Food is a cornerstone of human civilization and culture. I like to make the rounds of various culinary publications and media outlets like Bon Appetit, Americas Test Kitchen and NYT cooking to name a few. I noticed many of the chefs are just rotated through these main culinary outlets. What struck me is that it’s just handful of people all very acquainted and influenced by one another shaping food culture currently and promoted in the mainstream. For decades Martha Stewart has been at the helm of shaping mainstream food culture prior to her it was Julia Childs and I believe both were the original “food influencers” and birthed the hordes of social media food influencers that we have now with their viral baked feta pastas or overnight oats etc. With the advent of multimedia culinary instruction food culture is no longer influenced alone by the region in which one lives and what their ancestors ate but also by social media and the internet in general. Interestingly, I don’t think this is very different from any other time in history. Most peoples of earth eat similar things. Every culture has a flat bread, a dumpling of some form, a stuffed bread, a stew etc. I wonder if food culture or culinary technique hasn’t always been in the hands of a few designated people at any given point in time. I know we like to think of our current time as more connected communicatively than ever before. That may be true from a speed of communication standpoint, but not true quantitively. One of my favorite German families of nobility are the Von Thurn und Taxis, they ran a postal service for 355 years throughout the Holy Roman Empire employing 20,000 or more messengers connecting Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary, The Netherlands etc. They delivered mail and newspapers. They are billionaires to this day. My point is I don’t think connectivity has been an issue in human history. I am sure ancient Egyptians, Sumerians, ancient Greeks and Atlanteans had similar postal services and news outlets with various ways of disseminating knowledge. As people are now very interested in food and various culinary techniques, new dishes and applications, I am sure they have always been. Food and culinary techniques are probably the thing that people cross culturally have consistently shared and appreciated the most about one another. I think we are just beginning to understand how much the internet is shaping culture and possibly bottlenecking many into one culture, a few ways of doing things and understanding the world. But back to what I was relating before, I think one of the deceiving things about the internet is that many believe they can source a variety of instruction or points of view but, those given a platform to influence are highly curated and likely on multiple platforms. You can go to six different sites for a biscuit recipe but, it’s just the same 2 people writing recipes on each site and have been for years. That’s the paradox of the internet, the illusion of choice, diverse opinion and knowledge.
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