Just Desserts

Just Desserts

You'll Never Eat in This Town Again

Police in Vancouver have found a way to hit criminals where it hurts — right in the gut. The cops recently began a program of patrolling the city's restaurants and kicking out known criminals.

“It is to send a clear message to people involved in organized crime and gang activity that they are no longer welcome,” Supt. Warren Lemcke told the National Post.

The British Columbia Restaurant & Foodservices Association is supporting the policy, with members posting signs in their windows signaling their participation. Just Desserts wonders if this isn't biting the hand that feeds, so to speak…

While no one wants to coddle crooks, gangsters are some of the restaurant industry's best customers, at least according to the movies. Think of the hoods in The Godfather, Goodfellas, Scarface and The Sopranos: it seems like they are always sitting around eating — often in restaurants, where they run up enormous bills. True, they occasionally also shoot each other over the linguini, but hey…

Anyway, a word of warning: if you've got a rap sheet and live in Vancouver, order takeout or learn how to cook.

The Poutine Incident

A recent tongue in cheek invitation to a Canada Day party issued by the Canadian embassy in Washington ended up riling some of the folks back home. The invitation showed famous French explorer Samuel de Champlain — founder of Quebec City and a hero to French Canadians — holding a plate of poutine.

Now, what's so bad about that? a typical American might ask, right after ‘What the hell is poutine?’

Well, poutine is a kind of glop made by pouring gravy and cheese curds over French fries, and it is sometimes viewed as a stereotypical dish favored by lower class French Canadians.

“If they wanted to make a joke it's a really bad joke and if it wasn't a joke, well, it's worse,” fumed Jean-Paul Perreault, president of Imperatf Francais, a French language advocacy group, as reported by Reuters. Perreault also called on the foreign minister to resign over the incident.

Well, it could be worse as far as French overreaction to culinary insults is concerned. In 1789, “Let them eat cake” brought out the guillotines.

How Green Was My Rally?

The Democrats want to be seen as the “green” party, but a catering RFP that went out in May for the party's 2008 National Convention in Denver resulted in some red faces. The RFP included 12 stipulations caterers hoping to do business with the convention would have to meet. Some, such as no fried foods, were a bit doctrinaire but understandable under the circumstances. Others — such as a requirement to use 70 percent organic or locally grown ingredients in dishes — seemed kind of hard to meet consistently…or within any reasonable cost parameters.

But perhaps the most bizarre requirement was that meals have “at least three of the following five colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple, and white” (garnishes don't count). Well, that rules out the chicken nuggets and French fries, and even a hummus sandwich, for that matter.

The committee issuing the RFP modified the proposal after press reports created a backlash (and no end of material for both comics and Republicans).

One sustainability strategy the convention probably won't have any trouble meeting is composting. Political meeting generally produce more than their share of material ready for use as fertilizer.