Sunday, February 20, 2011

I still don't want to read them

A few days ago I read an article by B. R. Myers in the current Atlantic, and commented that I wouldn't want to read several of the authors whose work he cited (Food Books I'm Not Going to Read). Now another Atlantic writer, Nicolette Hahn Niman, a proponent of the food movement, has written an answer: Defending 'Foodies': A Rancher Takes a Bite out of B. R. Myers. She's quite upset about the broad-brush condemnation of "foodies" as self-indulgent, cruel, and out-of-touch. I have no doubt that there is a larger food-reform movement that supports more responsible agriculture and more healthful food choices. But I think she missed the point that there's a fringe of writers whose position has become so extreme. (And if I remember correctly some of her writing in the Atlantic is sometimes a bit extreme itself, as writing goes.)

I take her point as stated here:
"Myers utterly fails to establish any connection between the statements and behaviors he cites and the broad food movement sweeping this country. In fact, there isn't one. None of us who care about food system reform and healthful, ethical eating would defend such excesses, and we certainly are not inspired by them. Fundamental to today's American food movement is holistic thinking and respect—knowing where your food comes from, understanding its history before reaching your plate, and savoring it with family and friends."
Of course Myers' examples of extreme self-indulgence and elitism don't reflect on everyone who proposes changes to the overall picture of American food production, delivery, and consumption. But I think her defense of foodies is just as extreme as Myers' attack, and just as misplaced. For example she cites a writer who says: "growing one's own food is not drudgery at all." Gosh, what a put-down of farmers. Maybe if what you grow is one incredibly productive little cherry tomato plant... never mind.

And I'm still not going to read those new books -- I think Myers has a good point there.

1 comment:

~~louise~~ said...

Try as I may, I just can't get through The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I've actually been thinking about putting it in my pile of books to sell on ebay.

I've come to the resolution that the politics of food just don't have room on my plate.

Thanks for sharing, Mae...