An assignment for school has me analyzing 25 online food articles. Some are written by true “gastronomes” (Item: Did France’s Le Fooding movement just snub Guy Savoy?!) while others take a grittier approach (Silk moth caterpillers = good eating!). Despite their differences, one characteristic has been painfully universal: it’s all sort of embarrassing.
Take that with a grain of Himalayan Pink Sea Salt. Writing about food is obviously something I really care about. There are many writers who do good by drawing attention to certain issues, and many more that grow personally from thinking through what they eat (taking into account the the occasional fluff). But what about the writer who masks gluttony as appreciation? Or the smug celebrity chef who’s fences keep the public out? Foodies may be fun, some may be talented, but often, they’re wolves in Curried Lamb’s clothing.
That’s why it was so refreshing to read B.R. Myers’ Atlantic article, The Moral Crusade Against Foodies. Basically, it’s an informed rant against pretentious food writing. And while Myers’ argument has no shortage of gross generalizations, it shines a spotlight on a trend that may harm as much as it helps. Take the following (glorifying) passage from the Best Food Writing anthologies:
I watched tears streak down a friend’s face as he popped expertly cleavered bites of chicken into his mouth … He was red-eyed and breathing fast. “It hurts, it hurts, but it’s so good, but it hurts, and I can’t stop eating!” He slammed a fist down on the table. The beer in his glass sloshed over the sides. “Jesus Christ, I’ve got to stop!”
Enlightening? Without a doubt.