Storify: Food Policing and Food Morality

Storify is shutting down in May and has informed users that we have to migrate our content elsewhere if we wish to save it. This is one of my old threads.

I want to talk about Trump ordering his steaks well-done or burnt or whatever. I want to say up-front that I am TOUCHY about this, so... I... maybe please don't @ me if we're friends but you disagree?

I have multiple food allergies. My grandfather, who I gastrointestinally took after, DIED from our allergies. I never met him. I also have lived with disordered eating. I also-also live with a spouse who just... has very different taste buds. We've both worked in food service. I've taken LOTS of professional cooking classes. We know how food is "supposed" to be/do.

So with that in mind I will say this: STOP MORALIZING FOOD CHOICES PLEASE.

Food is perishable calories meant to keep people alive and (if wanted) give enjoyment. My spouse canNOT enjoy a steak if it's not burnt to a crisp. So what? Who cares? He's getting calories and pleasure HIS way.

Cooking food "wrong" is not like defacing a book. (Food is perishable and meant to be consumed.) Cooking food "wrong" is not an insult to the animals that died / vegetables that were grown / work put into the food. Ordering food "wrong" is not an affront to the chef. (Who can eat my entire ass if he wants to judge my needs and pleasure.)

Now to be clear? You are WELCOME to have opinions on whether fish should be paired with cheese or wev. Share them with your family. But here is what you do when you moralize food on broad social media particularly with regard to someone like Trump: You reinforce a culture of food-morality and food-shaming that HURTS people with allergies and disordered eating.

You attach to an act that should sustain and pleasure RULES RULES RULES that will not fit everyone. You reinforce a culture of hostility to choice wherein people POISON US by slipping in "correct" ingredients/methods that kill us. "Oh, you can't have CHILI without MEAT, I know Kayla is a vegetarian, but I'll just slip this in." "Oh, you can't have DISH without INGREDIENT, that's SACRILEGE, I'll fix it." And then someone dies, well done. Thank you.

Like, I get that you don't mean it that way. You just have REALLY strong feels about spicy food or steak texture or whatever. I also get that most people think that folks who poison us food-allergy people are the worst. But it's all a culture. Food-policing and food-morality are fundamentally hostile to individual choice. (And I'm gonna be mocked for this, but wev.)

If you can't see how you're hurting people with food allergies, people with disordered eating, and people who just are DIFFERENT? I keep saying this, but your "pet peeve" about food or whatever is YOUR PET. Don't drop your pet on other people without consent. Also, I will add that a LOT of food-policing and such is rooted in unexamined classism, so I mean. There's that too.

The book metaphors I find particularly amusing because Etsy exists. There's artists who absolutely will cut up books for you to make amazing art out of it. Some people would consider that a waste. So to wrap all this up, PLEASE stop shaming people for how they eat (and dress, and consensually sex, and decorate, and... Really, the "don't shame clothes, consensual sex/kinks, and decoration choices" is a much longer post but just... don't.)

Also, like, if you are spending time criticizing Trump for his FOOD CHOICES, that shows some strange priorities?

@quicksilvre: also the presumption that anyone eating a food “wrong” must not “know” how to eat it “correctly”

omggggggggggg, this. "Just feed [spouse] a PROPER steak and he'll learn what he's missing" HE'S HAD THEM.


"Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin tells us that “stock to a cook is like voice to a singer.” Can you really justify taking away my voice?" I swear to god, there needs to be a Metaphor Police that steps in when people do this. CHICKEN STOCK IS NOT YOUR VOICE, ARIEL.

"When I have vegetarians over for dinner, I’m already making a sacrifice by forgoing a real entrĂ©e in favor of a meatless one." omgggggggggg. I pretty much cannot eat vegetables, and I STILL would not be this man's friend for the world.

"Fairness & common sense would argue that, in return, vegetarians shouldn’t make a big deal about small amount of a near-invisible liquid." Like, we all agree this guy is GARBAGE, but this is the logical extension of food-policing about the "right" way to cook food.

"I’ve compromised my culinary integrity enough already—now it’s your turn: Vegetarians and vegans, chicken stock does not count as meat. ...[Stock] contains essentially all the flavor components needed in savory preparations—aromatic, herbal, spice, and yes, animal." Here is a guy insisting that "animal" is an essential component of food so he's serving it SECRETLY to his vegan/vegetarian guests. And honestly, this is COMMON in my experience. Cooks putting ingredients we can't or won't have secretly in our food because METHOD.

"“Why not just use vegetable stock?” I asked a very similar question of a Ferrari driver the other day." That is LITERALLY how people talk about steak doneness, by the way. Comparing a "proper" steak to a Ferrari.

"According to the food scientist Harold McGee, only about 5 percent of chicken stock comes from the chicken" OH WELL THEN! "but the actual amount of meat substance that ends up on each plate is minuscule."

"If I’m going to roast a chicken, the most respectful thing I can do afterward is to make the most of the remaining flesh and bone" There it is: Respect. Every. Damn. Time. Every time I talk about steak doneness: "You're not RESPECTING the cow." I assure you the cow does NOT care. "Respect" does not mean poisoning your guests out of some perceived responsibility you dreamed up to your chicken/cow/rabbit.

"I’m being a responsible, frugal meat eater by doing this—can’t vegetarians acknowledge my effort by letting slide the few tablespoons?" And, again, he is putting it in their food SECRETLY. Not cooking it and telling them and letting them decide.

"I’d hope so, because, to be honest, to do otherwise is really rude." I'm dead, how is this a real article.

"I maintain it is very impolite to straight-up refuse something someone has taken the time to make because of your personal preference." There's that hostility to choice. "Preference", as though preferences are something we're not allowed to have.

Like, again, this jackass guy sounds like every food-policer I know, he's just taking it up to the logical conclusion. HE knows better about the time and effort and animal and respect and YOU can just deal.

"Doing so belies a valuing of the self over the collective" we are literally now all Borgs, enjoy.

[Food]"We all know that if I didn’t tell you there was a little chicken stock in that veggie stir fry, you wouldn’t know and couldn’t care." This is what I mean when I say food-policing is hostile to consent. Saying I'm going to override your will but you won't know so you can't care is 100% hostile to consent.

He ends saying "I don’t see the problem" with "slipping cocaine unadvertised into a batch of blueberry muffins". That's where food-policing leads us. That's the culture we support any time we assign morality to how someone wants their steak.

In conclusion: Do not be that guy. That guy is the literal worst.

@tuttiquantinoob: i remember this guy saying he worked at strbcks and would slip fullfat milk in cups of "skinny bitches who asked for soy"

THIS IS A THING I need to talk about.

Men slipping wrong ingredients into women's food is a form of violence and also closely tied to rape culture. We know from studies that male bartenders will often spike "girly" drinks with more alcohol when they're paired with a "manly" drink.

The reason for this is the male bartender thinks he's "helping" the guy to get laid by getting his date drunk with extra alcohol. That is participation in rape culture. But this is all a spectrum: feeding women things they don't want in order to hurt them.


Post a Comment