Last week's issue of New York Magazine included an article about the growing youth culture of "foodie-ism." In it, writer Michael Idov chronicles 27-year-old Park Slope resident Diane Chang, a food-lover meant to represent this new food phenomenon. Says Idov of Chang:
Diane Chang is a prime specimen of the new breed of restaurant-goer. The species is obsessive and omnivorous. Although they lean toward cheap ethnic food and revile pretension, they do not ultimately discriminate by price point or cuisine. They might hit a vegan joint like Sun in Bloom one day, its neighbor Bark Hot Dogs the next, then subsist on ramen for a week before blowing a paycheck on a sixteen-course lunch at Ko. They are not especially concerned with locavorism or sustainability or foraging. Sometimes nirvana simply takes the form of an authentic, ice-cold Mexican Coke. They abhor restaurant clichés (Carnegie Deli, Peter Luger) and studiously avoid chains (Olive Garden, McDonald’s) but are not above the occasional ironic trip to either. They consume food media—blogs, books, Top Chef and other “quality” TV shows but definitely not Food Network—like so many veal sweetbreads. Lucky Peach, Chang’s quarterly journal, is required reading. They talk about food and restaurants incessantly, and their social lives are organized around them. Some are serious home cooks who seek to duplicate the feats of their chef-heroes in their own kitchens; others barely use a stove. Above all, they are avowed culinary agnostics whose central motivation is simply to hunt down and enjoy the next most delicious meal, all the better if no one else has yet heard of it. Dish snapshots and social-network check-ins are a given.
With a description like that, you might not be surprised to hear that Diane Chang, like most "foodies," comes off as a pretentious, insufferable twit. There were times when reading Idov's article that I actually wished I had the ability to dive through the pages of New York Magazine, Ghost Dad-style, and punch her in the face. I especially felt this rage once I got through three-fourths of the piece and noticed that Chang refers to Park Slope as "the worst food destination ever."
What the what!?!
Now listen, I'm sure Chang was exaggerating a bit. Like when you say, "I've had the worst day ever." But get this: I wasn't alone in my outrage towards Diana Chang and New York Magazine's story either. Food blogs quickly picked up the piece, including Eater, who published a pretty great top 10 list of lines from the original story. Commenters also attacked Chang herself, pointing out that even though the main article describes her as a civilian who doesn't work in the food industry, she's actually a former editor at Bon Appetit (oops!). Chang herself wrote a rebuttal, defending her actions through out most of the piece. But Diana Chang never apologized for her Park Slope comment. So as far as I'm concerned, she still totally believes in that comment and therefore, still totally sucks.
I'm not saying that Park Slope is the best food destination ever. After all, Aunt Suzie's was open in the neighborhood for 25 years. But is it the worst? I can't believe that's true. Perhaps Chang could swing by Al Di La. Or Talde. Or Zito's. Or Applewood. Or any of the other restaurants around that are pretty damn delicious. We may have our fair share of shitty pizza places and bad Chinese takeout around here, but at least we have a food scene! Is there a food scene in, say, Battery Park? Or Times Square? Chain restaurants, maybe. But are those better than what we have to offer in Park Slope?
What do you guys think? How bad is it here? And how annoying do you think Chang is?