New Criticals

Not Another Food Blog

A couple of days ago Andrew Zimmern posted an interview with David Lebovitz for his series '5 questions'. The first question to David was about his career as a food blogger. His response is telling of the past and present of food blogging. I have known David for a while now, and do remember a time when food blogging was limited to a couple of industry insiders. The change, which has been influenced by easier platforms to blog and micro-blogging, has meant that there are increasingly more voices joining the legions of bloggers. Now, there are food blogs by raw vegans to vent out about cooked people, mommy tales of their artisan children, homesteaders making us desire the pastoral life, sponsored-paid posts full of fluff describing foams and airs, ethnic descriptions in broken English-food parlance, ranty-chef entries in highly-promoted sites, and of course the much loved food-travel itineraries read by 9-to-5ers in their lunch breaks.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all types of food writing, but it seems like structured, researched, and unbiased food writing has been relegated to a handful of books and even those have a very distinct tendency in whatever are the politics of the author. For the foodie out there, it is easy to find blogs written by people of their own tribe. However, for the person-of-the-world, it is really difficult to find food writing that is not preachy or just a rehearsed food review of a new restaurant, trend, chef, cuisine, or ingredient. Even more difficult is to find writing about food and science, food and art, food and history, food and politics in short format. What is easy to find is food and pop-culture. Interestingly, this type of food writing happens not only in the English-speaking world, it is also true for food blogging in Spanish and French.

A hypothesis to explain this skewed view of food studies points to the same divide that separated the humanities from the sciences, and eventually those from the social sciences.  Food studies have been, for the better part of the century, detached from the study of humans. The scientific study of food has been taken by biology, chemistry, and nutrition; while the cultural aspect of food has translated into the field of gastronomy.  However, it is difficult to find online pieces that engage with the many sides of food, from a scientific explanation of craving of a specific flavor to the social issues of prohibition of certain foods.

Perhaps this may soon change, as more people read Katz and Pollan, and scientific findings continue to support the connections between the obesity epidemic and our changing food consumption. Now we just need someone to interpret all those academic findings and link them to our everyday lives. Easier said than done.

Food related articles in the New Criticals will be posted under different sections, and not a specific food section.  This is our attempt to continuously push the issue of interdisciplinary of food studies and eliminate the division in the study of gastronomy. We hope for your input on topics and are genuinely open to consider any topic and its relationship to food.


Thumbnail image from here.