The implosion of the food world, the politicization of everything - and why cooking lentils now requires courage
Frankly, it's a First-World problem. These "cancelers" have needs of their own, and at the top of the list is a thirst for attention. I just don't get why they are in any way a problem for anybody.
First, get your rump off of social media. I have a Facebook account so I can keep up with my high-school classmates, but I never post; I IM (Is that the right thing to call it?) privately. Always. I don't do Twitter or any of the others. I just don't. If you're not there, they can't gang up on you.
Second: Never, never, never, never apologize. For anything, great or small. If you feel a little scrappy, double down just to tweak their noses a little. And check your feed no more than once a week; if it causes you anxiety, go to three weeks.
Third: the greatest phrase ever invented. Piss off. Don't engage in long conversations. Don't explain yourself; don't criticize the cancellers. Just say, "Piss off," and move on. It will kill their soul. My face-to-face version of that is a vertical finger - "This is for you," followed by the horizontal finger - "This is for your horse." Then walk away. Remember: if you engage, you are saying that what they say matters. Get it through your thick skull: it does not.
All best to you.
"Does the fact that Roman has been bullied into a terror of lentils help anyone in any tangible way?"
I regularly wonder, is anyone actually better off with all the wokeness? Like, do people of colour thrive more now that we're so woke? Is violence, or threats thereof, down?
I don't imagine so. I imagine there's just more segregation and more division and less understanding and empathy.
Thoughtful critiques like yours, Tara, will surely help get us back on track.
Here's a personal experience of food culture in the multi-cultural food landscape of USA and Canada, which (until recently, apparently) was thriving. That experience was what the kids on Sesame Street used to call 'sharing.' Learning about each other's cultures over food, and being glad when more people came to love and appreciate that part of your culture, and wanted to share it forward. My South-Asian mother-in-law exemplified this. I LOVED her food, and wanted to learn how to make it. I was, in fact, more interested in learning than her own daughters. So she taught me, with joy. She was glad I wanted to know. She WANTED me to make it for all my European-descent friends and family. If I'd decided to open a restaurant and feature her recipes, I'm 99% certain she would have been incredibly proud.
Same thing, incidentally, with my Bengali music teacher. She was delighted I wanted to learn. She wanted me to incorporate what she taught me about ragas into my western folk/classical style and share it with my own audience. In music, as in food, we call that 'fusion' or 'world influence.' If you hang out with musicians from different traditions for any length of time, it happens by osmosis, you actually can't stop the process.
But both my mother-in-law and music teacher were 1st generation, working class/middle class folks, and that was the 90's/early Oughts. So what elites decide now in 2022: well, maybe the decadent western world has nothing better to concern themselves with. Climate challenges; war in Ukraine involving nuclear super-powers; inflation, rising housing costs, economic crisis; in Canada the fact that many indigenous communities don't have access to basic clean water--meh. Let's spend our energies on virtue-signalling about who has the rights to lentils and broth, that will solve all of the world's problems and let us feel good about ourselves for about 10 minutes.
Wokeness is a hate movement disguised as social justice. The woke will find reasons to hate no matter where they look. Even cookbooks.
Hilarious that Evy Kwong erupts over “cultural appropriation “ while appropriating Black culture, by saying “y’all” and “tryna”.
We have allowed the educated insane to take over the asylum. It is time to take it back. I see signs that this is happening.
"Avoid restaurants where the proprietors are not the same ethnicity as the food. That is cultural appropriation, which is punishable by public lynching under Karenland FUPAZ sharia law." https://yuribezmenov.substack.com/p/how-to-visit-karenland
How many of the leftist food prudes would say pizza is strictly a food for Italians and must not be consumed by other people with different languages or cultures? Would they tell a Chinese person they may not have a taco because tacos are not of their own specific culture? What would happen to America's melting pot if America's white people do decide to voluntarily give up Chinese food, pizza, and tacos? "No sir. No egg roll for me., No thank you". It would be woke antiracism, yet still be utterly racist. Such fascist food rules are strictly for white people to choke on because everybody else is exempt.
The cultural appropriation critique is moronic but the sustainability of tuna has nothing to do with politics. Chefs should indeed know where their raw materials come from and the environmental and social impact of what they are cooking. Otherwise, why not just work at McDonalds? Fortunately, most chefs at higher-end restaurants do indeed incorporate ethical sourcing into what they do -- and that's a good thing that needs to be encouraged, not framed as a working class vs. elite issue.
Poor rice...how ever did it survive the harm....
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness. - Oscar Wilde...nope...I guess he was wrong....cultural appropriation is the highest form of cultural division....thanks political correctness...you managed to infiltrate into food that is supposed to be shared, celebrated and enjoyed by all around the world.....but franchising is ok...opening up a McDonald's In Russia or China that's capitalism.....no one has a problem eating there even when the owners aren't American at all in those different countries........hypocrisy in real time....food is supposed to bring people together...breaking bread, anyone?
Is garlic non-binary or cis?
I don't like rice either. I'm probably racist.
The most ironic thing about this whole thing is how it assumes complete homogeneity of race/culture/ethnicity/genetics. Intermarriage and childbirth across races is so common these days. As are mixed families across races. As is adoption. If a Latino family adopts a Chinese child, who is allowed to eat what? What about a white child whose white parent remarries a black person- what food is that kid allowed to eat? Also — where do you draw the line for development of each cuisine, historically? The global trade of spices & goods his hundreds if not thousands of years old; nearly every cuisine we perceive to be “pure” or “authentic” (i.e. “authentic Mexican”) is only authentic inasmuch as you put a time stamp on that cuisine’s globalized, intercultural development in the context of trade and commerce.
As noted in the linked podcast, the biggest issue is not the nominal “use” of “someone else’s” cuisine; it is how class, power, and privilege are implied and conducted in the context of these exchanges. A white person buying & eating local Mexican food or appreciating it is different from that person deliberately exploiting Mexican farmers & cooks, or extracting their cultural heritage while underpaying them. It’s never as simple as “race x + race y”. It’s about the power dynamics, exploitation vs. equality, and how people frame their interaction.
Tara, I have to say, your substack and your podcast have been a real breathe of fresh air to me. I had often found myself in the category of "right wing" for a long time, then I started listening to your podcasts and reading your substack. I'm noticing that the left-right paradigm is becoming less and less relevant today, but what is still relevant is the class struggle going on. And you've definitely shone a light on that for me. I have started to read some of the books that you've recommended (ones I've been able to find at my local library) and it really allowed me to realize that the problems in our society run far deeper than the "racial" aspects, and other common arguments.
The reality is that the working class is being left in the dust, so to speak. This has been an issue since time immemorial and it continues to this day, but just taking different forms.
Thank you so much, Tara. May God bless you and keep fighting the good fight.
This piece seems to be about aggression posing as virtue, specifically reputation destruction, which psychologists have described as a typically female form of aggression.