Agreed. A theme I’m getting is the arrogance of his friends/family about how good their food is. If someone is cooking for you, it should be about hospitality, not showing off. If a host touts their “famous” whatever, run!
This guy is no Mark Twain . Or even Calvin Trillin.
Reading it as a (failed) attempt at humor and sarcasm provides some justification, I suppose.
Certainly makes me treasure my memories of family life and meals.
Well, no. Salon’s been around for more than two decades and is both popular and well-respected.
I did some quick research on the author - I don’t think sarcasm was his intent - humorous, maybe - more probably a look at life situations, maybe some irony . . . .
I don’t necessarily disagree with the sentiment that “life is too short to eat food I don’t want to eat” - I live by that to some degree as well. There are plenty of places I don’t go because I just don’t want to eat what they are serving. But those are restaurants.
The underlying sentiment of “I don’t want the hospitality of my friends” is the part that is problematic to me . . . .
But my history makes it impossible to adequately separate the concepts of home cooking and hospitality - food quality be damned. The desire to void your life of the hospitality because of the food, is something I think has deeper roots and is sad.
Still think he’s a jerk and would be off my invite list for sure - I have a few bougie friends that are on that list.
What’s the problem?
You said: “…she takes The Joy of Cooking out when she needs to make Caesar Salad. Huh???”
Why does that seem wrong to you?
Not wrong. To explain.
My friend makes Caesar salads often, I’ve enjoyed several as her dinner guest. She was also a restaurant manager and had overseen and personally made Caesars for the floor.
To me, once you master the fundamentals of cooking, the technicals become intuitive. Just puzzled that she needs to make the salad “by the book”. Huh?
Just my personal bias. To me, the best cooking is guided by the heart, not by any recipe in a book.
ETA…It won’t let me post like that.
All right; Original gangster.
I don’t think this was particularly well written, and feel it may have been better to expand on two or three decent points I think he was trying to make.
There was a better version of what might be a similar perspective I’ll have to try to find and share.
Here it is.
I get what he is saying though. In truth, he isn’t really against home cooking. It sounds to me that he is against/uncomfortable at eating at someone’s else home with certain expectation. So it really isn’t about “home” or “cooking” or even the foods.
Sorta like someone sayings: I dislike Raman because of the stools.
Agreed with everyone here. My experience with family meals was not tied to an expectation where you stay forever. My mom is happy you come. If you dine and dash, fine. No hard feelings!
That was heartwarming and spot on.
Apologies, thanks for the correction.
Yet somehow that makes this article even more bizarre.
If this story were true, he probably should have known better than to really say what was on his mind. But in all honesty, I didn’t read any more into this than a guy writing about why he prefers eating out. It’s not like he tried to present research to convince people why home cooking was a waste of time for everyone.
To each his own. I wouldn’t want to eat out all the time, and my mom is only a so-so cook, but there are things that she prepares that I do miss. Maybe it’s more nostalgia than good cooking, but I think as this writer realized at the end, it’s not just about the food. It’s the company, the experience of hanging out with your friends, etc.
I have a sister who’s a bit too far left on the healthy side. She’s the “only ever uses skinless, boneless chicken breast” type. I find most of her food too dry, too flavorless, or too hard (multi-grain bread is about as fun as chewing gravel). I go because my family is there and I just make sure to bring snacks…
Not everything they publish is gold, although I’m not as appalled by this particular piece as other commenters seem to be, having eaten my share of not-great food at the homes of people I like and/or am related to. Salon will always be my hero solely for this plausible explanation of David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.
Soul Food is one of my favorite movies. He makes it sound like the movie is about everyone eating unhealthy food 24/7. It was actually about family issues (and boy did they have some) and Sunday family dinners among other things. But his callous comment about Big Mama getting her foot “chopped off” because she ate too much soul food and developed Diabetes kind of rubbed me the wrong way. He’s entitled to his critique though.
This, to me, is the key line in the whole piece:
"He was a month out of jail and I was coming off book tour. ’
This is a guy who’s achieved some literary success - two commercially published books, teaches at the University of Baltimore, paid to write. His first book was about his experiences as a crack addict in the ghetto he grew up in. He wrote about the kind of neighborhood where your friend gets out of jail AGAIN and his girlfriend cooks crummy fried chicken served on styrofoam plates. That’s no longer his world and I think he has very conflicted feelings about it. He’s proud of his success, but must know that the further his remove from these roots the harder it will be to draw on them artistically. A lot of American writers whose first successful work is basically autobiographical hit a huge block after that. Once your world becomes the next book tour and juggling your class load, you’re stuck with the same material as every other novelist in America.
The hard to believe part was that his friends didn’t get angrier with him. My guess is that he was a rude pain in the ass even back in the day so they were used to it.
That was awesome. Thanks for posting.
Wow. Racist, sexist, foodist (is that a word? it should be), and elitist all in one article. Fail.