Cornichon 2009: the Year in Pickle Posts

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As the year began and the floodwaters receded, Barack Hussein Obama took the oath of office on the windswept Capitol steppes as Cornichon & friends watched the defining TV moment of our age from a forest of barstools at Buckley's in Belltown. Thomas Friedman's idiotic notion that staying home would solve our economic woes was soon ignored as Obama's audacity of hope gave birth to a swarm of new restaurants.

The food movie of the year, no surprise, was Julie & Julia, which reminded us how fortunate Julia Child was: a husband, Paul, steadfastly by her side and shooting the photos that became the illustrations that made Mastering the Art of French Cooking into a blockbuster; and an actress, Meryl Streep, whose good cheer transcends the biopic genre and overshadows the hapless Amy Adams as hapless blogger and Julia-wannabe Juilie Powell.

Julia's success as a food writer and TV host spawned an avalanche of cookbooks, magazines, food blogs and TV shows, but 2009 saw the demise of the oldest of the glossies, Gourmet. Cornichon opined it died because it had become boring and irrelevant.

The biggest local food story concerned our most important local seafood: salmon. In the spring, the Yukon River run almost didn't make it, and then the fishery was threatened by the pollock bycatch; in the fall, the Bristol Bay sockeye came under attack from proponents of a huge copper mine. In a move of stunning PR ineptitude, a woman in Alaska (later revealed as a leading pro-mine politician) circulated an email asking patrons to boycott Seattle restaurants that served Bristol Bay salmon. Cornichon, caught in the crossfire, received national publicity for asking, "Seriously, Ms. Phillips, are you nuts?"

On our home turf, the phenomenon known as food tourism grew stronger, with entrepreneurial guides escorting groups of tourists beyond the traditional confines of the Pike Place Market into neighborhoods like Belltown, while local farmers were gratified to find opportunities to sell their wares in an increasing number of neighborhood farmers. markets. Despite reservations from restaurant owners who had to pay rent, taxes and utilities, the food cart phenomenon grew stronger as well. At year's end, the city was looking at ways to emulate Portland's thriving food-cart "pods."

SBX_coffee.jpgSeattle's claim to culinary fame these days? Coffee. Which means, gulp, that the most recognizable brand we're exporting is Starbucks. Three posts this year featured Uncle Howard: his new instant, VIA (quite good); his not-really-new breakfast sandwiches (kinda dry); and his bizarre ad campaign that wants you to believe it's okay to demand perfection. Note to Howard: stop taking yourself so effing seriously; you're not the rabbi-in-chief. But as long as you're here: stop junking up your stores with all that packaged crap. It undercuts your green message, it's a pain in the cup. Loyalty? That's a whole 'nother story for this gang that can't seem to get its drinks straight.

That said, here's a toot to the new year, the horn of self-promotion: calls Cornichon blogger Ronald Holden "the Herb Caen of Seattle foodies." Meant as a compliment, we know (Caen was the best-known journalist in San Francisco for decades, the columnist who invented three-dot journalism...), and thanks (seriously!) for the comparison, but the Pullet-Surprise winning Bard of Baghdad by the Bay has been dead for over a decade. Even Cornichon's kids asked, "Who's Herb Caen?" Indeed...

Aspinal of London Ltd.

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Bonne Année 2010
Really enjopyed reading your blog this year -- especially the Italy and Victoria Postcards

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on December 31, 2009 9:09 AM.

Hail & Farewell was the previous entry in this blog.

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  • jacowan: Bonne Année 2010 Really enjopyed reading your blog this year read more