On this verrry slow news week traditionally reserved for a final onslaught of year-end round-ups/pronouncements, the Chicago Tribune‘s Christopher Borrelli has bestowed upon the Interweb “a plea for calm.” Borrelli, a general assignments reporter who writes about food and blogs about it for the Trib‘s food blog The Stew, is “exhausted by the food movement and foodies in particular.”
Borrelli, whose own contributions to the frothing foodie canon include a list of “yo sous chef is so stupid” jokes and a chocolate Easter bunny smack-down, has been driven to his breaking point by long lines at tasting events and a restaurant server who casually threw around one too many catchphrases of the “sustainable-locally sourced-housemade” variety.
“Am I the only one fatigued by all of this stuff?” Borrelli asks plaintively. “The only diner out there exhausted by the fastidiousness applied to $38 pappardelle and $3 frozen pop on a stick alike? The only one who feels bludgeoned by people swinging their expertise like so much boneless, air-dried Italian lomo?”
Obviously, he isn’t: Writers from New York to Houston to Seattle have, with varying degrees of self-congratulation, proclaimed themselves sick of foodies and the overcrowded farmers’ markets and hyper-fetishized food trucks they have engendered. Borrelli is, however, the first to wrangle “ask-an-expert” quotes from the likes of Amanda Hesser and Anthony Bourdain to validate his fatigue, as well as David Letterman’s anti-Cupcake Wars rant and the Barneys holiday windows.
Borrelli makes some fair and valid points, particularly concerning the food scene’s lack of self-awareness and accompanying tendency toward self-parody, but they get subsumed by the larger problem inherent to most anti-foodie rants: The only thing more tiresome than listening to some foodie blather on about truffled duck fat is a food blogger writing about how tiring it is to listen to some foodie blather on about truffled duck fat.
Particularly when that writer is — as he himself haltingly admits — part of the problem, and seems to have no intention of surrendering his blogging software any time soon. Borrelli is quick to point out that he “only occasionally” writes about food, which presumably puts him on a higher moral ground from which he can cast aspersions on the rest of us, but, seen from below, his viewpoint is more than a little hypocritical. And, also, nothing new: Foodie fatigue dates to at least 1984, when The Official Foodie Handbook was published. The only difference between then and now is that the Internet has enabled more people to complain about it.