Lure and Loathing in the Kitchen

Lure and Loathing in the Kitchen

Lure and Loathing in the Kitchen

Recent posts from our readers forum.
Aug. 4 2000 3:00 AM

Lure and Loathing in the Kitchen

Subject: Cranky Chatterbox Misreads My Book

Re:
" Chatterbox: Len Garment Kills the Messenger"

From: Leonard Garment

Date: Sun Jul 30  9:09 p.m. PST

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After Timothy Noah interviewed me for "Chatterbox" about my book, In Search of Deep Throat, I was interested to see what he would say about it.

I now see that Mr. Noah is a very smart man but perhaps not a very honest one. For a quarter-century, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein have kept silent about Deep Throat, except for two "mercy clearings" (of Al Haig and Fred Fielding, both of whom had pleaded to be let off the hook for exigent career reasons) and one confirmation of what was made explicit in All the President's Men itself (that Pat Gray was not Deep Throat). Then, within a day of my book's publication, Woodward and Bernstein not only abandoned their "no comment" policy but took repeated opportunities to deny, together with John Sears, that Sears was Deep Throat. The effort was co-ordinated to the extent of the two reporters' making the same not-very-persuasive argument in almost the same words.

Their behavior had changed. My attitude changed. "Conditions alter circumstances," I said to Timothy Noah. But what I really meant, Timothy Noah tells his "Chatterbox" readers, was that "truth and reputations bow to my interests." Well, no reasonable listener could have thought that was what I meant. It turns out that Timothy Noah, who in "Chatterbox" accused me of "spinning," is doing some spinning of his own. The same attitude pervades his piecemeal description of an argument I made with considerable care in Throat. And all this is about a book that Timothy Noah says is "quite a good book," written "with real flair and insight." I can't wait to see what he's like when he really gets cranky.

On a serious note, as this controversy develops it becomes clearer that the issue is no longer one of journalistic integrity or protecting a source. Enough time has passed; the issue has become one of history. Watergate was a critical event in the nation's history, and Deep Throat is a major key to understanding Watergate. The longer Woodward and Bernstein keep the secret from us, the longer they reserve to themselves the power to write our history. That was what I tried to tell Timothy Noah and what I hope will move people to read my book.

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[To reply, click here; to read Timothy Noah's reply, plus a post from the Nixon Library's executive director, click here and scroll to the bottom.]

Subject: The Evolution of a Patriot



Re:
" Unpatriotic: Mel Gibson's Patriot Is Sonny Chorleone, Not Sgt. York"



From: Steve Sheppard



Date: Sat Jul 29  1:35 p.m. PST

Michael Lind's chief complaint is that Mel Gibson's character in The Patriot places care for family over loyalty to the nation. This criticism is unfair, because the film agrees with Mr. Lind. While sympathetically presenting the pacifism of Benjamin Martin (Gibson's pseudo-Francis Marion), the movie made clear that the result of this pacifism was both the ostracism that Martin faced from the rebels and the chasm between himself and his own sons. That Martin later regrets his earlier reluctance, at least in some measure, and accepts as righteous the patriotism of his sons, is made clear in his lines at Tarleton's death.

[To read an unedited version of this post, or to reply, click here.]

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Subject: Kitchen Staff—The Unconfidential Truth



Re:
" The Book Club: Kitchen Confidential"



From: Barbara



Date: Wed Jul 26  10:17 a.m. PST

I've had a theory for years (20 years in the business and culinary school) that most restaurant people end up in the business by accident. They had no idea what they really wanted to do with their life, they get jobs out of high school as bussers, waitstaff, dishwashers and prep-cooks and just end up staying year after year wondering what they are really going to do with their lives. The long and often thankless hours of underpaid, underappreciated hot and frustrating work takes its toll. The business breeds alcoholism and drug abuse and therefore doesn't judge (right or wrong) its existence in the kitchen and dining room for the most part. If someone comes in on time, isn't obviously wasted and does a good job, he's accepted and kept as good help.

I worked in an exclusive country club where the general manager got a club member who had connections with the DA to get a jailed breakfast cook on work release fast because it was a big tournament weekend and the cook was indispensable to the smooth running of it. We all got a good laugh about it. He came to work joking about the bad food in jail, ate good while he was at work, and right before he had to go back to jail for the night went out and got stoned with the dishwashers.

[To read an unedited version of this post, or to reply, click here.]

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Subject: Ze French Say It Differently



Re:
" The Book Club: Kitchen Confidential"



From: Richard Riley



Date: Wed Jul 26  10:03 a.m. PST

Jeffrey Steingarten writes (Wednesday's entry):

Shouldn't we pause here, dear Amanda, and put people's minds at ease, especially those living in regions of the country most distant from Paris, by answering their nascent question and assuring them that Les Halles is, and always has been, pronounced "lay ahl."

No matter how far you are from Paris, in French you have your liaison between your final consonant and your opening vowel (or silent h), so Les Halles is Lay Zahl. Does Jeffrey like his meat au juice too?

[To reply, click here.]