Food writing at its best illuminates. A well executed piece, full of careful description and insightful opinion, inspires one to immediately eat, cook, or serve the cuisine at hand. Consider the number of people who venture down to Pilsen for authentic Mexican food or who are serving some form of pork belly to clueless family and friends. Good food writing changes perspectives and encourages this sort of experimentation. In most cases, a well thought out piece of food writing has placed the food in question on the operating table, where it is dissected and evaluated, its components considered both separately and as part of a whole. The desire to understand what the author has described has moved from curiosity to bare necessity, and the audience is better from the experience.
At its worst, food writing is a poorly patched together mélange of incoherent ideas and opinions. Generalizations are made, misinformation forwarded, and a general lack of attention is paid to the craft of writing as a whole. The authors of these pieces “let the food speak for itself,” and not in a good way. Attribute this trend to the availability of online soapboxes, the reliance of slick photos over descriptive words, or the foodie movement in general; regardless, there is a lot of drek out there, and the last thing the world needs is another food blog.
That being said, there is much to be said about food, and much that hasn’t, especially out here in the food blogosphere. Saying it well is the challenge, and one that joe roy eats best is up to. Continue reading