This looks like a good read:
“The code-oriented morality of the Soil Association is an absent presence that is at variance with a looser set of values and rules associated with the self-sufficiency movement and handed down as an oral tradition. Within a heterogeneity of organic, the care of the self practice parrhesia is used to analyse how community members establish collective organic farming practices through decision-making practices.”
Restaurant review: Philippe’s French Dip – Germinal for the new millennium:
The French Dip sandwich is a wholly American invention and yet Philippe’s does have a few Gallic elements, not just the name. The bread is decent, the mustard outstanding, the grilled/stewed meats are of high quality and the wine selection is on par with much higher end places. I have no problem admitting that the sandwiches are delicious and of the highest quality.
The sawdust on the floor is a nice touch as well, not in the “Western” saloon fashion but more like a bistro back on the continent. However, one can’t help but be reminded that during the collapse of the Ancien Regime, the peasants and workers were hoodwinked, particularly in the introduction of the Republican Calendar. While the months with evocative names like Floreal and Thermidor, the latter giving name to the famous lobster dish, were romantic and utopian, the reality was that breaking up the work week and the months into a decimal system made the peasants work longer until they had a day off for church. The seven day week with Sunday off was replaced by a ten day week. Kind of like voting for Trump. Anyway, we see this in action at Philippe’s. The descent into Philippe’s is literal, there are several steps one takes to reach the counter area where you place your order and this descent combined with the fragrant smells of ham, beef, turkey and lamb reminds one of the olfactory onanism of Joris-Karl Huysman’s great work of decadent fiction “La Bas” But that is where the decadence ends. Once the descent is complete, one is transported instead into a Zola-esque nightmare of workers carving meat, serving starving Angelenos who are in their own private hell waiting for their food. Like Zola and Jagger/Richards, we sense that war, children, is just a shot away. A tinderbox waiting to explode…
One need not go further than the highly controversial founder of the French Revolution, Saint-Juste whose ideas were as radical as Stalin or St Paul: “A nation regenerates itself only upon heaps of corpses.”
A+ for food. F- for a social disaster waiting to happen.
There is something to be said for “fusion” cooking, and much more than something to be said about the other implications of this concept, be it cultural appropriation or a reflection on colonialism. One of the stranger ones I experienced the other day was “Japadog”: American hot dogs but with a “Japanese twist”. Apparently this bizarre concoction started in Vancouver, BC and now like a Hokusai octopus has spread its tentacles across the rest of the North American West Coast. It has recently arrived in Santa Monica.
What’s the twist, you ask? How about teriyaki sauce. OK, innocuous enough. How about fish flakes and seaweed? A bit fishy you say? That’s part of the point but we’ve already touched on the yin-yang of femininity and masculinity in the mind of the land of the rising sun.
Here’s where it gets interesting. I have already mentioned that Japan can be called “penis-obsessed”. Look no further than the fertility ritual known as Kanamari Matsuri.
The hot dog is a penis, plain and simple. By enveloping it in the feminine seaweed which brings to mind images of not just vaginas but mermaids, the process is a type of mating ritual. Yes you can say the same thing about “surf and turf” but the seaweed with its hair-like structure also brings to mind not only the vagina but also the Medusa, as well as the “Rusalka” in Slavic folklore. The slimy vaginal texture of the seaweed literally grips the penis sausage in her dubious embrace. This is a case of role-reversal but the sub-dom dynamic which is part of every mating ritual takes a slight detour in the case of sausage vs seaweed.
Sausage, while universal, is associated with certain cultures more than others, notably Germanic and Slavic. By using feminine seaweed to engulf the engorged member of Europe is a better and more efficient way to rape the colonial powers, as per this illustration from the Russian-Japanese War of 1905.
If you can’t do it in war, you can do it through food. This is where Japandog uses an insidious technique. Instead of full blown rape, like sticking the hot dog into a big plate of raw fish, it uses seaweed to beguile and then destroy.
Fortunately, Japadog is actually a success. It is better than your average dog but, as much as I like seaweed, the flavor of the seagrass did not really guide the sausage one way or the other. The only impression I was left with a lingering sense of something “oriental”, some type of miasmic reminder that that “they” are plotting to take over even our cherished wurst, and that the yellow peril is real.
However, according to Zizek, “For the West, Japan is the ambiguous Other: at the same time it fascinates you and repels you.” – a type of “uncanny valley” one can say.
Furthermore, Zizek states: “But there is another Japan, the psycho-analytic. Whenever you have the multi-culturalist approach, the almost standard example is Japan and its way of ‘Verneinung’, saying no. There are thirty ways to say no. You say no to your wife in one way, no to a child in another way. There is not one negation. There exists a small Lacanian volume, ‘La chose japonaise.’ They elaborate the borrowing of other languages, all these ambiguities. Didn’t Lacan say that Japanese do not have an unconscious?”
Try the hot dog and ponder these thoughts while you try to find an “umami” between Oscar Mayer and Hideki Tojo.
Overall rating: B+