Scoffing at someone is eating a McDouble or a fish sandwich from Long John Silver’s. Judging the person who picks up four Hungry Man frozen dinners at the grocery store. We’ve all been guilty of it at some point in our life. If not looking down your nose at someone’s food choices, you’ve judged some pretentious wine snob who won’t help you drink your Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Combine food snobbery with the echo chamber that is the Internet and you get the case of Marilyn Hagerty. She’s writes The EATBEAT for a North Dakota newspaper. She wrote a review of an Olive Garden opening in her town of 55,000, and the Internet tore it up. The great sages of the Internet asked how could a food writer seriously write about a national chain with such a straight face? No place that offers unlimited anything is worthy of a review, they reasoned.
After the initial storm of criticism and mean emails, Hagerty has spoken out in an interview with the Village Voice and is did a great job defending her column.
If you were going to review the fine dining here, you’d be done in three weeks–there’s only about three places you could call “fine dining.” And the rest is lots of restaurants and lots of fast-food places.
The last place I lived was very comparable to Grand Folks, N.D. in terms of size and food options. Like the people in Grand Folks, the people of Bowling Green, Ky. waited in line for Olive Garden for hours when it opened in 2011. (And this wasn’t even the first Olive Garden the town had. There was an attempt in 2001 to open an Olive Garden but the restaurant failed quickly. Weird, I know.)
I think this last quote sums up why you need to respect Hagerty, and it’s a lesson we all could stand to learn.
But my daughter tells me I should go on Facebook and read all this crap. And I do not have time to let myself be bothered or read all that stuff. I have a Sunday column I’m doing now about a completely different subject. I don’t have time to sit here and twit over whether some self-styled food expert likes, or does not like, my column.
Those are the words of someone who is doing what they love, and doesn’t care what anyone else things. Maybe we could back off of the snobbery some, and replace it with thoughtful analysis. (Ha! I can’t believe the sincerity of myself there.)