I’m not a foodie. Don’t get me wrong, I adore food with every fibre of my being, but never in a bajillion years would I call myself a foodie. I’m largely incapable of cooking with any semblance of credibility. Pretty much the only thing I’m good for in the kitchen is cleaning up. I’m fine with that.
I also stand with the great Steve Goddamn Albini in his succinctly worded contempt for the cutesy term “foodie.” I have several friends who are legitimate epicureans, but I cannot converse with them at the same level of informed discourse. I don't get excited about new food trends, and I generally refrain from taking pictures of my meals and sharing them on social media,... unless there's something truly exceptional or horrific about them.
That all said, I know what I like. I can tell good cuisine from bad, and I am discerning in my appreciation. If I’m in the mood for a certain type of grub, I have a tried and trusted list of suitable eateries to suit that particular taste.
But am I a foodie? No.
With that in mind, maybe I’m not in a position to cross swords with the mighty Adam Platt of New York Magazine. For a start, I should preface this by saying I am a big fan of the magazine, and have been since I first started reading my parents’ copies of it on our coffee table as a child. I don’t always agree with what’s written in its pages -- and this is happening with increasing frequency -- but I still maintain that this information is coming from a reliable, readable and usually entertaining source.
This morning, I found a special edition of New York’s Where To East 2015 guide (“The best food in New York This Minute”) in my mail. Having two little kids, the wife and I don’t get out to eat nearly as much as we’d like, but I do like to keep abreast of what’s new out there, … and also like to congratulate myself when I see a place I’ve already discovered and/or dined at applauded in these sorts of guides.
In paging through, I came a across a listicle called “Trends We’re Tired Of.” This entry was among the ten cited….
Mawkish Ye-Olde-Restaurant Nostalgia:
In this dog-eat-dog restaurant town, the end of a long run should be celebrated, not mourned. Besides, when was the last time you actually sat down for dinner at Benny’s Burritos?
I’m not sure where to begin with this. I guess my biggest quibble is that Platt’s writing from what I’d consider an incredibly selfish, myopic perspective.
Just to use the example he cites, the Benny’s Burritos on Avenue A operated for 26 years before it could no longer meet its rent and was forced to shut its doors in 2014. Maybe Adam Platt was done with it — and I’d imagine it’s hard to stay even fleetingly loyal to any single restaurant when reviewing new restaurants is essentially your gig — but it was still a fairly regular stop for lots of regular folks who counted it as a favorite neighborhood fixture (to say nothing of its employees who lost their jobs when the establishment was forced out of business). There’s absolutely nothing wrong with "mourning" that situation.
Yes, celebrate the place as well, but understand that it’s not just about you and your options for dining out. It’s about a community. It’s about a local business providing jobs.
Show a little respect.