Have you noticed how many beautiful food blogs have been launched? Each invites us, via personal anecdotes and mouth-watering artful photography, to try their newest recipe. Search Pinterest and multiple recipe versions display for your selection. Ayurvedic, Diabetic, Paleo, Probiotic… so many new specific cookbooks are available even some dedicated to only one ingredient: think Melissa’s Hatch Chile Cookbook. Then there are novels, self-help, travel books — many now include the actual recipes for meals mentioned in their stories. And don’t forget the wine and chef movies.
Fifty years ago we would cut-out a recipe or two from a newspaper or magazine but most food instructions were hand-written and shared on recipe cards with home cooks who maybe owned one or two cookbooks tops. Julia Child was alone on the TV set. Now we have traditional TV channels with food-focused programming trying to compete with and capture the 24/7 cable food show audiences. Gourmet food-trucks and innovative, leading-edge chefs serve fresh local fare in exotic and authentic dishes in a variety of creative styles and venues. What’s this all about?
In American Foodie: Taste, Art and the Cultural Revolution the author gives the reader his perspective on the American journey to good taste. The author is a professor of philosophy at San Diego Mesa College specializing in the philosophy of food and wine, aesthetics, and ethics. Keep this in mind as this background influenced the tone, pace and philosophical nature of this book.
Review partner Adrianne Morrison and I see this as a good history/ reference book, but don’t expect an exciting page turner. What this books is, is a fascinating look at how the “foodie” came to be and what we do with that concept now. Think roots in Yankee cuisine (pleasure was restricted by dogma) all the way to the new age chef prancing his /her way across the television screen declaring anything goes. We think you’ll be challenged to look at food and those who creatively love it in a whole new way once you read this book.
In his new book, author Dwight Furrowan, inspiring Professor of Philosophy and Certified Specialist of Wine, makes his case we are part of the 21st Century food culture revolution. He discusses his rational from various angles and guides us into understanding and appreciating what and why we are in revolt. In American Foodie: Taste, Art and the Cultural Revolution you’ll discover all the nuances of the foodie movement. Granted it reads a bit like a thesis but if you stick with it you will find it contains a wealth of observation, reflection, and thoughtful explanation of this food revolution in America. It’s a great resource for all foodies, wanna-be’s and those interested in cultural trends and how change evolves.
“…does it really matter whether we eat quality food or not as long as it is nutritious and affordable? The short answer is that it does matter, although explaining why it matters will take up a good portion of this book. In brief, my argument will be that the food revolution is a legitimate attempt to replace meanings that are lost when the bureaucratic, digitized reality of the modern workplace colonizes all dimensions of life. As to the complaint that the food revolution is just a hedonistic diversion for a few well-situated status seekers, this perspective does not fit the facts very well…” Dwight Furrowan, American Foodie, Introduction”
I think we all can agree that food is essential. No argument there. But what happens when the food culture becomes driven by self-proclaimed “Foodies.” Some might say that food now goes beyond its functional definition to redefine itself in to something more glamorous and certainly more hobby-like. This becomes an interesting theory when you add in the role social media and digital photography plays, increasingly promoting and elevating the foodie culture. We look at our daily meals well beyond their humble nutritional values, and in following celebrity chefs, bloggers, and food reviewers, a whole new set of values and influence come our way really…on an hourly basis.
This is a “dedicated” read as you have to pay attention step by step to what is being said. It often reads like a culinary text book. I personally think the author would have been more effective presenting his case if he included photos to more effectively illustrate many of his points, but all in all it is a thoughtful read that real foodies, food historians and culinary aficionados should enjoy.
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American Foodie: Taste, Art, and the Cultural Revolution
By Dwight Furrow
January 2016 / 180 pages