24 May 2006


Food Snobs Trying to Get Their Low Brow On

Exhibit A (a failure): Sara Dickerman, at Slate, considers jerky.
I wouldn't want anyone to watch me tear my way through a piece of jerky—it is not a pretty sight. Jerky is better eaten surreptitiously, in the privacy of the outdoors, or in the cabin of my imaginary 18-wheeler. Eager as the big jerky vendors might be to diversify the jerky audience with swanky packaging, tender cuts, and an emphasis on protein, beef jerky is not made for social snacking the way tortilla chips are. Jerky's appeal comes from its gnarled backwoods history—the slightly feral feel you get when you eat it. If jerky becomes too heavily processed, too tender, or too crispy, it might lose its crass charm without gaining any fans.
No mention of buffalo jerky, something that Mack's dad always has a supply of.

Oh yeah, the title is "Jerky, the Great American Charcuterie." WTF is a "charcuterie"? Hello? www.dictionary.com? A little help, please?

(I love Slate, but sometimes, it is just too highfalutin' for its own good.)

Exhibit B (a success, albiet kinda sloppy): Frank Bruni, in the New York Times (registration required), considers fast food in a cross-country sense from the front seat of a Taurus. The writing is just as pretentious, if not more so, than Dickerman at Slate, but his write up reflects the reality as many of us know it of eating fast-food (in constrast to Dickerson's encounter with jerky which, to me at least, lacks any kind of genuineness).

I made comparisons. The fries at Hardee's were better — crisper, more substantial in feel and taste — than the fries at McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King and Jack in the Box.

But the tots at Sonic, a chain prevalent in the South, were the sultans of spuds. Since all of these potato variants are about exterior crackle, not interior vegetable, the tot configuration, with more crests and buttes and ridges, won the day.

Mmmmmm. Sonic. I'm getting dinner ideas. (For those of you in California, Sonic's food tastes in many ways like In-N-Out Burger's food. But, it's delivered to your car on roller skates.)

Exhibit B...what the hell, man? Come on up to Nashville and I'll fix you some grilled vegetables...a popular dish at my house.

Well, I'll be in Nashville sometime around the weekend of 10 June, but it is going to be a whirlwind visit. Other travel, biz and fun, already lined up and much going on here. May not be able to partake of grilled veggies at your house, but hope you, Mike, and I can get together in some form.

More to follow by e-mail.
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