Friday, June 8, 2012
It's good to be home. On. this. mother. fucking. blog.
Ahhh, do you know how hard it was to write for Gilt Taste without one of those? I love blogs. You know why? Because in publications, whether it's the NY Times, NY Observer, Gilt Taste, etc. you have masters. I wasn't going to write anymore on this topic until I saw Oliver Strand's Facebook post, which was brilliant and this piece in the LA Weekly by Tien Nguyen. I liked both of their pieces because it pulled the conversation out of food. The way people responded to the article was so micro, when the issue is clearly macro. We could be talking about aztec prints in fashion, the image of Buddha throughout different countries, and even Christianity. It's not just food that is redefined and remixed through war nor is it just white people doing it... I came in through the medium of food, but I'm dying for people to understand the concepts we talk about outside the context of food. It's not about Chefs and Rockstars, Chefs and Music, or Chefs and Authenticity. What I'm really interested in is the evolution of culture and it's relationship with race, economics, and power. It just so happens that food is the most interesting starting point for this discussion today (in my opinion).
A few misconceptions about the article that happened mainly because of the original NY Times headline and then the Gilt Taste one, it's not about "White Chefs". That would be entirely unfair. It just happens that at this and many other points in history, White people hold the keys. I will also say that it's not about America. I'm here. That should tell you every thing you need to know. I could move somewhere else, but I choose to be here. I strongly feel that NY is trying to do it right and I want to be part of it. The conversation is not about one race or one country, it is about power...
I have no problem with localized Jamaican Chinese, Cuban Chinese, Peruvian mishmash, etc. Those things are all ok, because Jamaica doesn't have the power to re-define the food no matter how good it is. What scares us about White American chefs is that they have the power, network, messaging to take something and make it theirs. No other group at this time on the planet has the power to do that except maybe the Japanese, but come on, how seriously do you take a 5' food dude with a 1/10 inch thick knife that can be snapped in half. They don't even have a standing military (besides Self-Defense Forces) dude. No matter how good they make viper ice cream, they will never over take Baskin Robbins. Take the example of Koreans, in terms of taste, I would whole heartedly argue that Bonchon creates a new paradigm. You can't fuck with that chicken. My friends of you know what background have sworn me to secrecy when I take them to Bonchon, "Mother fucker if you tell anyone I told you that Asians fry chicken better than us, I'll fucking cut you. But if it stays between us, you win. Just keep it to yourself."
Unless Kim Jung Un is some sort of savant that learned the levitation technique and can walk on water, Korea does not have the power to "take" fried chicken. Look at their attempts with pop music. They DOMINATE the continent of Asia. Asia, that large pile of blood, bones, but not butter, which no one can hold in a game of Risk. Girls Generation kills it by epic proportions and are bigger stars than anyone has ever been outside The Beatles but in America they are dead on impact. Even if America bleeds economically, culturally, it's global Brooklyn. It's not cool until America and BK co-sign it. For the record, just cause you sell artisan pickles from Brooklyn does not make it cool, that's cheating. Moving to Brooklyn does not automatically make your shit awesome. Nor does putting it in a mason jar. That just means the cops won't smell it. Lastly, China may have money and bodies, but culturally it's the butt of ironic jokes. Can you really respect a country that is incapable of providing proper restroom signage?
I just hope that we've reached a point in history where we can exchange, share, and evolve cultures but not cut things off from their history. It's not irrational to want this. As much as we still fight wars, I think people globally understand that blood is bad for business. Can I get a Stringer Bell? Thank you. I also feel, trickling down from that umbrella sentiment that people understand that "conquering" is not the way to go culturally either. Some examples are the resistance to a "National Language" designation. The ability to vote in NY in 100 different languages even if the entire system is inefficient and cosmetic. Open source culture on the internet has really facilitated exchange as well even if some people in Silicone Valley are encouraging open source phase one, only to swallow them up in an colonial way in phase two. These are larger discussions. Every thing is a trap door, but my debatable point is... that people know it's wrong to appropriate and that awareness makes our generation unique. Thanks, Edward Said.
That's a crucial point. The recognition that taking something and cutting it off from it's home is wrong. Take Yao Ming, he came to America, he played in the NBA, but it was never forgotten where he came from. He was never "taken" from us. The Williams sisters, were never taken or claimed as anything but Black American. But Asian Women dating White Men, that upsets people... Why?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with interracial dating. I date every thing. But, If you read OkCupid metrics or have two eyes, you know that White men are at an advantage dating Asian women and Asian men are at a disadvantage to date people of our own race. The inverse happens to Black Women. A part of me thinks it's karma for how badly Asian women are treated and I accept it, but still it's crushing to face the fact that people of your "ilk" want to export their ovaries. In a way, food is going that way. It's harder for a person to cook food from their own motherland on a one or two star level because white chefs are redefining it as something that native cooks don't understand and can't participate in. I have no idea how to take an Asian Woman to Lincoln Center unless I pay Mike Madrigale to do it for me after his shift at Bar Boulud. I don't have that game. We would never have the power to "take"American food or White Women, although I do see the White Woman-Asian Man thing in Williamsburg these days and I thank the gods for Adobe Illustrator. Thank you for giving us something we're good at that will please the people of the pink nipples. I worship you, Adobe Creative Suite. All I've wanted my entire life is to make some White Women happy and reverse the damage done by William Hung. Now if only we could get white chicks to play Counterstrike...
Which brings me to Chang once again. Look, y'all, it's unavoidable, we were both born in the DMV, we like the Redskins, we sell pork buns, we come off as assholes. Regardless, I will say that one of the most interesting things about David Chang, is that he qualifies his food with all the kim chi, ramen, and baos as New-American. If people accept that premise over time, then give him the keys because I've never seen an Asian person redefine American culture in America. I definitely think he's close to accomplishing it with Milk Bar and that's ill. I don't know if that's his goal, but as a spectator, I'm interested. To have a Korean-American potentially owning the most successful New-American bakery would be a victory of epic proportions. Like Haley's comet, I want to see it. My dad owned a steakhouse and hired a white manager to front as an owner, just like Christina Tosi (LOL), and told me "We have to do this because no one will buy steak from a Chinaman." That's not why he has Tosi, she can cook and be successful autonomously, but I'm saying. In breaking things down for a discussion on power, it's relevant to see what tools were used to flip the script. EAT THAT CRACK PIE and read the Momofuku Cookbook, it's the best I've read. Just don't try to redefine Gua Bao as something New-American and derivative of Peking Duck at Oriental Garden, a Cantonese restaurant, that mistakenly and lazily served Peking Duck with Gua Bao instead of pancakes. What you mean to say is Taiwan... and "Yeah, it's mine!"
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
WHATCHU KNOW ABOUT MY HAINAN LOBSTER RICE FLOW? I thought this was something Chinamen had to have invented before, but apparently I just blessed the world with these illzzz. Inventor right chere! Rice is made with head of the lobster, rest of it is laid on top of rice then mixed up with home made long red chili sauce and cilantro. Recipe coming in Sneeze Magazine July 15. WHAT UP BRADLEY CARBONE! Follow the kid @bradleycarbone
If enough of you want it, I can be convinced to put this on the Baohaus Menu. WHo wAnT sOmE?
P.S. These are the homies that gave their lives. I said ami two fwo 35 times for them. As an aside, it is important to work with live animals, it reminds you to respect the craft and the homies that die for our sustenance. Not getting too deep, I'm just sayin', they scream. Eat less yall!
Monday, June 4, 2012
Lena sets the scene for lucky episode 8 and we see Trojan magnums, cinnamon peanut butter, and children's films playing. Presumably these things are supposed to be enjoyed together. Meanwhile, in the adjacent room Marnie is on Facebook stalking Charlie with no make up on listening to Hanna get smashed. This is rock bottom for white people, cue Eminem.
Now that homie is dating Hanna he has her on the Kanye work out plan running through BK. She crumbles on the streets of greenpoint like stove top stuffing then wants to hit up the ice cream truck. Who gets ice cream after running? That's like working for free, you want the benefits. I mean, who actually enjoys running for the sake of running? Oh, right, fugitives and people in North Brooklyn Running clubs. Hanna and Adam then stare in each other's eyes sharing a cone while Marnie contemplates getting out of her pajamas. She's falling apart and all of a sudden Adam is relationship Yoda dishing out advice like he has taro cards or something.
Hanna/Adam leave and Jesse shows up to drop knowledge on Marnie, "Have you ever noticed when she (Hanna) gets dressed up, she'll like put on a good dress, nice shoes and then do her lipstick and then leave her forehead shiny? It's like you've come this far 'wash your forehead!'"
Cot damn Lena! Wipe your ass, wash your face, it's not that hard! Marnie also explains that Adam drinks milk while taking a shit at the same time and feels bad cause hanna doesn't realize how weird he is since she's never dated anyone normal and not gay. Jessa then tells Marnie you look "gorgeous" stripped down and it's kind of true. Marnie micromanages her image to a point where you can't even imagine a dick in her mouth anymore and that's not fun. She should be so happy to inspire those images in our heads... WHERE IS BOOTH JONATHON at times like this?
Then we see Adam do this monologue that looks like a jailhouse confession or AA sharing moment and I realize that he is basically a really unfamous Eminem with all the angst intact. I could totally see him telling every one he slept with Mariah Cary at some point. The monologue continues and apparently he's rehearsing for a show someone is going to pay for. I hope some Asian woman yelps about it:
"Adam was TOTALLY gross with his revelations about jerking off in 6th grade, smelling like a gerbil, and reading in hammocks. Definitely not eating at THAT restaurant, but he looked Jewish... *sigh* Personal revelation, as much as I hate him, I realize I'd marry him if he started facebook and bought me a horrible ruby that looked like a zit with two white heads on either side. 3.5 stars."
Adam's acting buddy shows up and they argue over a "wigger joke". According to Adam, "every one laughs at the white guy doing the black voice." If every one means white people in Orlando, Florida it's true, but it's really fucking annoying how this joke hasn't died after Malibu's Most Wanted. Die wigger joke, die. It's not funny now, it wasn't funny before, but dancing grandmas are ok if this white kid wasn't mouthing the "n-word".
"I admire your work ethic and commitment to hygiene."(Jessa to Marnie) My love affair with Jessa continues and Marnie finally realizes she's the uptight one. I was always the one to break this to people, but apparently it would have worked better if I was a British bird. Preach Jessa! Cut to Hanna in a shower. Oh god, please no Hanna shower scene. I really can't do this right now, there is a plate of nachos on my coffee table that I'd like to eat. For a second it almost turns into the Psycho shower scene but it's just Adam peeing on Hanna. LOL. Come on, Hanna! It's no big deal, Madonna pees on her feet!
Jessa and Marnie walk into a bar... A man in a suit buys Marnie and Jessa a drink. He looks 52 and Jessa gets wet. He moves and reveals a 30 year old dude who might have been in Details last month and Jessa's boner goes away, but of course Marnie loves it. She wants the face people conditioned her to love, while Jessa wants her Dad's tennis partner. We get a moment of empty Marnie reflection: "He looks like a boss!" That's not a boss bitch! That's the guy from Bridesmaids. THIS is a BOSS.
Hanna tells Adam how much she loves him in a play even though he doesn't want to do it anymore. He says "I would rather do nothing for the rest of my life than have my name attached to something mediocre." These words make sense and have integrity when you realize it for the first time as a 17 year old, but it's not wassup when you've used it as a cop out for 8 years to do nothing with yourself like the entire cast of Girls. But, that is the genius of it all...
Bridesmaids Cop from the Bar takes the girls back to his apt and tries to hook up with them both. Marnie wants it, we want it, but with quite possibly the worst "Hey! Listen to my shitty attempts at Girltalk mash-ups with Tuff Gong headphones menage game" we know it's not happening. Marnie and Jessa start hooking up so I reach for the Jergens and a coozie for my dick, but then Marnie spills wine on dude's $10k rug and he bugs the fuck out! WHY LENA WHY? You give us disgusting gratuitous parent sex with Dad's dick on front street, but we can't get a menage?
But, our consolation prize is quite possibly the best white collar Williamsburg gentrifier commentary on Bedford St. "I want to be balls deep in something and I don't even care what it is! No more excluding me Mary Poppins, I want to be part of the group... Do we even know what it's like to work hard? I've been under a lot of pressure, my whole life... to succeed. Daddy didn't buy me this rug, or this apartment, or this nose... It kind of ticks me off coming to Williamsburg after working hard all fucking day in the real world and I see all these stupid little daddy's girls with their fucking bowler hats. And then you come over and you flirt and flirt and kiss and kiss and listen to my music tunes, drink my beautiful wine, and spill it on my gorgeous rug and laugh about it!" Then Jessa shows why she should have replaced Ellen Degeneres on daytime television yesterday: "We're not laughing at your rug, we're laughing at your mash-ups."
Here's the thing. We hate the Girls for how useless they are, but they have a institutional out... They were clearly raised and destined for fake coming of age stories and very real Stepford wife endings. You kind of feel bad for them because they don't have the mental weaponry to make anything of themselves. As for home boy, I've never been the type to get mad at blue balls, WORK ON YOUR GAME. Do some soul searching, work on your obliques, use that abductor machine at the gym that helps with reverse cowgirl stabilization, and STOP TRYING. Girls love to smash when you look like you're in a k-hole with nice shoes on, which makes me think... is it possible that both sides just want the other to shut up and look cute? And if you're a white collar dude complaining about stress and wanting others to work hard like you: SHUT THE FUCK UP. You chose to work your ass off for $100k and some soma. You're life sucks but you're the only one to blame. The "Girls" suck too, but if I was their Dad, I'd prefer them to wear bowler hats and men's shoes so dudes like me don't impregnate them. I'd rather someone like you who has nice rugs and a permanent address we can report for child support.