Food Writers Gone Wild! Or Purple, Pustulant Prose
|The literary food writer, circa 1973.|
Contemporary food writing has its own excesses. On Slate, Noreen Malone appears to be the only food writer in America thrilled to see the end of legendary Spanish restaurant El Bulli, for years the most sought-after reservation on the planet. Not because she's bitter she never got to go, but because its closing signals the extinction of the "I Ate at El Bulli" Piece, or IAAEBP. Larding her essay with a couple dozen links, she cuts through the self-congratulation and artsy-ness to show just how cliched and competitive the IAAEBP has become: Look at me going to El Bulli for a staff meal! Look at me eating a meal Ferran Adria cooked for me! Malone's article almost makes me wish I'd eaten there and never told a soul. (Actually, I just wish I could have eaten there.)
|The literary food writer, circa 2011.|
Coming from the alt-weekly school of restaurant criticism, which is ever-so-slightly more prim then mainstream British newspapers, I say, if a room does smell like "fetid bladder damp" (thanks, Mr. Gill), why censor the vivid image? But "chicken in barf sauce with mouse-tasting potato croquettes" (courtesy of Giles Coren) is neither descriptive nor instructive. It's swinging your dick around in the hope centrifugal force will give it a couple millimeters more length.