While we’re on the topic of over-romanticizing food and cooking, here’s a brilliant piece from Courtney Balestier in the Oxford American, on the pleasures and perils of our current foodie nostalgia:
Perhaps the appeal, to us twenty- and thirty-somethings going about life like it’s one long home-ec class, is that georgic chores like composting food scraps or butchering pigs are just beyond our memory’s reach, but not so far beyond it that we can’t imagine them. The distance makes them perfect focal points in our digitized pastoral—learning how to distill whiskey or pickle okra in a Mason jar is at once old-fashioned and modern, comforting and adventurous, nostalgic and novel. It feels familiar, even if we’ve never done it. (And it doesn’t hurt that these activities are tactile antidotes to the inevitable emptiness of ordering dinner online and liking status updates.) Besides, making mayonnaise sounds more fun when buying a jar of Hellmann’s remains an option. Culinary nostalgia, like any nostalgia, is borne of romance and distortion.
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