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Washtenaw Flaneurade
21 November 2008
Marmot's Progress
Now Playing: The Raveonettes--"Love In A Trashcan"

Writing as someone a little skeptical of the widespread "change" the presidential campaign I recently supported promised, I have to say that this is pretty awesome. From my perspective, my congressman's had it coming since he decided to go after Lynn Rivers in the wake of the Republican gerrymander.

This post by Jessi Klein and the surprisingly impassioned (or vituperative, take your pick) rebuttal from Ezra Klein (no relation) really dramatize an argument I've been having with myself ever since I decided to go into the food service industry. I enjoy cooking, and I'd certainly like to improve my abilities and my ingredients. That said, I've long had a visceral dislike of the "foodie" craze that's swept the middle class for the last few years, which seems to have less to do with making good food than showing off some kind of cultural accessory, like playing a video game. I've never seen Top Chef, and I've heard mostly laudable things about Tom Colicchio, but good cooking existed long before the show and doutbless will long after. Part of this dislike, of course, may have to do with my jealousy of the access, both temporal and financial, "foodies" seem to have to excellent ingredients and equipment. Cooking for a living doesn't pay very much (at least for me at the present time) and sometimes tends to leave one exhausted to a degree that, yes, Hot Pockets are, at times, the most welcome form of sustenance.

 On the other hand, the tendency to demonize good cooking and good ingredients themselves, rather than the fetishization thereof, is perhaps more ridiculous. I remember that, a few years back, a number of acquaintances would rag on anything "artisanal" as somehow inauthentic, as opposed to pizza and Pabst Blue Ribbon, just the thing to unwind after a hard day down at the mill or factory or graduate internship. The interest in growing and eating well and local became just one more example of bourgeois decadence. Some of the criticisms, to be sure, were well-directed; for instance, at local grocery stores that had to price higher than the big box places out in the suburbs, a legitimate complaint (if not always applicable in my view) as the nearest decent places to buy food in and around a major college campus were, by and large, only financially accessible to "foodies." All too often, though, this concern simply expressed itself in that aforementioned visceral dislike.

I'm still not quite sure where I stand; I suppose my present exploration of cooking is an attempt to find some kind of middle ground.

Posted by Charles J. Microphone at 10:28 AM EST
Updated: 21 November 2008 10:29 AM EST
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25 November 2008 - 1:20 PM EST

Name: "Mom"

Happy Birthday (11/25), Rawls!  See you tomorrow!




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