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Friday, June 04, 2010

Aspirational eaters

An interesting article in today's Sydney Morning Herald with a surprising but welcome endorsement of Grab Your Fork. I wouldn't say that I try to emulate Matt Preston - only he can pull off candy pink trousers and a cravat, I say!

"Like the Tea Party movement, then, aspirational eaters love to upset the status quo. They're a paradox unto themselves: awestruck observers of time-honoured culinary tradition, yet disciples harbouring a secret desire to turn the tables on their teachers.

This paradox is most evident among food bloggers – aspirational eaters who assiduously document, dissect and digest their and others' culinary efforts online. Blogs like Grab Your Fork have become a reliable source of information for food stops, old and new. In their reviews, food bloggers simultaneously emulate and attempt to outdo critics like Matt Preston. "I can't respect food 'critics'. They just eat. I've respect for chefs. But critics?" tweets suziwong66, whose own food blog, Suzi Wong Creations, contains an incisive critique of her own recipes and cooking attempts. Aspirational eaters are both cooks and critics. To their credit, they are often relentlessly self-critical, prepared to eat humble pie when their recipes fail to work."

Click the image above to read the entire article. Are we in the midst of an aspirational eating movement? I say we just want good food and more of it!
20 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 6/04/2010 10:43:00 am


  • At 6/04/2010 11:26 am, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Well, there's nothing stopping you from donning candy pink/canary yellow pants, cow print boots and a cravat... =D Congrats on the mention!

  • At 6/04/2010 12:03 pm, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    Oooh! Interesting! Actually, you would look sexy with a cravat/scarf?...but I don't see you dropping plates of food on the floor, declaring them "disgustingly good"!

  • At 6/04/2010 12:08 pm, Anonymous Simon @ the heart of food said…

    "Aspiration eater" sounds like an attempt to usurp the term "foodie" (with its somewhat negative slant) from the vernacular.

    With what, to me, seems like misguided associations throughout the article (to the US Tea Party movement no less!), I'm not sure I'd be any more happy with the connotations raised in the article than those raised when someone says foodie. Actually, probably less so.

    All that aside, congrats on the positive mention in the mainstream once again, you reliable source you :)

  • At 6/04/2010 12:42 pm, Anonymous yewenyi said…

    I can't help it. When I hear US and tea party, I think of a bunch of terrorists in boston throwing perfectly good chests of tea into the sea...

  • At 6/04/2010 1:40 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…


    But it seems that articles like these keep trying to make the food blogsophere more competitive, individualistic and self-serving than it is. In my perspective, such mainstream-media articles tend to miss the fact that we engage in the world of food because we love food and the community that surrounds it, not because we're trying to outdo each other/celebrities and establish ourselves apart from others.

    Does that make sense? Or maybe I'm just talking from my own persective, because I don't create critic-worthy foods on my blog :P

    ((Do I also come across as hypocritical if I now call you a superstar? :D))

  • At 6/04/2010 1:43 pm, Anonymous Betty @ The Hungry Girl said…

    Congrats on the mention! I can see you in the pink trousers and cravat ... do it!!

  • At 6/04/2010 1:54 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Congrats on the mention!

  • At 6/04/2010 3:12 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Go Helen go!! however I can only think of pulmonary aspiration everytime "aspirational eaters" is mentioned....

  • At 6/04/2010 6:11 pm, Anonymous JT @areyouhungary said…

    Yay, great work Helen - such a good mention.
    I've got nothing against pink pants but a cravat? Surely that would just be something I would inevitably spill all of my food over. Perhaps you'd have better luck!

    I'm more than happy to document my failings on my blog - although not too sure about the term aspirational eater! I know I can eat, its not something I aspire to, nor, do I agree with a lot of the assumptions about the motivations behind this army of eaters in the article...

  • At 6/04/2010 9:43 pm, Blogger Ben said…

    I think the author of the article is really missing the deeper point to all of this.

    It's not like people that like food and like to document food have just popped up out of the swamps. "Aspirational" consumption is up nearly across the board, not just with people that like food. It's a cultural shift that has started to step up a gear in the last decade or so. The rising levels of personal debt to finance personal spending is the perfect example of this. Food (and more specifically, dining) is one of the ultimate luxury/experience/status symbols around.

    The reason food is getting more attention is because it's the "fad" at the moment. 5-10 years ago, no one cared that you were "in to" food. Young men that cared about fine dining were freaks of nature; a mutation in the swamp gene.

    Food has been forced down our throat (pun totally intended) by the media and as a result people that float by on trends have gotten in to food. It's fashionable.

    One day in the near future (5/10 years?) it won't be. We'll all go back to normal. Restaurants will close due to lack of business, people will spend their money on the next trend, articles like that won't get published. Maybe even a few of us truly do love food and we'll stick around long after that. Probably with less hits on our blogs.

  • At 6/04/2010 9:59 pm, Anonymous penny aka jeroxie said…

    Congras on the mention. No matter what term is used, we just love food and yes, good food.

  • At 6/05/2010 10:04 am, Anonymous Emma @CakeMistress said…

    Congrats on the mention!

    Rawr, I have so many issues with the logic and seemingly uneducated perspective put forward in that article by an "aspirational writer". Seems like a shallow assessment of the "aspirational eater" movement, from someone with a peripheral involvement at most.

    Like the comments above have mentioned, we're largely a supportive and sharing community of food lovers, simply improving our skills and sharing our experiences and creations with like-minded people. He misses this point completely.

  • At 6/05/2010 10:40 am, Anonymous Andreas@MyGourmetFeast~> said…

    I agree, very interesting :)

  • At 6/05/2010 6:15 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    More fame = congratulations - a cravat pic would be interesting!

  • At 6/05/2010 7:45 pm, Blogger Anna said…

    What a curious article... At any rate, congratulations on the mention!!! :)

  • At 6/06/2010 3:13 pm, Anonymous Mark @ Cafe Campana said…

    Congrats on making the SMH! Next you will need to get some cow skin boots and the Logie for best new talent.

  • At 6/06/2010 4:18 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi mademoiselle delicieuse - lol. I don't think I could carry off canary yellow either but I appreciate your confidence!

    Hi Peter G - That's true, I don't think I could ever drop a plate on the floor, particularly if it still had food in it!

    Hi Simon - The term aspirational eater is a curious one. And thanks, always a lovely surprise to find these things.

    Hi yewenyi - lol. Now that's a image!

    Hi Hannah - Thank you. I do think it paints an odd picture of bloggers but then the view from the outside will always be at odds with what people from within think and feel?

    I do know what you mean and I do agree, although I will politely rescind the label of superstar. lol. I just eat :)

    Hi Betty - Haha, unlikely. How does one tie a cravat anyway. I could never even figure out to tie a silk scarf. lol

    Hi Ellie - Thank you :)

    Hi FFichiban - Ha, I'm sure you will come to the rescue if ever needed!

    Hi JT - Cravat spillage is a very likely risk with me too :) It is a rather curious article.

    Hi Jobe - An interesting perspective. I would like to hope that food isn't a fad, and that some of the driving influences of provenance and health and the joy of cooking and sharing food are here to stay. As you say, it will be interesting to see what happens in the next 5-10 years.

    Hi Penny - Thanks and yes, ultimately it's about good food :)

    Hi Emma - I agree, the food blogging community is a supportive one. I appreciate your comments - they certainly create a bigger and more complete picture to the fragment put forward by the writer.

    Hi Andreas - Thanks, glad you enjoyed.

    Hi Gourmet Chick - Ha, it would appear I have opened Pandora's Box (or cravat cupboard, as the case may be).

    Hi Ladybird - Thank you and yes, I think everyone is in agreement with that.

    Hi Mark - Haha, now cow skin boots I would quite happily wear. lol.

  • At 6/12/2010 5:21 pm, Anonymous Trissa said…

    I think what the writer said about your blog remains true regardless of whatever else he's written. You are one of the most reliable sources of information for food stops Helen - I would honestly say I prefer your reviews more than those of the good food guide - it's good writing and good pictures all in one...

  • At 6/28/2010 2:00 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Trissa - Aww thank you so much. I think blogs do play a role in complementing traditional print media and it's so lovely to hear of people who enjoy and appreciate your work. Thanks so much :)

  • At 6/28/2010 2:03 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Dolly - It was a great event. Iron Chef is so much fun to watch isn't it?

    Hi YaYa - Haha yes. It was quite scary watching him put his finger into the hot oil!

    Hi Mrs Ed - The dinners are expensive but I guess it's only once a year! I'm usually ok with holding my own camera but ha, I'll keep it in mind.

    Hi Betty - It was much fun. Chen Kenichi was as bubbly and cheeky as I imagined he would be :)

    Hi Laura - Juding by the success of these events, you're definitely not alone! lol

    Hi Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook! - I know. They must have a magic elixir to keep them looking so young. Or maybe it's just good food :)

    Hi JTB - Thanks for the info, and yes, I did notice the drop in ticket prices this year :)


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