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Rick Bayless and Burger King - Part 1


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#571 Squeat Mungry

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 12:56 PM

I think this thread may be dead, in the sense that most of what there is to be said on the subject has probably been said until there are further developments. (It has been damned entertaining, though -- I can't remember when I've laughed so hard.) However, I would like to offer a little post-mortem, if only because the thread itself has helped me to learn something about myself.

I began to think about why I reacted so strongly to the news of Bayless' endorsement compared to others who posted, quite sensibly, "what-else-is-new -- get-over-it" types of opinions. The more I thought about it, in fact, the more I began to feel a bitter irony in the fact that I was, indeed, a pot calling the kettle black. I have made compromises in my life, and adjusted my own justifications for my behavior more than once in the past. Indeed at the moment I work in litigation, something I swore to myself 20 years ago (upon reading Dickens' Bleak House) I would never do. (Yes, I have always been an idealist and have the scars to prove it. I have nothing against lawyers, however, today.) So really the height I piss on Bayless from is not all that great, although he is the one with the big check.

But I am a very small pot, and Bayless is a very large kettle, at least to me. And I think I have figured out why. It does indeed have to do with context. The context of my own life. I am the product of two very old southern families (North Carolina). Southern traditions were very strong in my family, even though I grew up all over the country (my father was a Coast Guard officer), and spent my adolescence in Europe (Holland) and the San Francisco Bay Area, which has become my home.

My mother was no Alice Waters, but she was a sensible woman with a strong sense of tradition, and we were raised on fresh food simply prepared, and learned to respect and value both the taste and the nourishing qualities of our food. We were never fed fast food, unless the circumstances were just right -- circumstances which my sister and I learned to recognize and act upon: namely, be on a road trip (there were many) when there is no (then still Pepin-quality) Howard Johnson's in the vicinity. Then, simply introduce just the right amount of nonstop begging.

The last time I was in a fast-food chain restaurant was in 1996, when I decided to see whether McDonald's french fries still matched up to the rare cherished memories of my childhood. (They did not, though they still smelled great.)

The point, if I have one, is that my family background combined with awakening to adult life in the Bay Area during the time of Waters, etc. to make me really believe that the quality of food is important to the quality of life. I came to see people like Waters, Tower, etc. as representing a kind of philosophy not only of food, but of living well. It is as ronnie_suburban suspects: I am more diehard about the subject, and therefore more deeply disappointed in Bayless. Unlike Fat Guy, whose opinions as expressed in this thread seem to match my own most closely, I DO subscribe to the stated principles of the Chef's Collaborative, and I will feel badly if their mission is compromised by Bayless' action.

And (here's the happy ending) this entire thread has been most useful to me in clenching a decision I have been in the process of making, which is to get the hell out of making myself unhappy as a drone in a litigation support firm, and get the hell into making myself happy by making others happy with high-quality food. I'm not sure where exactly this is going to take me (I can't afford full-time culinary school), but I'm excited about it. Call it a step in the right direction.

So, I guess, thanks Rick Bayless! And, I'm sure, thanks eGullet!

#572 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 01:41 PM

Thanks for the wonderfully candid post Squeat.

I think it's only natural for us to be critical of others for exhibiting the traits we like the least in ourselves. But, going beyond that initial reaction, as you did, can often lead to epiphany and personal growth.

=R=
"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

#573 Fat Guy

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 02:49 PM

And (here's the happy ending) this entire thread has been most useful to me in clenching a decision I have been in the process of making, which is to get the hell out of making myself unhappy as a drone in a litigation support firm, and get the hell into making myself happy by making others happy with high-quality food. I'm not sure where exactly this is going to take me (I can't afford full-time culinary school), but I'm excited about it. Call it a step in the right direction.

First of all, your post is very much appreciated -- thank you for sharing those comments with us. Secondly, good luck -- changing careers is tough, especially a few years later when you run out of all the money you saved from the old, reliable, good-paying career; but it's worth it. And finally, you've caused me to get back to something I've been writing in bits and pieces over the past few weeks -- my own career-changing story -- and if I actually get it done you will be owed thanks for pushing me over the finish line.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)


#574 Janedujour

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 03:13 PM

Squeat:
It's good to hear that something good has come out of this debate.

I too have been examining my current career and wondering if it's at all possible to embark in a new one that has to do with food.
Awfully scary!

Best of luck to you and keep us posted!
JANE

#575 Squeat Mungry

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 04:10 PM

Thanks everyone for all the good wishes! I will definitely keep eGullet posted with developments as I make this move.

For the record, even though I don't patronize fast food restaurants, I don't judge those who do, nor those who work for the corporations that run them. That said, when I'm in a bigger-picture, Fast-Food-Nation sort of mood, I do feel a bit sorry for both groups, which I suppose makes me smug... but what the hell, I've already outed myself as a hypocrite.

Anyway, thanks again.

Cheers,

Squeat

PS Does anyone think BK may have pulled this ad? A couple of days ago I realized I had never seen it. I've been watching as much tv as I can handle since then, but still haven't seen it, though I have seen one that must be part of the same campaign.

#576 Squeat Mungry

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 04:38 PM

Best of luck to you, Squeat!


Maybe you could apply for a Rick Bayless Scholarship?

This made me laugh very hard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Host's note: To minimise the load on our servers, this topic has been split.

 

The discussion continues here.]


Edited by lesliec, 19 April 2014 - 10:34 PM.
Added host's note