I love this time of year. It’s full of lists of what has happened in 2013, and predictions of what’s to come in 2014. I love lists, so I thought I’d start out 2014 with one I found entertaining.
Instead of sharing some food for thought, I’d like to share some fun thoughts on food – particularly, what Scolgin over at Skinny Girls and Mayonnaise thinks are going to be the top food trends for 2014. I love to eat, but I’m not so into trendy food any more than I’m ever into trendy literary techniques (which is to say, not at all), and there’s typically a good reason.
It’s not that I’m against the truly avant garde – Kafka, Vonnegut, Picasso, Borges, convection bake ovens, food trucks, etc – but any time people start chasing a method of delivery rather than just trying to find the best way to tell a story or make good food, you end up with a lot of nonsense. For every Duschamp, you have at least a hundred manila envelopes full of toenail clippings (from a David Sedaris essay about his time as an art student), or a sweater left on a platform for viewers to try on and be the art (seen at the Tate Modern, circa 2004). I’m all for finding innovative ways to make things better or get an idea across if it makes sense. But when people just start trying to be trendy in art, literature, music, and even food, what you get is, well – check out Scolgin’s list.
Trend seekers tired of moving like sheep from one flash-in-the-pan eatery in this week’s up-and-coming neighborhood to the next will be looking for something more real, something lasting. And they will discover it in the soup kitchens of downtowns and skid rows across the country. As they find space at communal tables between the destitute and unwashed and settle in with their meal, they’ll be Yelping recommendations and singing the praises of this authentic food movement. (And feeling super-good about themselves for eating with the “people”.)
These predictions may just be an exaggeration for a giggle, but it’s not all that far fetched. I’ve heard of edible urban forests, and have actually had friends attempt to invite me to dinner and breakfast parties where I would be expected to pay for my meal as though it were a restaurant (as opposed to the usual “bring something to share!”). And I wouldn’t be surprised to see the other predictions come true as well. Yoko Ono had an installation at the Tate which was just a TV with static playing on it.
Another example can be found over at the blog Critique Collective, where Paul Weiner points out 4 Problems with Contemporary Art on Display at Art Basel Miami. Says the author:
Take, for instance, Meg Webster’s installation, “Food Stamp Table.” Tactful titles are clearly a thing of the past. This artist displays an egg, ramen noodles, broccoli, and a can of Campbell’s soup as a $4.60 meal bought with food stamps. The price: $12,000.
This sounds so much like the soup kitchen item listed in Scolgin’s article that I was hoping it was also a joke. But it appears not to be. If this is satire and I’m just missing it, please let me know.
Bring on the charred halibut, though. I’d eat that.