Food Fight, Ctd – A Critique of the “Culinary Luddites”

Food Fight, Ctd – A Critique of the “Culinary Luddites”

Rachel Laudan has written an article at Utne Reader titled, “In Praise of Fast Food” that takes on what the author calls Culinary Luddism. Luddism, in case your wondering, is an opposition to industrialization and technology. The backlash against the local food movement is gaining steam and the critiques are maturing beyond just dismissing food miles mathematics.

After laying out her foodie bona fides, the author says that she can’t abide in the extremes of the local food movement and concludes;

…the sunlit pastĀ of the culinary Luddites never existed. So their ethos is based not on history but on a fairy tale. So what? Certainly no one would deny that an industrialized food supply has its own problems. Perhaps we should eat more fresh, natural, local, artisanal, slow food. Does it matter if the history is not quite right?

It matters quite a bit, I believe. If we do not understand that most people had no choice but to devote their lives to growing and cooking food, we are incapable of comprehending that modern food allows us unparalleled choices not just of diet but of what to do with our lives. If we urge the Mexican to stay at her metate, the farmer to stay at his olive press, the housewife to stay at her stove, all so that we may eat handmade tortillas, traditionally pressed olive oil, and home-cooked meals, we are assuming the mantle of the aristocrats of old.

I don’t have time to respond to this artictle today but plan on getting to it later in the week, along with responding to my previous post on the merits of the10,0000 mile diet.

If 2008 was the year of the locavore, 2010 is shaping up as the year of the backlash against the locavore.

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