Blue Apron

A real chef writing about Blue Apron and Co:

My deepest problem with meal kits, however, is that I worry they’re not teaching people how to cook, but are instead teaching them how to prepare meal kits. The recipe cards that came with some meal kit boxes sounded like word problems, full of measurements, times and temperatures, and if there’s anything I hate it’s this insistence on turning cooking into math.

Hear, hear! I love making long, complex dishes that have a million ingredients but this format just kills the joy for me.

And also this:

Chefs sample their dishes multiple times as they cook because cooking happens by taste and by eye, not by time and temperature.

YES! You can’t cook well by disengaging from the process and placing a wall of numbers between you and what’s supposed to be a sensuous experience. Psychoanalysts recommend that very brainy people pick up cooking as a hobby to awaken the beaten-down intuitive, sensuous part of their psyche.

Weird People

I just received a large package from an organization called “Take Control of Your Diabetes” addressed to the former owner of our house. We’ve owned it for over 3 years, by the way. Three years! And he still hasn’t managed to find a way to redirect his diabetes supplies to his new address?

Now I get to schlep the box all the way to campus again to give it to him. This has been going on for years, folks. It’s not cute any more. And yes, of course, I told him to redirect, why does everybody ask me that? 

I’ve stopped passing along the magazines and the envelopes that look like promotional lit but I can’t not pass along diabetes supplies. A week doesn’t go by without me getting something in the mail for these people.

A Staring Game

A colleague from Media Studies is trying to talk to a future student. 

“So what do you say, CNN or BBC?”

The student just stares. 

“You like Fox News, maybe?” 

The student stares. 

“Newspapers? Washington Post? WSJ?”

The student stares. 

“What kind of things do you like to read about?” the professor perseveres. “Local news or international?”

The student stares. 

“Is there a journalist you like?”

Suddenly, the student beams. 

“Rush!” he says. “I’m going to get a journalism degree and be like Rush.”

The professor just stares. 

“I like radio. Do you offer degrees in radio journalism?”

The professor stares.

The Death of Journalism 

I can’t express how much it bugs me to open a Spanish newspaper and find the dumb story about Trump’s comments on Mika’s facelifts. Why are the Spanish readers supposed to care? How can anybody give a flying fuck? And this is after the similarly inane story about doctored Times covers had colonized people’s minds for days. 

Journalism is dead. There’s nothing but tabloid gossip any more. 

Googling Exes

People on Facebook are saying that it’s humanly impossible to avoid googling one’s exes. 

I’ve never done something like this, though, and had no idea it was such a popular pastime. For me, all of my exes, including my first husband, fell off the face of the earth the moment I lost interest in the relationship. 

I haved a depleted emotional range and am incapable of caring about former love interests. Maybe I should go sit in my tent some more. 

The New Role of the Self

As Foucault famously pointed out, the modern state earns the subjects’ loyalty by at least to some degree promoting their prosperity and security. When the state steps away from those obligations (ask I, not Foucault), how does it earn the citizens’ loyalty? 

That’s actually quite easy. It becomes an Oprah. And everybody loves Oprah. The draw of somebody like Oprah is twofold:

1. She entertains

2. She soothes the anxieties awakened by the liquefaction of existence and the erosion of sociality by peddling the image of a self-sufficient neoliberal subject who can achieve success through a skillful management of self-help techniques. 

Entertaining and soothing. And every once in a decade giving a free car to a dozen lucky schmucks. That’s the recipe. 

Look at the current US government and tell me it’s not exactly like this.