The “Artisan Salmon” of Whole Foods

“Charlie, they don’t want tunas with good taste. They want tunas that taste good.” — Charlie the Tuna advertisements from the 1960s to ’80s.

I recently visited the local Whole Foods that is 21 miles downvalley. (Aspen itself has banned chain stores because customers like them more than City Council thinks they should.)

I overheard a conversation between a customer (or what they surely call a “client”) and a fish monger wearing a purple earring (what they probably call a “pescateur”).

Client (looking over a counter of iced salmon): “But are the salmon farmed sustainably?” She asked her question a little too loudly so that other customers could hear it.

Pescateur: “Are you kidding? This is artisan salmon. Our partnering salmon supplier — which operates off the coast of Norway using special deep water salmoniniums — harvests two salmon eggs for each salmon they sell.”

“What happens to the eggs?”

“They’re at the other end of the counter.”

“OK, I’ll take 4 pounds of salmon.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’ll take 4 pounds of the salmon, please.”

“Lady, we don’t chop these up. This is Whole Foods and we sell only whole salmon.”

“Fine, Continue reading

Advertisements

Should Toledo Taxpayers Pay for Aspen Art?

Here in the billionaires’ playground of Aspen, the politicians waived the zoning laws a few years ago for a monstrosity they call an art museum.

It’s a huge square wicker basket dominating a city block, with zero setback and zero architecture. This place that is supposed to display visual beauty is itself an eyesore.

Almost everyone hates it.

But not the director Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson. In an artistic burst, she created for herself a $900,000 salary. Her salary is about the only permanent or valuable piece in the collection. To put that number in perspective, it’s higher than the salaries paid to the directors of real museums like the Guggenheim and the Getty.

Even so, this director of the Aspen Art Museum has a bone to pick, now that she’s picked off the easy flesh. She’s grousing that budget-conscious legislators in Washington might reduce taxpayer funding for her shtick.

It’s not that there isn’t any money in Aspen to take up the slack. In perhaps the understatement of the year, I’ll say this about that: There is. Continue reading