It’s difficult to find good food blogs. Of course there are some beautiful food blogs but they often hint at the author’s food politics while treating food like they’re going to lay it on the altar of the God of Organic Leeks Casually Displayed On an Appropriately Weathered Wooden Table With Rick Black Earth Still Stuck In the Roots. They are an odd mix in other words of left leaning politics and the food romance. What does it mean?
Food politics have become a vast front for the progressive belief that American society is corrupt and in need of a complete makeover, and progressive food politics come in many guises. Vegetarianism, veganism are two popular themes, along with the all consuming organic and the cute but ridiculous eat local, or locavore as they call it, movement. You will also see a lot of hysteria around how crops and animals are cultivated. All of this is layered on a crusty whole wheat roll of radical environmentalism with the appropriate nod to man made global warming.
You’ll also see a lot of nice food photography – not a good sign. These sites go through an awful lot of trouble to present the food in the style of the old Gourmet magazine. Lots of romance – they are trading in fantasy beyond all else. Do the people who read these blogs actually cook the recipes. Of course not. Most of the recipes are far too complicated for your typical home cook. Professional cook, maybe. What’s hilarious is the number of writers and readers who live in New York City or other large cities. For all their professed concern about the direction of American agriculture, few of them live in the country and know the joys of weeding, stall cleaning and generally working all day as a sweaty mess hounded by flies and mosquitoes.
When you step back from all this food yapping you start to see the outlines of where the progressive movement is these days. It’s no longer about opening up opportunity and making the country strong again across all levels of the income conveyor belt. Progressives are now wholly concerned with directing A) A romantic movie, starring themselves, about lovely meals with adoring friends and family in which they prove that a human being can live on this earth without ever causing the least discomfort to another living thing, and B) A regimen of new laws and regulations against the rest of us who make A more difficult to achieve. It’s a reductive food philosophy, all about food as romance, which is always going to leave you empty, because food is after all firmly rooted in Nature, that most unromantic reality; it’s a reductive politics, all about more constraints, more regulations, more laws; and finally, it’s reductive food politics, all about what not to eat, how not to plant, to sow, to cultivate or to raise.
I love good food. I love growing it myself when possible. I like to butcher, weed, sharpen knives and run an arrow through a deer when the opportunity presents itself. I’ll eat it all, too. I’m not a fussy person. I love picking apples and plums, making my own hard cider or a bucket of beer. It’s all good. But I have long since given up on the notions that we are going to feed a country of 310 million a diet of organic wheat grass. I also do not believe that the best way to improve our nation’s food economy is through a lot of nanny statism.
On the other hand, I have my political ideas and I’m obviously not shy of sharing them with you. But I don’t have food politics. I simply do not see the point of constantly haranguing my fellow man about what he wants to put into his mouth. That’s his business. If he wants to buy it and eat it, fine by me.
And yeah, I know that there are problems on this earth. There always have been and always will be because that is life. The alternative is The Garden of Eden, but that is now “Closed to the Public.” You can write your beautiful blogs about the perfect this or perfect that, but let’s be honest: Your participation in this life means you are as guilty as anyone else for what we take and what we leave behind. Yet you have every right to enjoy this life. May God keep you long and well fed.
If you want to see what food politics looks like, try this site: http://www.civileats.com. It’s all here, food justice and the rest.