Four stars to NYT restaurant critic Pete Wells’s response below, in an online Q&A with readers:
Q. Do you think we in America have taken the food culture too far where we care and think too much about eating and making really great and unique food? I have read some critiques making this point and was wondering your thoughts.
— Dan, Washington, D.C.
A. I’ve read a few of those criticisms, too, and I have found them as puzzling as their authors seem to find food culture. They tend to start well, because they’re mocking the excesses of people who take food too seriously. It’s easy to mock people who take anything too seriously. That’s why mockery was invented.
But when the mockery ends, the pieces I’ve read eventually grow indignant at the very idea that people care about something as insignificant as pleasure. Pleasure is only insignificant if you’re not having any, and I have started to suspect that the people who write these critiques are just upset because everybody else is having too much fun. And then I start to feel sorry for them, and want to send them a dozen cookies from Beurre & Sel in the Essex Street Market. But then I decide that cookies would be wasted on people who don’t know how to have a good time.
Take a look at American expat DC Rainmaker’s photo essay on his and his wife’s neighborhood farmer’s market in Paris, at Place Maubert. Bliss.