Category Archives: Rant

Maybe I’m A Hater

meanpig01

The barbecue posts have been slow and few.  I squarely hinge this on Canada’s lovely winter.  The sub-zero temperatures and mounds of snow have effectively kept me indoors and iced any barbecue ambitions.  Jack Frost has won.

Until the snow starts melting, the buds start blooming and I can walk outside in a hoodie or spring jacket without batting an eye, I’m left to day-dream of slow cooked, cherry wood spiked meat.  Or surf the internet in all of it’s glory.

And in surfiing, the one thing I’ve taken notice to is a growing trend of quasi-barbecue enthusiasts to stake their ‘cue credibility as if almost they were throwing up gang signs.  I’ll admit this was a habit that I used to extol but then I stopped because I thought to myself, “who really fucking cares?”.

Perhaps it’s a reflex of being a Torontonian where mediocrity seems to status-quo and authenticity seems to be non-existent. Maybe, our knee jerk reaction is to prove to our peers, our critics and our followers that our passion isn’t fleeting and there is a degree of authenticity behind it.

Maybe.

Maybe it’s just bullshit.

The most common assertion of barbecue prowess on the net is the fabled “…I have a smoker and I’ve been to the south quite a bit.” Oh god.  I can feel my eyes rolling already.  And for whatever reason, I can’t stop them.  First off, just because you have a smoker doesn’t mean you are any good at it.  Just because I have an oven does that make me a good baker?  Or wait, I have a car…soooo I guess I’m like a Nascar Driver then?  Secondly, let’s dissect this claim of going to the south “a lot “.  When most Torontonians claim this, it usually means they’ve spent ample hours driving through states that I-95  cut through in order to get to Orlando or Hilton Head.  In which case, the only “southern states” you are crossing through are North/South Carolina, Georgia and Florida respectively.  Of that, only the Carolina’s are a notable ‘cue region (everyone forgets there’s Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas, Kentucky and even Illinois).    Furthering that point, just because you’ve been to or through a region doesn’t mean jack-shit when it comes to food knowledge.  I have never, ever in my life been to Jamaica, but I’ll bet the farm that I can cook a better oxtail and rice and peas better than any of you assholes that frequent Montego Bay annually.

My point is, visiting an area doesn’t automatically equate to knowing a) the food culture and more importantly b) knowing how to cook it authentically well.  My oxtail domination – god I’m humble – is solely based on the fact that I’ve inherited a recipe and a technique that’s 3 generations deep (I learned it from my mother who learned it from my grandmother who I’m sure learned it from my great grandmother when her Chinese ass landed in Jamaica).  Likewise, a lot of my barbecue knowledge has been accrued through internet-acquaintances and/or IRL friends that are from Texas, South Carolina or Tennessee.

When I visit areas of the south all it does is remind me how much work as a barbecuer I have to go and what inherent handicaps we as Torontonians are faced with (hi, no peach, hickory or mesquite trees).  There’s no seeing the light.  There’s no epiphany.  There’s no revelation of Mecca.  There’s maybe a stinky poop and an added 5lbs.  But I’m not instantly touched by the divine light and crowned barbecue god.  That only comes with practice and the constant scrutiny of friends with very tall yardsticks.

Chowhound Licks Balls

My friend Olivia brought up a sore point the other day.  Actually, it was more of repressed feelings locked away in my R Kelly closet with no key in sight.  Nothing beats good ol’ fashioned denial.  You’re able to delude yourself from any truths, placating your own set of values and allowing you to weefully trudge along in life.  Ignorance is fucking bliss.

What exactly am I talking about?  I’m talking about the bullshit that is Chowhound.

For the longest time, I’ve considered Chowhound the most comprehensive, un-adultarated source of all things food.  And it is, but I’ve always had a bone to pick with them about their censoring practices.  Censoring in the first place, is gay.  Censoring message boards, is Clay Aiken gay.  Censoring a food message board is Lance Bass taking a dildo up the bung-hole gay.

But I continued to use CH, rationalizing to myself that it really never affected me, and I could always word shit to get around it.  Coincidentally, Olivia brought up this issue with me right around the time that I got a message from the CH moderators.

I had posted a response to a thread about New Yorkers visiting Toronto for food.  I had suggested, that the said guests check out a pal’s newly opened restaurant:

“…And also check out (shameless plug) a pal’s new resto Odd Fellow on Queen and Shaw. Its concept is very New York. Would be great if they could weigh in their two cents.

Apparently, that went against Chowhound rules, because I was promptly sent this emai:

“Hi goodcookiedrift, you’ve been sent the following by a Chowhound moderator:
We appreciated your disclosing your connection to your friend’s restaurant. And the moderators and I believe you are sincere in your praise for his place. But consider that if we let people post rave reviews for places run by friends and family, we’d be dead in the water. Imagine what would happen if mothers, wives, brothers, and fishing buddies were to come onto the site and post great big raving kisses for their friends’ operations.
There are plenty who do this and DON’T disclose their insider connections. We call them “shills”, and we bar the restaurant from further discussion on Chowhound (we’re pretty good at detecting them). This is very serious, and you certainly haven’t done anything remotely like that (thanks!).
But even disclosing your relationship, you aren’t an unbiased party and therefore we can’t trust your rave. And though we gauge you as sincere, our gauge is imperfect. Plus, we don’t have time or energy to separate the grandmas who truly think their little grandson’s new place is just peachy from the aunts who’ve invested 50K in their nephew’s steakhouse and post sterling testimonials because that frigging no-good bum better make a success this time. Or anything in between.
Really, it’s best if the opinions on Chowhound come from unbiased parties. That way our info’s better for all who make use of us in making dining decisions.
If you want to repost your great message without the reference to Odd Fellow, you’re more than welcome to.  A copy is below.”

Immediately I was WTF?  I did nothing to praise or slag the establishment, nor was I at all offering false pretense.  And the part about the aunt and grandmother made no fucking sense.  I didn’t rave about the restaurant, I simply said it was worth noting and opinions from native New Yorkers would be great.  Fired up, I responded with:

Just to clarify though, i didn’t rave about my friend’s restaurant.  I simply was suggesting in a very light tone, that it be checked out.  In fact, i did even preface it by stating that it was a shameless plug and I’d love to get a New Yorker’s POV on a restaurant that’s concept is based on very New York idea.Perhaps the wording was a bit unclear?

I’m hoping that open invitations to try new establishments aren’t being discouraged by Chowhound now?  As I do disagree with shilling, i think there is great value in simply letting the CH public know of new restaurants, in an unbiased manner – be it friend, family or even foe – and welcoming rants or raves.  It speaks to the very core of chowhound and why I (like many) frequent it.

To my disappointment CH never wrote me back (I love arguments).  Their gastro-pompous, cowardly asses took it on the chin (I suspect) and passively just sat behind their computer deleting any of my posts that even contained  the words “Odd” and “Fellow”.  Well listen up you dimwitted, coward of a fuck.  Thanks for not having the balls to defend your point but having enough gall to follow my posts and systematically delete them.  That’s a total bitch move – something a fat, sweaty, terrine smelling, biscotti finger cock-sucker who JO’s on stray cats does.

Fuck you Chowhound.

This Is What’s Wrong With The World

Steve Ricci, you fat fuck, get it right.

You broke almost every fucking rule in the barbecue book.  All the while, standing on your gastro-pedestal preaching your fucky ways like it was gospel.  Now we’ll have hoards of Woodbridge gino’s and downtown condo-dwelling douches who jerk off to Ikea catalogues thinking that this is THE way to barbecue ribs.

Sleep well at night you repulsive ingrate.

BTW, I hope your swine-bucket of a restaurant burns down.