Food journalism is no exception to the current trend that includes writers moving to social media and relying on Internet-based freelance writing. This movement obviously has its advantages and disadvantages, one of the bigger disadvantages being that food writing has lost some of the depth that it previously had. In “How Food Journalism Got as Stale as Day-Old Bread,” Marc Vetri writes about how readers’ attention spans have shortened as a result of them receiving information instantly. Rather than reading restaurant reviews written by critics with specific standards and expertise, people can go to Urbanspoon and read several reviews before deciding to dine there. In this example, the natures of the reviews are obviously very different from each other. Vetri laments the decline of the former and the growing ubiquity of the latter.
He compares this shift to a similar shift in the way chefs prepare food, referencing Alan Richman’s article, “The Rise of Egotarian Cuisine.” In egotarian cuisine, chefs prepare food in order to satisfy themselves, not the customers. Vetri writes that recent food writing serves much the same purpose- for the gratification of the writers, not the readers.
Personally, I don’t see a problem with writing- or cooking- for one’s own satisfaction, but obviously we can’t ignore the effect that this trend is having on the industry. While the market for bloggers and sites that give readers “their much-needed immediate buzz” is growing, this doesn’t mean that there is no room for specific, well-researched, in-depth food writing. It just means that that is becoming more of a niche market; maybe harder to find, but still there.
Egotarian cuisine: http://www.gq.com/life/food/201403/alan-richman-dude-food