Alan Richman steps in it

Food writer Alan Richman takes on New Orleans, and proceeds to insult an entire city. Some choice quotes:

The citizens of New Orleans might not be the most energetic Americansâ??I believe their morning exercise regimen consists of stumbling out of barsâ??but they are joyful, expressive eaters.

and

I know we are supposed to salvage whatâ??s left of the city, but what exactly is it that weâ??re trying to cherish and preserve? I hope itâ??s not the French Quarter, which has evolved into a illogical mix of characterless housing, elegant antiques stores, and scuzzy bars, a destination for tourists seeking the worst possible experience. The entertainment values are only marginally superior to those of Tijuana, Mexico.

The response to his piece has been vitriolic, with Pim likening Richman to a jackass, Robert, over at Appetites, calling him a penis, and no less than the New Orleans Times-Picayune inferring that applying the label of “journalist” to Richman would only be correct if it’s definition included the use of wisecracks, sweeping generalizations and out and out inaccuracies.

I realize that this isn’t really food-news worthy per se. But Alan Richman is one of the bigger names in food writing, and it’s noteworthy when someone of his stature pens something like this:

During my time in New Orleans, I sought to keep some perspective. For example, when the sommelier at August brought me an incorrect vintage of the wine Iâ??d ordered, I tried not to be too distressed, knowing that somewhere in the Lower Ninth Ward a house was sitting atop a car.

This is quite possibly the worst food writing I’ve ever seen. It has all of the worst traits of criticism – entitlement, arrogance, and comparing the frustration of receiving the wrong vintage of wine to that of someone who LOST THEIR HOUSE!

tags technorati : Alan Richman Food Criticism


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