Among a certain subset of Millennials who were called hipsters in the past and are know today as “Yuccies” (Young Urban Creatives), exist the culinary-obsessed foodie whose life mission is to travel great distances and then take pictures to document their diverse eating experiences.
Much of the move to fetishize food in this way has been positive. Knowing more about what we are eating and where it came from gives consumers more choice and knowledge. But there are always two sides to every free-yet-pretentious tarot card reading.
As young people with high ideals and a do-it-yourself ethos have entered the dining world through restaurant ownership, so have some of their less-favorable habits, terminology and conceited attitudes. Some Millennials have developed the habit of acting as if they invented products that have been enjoyed by consumers for years or that they discovered staples with long historic roots in other parts of the world.
Before the hegemony of hipsters and food-obsessed eating took over, when sweet potato fries werent ubiquitous and every damn liquid wasnt served in a mason jar, old men drank Pabst Blue Ribbon and couldnt care less if it was popular or helped identify the guzzler as a geezer. Similar to how quinoa, kale and pickles have all enjoyed a rebirth of popularity because of hipster’s promotion, these were always consumed, but on a larger scale, until recently, were less visible.
Growing up, my best friends back-to-the-land, bohemian parents served us kale with dinner often, and quinoa is an ancient staple of cultures of the Andes Mountains in South America. Therefore, neither is very new and has not been discovered any time recently. Coming along with the modern obsession over ingredients, preparation and diversity of foods is the subsequent different ways of eating and talking about food, some of which are annoying, and others that are plain pointless or just really pretentious.
Before you even sit down at that new gastro pub or strictly seasonal and locally sourced restaurant, these are some keywords that will scream out if the chef, owner or people who run it are food-obsessed Millennials.
One sure sign is if water served comes in a mason jar. Another giveaway would be if the server says, No worries at any point, or if you notice that their ear lobes are stretched to ring size with gauges.
If food is gown everywhere, then couldnt locally sourced really mean from anywhere nearby? Not only is the term not all that descriptive, are the carrots from a closer farm necessarily better than one further away?
This term is so oft-repeated that it has lost most of its meaning. Even fast-food chain McDonalds now sells products under the term. Go ahead, the floodgates are open. Call anything artisanal now I guess.
Noah Zuss is a reporter for TheBlot Magazine.