I’m a very pork-patient sort of guy. Homer Simpson said it best in expressing his empuzzlement when his daughter Lisa became a vegetarian, asking what she could and couldn’t eat:
Homer: “What about bacon?”
Homer: “Pork chops?
Lisa: “No! Dad those all come from the same animal!”
Homer: “Yeah right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical, animal.”
Homer is right. But it’s time take an electrical prod to the head of this porcine passion. The straw that broke the pig’s back for me was when I noticed last week a restaurant down the street from my apartment in New York’s West Village opened up called Swine. It’s not all pork on the menu but it reads like a farce – a caricature unto itself – of 2012 menu trends, right down to the name of the restaurant itself.
Oh, there are other food trends I’m tired of, too. See: deviled eggs, Brussels sprouts, bone marrow, beets, anything fried in duck fat, short ribs. I’m even tired of foie gras. And don’t get me started on the insanity that foodies exhibit every spring at the first (or second or third) sighting of ramps at a farmers market or on the menu of a restaurant (it usually goes something like this, “RAMPS! OMG, RAMPS!” and can be found on the social media of your choice.
Food trends ebb and flow – that’s why they’re trends, after all. Tapas was all the rage in New York and other American cities in the last decade, crossing the edible Spanish threshold into cuisines that have no history of serving food on small plates; the most comical I saw was something called “Australian tapas.” But this one, this proclivity for American-ish comfort food, is sticking around like bad leftovers left in the fridge during a long vacation. And it’s starting to reek. We’re in a recession, which means, like the big baby foodies that we are, we need to be comforted and held, spooned by porkliscious byproducts until the euphoric porcine food coma we put ourselves in takes us away.
For the record, I do think the “trend,” or “movement” might be a better word, of sourcing the provenance of our food is a good one. And I hope it sticks around. But do we need the economy to vastly improve before we change our eating habits? I just want this nation of eaters to graduate from what has become the poster animal of the relatively recent obsession with food. Is that so much to ask? In the meantime, I’m going to walk down to Swine to see if it’s still open.