Thursday, April 19, 2012
Avoiding Kitchen Conflict
As most good Minnesotans do, I do just about anything to avoid conflict. One of the more appealing aspects of food is the lack of conflict I associate with cooking. Yet, food has become so political that even a simple trip down the grocery aisle is fraught with moral and ethical decisions: local versus organic, free-range versus vegetarian, food shelf versus food stamps, seasonal versus global. Recently national food personalities tied on their boxing gloves and headed to the ring, and we've been forced to observe their matches. The nasty things they say about each other tells me a lot more than their food. Paula Deen and her diabetes versus Anthony Bordain, Mark Bittman versus the entire food television machine, and yesterday local chef, writer, and TV guy Andrew Zimmern used Twitter to poo-poo City Pages crowning The Bachelor Farmer as Best Twin Cities Restaurant.
It is enough to make a girl stop eating.
Well, not actually STOP eating, but stop paying attention to what national and local critics have to say about each other.
Cooking, like any aesthetic art, is also entertainment. Food television for the most part is an escapist craft. But it can also be educational and inspirational. Food Network's recent documentary on feeding American children was an hour long commercial for fantastic programs such as Share Our Strength and Cooking Matters. Julia opened the minds, palettes, and cupboards of our entire nation. From America's Test Kitchen to Alton Brown's Good Eats, food TV can stimulate our desires to enter the kitchen and cook something delicious and healthy for our families. But please, food personalities, keep your egotistical feuding to yourselves.
I was very happy to find a banal topic yet snappy taste for this week's Called to the Table column. Ramps are here! Oh the fun we have with the short-lived wild leeks! I love them pickled and raw and baked in tarts! Then, I came across several anti-ramp rants online. I'll not post links here. There is enough conflict in the food world, and these blasts are just an excuse for some bored food writer to campaign against the joy many of us derive from celebrating spring's first harvest.