Finally, some respect.
A while ago, you surely remember, I was on about how the New York Times managed to write a big Page One story about chicken wings while almost not mentioning Buffalo at all. How typical.
But Calvin Trillin, the wonderful food, travel and true crime writer for The New Yorker, gives credit where it is due in a great piece in the Nov. 23 issue. Of course, Trillin knows food, knows Buffalo food, and, like me, was born in Kansas City, a great place to learn about eating.
The article is about poutine, a uniquely Canadian dish that consists of french fries, cheese curd and brown gravy. "If you ate it often," he quotes a Canadian friend, "it would kill you."
In order to describe how a nation can fight over the purity of a regional dish gone viral, Trillin has to come up with an American example. His choice, what else but Buffalo wings? You have to be a New Yorker subscriber to read Funny Food: Is a national joke becoming a national dish? online. But here are the important bits:
In recent years, poutine has rapidly widened its range -- although someone from Quebec who's tasting a poutine in Alberta is likely to appear disdainful, like a travelling salesman from Buffalo sniffing suspiciously at what a Southern California sports bar lists on its menu as Buffalo Chicken Wings. In addition to pointing out that the proper pronunciation is poo-TIN rather than the more commonly heard poo-TEEN, a Quebecois would respond to, say, the use of shredded cheese rather than Cheddar-cheese curds the way a strictly raised Buffalonian would respond to wings served with cucumbers and Thousand Island rather than celery and blue-cheese dressing...
Eating a smoked-meat sandwich at Schwartz's was what I thought of as a tip of the hat to an old champ -- the equivalent of having one beef-on-weck sandwich in Buffalo before turning to some serious chicken-wing consumption.
- BusinessWeek magazine has decreed that Tonawanda is the Best Place to Raise Kids in New York. Runners-up were Cheektowaga and Irondequoit.
The photo they use to illustrate the piece is the downtown Buffalo skyline. OK. Tonawanda may have good schools, but it doesn't have a skyline. That's better than the page naming Salina, where my younger son was born, as the best place for kids in Kansas, and illustrating it with photos of the landmarks of Wichita, 95 miles away.
- And the aforementioned New York Times updates the fact that there is nothing to update in the battle for the rights to turn the down-at-the-hooves racetrack at Aquaduct into a video gaming extravaganza.
Buffalo's Delaware North Company is among the bidders. But, this time, the Times gets all the way through the story and never once types the word "Buffalo."
-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News
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