miscellany/etymology

Food For Thinkers: Does Not Butter Ennoble Enough?

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This post is a part of Food for Thinkers, a week-long, distributed, online conversation looking at food-writing from as wide and unusual a variety of perspectives as possible. Between January 18 and January 23, 2011, more than thirty food and non-food writers will respond to a question posed by GOOD’s newly-launched Food hub: What does—or could, or even should—it mean to write about food today? Check out the conversation in full at GOOD.is/food.

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at the risk of sounding glib, i’m inclined to say that food writing should continue meaning and being more or less what it has been for the past, oh, to play it safe, let’s say 200 years. which is to say, at its best, just as diverse and interesting and inspired as i think this Food For Thinkers project promises to be; and at its worst, boring, offensive and forgettable. i mean, Sturgeon’s Law, what are you going to do?

 

we are at a moment, arguably, when food has seized the cultural and commercial imagination to a remarkable degree, and one can only hope that some of this renewed interest in both the ethic and ethics of eating, in sustainable, organic, locally sourced, ‘politically responsible’ production and consumption, have a more rhizomatic* effect than just becoming another lifestyle activism laminate. it is in this respect that i think there are myriad important reasons to think and write about food, and i am happy to live in a time when food as an object of serious geographical, political, architectural, etc. inquiry is being taken up by so many very bright and talented people.

 

i am also happy to live at a time when such free rein has been given to the frivolous, fetishistic, pretentious, and perverse (i’d be hard pressed to convince anyone, but i really tried to avoid that alliteration) treatments of food. it is a tension that i believe to be productive. i mean, i have to, because it is very much those latter that run through my own writing. i write about food for primarily the same reason that i eat the stuff – pleasure. not sickening and dying is a welcome, albeit by no means guaranteed side-effect. Continue reading

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A Nostalgic, Metal-core Kind of Morning

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which i guess means…mushy peas with mint and lentil-sprouts on toast? flipping through the new issue of Saveur (that includes chili-cardomom-infused tequila as hot sauce, fine cooking with cheetos, and homemade kielbasa) which is just charming enough to make me reconsider deciding not to renew my subscription this year, listening to Burial Year, and anticipating how insufferable will be my company when i’m all hepped up on coffee and breakdowns.

 

also, thinking on what to write for next week’s Food for Thinkers event, organized by Nicola Twilley (EdibleGeography/Good Magazine):

 

Food for Thinkers is a week-long, distributed, online conversation looking at food-writing from as wide and unusual a variety of perspectives as possible. Between January 18 and January 23, 2011, more than thirty food and non-food writers will respond to a question posed by GOOD’s newly-launched Food hub: What does—or could, or even should—it mean to write about food today? You can check out the conversation in full at GOOD.is/food, join in the comments, and follow the Twitter hashtag #foodforthinkers to keep up-to-date as archaeologists, human rights activists, design critics, and even food writers share their perspective on what makes food so interesting.

 

as someone who believes there are a good many fascinating and significant reasons to write about food, but whose own writing is basically an vanity project, i’m curious to see what i come up with. wondering if it would do too much violence to Hans Jorg Rheinberger’s idea of ‘epistemic things to use it to think about foods, traditions, and their conceptual and material traces. i guess we’ll see. tune in next week!

 

 

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