Wednesday eats (a rant)

Guess what, Easter’s coming up. Wasn’t aware? Well the planet’s food writers are here to tell you all about it. Over and over and over again.I am completely underwhelmed with the predictable, by-the-numbers food writing that is foisted upon us every major holiday. Spring is the worst, as every available food writer is obligated – apparently by law – to cough up identical stories about Easter, Passover and eggs.

And I realize I’m going to make no new friends with this point, but about 2% of the U.S. population is Jewish. Hispanics account for 15%. So why does just about every food section run a number of Passover/seder/matzoh articles but almost none touch on the Hispanic celebrations?

For me the whole exercise is tiring, predictable and instant recycle bin-fodder. Take a look at yesterday’s array of sameness:

St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

This Easter brunch can serve two, eight or 24

A fresh take on Easter ham, no spiral cut needed

KC Star

Protein at egg-actly the right price (bonus suck points for cringe-inducing play on words)

Garlic is the heart of flavor for Passover brisket

More

Do I need four Passover-related articles before I event scroll down the page at The Atlantic Monthly’s food site?

More matzoh and seder stuff at NYT’s Dining and Food blog. Their Bitten blog mostly avoids the meme – thankfully.

Marcia does Lent and eggs in the Tribune.

It’s all matzoh and Easter at the LA Times. Eggs and ham at the Chicago Tribune.

Now, I will state for the record that I have enjoyed seder before. And matzoh and eggs and Easter ham and everything else. It’s the lockstep homogeneity of the holiday food merry-go-round that irks me. I feel the same about the obligatory Fourth of July grilling articles. It’s lazy and unimaginative; or I may just be a jerk.

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Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

14 thoughts

  1. Dude, the Easter Bunny is watching you and he is not amused! : )

    What do Hispanic folks eat on Easter? Inquiring minds want to know.

  2. Would an article on preparing rabbit be uncouth? And I have no idea what Hispanics do for Easter…that’s why it’d be more interesting than the “Seven things to do with leftover ham” nonsense we get.

  3. <>

    Something that occurred to me is that while much of the country is not Jewish, Jewish people are more likely to live in the urban areas where major newspapers like the NYT, Post-Dispatch, LAT and the like are located. So while the overall U.S. population is not heavily Jewish, their immediate readerships would be heavier on Jewish people.

    Why they feature this over the Hispanic population, I’m not sure, but I would bet that there are more Jewish food writers than there are Hispanic ones.

  4. Here’s an idea- next time you are at El Taqueria el Rodeo ask them what they do for Easter or any holiday, and there’s your next Trib column. Be a pioneer and not a ranter!

  5. Hmmm…I don’t know about Latin American countries specifically, but my sister lives in Spain and I remember for breakfast they serve a french-toast like thing, only it’s covered in honey and served cold.

    I would imagine that pork would be big in Latin American countries for Easter, but I could be wrong.

  6. Good constructive advice, Observer.

    RW, you’re right on the metro areas being more home to more Jews. I know few here, but knew many in DC. Same could be said for Hispanics in metro areas though.

    Also, I was just thinking that as newspapers sink into the abyss that they should at least be reaching out to potential Hispanic readers (ie, rearranging the deck chairs).

  7. But why rearrange the deck chairs when you can just play on? Or better yet, plug your ears and hum very loudly with your eyes closed? Why innovate, when pretending that things are the way they were 40 years ago is much more fun? (sorry, snarky about the news biz.)

  8. Amen, Scott. Well said. It’s the same for all holiday articles, and a great deal of journalism in general. Yawn.

  9. Observer,

    Good feedback for Scott. However, to my eyes, the Tribune column is already more creative, interesting, and fresh than much of what’s written about food in media overall, so I’ll give him a pass on this one. But yes, be the change and all that.

  10. I don’t understand the mixture of Jewish and Hispanics. Hispanic Jews celebrate passover, and Hispanic Christians celebrate easter. Each country in Latin America probably has its own traditions. Because the language is the same you cannot assume they all do the same things.

    That said, I liked the picture of the eggs in the Columbia Tribune.

  11. Being as politically-incorrect as usual, I will venture to bring up the possibility that a considerably smaller percentage of regular and frequent newspaper readers (whether in the big cities or wherever) might be found among Hispanics than among Jews? In other words, the papers may be just targeting their readership.

  12. Sg, there’s plenty of diversity within the world’s Jewish populations as well. I was intimating that the common legacy of Spanish (for most) and Catholicism probably results in many common observances of Easter for Hispanic peoples.

    I like the egg photo as well.

    GrayWolf, you’re probably right. Jews have historically placed a high value on information and education (ie, newspapers and such). This has led to resentment by others and, um, certain problems.

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