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Apr 21, 2014 08:36 PM

Confessions of a former foodie hipster

An interesting take on our obsession with restaurants, from GQ

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  1. I just read that piece and came here to share it. Thanks for posting it.

    Rather than "obsession with restaurants", the phenomenon described feels to me more of an obsession with keeping up with lists of the latest hyped restaurants to fuel one's self worth. Really felt sorry for those caught up in that shallow game, that they could eat out that often and still seemed to have learned little about cuisine. ["...suddenly we even had a language with which to articulate our immediate, hollowly informed reactions to each bite of every small plate (e.g., "Hmm, needs more...salt"—the line of lines, as acquired from Padma Lakshmi, queen of fake-it-till-you-make-it food pretenders and model to many).]

    Such a contrast to the Chowhound ethos wherein we seek out our own finds, learn to discriminate, and come up with our own opinions about what is delicious or not, instead of blindly following the spot of the moment. For me and other chowhounds, the product of one's own effort and being ahead of the lemmings is far more satisfying.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      You really don't see that attitude echoed on Chowhound? Because I certainly do.

      I'd never heard the expression "Die Die Must Try" until I started reading this site. That's what he's talking about in a nutshell - people who are only interested in ticking off their boxes for eating at the "best" restaurant.

      This is just one inlet in that big murky sea.

      1. re: 512window

        Sure, I see that on some boards, fortunately, not much on my home board (SF Bay Area) other than from tourists. You'll also notice on that board that few talk about the "best". Those sheep are the anti-chowhounds, as far as I'm concerned.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I am again in general agreement with you, Melanie. I'd add that while 'hounds have traditionally tried to disassociate themselves from mainstream "foodie" culture, there are many folks tethered to that culture that associate with this Site.

          As to the article, the kid seemed pretty pathetic to me and I found myself reading at an ever increasing pace. Luckily, a link on the page caught my attention, so it wasn't a complete loss.

    2. The regional and city boards tend to hype the same dozen restaurants. The majority of them are "fine dining", often with very similar menus. And many people visiting from other regions/boards are looking for the whatever's currently trendy and expensive.

      But there are the odd "Chowfinds". Little places that are off the radar that offer something special.

      1. I think that labeling this as a 'former foodie hipster' isn't quite a label that's very useful and is just a bit unnecessarily pejorative. This kind of trend chasing in food strikes me as something you find as prominently in American Psycho (i.e. the 80's) as you might now.

        I think the most notable point from this article is that basically the designer chasing of the late 90s/early 00's (most visibly displayed in a show like Sex and the City) became food chasing. A new trend will appear that everyone will follow sooner or later.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cresyd

          "I think that labeling this as a 'former foodie hipster' isn't quite a label that's very useful and is just a bit unnecessarily pejorative."

          You're probably right, but it was kinda funny and caught some attention. I mean, more than three or four responses to a Food Media thread that's not about a TV show is pretty good.

          As to the trends embraced by urban youth, I'll be glad to see the next one come along. Personally, I'd be happy if Danny's sally* came true - ballet, like the opera and the symphony could desperately use more of the disposable income of the millennials. Besides, that might mean more available tables around 7:30.

          * Couldn't help myself, given the Sleepless in Seattle reference by one of the commenters on the article.

          1. re: MGZ

            I think that any time something gets trendy, it's usually that double edged sword at best. More space for the medium in general, but then lots of more "irritating" patrons as well as products in the space that are more trendy that interesting/innovative. I think of all the musicals of the past ten or so years that have just tried to be Wicked #2....bah....