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More adventurous than the average bear

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Monday, April 25, 2016

On Foodies

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Down with 'Foodies'?

[On the attack on the Cereal Killer Cafe] "The demonstration was organised by a political group called Class War. They said thata place selling a bowl of cereal for up to $7 was pricing locals out of their own area. Alan Keery says it couldn't be further from the truth. 'Nobody was born into an easy life. I was born in a very working class family in Belfast. So to have someone then attack me for working hard my entire life. I never went to university. I couldn't afford to go to university, but I worked hard and I bettered myself. Then I opened my business, I realised my dream of opening my business, so for people to then attack us and go 'There's people here that can't afford them. When you open a business you don't think 'will everybody be able to afford this?' That's not what your God given right is. You cannot afford everything in life. There's things I can't afford. It doesn't mean I go and attack them. It's just, this is the way life works. And when people come and spend money, they don't just spend money with us, they spend money in other places...

Foodie-ism... can sometimes be a marker of inequality.

'We know that food has a long history of serving as a source of status and distinction. And a way to separate the classes from each other. So foodie culture is not completely different from that, but what is different is that there's now a sense that one doesn't want to be a complete snob, that one doesn't want to only identify with high end French food for example, which used to be the food of elite culture. Now if you're to be the ideal foodie you want to know about elite French culture for sure and know who the greatest new French chefs are, but you want to be able to eat the highbrow and lowbrow foods or foods from different parts around the world. But that doesn't mean it's accessible to the average consumer. Not everybody can eat at Jean George one day and then go searching for the most delicious falafel in New York City the next. It requires a tremendous amount of economic and cultural capital, cultural knowledge or sophistication to keep on top of those trends'...

This is a middle class pursuit. It has a association with whiteness but it's not just a white middle class thing... a large percentage of the percentage of the population... within North America and in the UK re just struggling with basic food security issues, so to them a lot of these food trends must seem incredibly narcissistic and self-indulgent... [Foodie culture obscures inequalities in part by] romanticising the food of the poor. And we romanticise the food of the poor. There is a tendency to look away from how horrible it is to actually be poor. And that being poor means a life of monotonous eating and not having enough to eat. And while foodie culture in general has been quite political on environmental issues, it's been relatively mute on issues of food security and food access"
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