Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 0

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 0

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 0

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 0
Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003
12.20.08

Chris Ware, Grim Gastronomic Griper

Bites: News and Miscellany


Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-content/plugins/polls/polls.php on line 303

Chris Ware, Chicago’s comic laureate, does some culinary related hating in the Nov 24th food issue of New Yorker (you have to be a digital or print subscriber to see the actual panel). The panel depicts a fear and loathing organic macaroni and cheese cooking mother (potentially a descendant of Cathy Guisewite’s cartoon Cathy) who must entertain her architect husband’s clients while enduring post-modern style gastronomy dinners of “molecularly reduced cucumber foam”. Ware’s strip says, “I think aestheticizing the sense of taste is a classist, morally, indefensible notion, a function of privilege rather than of necessity, especially when it comes at such expense…”

I think like a lot of outsiders, and many knee jerk reacting insiders, Ware gets modern cooking wrong. While I don’t doubt there are some cooks with dubious “aestheticizing” goals, most of the cooks I know who work in this vein still very much hew to the idea of cooking as craft, and see what they are doing as an exploration of the boundaries of this craft. Likewise, the manipulations they make (i.e. creating textural contrasts, intensifying flavors, and yes, providing interesting visual and aural enhancements) are focused on truly improving your eating experience, i.e. making things taste better.

Yes, generally, to eat this way is expensive, but as with most worthy custom-made low economy of scale high cost endeavors, cooking this way, I think will eventually lead to well distributed lower cost advances in the way we eat. Homaro Cantu of Moto sees certain food technologies, like edible ink, eventually, as a means to deliver nutrition at low cost to starving folks in developing countries.

Ware’s comic strip ends with the mother eating ketchup-laden mac and cheese, something she scorned earlier in the strip, as a means of comfort. The suggestion here is that post-modern cooking can’t be emotionally impactful or comforting. I’ve written the anti-thesis to this idea here, so I won’t go in to that since you can read more if you’re interested.

You could say as a freelance food writer, I protest as an invested insider. But, even when I was an unemployed web designer and before I became a food writer, my wife and I set aside money and saved to dine at Alinea (it was huge stretch for us), precisely because we thought there was something more important going on. We made the investment to eat there because we believed there was something to learn from and also something to enrich our lives. It was not an opportunity to overindulge and cower at the whims of chef Grant Achatz, as Ware might paint it.

That being said, I’m pretty surprised by Ware’s (who I’m a big fan of) personal take (it could be the character’s take only, but I believe artists who claim their characterizations are total fiction are probably lying). I’d think he’d relate to the pursuit of furthering the boundaries of food through creativity and innovation. After all, isn’t that what he does with his comic strip style? It’s not like we’re reading Hagar the Horrible anymore. Ware has taken a vernacular form of entertainment, i.e. the comic, that was once available to every person within spitting distance of a Sunday Newspaper, and appropriated it, and transformed the form at the most exclusive level for his own moralizing and artistic investigation.

The counter-argument of course is that by using a comic, Ware is making seemingly ivory tower discourses on philosophy, politics, and cultural zeitgeist more accessible. But, c’mon, he writes comic strips for the New Yorker. You can’t even read the comic unless you subscribe or you have a computer and a digital registration. While I don’t know the specific demographics of the magazine, as an avid reader, I’m pretty sure his audience is mostly a bunch of overeducated white dudes and dudettes with good corporate jobs, urban hipsters, and people with too much time on their hands. What Ware does and who he does it for is the very function of privilege, especially when you consider that the New Yorker is a welfare organization for cultural writing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good work if you can get it, and I certainly would love to be doing food pieces for them, but everyone knows that the New Yorker supports endeavors (poetry, post-Spiegelman comic artistry) that the wider marketplace barely sustains, if at all.

That being said, even when Ware’s stuff was more accessible, or available for free, it was in places like the Chicago Reader or Newcity (which I write for), niche publications also catering to a certain audience and not quite widely distributed or widely read in certain parts of Chicago. To contest post-modern styles of cooking on the grounds that to cook in such a way is a classist, function of privilege seems a little self-hating.

4 Comments on "Chris Ware, Grim Gastronomic Griper"

Mike G

Self-hating? Chris Ware? Get out!

I don’t see this stuff percolating down to the masses precisely because I think it already percolated up from the masses– molecular gastronomy was happening in a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos long before it ever happened at El Bulli. I just had a meal like this that came a little too close to dehydrated space food for my taste, left me wishing for the this-far-and-no-farther modern approach of Blackbird, say, by comparison.

But sure, when it works, it’s magical. I just don’t think the way to defend it is on Marxist grounds– soon, all peoples will eat foam like decadent Western speculators! In fact, dining like this IS already within the grasp of the reasonably capable working person, choose to own a slightly less nice car and you can, if you want, afford a meal like this which you can still be talking about 5 years later. (Compare that to the decadent pleasures of a century ago, when the admission fee alone to the Everleigh Club was more than the average worker made in a week. To compare, Alinea would have to charge you a $3000 cover, and $20,000 for dinner.) Most people would find it crazy to spend their money that way, but they COULD.

For me these arguments from a utilitarian perspective are depressing– if our choices in life really ought to be so purely rational, then just hook us all up to feeding tubes in the Matrix and be done with it. We should all have something we get a little crazy about, or else we’re not alive. I wish I could draw as well as Chris Ware but part of the reason I can’t is because he’s spent 10 gazillion hours honing his craft and I never will. In fact, it seems crazy to me. Pass the deconstructed pork rinds with oyster foam.



Barry Strum

Time for a bit of perspective folks………

The food deconstructionists, molecular gastronomes, post-modern culinarians……all part of the sweep of history and because of that….they’re all a bit ephemeral.

We forget the turn of the century chic practice of gluttony at Delmonico’s eat-athons, the images of court feats with all manner of decorative nonsense, not to mention the “Emperor’s New Clothes” of gastronomy…Cuisine Minceur of the 1980’s….all have come and gone. I trust that there were a few charlatans among them. The rest were likely quite sincere.

Though I haven’t dined on these latest creations, I can certainly understand the concept and goals. It’s quite a feat to deconstruct food with elegance, meaning and grace. Having recently read through sections of the Alinea Cookbook and a few essays about Thomas Keller, I can certainly appreciate the level of vision and technique involved.

It’s a bit unfair to lump the current virtuosos with the other end of the deconstructionist spectrum………the Kraft chemists and the gnomes at Beatrice Foods.

The current trends do not rule out more traditional takes on food nor do they imply that we’re all headed for the foam buffet or the mega mart’s ‘ Abstract Cuisine section.

Food is too broad and compelling.It can take a few hits here & there.



Cynthia

History suggests that “aestheticizing the sense of taste” for those who want to eat better (often, though not always, people with money) is more than 2,000 years old. It was in classical Greece that we first see the sharp differentiation between eating to survive and eating for pleasure. Of course, that’s the history of the West. The division goes back farther than that in Eastern cultures.

As noted in Michael’s comments above, being well-heeled is not the only access point to fine dining. Like Michael, early in my working career, I saved all year for an annual pilgrimage to Le Français. If you looked at my income, you’d say I couldn’t afford it — but I chose to afford it.

Food is not the only thing that has been attacked as classist in recent times. Books have come under attack, as well. (John Simon offers a brilliantly funny essay on how imbecilic it is to view books as elitist and computers as populist in his book Paradigms Lost.)

All this attacking things as elitist reminds me of a comment in C.S. Lewis’s “Screwtape Proposes a Toast,” a piece written after The Screwtape Letters had proven so successful. Screwtape toasts the infernal powers for the successfully divisive idea that somehow excelling at anything is inherently undemocratic and needs to be shot down as elitist.

Ultimately, it seems that certain people view whatever doesn’t interest them as elitist. “If I don’t like it, it must be because I’m better than you somehow.” So I’d say that, at heart, a person who dismisses others for liking intriguing food is more of an elitist than the person eating that food.



MenuPages Blog :: Chicago

New Year, New MP, New Me…

I made a few New Years resolutions as the clock struck twelve last Wednesday. Have better posture, call my mom more often, counteract all that charcuterie and pho by getting off my lazy butt and exercising, and so on. I’ve……



Comments

Please Leave a Comment!




Please note: Comments may be moderated. It may take a while for them to show on the page.





Features/Archive
Podcast Interviews
Feeds
Everytime Hungry Magazine is updated, you can be notified. Just click on your preferred feed (What's a Feed?) below:

Chef Interview Podcasts Only

All Hungry Magazine Content

Theme By fruta planta