It was just two years ago that I was traversing the globe, sampling fare at McDonald’s locations around the world. The Prosperity Fries at the chain’s site across the street from Singapore’s toney Raffles hotel and the side of Spam at a McDonald’s in Hawaii tied for top honors. But special honorable mention went to a spiffy new Tokyo McDonald’s with its Shaka-Shaka Chicken (add spices to the bag of chicken nuggets and shake away) and shrimp burger.
Imagine my dismay on learning that McDonald’s currently is rationing fries in its Japanese franchises because of a longshoreman’s slowdown in San Francisco, the port from which the frozen fries are shipped to Japan.
Count this as the first Privation of Christmas 2014. The remaining 11, unfortunately, affect Nolavie readers, who are the only ones who will know about them.
Privation No. 2: Heirs of 19th-century composer Stephen Foster have disputed Ella Brennan’s contention that it was she who invented Bananas Foster. Ladies at the Camptown Races claimed the composer went bananas when his horse, Doo-Dah, placed last. He sat there all night, eating bananas and ice cream, drowning his sorrow in liqueurs that spilled into the bowl as he knocked over a dish of cinnamon onto a lantern. The whole place went up in flames. So, no Bananas Foster until the challenge is resolved.
Privation No. 3: New Orleans Advocate publisher John Georges has offered free spanakopita at Galatoires’s to new subscribers, completely depleting local supplies of spinach. This means there will be no creamed spinach at competitor Antoine’s. You may also find a shortage of phyllo dough on Langenstein’s shelves.
Privation No.4: Camellia Grill will begin serving cheese omelettes from Waffle House. Although purists will be appalled, this may actually be a benefit: WH’s cheese omelette, as light and fluffy as Camellia Grill’s, served with wheat toast and hash browns, rings up at just $6.50.
Privation No. 6: The Times-Picayune cafeteria will reopen under the management of publisher Ricky Mathews. While this will provide better food for those incarcerated across I-10 in the new Orleans Parish Prison, with Mathews behind the counter, locals can expect only Mississippi and Alabama cuisine.
Privation No. 7: Seafood at restaurant Peche have called on their antediluvian ancestor, the Coelacanth — the fish that grew feet, walked on shore and eventually became us — to storm the restaurant and take owner/chef Donald Link captive, threatening to serve him on a plank on New Year’s Eve to celebrating crustaceans.
Privation No. 8: The Audubon Institute’s Insectarium will no longer offer chocolate-covered grasshoppers. Insect-rights activists had threatened to release all creepy-crawly things in the Custom House on Canal Street unless their demands were met.
Privation No. 9: Asian all-you-can-eat buffets have been bought by Jimmy Buffet and will feature only “Your Friendly World of Self-service Margaritas.” (Breaking news: Warren Buffet has blocked this move, citing its deleterious effect on currency markets.)
Privation No. 10: Tulane professor Randy Fertel has purchased local franchises of his mother’s iconic steakhouse, changed the menu and renamed them Randy’s Ruth’s Chris (Tofu) Steakhouse.
Privation No. 11: Commander’s Palace decided to close temporarily after serving only two (non-fatal) portions of a new dish, Salmon Ella, named to honor the indomitable Ella Brennan.
Privation No. 12: Chef John Besh has discovered that there are no other types of restaurant he can open, even in collaboration with winners of TV cooking competitions. This means no new Besh restaurants under your tree. Sigh.
Thanks to The National Enquirer, The Onion and The Harvard Lampoon for the above information.