One of the most irritating of the democratizing aspects of the internet is the abounding and unapologetic celebration of mediocrity. Typos, half-baked business models, self-serving antagonisms in comment sections - - all of this flourishes in the blogosphere, a forum that lends expert status to Joe Schmo and consequently delegitimizes even the most informed analytic source.
From this circus has come a spate of food-related content, all of which irrationally pisses me off. (Except for the time my article on bagels was the second-most read article on NolaDefender.com for like four months...huzzah for me and bagels!)
It's not that I don't care about food - I think actually it plays a much too important role in my emotional life - but that I frankly do not give a shit about what other people are cooking, where they are eating, and especially what they think about all these experiences.
I am glad for the successes of amateur cooks who derive satisfaction from their adventures in home kitchen culinary arts, yet I think it is beyond annoying that an entire literary culture surrounds such banal achievement. We in the Western oppressor class are in the age of convenience; the fact that we even know how to nourish ourselves is treated as a source of delight and self-congratulation.
Don't get me wrong - I am all for the recording of popular culture. I find recipe websites helpful. But I sympathize most strongly with the schmucks who can't for all the EVOO in the world get pasta with marinara sauce right. Why don't these people have a website?
That is to say, I am not a horrible cook, but who needs to hear about it on the internet?
Well, dear readers, now YOU get to.
In direct response to my online foodie competition, I am starting a new series called "Food I've Cooked that Looks Terrible and Might Taste That Way Too." This way, you too can enjoy my travails in the kitchen without feeling like an asshole who doesn't know the difference between kumquats and kielbasa. It helps that I'm vegetarian, so the options are more limited. I hope this new feature will help assuage the media hysteria surrounding food production and consumption, and return online discourse to the culturally relevant charms of pornography and kitten-shaped emoticons.
For starters, I have been bothering my roommates all week to make hamantaschen, or fruit-filled triangle cookies, with me this weekend for Purim, which, for those of you who haven't spent your formative years in the Tri-State Area, is Jewish Halloween. It's a celebration of the fact that Jews still exist despite the best efforts of Haman (Boo!), who, along with trying to kill us all (which is why we boo his name), sported a triangular hat à la Paul Revere. For Purim, we make cookies in the shape of Haman's (Boo!) headgear. I found a recipe from a Jewish pre-school teacher who assures her readership that no matter how much kids play with the dough, the finished product will be "perfect."
Now, a natural skeptic such as myself might normally have been suspicious of such claims. But my enthusiasm for the holiday got in the way of my rationality, and behold the finished product:
People say baking is therapeutic, what with the dough pounding and sugar rush. But I took Psych 101, and these cookies still taste like dry scones with sticky jelly. If I didn't live with a boy, they might be sitting on the kitchen counter for weeks.
And with that, I encourage you to look forward to the next installment of this series, "Arielle Goes to the Hong Kong Market and Makes the Nice Vietnamese Lady Cry."
PS: I will strive to take the least flattering photos of my cooked products, lest anyone mistake this feature for actual food porn. I have also heard that inclusion of the word "porn" on blog posts maximizes your search engine optimization value, so let's go with that. Porn porn porn.