Sunday, February 13, 2011

Plastic food

A friend just sent me a link to one of the saddest stories I've ever read. In China, criminals are selling fake rice to poor people! Fake rice?

The "rice" is made by mixing potatoes, sweet potatoes and plastic. The potatoes are first formed into the shape of rice grains. Industrial synthetic resins are then added to the mix. The rice reportedly stays hard even after being cooked....

"A Chinese Restaurant Association official said that eating three bowls of this fake rice would be like eating one plastic bag.

I have never eaten a plastic bag but I cannot imagine that they are very tasty, even when cooked with MSG.

The really terrible thing about this story is that rice is already very cheap. Yes, yes — I know that prices went up last year and that rice hoarders almost created a shortage and that prices are still at historically "high" levels —but even at grocery store prices a cup of uncooked rice still costs less than 25¢.

That's why True Thai did not raise our menu prices when the price of rice went up. We go through at least one fifty-pound bag of rice every day, but when the wholesale price of rice skyrocketed, that still cost us less than $10 a day. Still, much smaller restaurants who go through much less rice used that as an excuse to raise their menu prices. I will not share with you what I think these restaurant owners have in common with people who sell fake rice, but maybe you can guess.

I am less reluctant to share with you a link to Jeremy Iggers' review of Tracy's Saloon, an outstanding casual dining establishment just a few blocks west of True Thai Restaurant. The next time you stop by on a Friday or Saturday night and there is a line of people waiting to get into True Thai, remember that Tracy's is just a few blocks down the street and they are Jeremy Iggers approved!