The Balance of Food Writing

Another one of the challenges that I have run into in writing about food is that there are two major philosophies:

  • Reality-based: These are food topics that address things such as hunger, nutrition, economic impact, environmental impact, cultural impact, etc., etc.
  • Lifestyle-based: Lifestyle based, one where the consumers of this media are instilled with the desire for products or unique experiences. This is the Food Networks entire schtick.

These philosophical approaches represent two points on a spectrum when it comes to food media. My challenge is that I see value in both of the points. This, at times, makes me feel wishy-washy, and you can see this awkwardness play out in the candy book, where on one page, I talk about the slave trade and the following pages where I had written light-hearted reviews of candy bars. This is the textbook definition of mood whiplash.

Ignoring this spectrum is treacherous if one wishes to straddle it. And dismissing one out-of-hand ignores the larger system in which it resides - culture. That's where this conversation about food gets interesting to me. That's one aspect that I need to bring into the conversation, but the trick is knowing when it is appropriate.