Locavore, shmocavore—a roundup of the new foodie backlash
You don’t have to look too far to find signs that there’s a foodie backlash brewing. And while we at The Dish may be guilty of some of the things these authors condemn, even we can’t help but chuckle at some of these rants. We round up the new case against foodies after the jump:
• Although it wasn’t the first to weigh in, B.R. Myers’s article in The Atlantic this month, “The Moral Crusade Against Foodies,” has gotten a lot of people talking. Myers’s main point? “Gluttony dressed up as foodie-ism is still gluttony.” He admonishes foodies for feigning concern over an animal’s well-being when their own eating habits are, often enough, far from sustainable on a widespread scale or, in the very least, inaccessible in price to the general population. He also takes shots at the self-indulgence, single-mindedness and false piety of food writers, including Anthony Bourdain, Michael Pollan and Kim Severson.
• On The Atlantic’s website, “B.R. Myers and the Myth of ‘Sustainable’ Food,’” by historian James McWilliams, is a measured response to Myers’s over-the-top piece. Like Myers, McWilliams criticizes foodie snobbery and the narrowness of the foodie belief that theirs is the best way to eat.
This exclusive insularity—combined with the shamelessly uncritical glorification of foodie issues in the foodie media—leads its tastemakers to overlook a humbling reality: for most people food is just food. Just food. It’s not religion or politics or environmentalism or fashion or travel or art or sex or anything particularly substantial beyond itself. Most omnivores don’t have a dilemma.
• From Gourmet Live, Pavia Rosati’s article “Shut Up, Locavores” reminisces about the good old days of microwave TV dinners and Oreos for breakfast. While she’s sympathetic toward those seeking to minimize their food miles, Senyei is pretty direct:
Hey, locavores. Shut up already!
Your intentions may be noble, but your preachy self-righteousness is insufferable.
• In “He’s had his fill,” the Boston Globe’s Alex Beam eagerly seeks out signs that the foodie trend is on the decline. Beam calls Mark Bittman’s “A Food Manifesto for the Future” “ridiculously pretentious,” and laments Michelle Obama’s foodieism in the White House. However, Beam’s evidence that foodie influence is fading fast is less than convincing—he notes that The Food Network lost viewers in the last quarter of 2010, but admits that these viewers probably went to other food shows on the Travel and Cooking channels (owned by The Food Network’s parent company, no less). The best moment is Beam’s response to a lobster massacre scene in Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir: “David Foster Wallace would not have approved.”
• If a picture is worth a thousand words, a YouTube clip must be worth a few more. IFC’s new show Portlandia, written and starring SNL’s Fred Armisen and Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein, features a hilarious scene with an obnoxious couple demanding to know absolutely everything about the chicken they are about to eat. This being Portland, the waitress takes it all in stride:
“So here is the chicken you will be enjoying tonight. His name was Colin. Here are his papers.”