There's a very dark current running through the nation's food coverage this holiday season.
First off, the really bad stuff: All hopes for Farm Bill reform are being dashed, reporters discover toxic sludge in fish farms in China, and Michael Pollan writes another envy-inducing essay on how factory farming is responsible for MRSA and colony collapse.
Then, just in case you're one of the three foodies in town who hasn't read the P-I's list of the King County restaurant inspectors' 10 worst offenders (by Daniel Lathrop), it's kind of required reading. My three favorite take-home points: a) None of the restaurants are in the ID, O scared Caucasian; b) Wild Ginger feels persecuted by the Health Department; and c) I will never, ever eat at Cilantro.
Speaking of shuddering:
As Upscale Home Complexes Hire Great Chefs, More Buyers Are Biting by Stacy Finz (SF Chronicle): Just to tempt you with the money quote, "Homeowners in the under-construction Millennium Tower each will get a temperature-controlled wine locker, a 20,000-square-foot clubhouse and nationally known restaurateur Michael Mina." And it has sold $100 million worth of units.
On to lighter news:
The Goose Is Cooked by Darry Madden (Boston Globe): If you're bored with turkey, here's how to cook a goose. Just to warn you, Weekly foodie Adriana Grant just priced a goose in Seattle at $50.
Here are twostories on the arrival of jamon iberico in the United States, a cured Spanish ham whose producers had to jump through so many USDA hoops that the price is set at something like $75 a pound -- and this isn't even the A+ stuff. Follow the second link, to Serious Eats, to read a fascinating discussion in the comments section on whether $99 a pound for properly sliced jamon iberico is worth it.
And last, a serious scientific investigation over an issue sure to infect all your holiday parties: