Food & Wine July 1995: The conversation flows

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Food&Wine 1995 This copy of Food & Wine was discovered, wedged into the magazine rack, just like an old button in a jar, waiting to be useful again. Organic food was still called health food. Julia Child was still with us. Spa food was hot.

Food&Wine 1995 This copy of Food & Wine was discovered, wedged into the magazine rack, just like an old button in a jar, waiting to be useful again.
Have things changed very much in the food world in the past sixteen years? 

The cover was cleaner, less cluttered, but the topics look the same. Organics…are they worth the price?  “A Slice of Summer” makes it sounds like they were pitching the glories of seasonal foods.  Sounds current to me.

Inside there was a description of a simple lunch with Prosecco. Remember, Prosecco wasn’t on anyone’s radar in 1995.  It was an exotic Italian substitute for French champagne. A wine known and valued only by those who travelled to Italy.

Organic food was still called health food; it was still defined as things that were healthy, but not tasty. Organics were perceived as soft, mushy, apples sitting in a bin, costing more than the crisp green pesticide enhanced apples featured at the front of the fruit bins. I remember Louie, our ‘other son’, standing in our kitchen, loudly declaring, “Nuh-uh! I ain’t eating that organic sh*t!”  I know Louie has changed his tune. Organic has gone mainstream, but it still costs more, and people are still debating its value.

Spa food was hot. Remember spa food? It was a rehash of the big plate, small portion nouvelle cuisine movement. Tasting menus were being introduced. Nobu was a hot new restaurant, not even a hint of the multi-headed behemoth it would become.

Julia Child was still with us. Somehow, her voice telling me how to make  an All-American chicken salad is comforting and the idea of a jellied consomme sounds intriguing again.  All American Chicken Salad  

There is a “Taste Tour of Portland” featuring distilleries and their farmer’s market. This city, that was deserving of an exploratory taste tour back in 1995 has now evolved to become an established food destination. No mention of food carts, however!

For all of this, things really haven’t changed that much.  The medium for discussing food news has certainly evolved: food blogs, twitter, online magazines etc., etc., etc. But the conversations are familiar.

And there is something comforting about this rehashing of the same old subjects, what steak should I buy, or what wine to drink. It means that we are still asking the eternal question: what’s for dinner’?

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