Food Superlatives: The Old and the New

Clam Boil (Google Images)

Clam Boil (Google Images)

Call me an irascible old codger but I feel that there are too many superlatives flying around especially when it comes to food talk.  It appears that any blogger I read is overly enthusiastic about that new food truck, the new restaurant, the new chef, the new cookbook, that new vegetable, or that new trend.  There is in all this a huge emphasis on the new.  I’ve seen this for years and I don’t have a problem with the new, but in order for the new to have meaning doesn’t it have to be based on the old?  And is it the case that the new isn’t better than the old (although sometimes it very much is) but is simply different?  The old is important, and knowing about the old is important because the new only has meaning when it is related to the old.  Sometimes, many times, the old is actually better than the new.  It saddens me when I encounter some enthusiast about the new and I mention the old and they are clueless.  I was once asked to write an article about doing a New England clam bake indoors.  I said to the editor “well, an indoor clam bake is actually called a clam boil in New England”  They didn’t want to use that name so a clam bake it was, irking me.  And they wanted to “spice it up.”  Why, I thought, it’s already full-formed.  So I added some red chile flakes.  Brother!

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