Publisher’s Weekly has an interesting piece up about the rise of non-mainstream cuisine on the American foodscape (kill me for using that word), contrasting the rise in Vietnamese, Cajun, Mexican, etc. recipes and cookbooks with our current desire to drive out many of the people who brought these cuisines here. PW sees this as evidence that the food world is more welcoming than say, Arizona:
[T]here are no borders in the American kitchen. Surveying the cookbook market and the culinary scene in 2010, it’s clear that American cuisine is more diverse than it’s ever been, a true—and delicious—reflection of our country and what makes it great.
Oh, bullshit. Seriously? Cherrypicking things like recipes and fashion statements from other cultures is a fine colonial tradition, one that is not any less exploitative if the colonies are within one’s own borders. It’s nice that A Taste of Lebanon is selling well, but how many people can find Lebanon on a map? Are we supposed to think people are eating fried kafta and talking about how Suleiman jailed three people for denigrating him on Facebook? (And before you think that is some craaaazy Middle Eastern move, a school in Florida tried to do it to a teen who said her teacher sucked!) Also think about it this way–people are immigrating here and bringing us these delicious foods because we, a superpower, are not helping them to end the conflict and problems in their own countries. We are in fact, in most cases making it worse. But hey, thanks for the tacos. Now go home.
What really infuriated me about this piece was the closing quote, from one Anthony Bourdain:
The kitchen is still a place where you are judged on how well you do and nothing else. It’s kind of wonderful. It’s the last meritocracy.
Apparently Anthony Bourdain has not noticed that “the kitchen” is still mostly full of straight white dudes. And they can eat all the international cuisine they want, but that still won’t make it a meritocracy.
Really it’s the laziest, laziest thing to do. It’s meaningless. I thought it was hilarious when SUF first started and some people said “Oh, it’s just a bunch of hipsters making fun of food culture,” while others said “It’s awesome! they make fun of hipster foodies,” depending on if they liked us or not. Because if you don’t like something, it must be hipster. Why bother to engage with it, or figure out why you are intimidated or why you don’t like it, or think at all, when you have a kneejerk, ahistorical, insider-feeling label to stick on it? Sometimes people pop up in the comments with anti-hipster rants and I delete those suckers like an Old Testament God, or Meatball when she’s hung over. And I’ll do it on this one too! Take it to your own blogs, people.
I have no stake in this game—I’m a chubby middle-aged catlady—but lordy there is no crime against having good hair and caring about music. Get over your issues and take people for who they are, not for what you’ve decided about them because they happen to be wearing a certain kind of jeans.
So I say to you, Esquire magazine, about your “7 Steps to Survive the Hipster Coffee Trend“—with bonus misogynistic line about estrogen levels—shut up.
First, turn the sound down on your computer. Then, head over to Boss Hogg’s Bacon is Meat Candy Bacon Club, “Where ‘Baconism is More Than a Mere Philosophy, It’s Our Very Way of Life!” You can recline on your bacon pillow, slather on some bacon lip balm, and eat some bacon candy. Which is, ironically, strawberry flavored. There is also a chocolate-and-bacon concoction called sueyts. (Get it?)
Or perhaps you prefer the sophisticated bacon stylings of the Royal Bacon Society, where they blog about bacon, share bacon recipes, discuss bacon pet products, and even have a section on bacon porn! (Dear Reader: I did not click.) There are people getting bacon tattoos. They are putting it in tea. Bacon tea.
I don’t get it. Why? Why? Why bacon? Why? Is it because it is salty? Is it because it is fatty? Is it because it is from pigs? Why bacon? WHY WHY IS BACON THE HELLO KITTY OF FOOD? WHY?
Not only that but loooooooooving bacon is now this kind of shorthand for loooooving life. It’s like the Rachel Weisz character in the movie version of “The Constant Gardener.” She’s a lusty earthy lady who is possibly having lusty earthy affairs as she traipses around Kenya saving children. Her character is so lusty that she is always doing succulent things like picking grapes off the table and eating them with her fingers, and sucking the spoon as she makes soup because she is so freaking sensual and fertile that she has to keep shoving it in your face or she’s going to have a baby right then and there or something.
If that movie were made today, she’d be eating bacon all the freakin time.