Read Robert Ashley’s piece on the “gross-food movement” next to Joe Yonan’s review of Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin’s What We Eat When We Eat Alone:

Ashley on gross food (deep-fried peanut butter, sloppy Joes on doughnut buns, etc.):
“…a particularly specious of food movement has taken root. Its partisans don’t care whether your ingredients are fresh, organic, or locally grown. Really, they’d prefer it if you did your grocery shopping in the freezer section. The movement isn’t about taking your time in the kitchen or cooking from scratch, though its adherents sometimes spend hours on their creations. And if you’re focused on making healthy, balanced meals, free of trans fat, light on meat, and served in modest portions, then you’re definitely not among their ranks.”

“When it comes to solo eating, ‘nothing is predictable,’ Madison says [about Alone]. ‘All the rules get broken. It doesn’t matter how much we know about food, how to cook, what’s good for us, healthy eating, all that kind of stuff we hear about all the time so endlessly. People go into the kitchen and they cook something that doesn’t have anything to do with that, mostly.'”

As technology (the www, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) tears down walls between the public and the private, is it so…I don’t know…OUT THERE to think that we are all becoming gustatory exhibitionists ready, willing, and able to flaunt our disgusting food fetishes for all and sundry to see and share? Has the “gross food movement” (Ashley coined the phrase) uses a paradoxically foodie “anti-foodie” aesthetic to cast a permeable veneer of respectability around the savage public display of our unquenchable private desire for a dog’s diet high in fat and sugar? If not, why are the “solo” foods Yonan cites (including “saltines crumbled in milk” and “leftover spaghetti-sandwiches”) so…well…gross? Isn’t anyone secretly eating steamed brussels sprouts and broccoli? Just as pornography both satiates the filthiest private sexual fetishes and stimulates the desire to act out/share them with others in the name of “liberation,” don’t disgusting “alone” meals both satiate instinctual appetites and stimulate the desire make them respectable in a Gourmet article about a “gross food movement?” Ashley and Yonan, working alone but moving ever closer, seem to indicate that the Panopticon of Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish – a circular prison in which everything public is private and everything private is public – is becoming realized.

Oh shit – Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny (2006) is on TNT!