The chattering classes of the the food and wine world find plenty to argue about, but I think its safe to say that there is today near-universal agreement on one point: we all want to know where the things we eat and drink come from, how they were made, and by whom.
Indeed, it’s our appetite for such information that has launched a thousand blogs, magazines, cookbooks, memoirs, profiles, and travel guides. Need-to-know fever has had a remarkable impact on restaurant service, too. Woe to the waiter who knoweth not the breed of pig whence came the pork chop or who cannot trippingly recite its genealogy, yea even unto the tenth generation.
We’ve all been the victim of the too-informed young server and its easy to poke fun at the randier manifestations of this phenomenon, but the truth is that our hunger for ever more detailed information about each thing we ingest defines contemporary culinary culture. Compared with the see-no-evil approach that characterized the 20th century, it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. [Read more…]