Maintaining consistent quality at each location — a hallmark in the era before chains guaranteed predictability for drivers across the country — despite the dizzying scope of the menu was made possible by the enormous Howard Johnson’s commissary system, which produced, froze, and distributed much of the food to individual restaurants, where franchisees strictly adhered to the minutely detailed preparations laid out in the “Howard Johnson Bible.” For nearly a decade, the commissaries were overseen by the famed French chefs Pierre Franey and Jacques Pépin, who were hired by Johnson in 1960 from Le Pavillon, one of the great fine-dining restaurants in New York at the time.
The world of bluefin tuna, while diminishing, is a lens into the culture and ethics of fishing; it also reflects a nation’s history. Within all this, of course, are two questions: First, how did this fish go from being low-grade cat food to the most expensive fish in the world? And why can’t we stop eating it?
To those unfamiliar with the absurdist theater of school lunch, it is puzzling, even maddening, that feeding kids nutritious food should be so hard. You buy good food. You cook it. You serve it to hungry kids.Yet the National School Lunch Program, an $11.7 billion behemoth that feeds more than 31 million children each day, is a mess, and has been for years. Conflicts of interest were built into the program. It was pushed through Congress after World War II with the support of military leaders who wanted to ensure that there would be enough healthy young men to fight the next war, and of farmers who were looking for a place to unload their surplus corn, milk and meat. The result was that schools became the dumping ground for the cheap calories our modern agricultural system was designed to overproduce.