Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jonathan Gold on the year in food -- please explain!

Jonathan Gold hopped back to the L.A. Times today to wrap up The Year in Food: Changing Tastes. I love how he managed to work in Bazaar to Breed St. and everything in-between, although his unswerving allegiance to Kogi and disdain of other trucks is starting to look a little odd. Anyway, it was a fascinating read, right up to the last paragraph, which left me confused.
"I could happily go the rest of my life without hearing about another celebrity potato farmer or rock-star butcher, about 15-year-old cheddar or 150-year-old Madeira. And I am not alone." - Jonathan Gold, L.A. Times

Can someone please explain -- is it that butchering classes are good, because they're rock 'n roll, but 15 year old cheddar is bad, because it's pretentious? I don't disagree, but it's a little hard to parse.

6 comments:

Joel said...

"Rock star" is just a synonym for "celebrity" so both the over-hyped farmer and butcher are just as annoying. You know how the LA Times copy desk is with repeating words; they force the synonyms on you.

e*star said...

Continuing on what Joel said, they're all (negative) examples of what he stipulated the past year in food as being - the food culture has become gimmicky (synonymous with "youth"). But also a tad good (individualistic) - as indicative of his allegiance to Kogi.

Yeah, pretty confusing. ;)

Hey, I admit it! I was interested in just having a taste of that 15yo cheddar. It's a WI thing.

Tricerapops said...

you're on to something about 'pretentiousness' in food. with the economy taking a dump on your average diner these days - it's no surprise that a lot of folks are cooking at home these days. that being said, there has been a resurgence of 'artisan' ingredients, and folks are shelling out some cheddar (excuse the pun) for good ingredients.

i think 2010 will bring about a renewed focus on 'what is good' - without the auxiliary tags that come with it (it is 15 years old, it comes from cows fed with a strict diet of honey nut cheerios, etc.). there will be a 'correction' in the ingredients we procure and the prices we pay. This is not to say that we'll seek out the cheapest of the cheap (because that would imply we go back to industrialized farm/meat products), but rather - people will be sincere in their efforts to source local/fresh/good ingredients without the need to satisfy a need to convey a foodie braggadocio about what they are eating.

Dommy! said...

Agreed with what Tricerapops is saying... and it's pretty much in line with Mr. Gold's credo all along, cheddar does not have to be 15 years old to be good or worthwhile... a 150 year old fortified wine is bordering on ridiculous....

Good food can come out of whole food as well as a neighborhood/work place produce truck... I learned this all too well in my years of cobbling dinners together...

That being said though one of my fave discoveries of the year was cave aged cheddar... ;)

Jill said...

Does it seem like maybe a 1500 word piece got cut down to 500 and something got lost in translation? The end seems abrupt, and a bit of a departure from what came before it.

For me, I read the piece as a sort of argument about authenticity. To Gold, street food that's tweeted about (at least when it's Kogi, the first truck in his mind to pioneer the practice) can be considered authentic, while 15-year cheddar or the return of the artisan butcher are less authentic than they are fetishes of the bourgeois (for lack of a better word).

But I could be totally misreading the piece, as I also feel like Gold is as excited about food bloggers and their tweeting he is shows some disdain for the same trend. It's a hard read!

Jill said...

Okay, pardon the mangled sentence above...

What I meant to say -- if I hadn't pressed pubish prematurely -- was:

"But I could be totally misreading the piece, as I feel like Gold is at once excited about food bloggers and their tweeting while also showing some disdain for the trend. It's a hard read!"

I could have used a copy editor in my comment (and re-comment). Oh well...let's hope this redraft is a little more coherent.