Wednesday, June 06, 2007

That's not me, is it?

As it turns out, you can take just about anything too far. I do sometimes think there's a fine line between showing off and demonstrating a genuine love of and enthusiasm for food and feeding other people, but I'm not quite sure which category this article in today's NY Times is talking about.

I'm reading the Omnivore's Dilemma right now, and I can kind of relate to the ennui about overdoing the fancy/organic/provenance thing, but I resent the implication that it's somehow frivolous. People should care where the poor pig came from, and I am glad they are going to the cheesemonger instead of unwrapping the Cracker Barrel. Then again, I certainly wouldn't be mortified about serving store bought tortillas to guests (especially when I don't know how to make them!)

And what's so wrong with Ann Taylor anyway??

Dang that snooty New York Times.


  1. Loved the article! Even in Holland we have had some (as in 1 or two) articles discussing this. And to be honest, I am with one leg in the Ann Taylor camp, the other is balancing across the divide to the "olive oil from this little farmer in Italy".
    Let's not forget that it is more than okay to cook good food for your friends and family, but foremost it is important that you *have* friends and family you'd like to cook for. Food is not an aim in itself, it is enhancing the atmosphere, not dictating it!

  2. People want to feel not only good about themselves, but better than you. If you've made an effort to a) be skeptical of the establishment and b) educate yourself, and you feel you're being resposnible in your choices as an omnivore, you probably are.

    And let's not forget, foodistas (no offense Baking Soda), that in the US we can get olive oil from that little farmer in California.

  3. Fascinating article. I don't think there's anything wrong with labels "local, organic, sustainable" -- it's how people react to them. I don't make my food choices to impress people; I try to do what I feel is right for the environment. I sleep better knowing that whatever protein ends up on my dinner plate didn't suffer unnecessarily and that the produce accompanying it didn't burn hundreds of gallons of fossil fuel making it to my table. But when I invite guests over, I don't announce where the food came from; I just allow them to enjoy it.

    And if/when I get around to making homemade tortillas, it will be for the enjoyment of the experience, not to gain bragging rights. :)

  4. Once people start bringing the consumption of fossil fuels into the discussion it strikes me as the foodie equivalent of Godwin's Law. Yes, it's better to buy local, but you don't get to make the environmental argument if you have to drive to 7 different stores to get each ingredient. As someone in a big city with no public transportation to speak of, if I'm going to go to the best place for cheese, meats, breads, etc., it's going to take all day and require lots of driving. I don't have the time or energy and with gas prices being what they are, I'd like to be able to afford the food itself ;>

    I think people forget that simple can be wonderful. Our favorite dinner party meal is homeade guacamole to nibble before, hamburgers grilled outside for dinner and homeade strawberry shortcake for dessert. The article makes it seem as though I should be embarrassed that the strawberries are Driscoll's that I bought 2 for $4 at SuperTarget, but the reality is that I rarely have a guest for dinner who doesn't pretty much clean their plate. And we have a pretty well-travelled group of friends that includes a few chefs (the chefs usually demand burgers and end up eating three each).

  5. That such a funny article! I know that there are people around who shop locally/organically/sustainable, etc for the social cache, and while it does seem like such a trivial reason to do it, I'm still happy that they're supporting local, organic, sustainable farmers.

    I have to admit it, after reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, I was overwhelmed with the idea of what is socially and environmentally "good" to eat. It took several months of reading articles and books until I relaxed about my food choices. I guess I should say became comfortable. Since we're picking up a quarter of a grass fed cow in a few weeks, I've decided to not eat beef at home since I can't afford the beef at Whole Foods that I would feel comfortable eating.

    I agree with Culinarily Curious, it's so weird to announce to your friends that you're serving them "socially conscious" food, as though asking for a pat on the back instead of just their company.

    Oh yeah, and leave Ann Taylor alone!