Face It, ‘Bon Appétit’: You’re Never Going to Be HipThe announcement by Bon Appétit that they were going to court younger readers by adjusting its logo was greeted with plenty of amusement earlier today, but the reality is even grimmer than it sounds: Not only is Bon App trying to skew younger, but it’s trying to differentiate itself from other food magazines. The truth is that Bon Appétit will never be any hipper or friskier than it is, because no magazine about upscale entertaining can ever speak to people that don’t have big houses and plenty of time on their hands. Even among such magazines, Bon Appétit is the most boring, an ad-packed Nembutal calling to mind the “women’s pages” where newspapers used to publish their party recipes. With the Food Network, the Internet, and a dozen more interesting magazines at their disposal, there’s no way we can imagine someone under 40 reading Bon Appétit.
British Toff Decries the Coarseness of Modern Food WritingWe’re still scratching our heads over an essay in Slate today, in which a British journalist, fretting over what he considers the unseemliness of today’s food writing, declares himself out of the game. Is it for real? Something about the piece had the whiff of a put-on, like Ernie Kovacs’s poet character, Percy Dovetonsils, or one of those stuffy authority figures who get hit with a pie in a TV commercial appealing to teenagers. “The food writing that’s in vogue today consists chiefly of a bellow of bravado,” writes Paul Levy, formerly of the British newspaper The Observer. Today’s food writers, he says, “thrive on the undertow of violence they detect in the professional kitchen, and like to linger on the unappetizing aspects of food preparation. The gross-out factor trumps tasting good as well as good taste.” Is he kidding?