Food fight

It’s starting to look like an elementary school cafeteria on spaghetti day out there on the Internet. The noodles are flying. If you’re not simmered in the food writing world, here’s what’s happening.

The James Beard Awards added a new writing category this year, Humor. One of the nominees is an imaginary character: Ruth Bourdain. Not his/her real name, but a collision of the attitudes of Ruth Reichl, formerly of Gourmet; and Anthony Bourdain, the tall and opinionated omnivore of the Travel Channel’s “No Reservations.” (He’s usually described as a “bad boy chef,” which is wrong on several counts, besides being so cliche that the phrase should be somewhere in the Pina Colada Song. I will not use it.) RuBo’s tweets are retweeted like hysterical circling crows. As we say in the South, she’s/he’s a hoot. RuBo’s actual identity isn’t known.

I sent a thought to my fellow members of the Association of Food Journalists about a person writing under an assumed name being nominated in what is, supposedly, journalism awards.

I put my name on everything I write, from this blog to my articles and books to Twitter and Facebook. I am responsible for my writing and any consequences of it. Would I write differently if I were Bullwinkle J. Moose instead (although we share a middle initial)? Possibly. Can readers believe someone writing under a fake name? Does it even matter anymore, especially with humor writing, which I’m guilty of perpetrating, too? Y’all tell me.

Anyway, the discussion which followed the AFJ comments ended up in a blog in the Dallas Observer, here.

Now, it’s meatballs at 40 paces. Anthony Bourdain let loose on the Beards, and food writers in general, here with all the subtlety of the bucket of blood dropping on Carrie.  Today, a volley from CNN’s Eatocracy here.

One thing is for sure – the Beards haven’t had this much publicity in years.


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