Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hipsters with Food: A disturbing new trend

A rather alarming and disturbing trend is showing up in some of the culinary magazines I read. I had dropped a lot of my magazine subscriptions after the kids came, as I really didn’t have time to:

1) read


2) cook the complicated shit they put on their pages each month.

However, Anna brought home a fundraiser for magazine subscriptions from school and I once again joined the ranks of the culinary-informed with some deep discounts along the way. But as the magazines started coming in, I noticed something that disturbed me: Hipsters posing with food. Yes, there are a few movements going on that support this ridiculousness: sustainable food, organic food, food trucks, cottage industries, and the whole “Foodie” trend on its own, but I find the pictures of these douches most annoying. It usually shows some smug hipster posing with their food in some kind of silly but purposeful pose. They will wear a tattered t shirt with a band they have probably never listened to in their life and the adult version of the Justin Bieber cut or worse yet, dreds. If they are on a farm, they will have their Wellies on with multiple layers of L.L.Bean/Lands End clothing and some ironic animal posing with them as they both mug for the camera in a remote and/or swampy part of their farm or commune.

Apparently these Trustafarians have yet to find sustainable employment that allows them to keep their white-folk dreds and anti-establishment cred so they are cooking up bacon slushees, J├Ągermeister popsicles, and vegan/gluten free cookies for sale via baskets lowered to the street via a rope (for real). Why the anger Tom? Let me tell you. I am all for cottage industries. As an artist, that is how most of us get started, but with this cottage-like production comes apparently medieval sanitation. When I was in Ponce, PR with the Latino-who-shall-not-be-named a long time ago we were sent to the beach and were told to eat from this crescent-shaped line of food shacks peddling fish and other Puerto Rican goodies by a local. After eating some amazing octopi and conch, I spent the better part of the vacation on the toilet wishing I was dead and cursing the Cephalopod wrecking havoc on my lower GI.

While I consider myself a culinary adventurer, I tread carefully when it comes to food prep. Oh sure, my kitchen would probably be shut down and declared unfit for food production on close inspection, but at least I wash my hands and clean the damn thing. Most of the Foodsters (my new name for them) are in front of some old truck rescued from the dump with trippy paint jobs and bumper stickers. The truck or van is usually in such bad shape a desperate pedophile would probably shake his head and say “no thanks.” Or they are on a bike with a Dorothy-esque basket delivering their small batch (but high bacteria!) lukewarm soup to their unsuspecting victims clients in their gentrified neighborhood. Call me a prude; but I want my food prepared by someone wearing a white coat and latex gloves. Most of these Foodsters would be more at home slinging ink or at a methadone clinic by the way they are dressed. Sure, it’s fun to look cool, but I draw the line when fashion gets in the way of hygiene.

I will make one exception to this rule and that’s the culinary goodness served up each year at the Jackson County Fair. You can see the food vendors coming in on the freeway for a few weeks before the fair starts. As the Carnies gather and the tooth count drops, you can begin to smell the deep-friend delicacies as the fair is put together. Their trailers with their colorful airbrushed designs and beckoning lights are irresistible to me and my cholesterol level each summer. My clogged arteries cannot resist anything that is deep-fried or served to me with a greasy napkin on a stick. Eating at the fair is like a really bad one night stand. Sure it’s fun when it’s going on, but the day after and your next trip to the doctor ain’t so much fun.

As the magazines come in, I hope to see less and less of this trend, I hope it dies a quick (and painful) death. Foodsters, you’re on notice.