the end of my food specialness

It’s been interesting watching this current burgeoning interest in food burgeon (from Old French bourgeonner ‘put out buds,’ from borjon ‘bud,’ based on late Latin burra ‘wool’). Having a hereditary interest in food, and having long lived with a woman with a still greater interest, I’ve had a pretty long view on it. But now there are all these converts kicking around. Fervorous converts. Out here in the sticks, I’ve been able to ignore it, largely, but the other month I visited a Whole Foods in Annapolis and it brought me a little low. It had things I used to have to find in little shops in Montreal. It had things I’d never thought of, made me think a little. My only consolation was that, when I ordered a couple pieces of salami, they had to open new ones because the ones in the display case were stale.

Now, this is not to say that I’m suddenly unconvinced that I’m a better, and certainly more versatile, cook than nearly everyone (cough, cough). But it is a little strange to be suddenly overtaken by so many people in so many fields that, until a couple years ago, I was exceptional for having dabbled in. And that’s my problem here: I’m still dabbling. I’m curious, but mostly I’m practical. I rarely try for perfection. Lazy scion of a mainline church.

Since there is a part of my personality that is wrapped up in having food specialness, I considered stepping up. But it just sounded like a lot of work. So, I’m quitting. Nolo contendere. I let the tide wash over me; I hope it won’t wash back.

But, I’m sick of all the advertising. Feel gooding and politics. I saw a bottle of wine that screamed all the trendy anti-establishment buzzwords the other day, whose makers proudly blurbed about the fact that they were letting themselves remain anonymous. How authentic is that? How sick am I of authenticity? If I were an nth generation something picturesque, at this point, I’d consider hiding the fact. So sick am I of black and white pictures of salt of the earth.

The other day, for the first time, I heard someone use the term “sell out” with regard to food. As in, is it ethical for a small (“DIY”) producer to charge a luxury premium, over costs, for some product, if they can get it. Punk ethos in cooking. Fascinating.

Did a major label just sign my favorite band? That must be it. I went to the woods and Punk Rock died. On the balance it’s a great good thing, I think, and I shouldn’t maybe begrudge all the hard selling. Maybe it will normalize and the buzz will die. I don’t know for sure. It’s a little painful to think about. I’m not convinced.

I’m just going to have to grit my teeth and cook breakfast.

4 Comments on “the end of my food specialness”

  1. Melanie says:

    I’m sad to see you stop. As a northwest girl who grew up in a community appreciative of ‘do-it-yourself’, I’m now feeling a little displaced in downtown, east coast. Your posts have reminded me a little of home.

  2. Will Huenink says:

    Hi Melanie, sweet of you to say. But, no need to worry, I’m not closing up shop. Not yet, anyway. I am just, I think, bitching, and declaring official my longstanding distaste for selling people on things——a thing I’m fully aware of having done regularly on this blog, among other places. And still trying to figure out what this blog is for. Apparently, it is not so much a place for food preciousness.

  3. Melanie says:

    Thanks for the note, and I’m glad to see you’re continuing. From another perspective – I grew up having access to all sorts of great food that was grown or raised or gathered and hunted by my family. These days I don’t have so many resources, and so I buy from those who offer it for sale. I realize I’m getting milked, but I tolerate it to get the good stuff. I don’t see any other way to get it, and I’m glad to have the choice.

  4. Will Huenink says:

    Yup. I need to write that post, about luxury marketing in food. Need to straighten out my thoughts on the subject. Certainly don’t begrudge farmers making a living, even under bad conditions. Anyway, forthcoming.

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