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this is why people hate foodies

February 7, 2010

Because making your own maple syrup is not a realistic hobby.

Before I elaborate on the many reasons this article bothers me, let me make my background clear: I have no problem with people making things from scratch. I make my own bread. I have tried making yogurt, on multiple occasions. I have read an entire Foxfire book, and now I know how to butcher a hog. I do believe that as we have moved farther and farther away from the source of our food, we become detached from the ecosystems that support us.

But this is ridiculous, and here is why.

a) Sugaring makes one’s ceiling sticky. While Ava Chin lovingly describes the “mellow, sweet” product of her endeavors, she fails to mention what must have been the inevitable side effect – vaporized sap clinging to everything in a five foot radius.

b) The yield is tiny.

c) Whereas something like homemade bread often surpasses what’s available to the average consumer, YOU CAN BUY PERFECTLY GOOD MAPLE SYRUP AT THE STORE. What she refers to as “sometimes just glorified corn syrup” is actually pancake syrup, which, admittedly, is gross. But, often at that same grocery store, you can purchase real, honest-to-goodness maple syrup, which is no different from what she retrieved from that poor tree, except that it doesn’t come with an ego boost.

I admit that I’m prejudiced by her self-congratulatory tone of discovery – her cringe-inducing personification of a tree (“‘She’s a gusher,’ I told my friend, licking my fingers, as we…tapped the steel nipple”), her description of eating real maple syrup as “finding a truer home” (really?). But what I think really puts me off is that we do live in a country where most of the population would be better served by getting closer to their food. Giving them a difficult, low-yield, unnecessary experiment like this is not a good way to introduce people to the concept of moving away from processed foods; if it fails, where’s the incentive to try something new? Personally, this article makes me want to go eat a bag of Cheetos.

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