There has been a lot written about the “dumbing down” of American news media. Having spent some years in senior management of an international news organization, I would share this opinion. Americans like their news in quick, content void, sound bites. Headlines. USA Today. CNN Headline news. Entertainment programs portraying themselves as news, and “celebrities” posing as journalists.
Many will disagree with me, but I believe the same thing is happening to our cuisine. Not that it has ever been for the sophisticated palate on a mass basis, but despite a lot of press coverage about our “new culture” of “sophisticated foodies”, it would seem to me that the majority of the population wants their food just like they want their news – in plain vanilla fashion, and the plainer, the better.
I write about hamburgers a lot, as you know, and some will argue with me – look at all the new “gourmet” burger joints out there – exotic meats, toppings, and so on.
Yeah, you’re right, but the point is, they are still hamburgers.
But more to the (my) point is the utter blandness of products that appeal to the masses. Take the lowly Egg McMuffin, of which I partake a few times a year, including yesterday. My problem? It tastes like nothing.
Bacon – doesn’t taste like bacon; cheese doesn’t taste like cheese; egg doesn’t taste like egg. It’s just a warm bit of “nutrition”, served fast, and relatively economically.
I’m not picking on McDonalds in particular. Buy a pizza from larger chains, and you’ll encounter the same phenom – warm, relatively tasteless, economical food stuffs.
At the grocery – brine injected pork roasts or fryers. Frozen appetizers and entrees with fast food logos on them.
It’s only in the smallest towns, out of the way, mom and pop joints that one can experience real American cuisine anymore. I delight in ‘discovering’ these places, especially on car trips, avoiding the freeways, and traveling down the former main highways in the US.
So get out there, and have some “real” American food. Buy meat from local butcher or farms. You’ll notice the difference.
As drastic a difference as between Walter Cronkite and Piers Morgan!