Very cold. Like refrigerated hummous.
This post first appeared on Forgetthebox.net. It is herein brined & reposted.
Have “foodies” lost the plot? It would seem at face value the answer is yes.
That is, if we judge based on public response to an innocuous New York Times guacamole recipe posted earlier this week.
This reposted recipe (it was posted on the site in 2013), was not only utterly unshocking, it was merely one of over 17,000 such NYT recipes innocently living in their Cooking section.
Yet here’s what happened.
And, hilariously (personal favourite) this.
And frighteningly, even crap like this:
And then this.
Good lord, even this.
I’d stand to wager that there are probably more guacamole recipe variations than almost anything other on the Internet. No, I didn’t bother to check that claim, because, frankly, those would be precious moments of my life lost. And that’s kind of the point: the vicious backlash and endless media attention means that someone has clearly lost the plot.
You have to wonder first, why, with access to the finest food writers in the country (the world?), the NYT would bother to (re)-promote such a page. If hummous is the go-to lazy person potluck snack, guacamole is the second: an over-fusioned and generally, over-dinner-partied dish in the US & Canada.
Now, perhaps that‘s a statement about foodies (whatever those might be).
Though to me, the real fallout of #GuacGate is threefold. Each point is depressing enough to make me want to drown my sorrows in a gallon of habanero-laced peadip.
Cold take 1: Social media is a scourge upon humanity. “Foodies” never meant anything anyway.
While most news articles seemed to label this a “foodie” fight, closer analysis reveals that most commentators are the type who comment on everything. Quickly. Without looking. On Twitter.
Even closer analysis reveals that most who lept into the (nonexistant) fracas felt compelled to call themselves “foodies” in their Twitter bios. Yet closer closer analysis reveals that, wait, 99.9 % of people on Twitter are “foodies'” according to their Twitter bios. Odd exceptions include the bios of those who, you know, actually cook, serve, grow, or research food for a living.
So if social media has made us immune to the impact of profanity, foodie is officially the new f-word.
Cold take 2: #GuacamoleGate is snapshot of our modern “news” landscape.
A quick perusal of the #GG headlines shows: a) it was a slow news day, b) lots of pun-obsessed editors still have (ostensibly) paying jobs, c) news outlets have become a caricature of ideologies. Witness:
Cold take 3: Two decades of creative brilliance gain less imprints than minor repost
It’s struck me that the one person least discussed in all of this #GG madness is its very auteur, the one and only Jean-Georges Vongerichten. If and when he’s mentioned, it’s in the last graph of these stories, though often not at all. Tweets? Forget it! Which, you know, wouldn’t be a big deal if he wasn’t the single most significant, if not revolutionary, chef in the world’s restaurant capital for nearly two decades.
So, I suppose, we love to scream at each other more than even look at recipe, much less try it, much less learn about its very source. Via a quick media monitoring search, I discovered that two days of guacamole shattered decades worth of Vongerichten media mentions.
Personally, I’m happy for him: he’s long escaped overseas, where it must be said, most Twitterers and newspapers seemed to resist the hashtag allure of GuacGate. I’m just sad for the generation who will now forever grow up knowing this legendary human as Guy Who Tried To Make Pea Guacomole And Failed.
At this point, I’m tempted to go revert back to my turn of the century ways, and an old proclivity to over-make an equally great party dip, then new to Westerners: hummous. Unlike guac, it’s always been open to change.