Eating our way back to Normal

Metropolitan Cook Book, originally uploaded by Paula Wirth.

What happens when the world goes topsy-turvy? The shaken up inhabitants create structure where there is chaos and hominess where there is no permanence. A flood sweeps away a home and the survivor painstakingly stacks chipped mixing bowls and dishes in a pile. The stock market crashes and the Wall Street trader eats a baloney sandwich on Wonder bread because it reminds him of lunches with his mother.

For the underpaid, stressed out, unemployed, politically freaked out and fearful men and women of cities all across America, food is the easiest way to calm the F**** down.

NY Magazine reports that even though mammoth casual restaurant chains can do nothing but lose money right now, comfort food brands like Kraft Macaroni and cheese and Oscar Meyer cold cuts are “on fire”. For the first time in decades, powdered cheese on macaroni and baloney sandwich with mustard looks really, really good.

My neighborhood is better than your neighborhood

In the wake of economic uncertainty, people all over the country are suddenly filled with civic pride. Over night, foodies all over the country are clambering to define their city’s specific contribution to the national food scene. Recently, in front of a standing room only crowd in a Los Angeles auditorium, a respected panel that included Pulitzer Prize winning food writer Jonathan Gold and a handful of well-respected LA chefs, spent an evening talking through the defining terms of what constituted a Los Angeles dining scene.

On the opposite coast, NY Times food critic Frank Bruni and food bloggers ignored deadlines and spent precious time to define what was, in particular, the “New Brooklyn Cuisine”. For the fiscally uncertain and totally devoted NY foodie, that’s NBC, for short.

To qualify as the NBC, a restaurant should have “culinary sophistication melded with a wistfully agrarian passion for the artisanal, the sustainably grown, and the homespun…” something new restaurants all over our country currently share. And, following the NBC definition of clientele, people “who quote Michael Pollan and split shares in the local CSA,” I can only imagine that perhaps food loving people all over this country are craving the simple and the basic because they crave something simply NORMAL.

By embracing the back to basics ideas of artisinal and sustainable farming, we hope to eat our way back to better times.


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Food Woolf Written by:

Brooke Burton is an Los Angeles-based restaurant professional and hospitality expert. She is a freelance food writer, speaker, and co-author of The Food Blog Code of Ethics.

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