Thursday, May 17, 2007

World collides with itself

My narcissist isolation has been interrupted by news hurtling across the internets of a local food kerfuffle. In short, Steve Sando was forced to lay the smackdown on Slow Food guru Carlo Petrini.

Now I know no one wants to see me come crawling back to the intarnets just to say I told you so, or, in fact, gives a shit what I think. But this is too good to pass up.

First of all -- sorry -- the proposition that Ferry Plaza isn't some kind of weekly yuppie Woodstock is laughable. But the idea that it only just occurred to Carlo Petrini that the mingling of serious food and self-important rich people (who aren't Carlo Petrini) is somehow objectionable is off-the-charts absurd.

Of course, this kind of miscegeny is inevitable, and it's not the end of the world, as much as some people might agonize about it. But it does represent the contradiction at the heart of the "food movement" (someone has to pay for utopia), which no one on the face of the planet has done more to yuppify than Carlo Petrini.

Would it be uncharitable to wonder if the Piedmontese ruling classes prefer their agarian heroes to look more like peasants than "surfers" and "movie stars"?

Related: Joe "the surfer" (who happens to grow the best tomatoes in Northern California) responds at Small Farms, and Andy Griffin explains how to charge for quality and still lose money.

See you next year.

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Anonymous Tana said...

I love your take on this and will post a link at I Heart Farms.

How did you like the big, muddy pig testicles, my offering to Mr. Petrini?

: D

Thu May 17, 10:39:00 PM GMT  
Blogger mmw said...

Thanks Tana -- I'm so out of it I forgot you changed the name to I HEART FARMS. But yours was the only blog I wasn't afraid to check (after Steve's).

I love the testes, of course (and who doesn't?).

To be fair to Petrini -- this is something that Steve hinted at -- Slow Food is very much Lost in Translation here. We are trying to create a food culture ex nihilo, which results in good food signifying nothing more than good taste (=yuppies), if you'll pardon the structuralism.

Europeans can shirk the elitism of all of this because slow food there instead signifies a culture we have never had (in living memory anyway), a culture which is "humble" and "earthy" no matter what the cost by comparison to the fancy food at 3-stars. This fancy food and the noblesse oblige of the slow food people are both directly descended from an aristocratic culture that is meaningless here.

Thu May 17, 11:11:00 PM GMT  
Anonymous Steve Sando said...

Don't you owe me some zolfini beans?

Actually, I ended up finding them and growing some myself. They were nice but I'm still hoping one day you'll cross the bay and see me and I'll hep you to even better beans. I'm kind of off Italian things right now, if you know what I mean. I think you do!

I wish you would post more!

Sun May 20, 03:25:00 AM GMT  
Blogger mmw said...

That's funny, I only emerged from i-retirement to write this because your blog ate the comment I was trying to leave.

As I recall Steve, the last thing I begged you to grow and then never followed up on was chiles de agua... Anyway, I was hoarding the last Zolfini I brought back (which I believe cost about €26 a kilo) for you and Annabelle -- and also to eat -- until they developed a severe weevil infestation, breaking my heart.

Filthy Italian peasants wouldn't know HAACP if it bit them in the ass.

I guess if your beans come with movies stars I'm going to have to finally make my way over there.

Mon May 21, 04:31:00 PM GMT  

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