There is no "Big State" momentum.
Bill Clinton says that "whenever there was a situation that was too poor, too dangerous, or too important...we sent in Hillary."
Sinbad said it best: "So you sent in to Bosnia: your wife, a guitar player, and a gay black comedian?" Hillary, Sheryl Crow and Sinbad.
Get the fuck outta here......
Hillary Clinton is willing to gut Obama in favor of McCain.....just to clear the decks for herself and her family in 2012.
Well, people....this is not our world. There will be not much left to rule in 2012 at this rate.
Three more Supreme Court Justices lost to the dark side.
200 weeks of $200 million dollars a week in Iraq......
The continued gutting of the American middle class.
Who am I supposed to sell my food to?
How am I supposed to keep my workers focussed and out of despair?
How do I keep them healthy and educated?
Back to Ashkenazy.....Control of our environment?
This is like Vladimir trying to play the PacBell Stadium organ during the Seventh Inning Stretch in a Giants' game. I am thinking Toccata and Fugue in E Minor.....
Is this a food problem......or a political problem?
While typing this post I was working on some crema inlese: Organic Valley cream, eggs from Bob Harris in Pajaro....vanilla from Madacascar......Valrhona single source Araguani chocolate from Venezuela......
The first time around I was distracted and the eggs curdled. I tossed it.
Second time around, watching the eggs and cream come together......and the mix with the Araguani.....silky, sexy.....awesome.
I wish I were dangerous.........