Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.


Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

New Feature: Hairball of the Week!

I began this blog I thinking I'd refrain from excess snarking. The blogosphere abounds in it, and though I am not the personification of Christian Loving Kindness, nor am I Attila the Hun. Thus, no withering book reviews, no wholesale potshots under conver of anonymity.

Of course my noble goal rapidly fell to the wayside. I began mouthing off just like everyone else. Though I did, and do, try to be level. I would never drag a writer through the dirt because if felt good (exceptions: Mitch Albom, Danielle Steel. But are they writers? No. They are pretenders. But I digress...). Even if somebody wrote a real turkey, he or she is still a person with feelings. Like, well, me.

It was with these warm fuzzy thoughts that I read this article yesterday. Then, before I could even begin mustering my unkind words, I found this over at Ed's site. Thank you, Ed. I think.

These unsavory bulletins from the place known as reality had me bummed. Still, I worked, came home, cooked a nice meal, petted Kitty. Whilst performing these domestic actions Andi MacDowell's voice crawled through my mind, uttering the opening line from "Sex, Lies, and Videotape."


And the Hairball of the Week was born.

Only this week we have two inaugural hairballs. How fortunate we are.

Let us begin with hairball one, so apt after my recent breakfast post.

I find it alarming that a nursing student (!) goes to Starbucks to "fill up on coffee so I won't be tempted to eat to get an Egg McMuffin before lunch."

I hope to God I am never in the hospital where she works. Don't nursing students have to take basic nutrition?

Worse is the information that so many of us buy breakfast, and happily shell out for the Egg McMuffin. I love eggs and cheese as much as you do, but you know what? They aren't really healthy day after day. And McDonald's is NEVER healthy. As for Starbucks and their plans to "roll out" "premium and upscale ingredients, bold and layered flavors", hey, this breakfast, not the Detroit Auto Show.

Still eating at Starbucks? How about this?

“One region might have a more dialed-up pumpkin flavor depending on what we know about local tastes,”

The words "dialed up" make me think I should contact Amnesty International, not taste the muffin.

And how are all those kitchenless Starbucks, which multiply like mold spores in the night, going to prepare all those upscale, dialed up egg sandwhiches?

"To produce hot breakfast sandwiches without building a kitchen in every store, Starbucks has made a huge investment in new high-speed, high-heat ovens. The ovens, developed by companies including TurboChef, combine microwave and convection technology and can be used both for cooking (a chocolate cake, TurboChef claims, can be baked in 1 minute and 15 seconds) and for reheating."

I don't know about you, but for me chocolate cake is an event. It is a debauch, a treat, something I'm gonna be working off in the days to come. This means I want a chocolate cake that is perfect. That somebody sweated over, weighed out the flour, the Vahlrona chocolate, the Lurpak butter on a tared scale before lovingly mixing it in a KitchenAid professional mixer. And baked it in goddamned conventional oven for at least an hour. I think even Hostess Snack Cakes take more than one minute and fifteen seconds to bake.

You don't have time for breakfast. I know. Nobody does. The French are right about that 36 hour workweek. My advice to you is to buy breakfast at your market. Even if it's a box of doughnuts you pluck from the freezer. Minimally you'll save money. You will not be contributing to our friends the Kroc family, or eating things that have been centrally prepared, frozen with nitrogen technology, then shipped a zillion miles, only to be zapped in a TurboChef. Hell, you could even smear some butter on bread, which will take you no longer than stopping in either store.

Just a thought.

On to our second hairball.

Ah, the literary contest. Recently such a corrupted event, what with high entry fees, cancellations, winners who are sleeping with the judges. ( I know a contest judge--this was student contest, but still--who awarded first prize to her boyfriend. The award winning entry included the word 'fragrence.') Sobel was bad enough, but this contest, with its demand that you sign a non-negotiable contract within five days of running the voting gauntlet, is, in a way, worse. One is tempted to enter the first chapters of East of Eden just to see what happens.

Ask yourself the following: "What would Margaret Atwood do?"

Enough said.


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