Frank Bruni Speaks Out On “Culinary Elitism”

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Have you heard the buzz around Frank Bruni’s op-ed piece in the New York Times this week? In it, he discusses the recent spat between Anthony Bourdain and Paula Deen, and why their disagreement exemplifies the rise of “culinary elitism.”

Does food snobbery stand in the way of actually getting people to eat better?

In an interview last week, Bourdain criticized Deen for “telling an already obese nation that it’s O.K. to eat food that is killing us.” Deen retorted with, “Not everybody can afford to pay $58 for prime rib or $650 for a bottle of wine. My friends and I cook for regular families who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills.”

It’s hard to deny the class divide in the food world. One paragraph in Bruni’s piece brings it into focus:

When Deen fries a chicken, many of us balk. When the Manhattan chefs David Chang or Andrew Carmellini do, we grovel for reservations and swoon over the homey exhilaration of it all. Her strips of bacon, skirting pancakes, represent heedless gluttony. Chang’s dominoes of pork belly, swaddled in an Asian bun, signify high art.

He points out that people who eat poorly are unlikely to be inspired to change their ways by food snobs or moralizers. We would have to agree, even though it is sometimes tough to keep from being judgmental of others’ food choices.

Read the article: Unsavory Culinary Elitism at the New York Times

What are your thoughts on culinary elitism? Do you find yourself judging people like Paula Deen or Sandra Lee and their fans?

(Image: Food Network)