Do the white women of the lifestyle industry have a race problem?
May 9, 2020 5:22 PM   Subscribe

A food columnist for the New York Times has come under fire for her remarks calling organizational expert Marie Kondo a "bitch" who sold out, and accusing cookbook author Chrissy Teigen of getting people to run "a content farm for her."

Alison Roman's choice of targets is considered anomalous (and maybe even gatekeeping) because Kondo and Teigen are successful women of color in an industry dominated by wealthy white women, such as Katie Couric and Gwyneth Paltrow -- and Roman herself.

Roman at first dismissed the pushback, then provided a dubious excuse for racially mocking Kondo by claiming it was an inside joke, and eventually apologized to Teigen, but not Kondo.

That apology to Kondo may be slow in coming since there's apparently a lot of racial resentment about the Japanese lifestyle guru.

Some people might say Kondo's philosophy is just misunderstood (even among MeFites) -- but that might not be enough of a explanation.

This is not the first time that white women in the liberal establishment have said questionable things about Kondo -- also seen here earlier.
posted by Borborygmus (173 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
 
I mean, she's partnered with a company to sell no doubt expensive vintage style spoons?!

Seems a bit hypocritical if nothing else. As if anything about the lifestyle industry is based on merit or even integrity. All these people are selling ideas and brands. And by that standard, it's all much of muchness I think.
posted by smoke at 5:29 PM on May 9 [7 favorites]


Are y'all missing the bit where she mocked Kondo in a Japanese accent? I realize the original article in which she does it was edited - but uh, jimmeny.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 5:34 PM on May 9 [53 favorites]


At one point I thought the criticism of Marie Kondo re: selling branded merchandise was well-founded, but now I think it stems from an oversimplification of her message. It's not really "throw all your shit away," it's more like "only buy and keep things that bring some level of joy to your life." And who am I to say that a nice glass container for your stuff, a fun-sized vase, or even a copy of her book won't spark joy in anyone?
posted by miltthetank at 5:36 PM on May 9 [31 favorites]


Quote from article before edited: “For the low, low price of $19.99, please to buy my cutting board.”
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 5:38 PM on May 9 [21 favorites]


We should not make this a rehash of the previous Kondo threads. We should definitely not jump on Kondo without reading the links that talk about why simplifying Kondo's message to "throw stuff out" is inaccurate.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:41 PM on May 9 [49 favorites]


I wish we didn't have to do this every time, but 1. Marie Kondo tells you to keep stuff that you love, and that you'll be happier taking care of your things if you love them. 2. She sells stuff that is mostly crafted by artisans in her country, and 3. literally every other organizational/decluttering guru also sells stuff, not sure why everyone bitches about her so much.

Alison Roman's "apology" to Chrissy Teigen was half-assed and self-serving, and also, if she's going to call her out for being a sell-out, maybe make sure she's not the executive producer of her new TV show.
posted by toastyk at 5:41 PM on May 9 [61 favorites]


[deleted one that doesn't seem to have read the article (along with a couple responses) and that simplified Kondo to "throw your stuff out." This thread is not a rehash of Marie Kondo generally and we have prior threads on that if you want to go read those.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:44 PM on May 9 [19 favorites]


I don't think that Marie Kondo gives a flying fuck what Alison Roman thinks or says about her. Alison Roman is a big deal among a certain kind of New York media person who thinks that they have way more cultural relevance than they do, but Marie Kondo is a genuine global phenomenon. I'd be surprised if 50% of my friends had any idea who Alison Roman is, and everyone knows Marie Kondo and Chrissy Teigen.

And I actually think that's part of what's going on with Roman: it's definitely racist, but there's also a class thing and a success thing. Kondo and Teigen have much more mass appeal than Roman does. Alison Roman might say that Teigen is selling out by having a Target collection, but it's not like Target is offering Alison Roman a collection of her own. Alison Roman has a capsule collection of replicated vintage spoons at a high-end cutlery place, which on the one hand is much more upscale than Teigen or Kondo's stuff, but on the other hand is much more niche, because her appeal is niche. And I can see how you could mock someone for "selling out" when they're marketing their stuff to people in middle America (and middle everywhere else), but the fact is, Roman couldn't really do that if she wanted to. And snobbery is a good way to play that, to both yourself and others, but I kind of suspect that it's just a mask for envy.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:49 PM on May 9 [111 favorites]


I agree that Roman's apology was more "Sorry your feelings were hurt when you overheard me talking shit about you, I'll be more careful when I'm shit-talking next time" than "Yikes, that was really shitty and hypocritical of me, and what I said about your "content farm" was also incorrect, I sincerely apologize and I'll try to do better."

Which is disappointing, because I like some of Roman's food videos, although I could never bring myself to put THAT much coconut milk into "The Stew" so I probably have never experienced the true greatness of it.

I've also never checked out Teigen's cookbook but now I definitely will!
posted by rogerroger at 6:00 PM on May 9 [4 favorites]


Dear Alison Roman:

I wasn't all that interested in your "stew" anyway. (It's just a bog-standard chickpea curry, don't kid yourself.)

No joy,

EC
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:01 PM on May 9 [12 favorites]


Accusing someone of selling out because they're selling slightly cheaper crap than you're selling is some special level of self-delusion.

And doing it to the executive producer of your new TV show is some special level of career suicide.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:02 PM on May 9 [27 favorites]


The batshit crazy millionaire capitalists are fighting each other again. Someone please handcraft a vintage pillow and smother me with it so I can die in style.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:03 PM on May 9 [33 favorites]


[Again, not a place to rehash your feelings about Kondo, but to talk about Alison Roman's behavior towards Kondo and Tiegen.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:08 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


Reading some of the older linked articles, I found out that Kondo studied sociology and gender in college. Now I'm really curious what her true thoughts are on all the discourse around her.
posted by airmail at 6:14 PM on May 9 [19 favorites]


twitter is great bc i had never once in my life even heard the name "alison roman" before and now i hate her as much as if we went to high school together
posted by poffin boffin at 6:35 PM on May 9 [207 favorites]


and to answer the question posed in the fpp title, yes, of course they do. it's practically the hallmark of their entire existence on this earth. and when called out on it, they always, always double down until the pushback convinces them that THEY'RE the real victim.
posted by poffin boffin at 6:37 PM on May 9 [20 favorites]


Roman’s comments were pretty shitty, but I also have no love for Teigen, so I’m Team No One.
posted by girlmightlive at 6:40 PM on May 9 [4 favorites]


I get that Alison Roman was mostly weighing what she wants to do (i.e., help people cook good food) against what she doesn't want to do (i.e., add more run-of-the-mill stuff to the world). But she seriously needs to rethink how she talks about white women vs. how she talks about women of colour, because the discrepancy is fucking disturbing. Her reference to Gwyneth Paltrow, who sells stuff that not only doesn't function as advertised, but can be actively harmful, is so mild and non-judgmental ("does the world need another GOOP"), and then she calls Marie Kondo a bitch and a sellout.

twitter is great bc i had never once in my life even heard the name "alison roman" before and now i hate her as much as if we went to high school together

I heard of her for the first time after I posted a recent AskMe looking for cookbook recommendations, and a few people recommended her books. I did look into her work, but had decided to go with other titles than hers before this hit the fan, and do I feel smug now.
posted by orange swan at 6:44 PM on May 9 [16 favorites]


Roman used to work for Christina Tosi. Tosi has cookbooks, TV hosting gigs, and line of cookie mixes sold that "downgraded" from being a Williams-Sonoma brand to being sold at Target. She has deals with JetBlue, Madewell, and Soulcycle. But not a peep from Roman about her selling out. Hmmm.

Also really not looking to a backlash against Tiegen if doesn't accept Roman's apology with the acceptable amount of grace.
posted by thecjm at 6:49 PM on May 9 [14 favorites]


Having watched several of her cooking videos, BA’s chefs do a much better job of being ordinary people than does Alison Roman. It’s like she keeps trying to be a Celebrity, but can’t get past the c-list.
posted by drivingmenuts at 6:51 PM on May 9 [6 favorites]


I think there is a larger context that is being overlooked here, and that is basically: who gets to be the authority in food, and in making things "accessible" to an audience, who is being erased?

Roxana Hadadi details all the ways that Alison Roman, in her over-simplification of "ethnic" recipes, and refusal to engage with the history behind it, ends up marginalizing and erasing the cultural contexts of the food she makes.

Why should you care about this? Because Roman’s refusal to acknowledge the groups and peoples and cultures she’s pulling from allows her to present herself as the sole authority on these kinds of foods. Look at her own quote up there: “I’m like, vaguely European.” Sure! Lots of people are! But Roman’s exclusion is not self-deprecating, not really. It’s a way to absorb other people’s identities and present them as her own expertise, and her own expertise only. And, if I may be extremely cynical, it allows Roman to play to a certain kind of reader.

What Happens When A Brown Chef Cooks White Food?

How Chefs Appropriate Bay Area "Ethnic" Cuisine

Anyway, that's just some additional food for thought.
posted by toastyk at 7:02 PM on May 9 [75 favorites]


I think I saw her on some cookery video the YT algorithm suggested, and vaguely disliked her. Turns out with good reason!
posted by axiom at 7:04 PM on May 9



But she seriously needs to rethink how she talks about white women vs. how she talks about women of colour,

Well and you can’t really say she’s unaware of the issues after the whole cultural appropriation discussion regarding her The Stew recipe.

(On preview I don’t need to keep typing about that, toastyk has it covered.)

I think there’s a very interesting inability to be self-critical that enabled her to draw the lines she did in that interview. She’s not a sellout but these two women are; she has product but at least it’s not at, gasp, Target. So that’s one layer. Going after women of colour was a cheap shot and that she didn’t realize or think about the fact that Tiegen was executive producing her show. I think in a way that’s what fascinating about this blow up - here’s someone who’s a bit of a micro cultural marker, whose lack of attention the world outside the kind of Park Slope-esque UMC bubble is blowing up pretty publicly.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:05 PM on May 9 [15 favorites]


I’ve really enjoyed Allison Roman’s sheet pan chicken, but I wouldn’t have known it had existed if not for for reading about how there was a twitter thread by Chrissy Teigen which mentioned it first without giving her credit and then later did so very politely. I don’t even follow Teigen on Twitter, and yet peripheral awareness of her is what gave me that chicken.

I do think Chrissy Teigen’s thread responding to Roman is worth noting, as it defines how Teigen constructs (or wants to be seen as constructing) her own cooking brand here.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:14 PM on May 9 [5 favorites]


I mean, I don't even like the Marie Kondo method (I'm too poor and crafty for it to be anything other than a recipe for regret, though I deeply respect her as a person) and I know that her selling stuff is not antithetical to the message, and certainly doesn't warrant the kind of vitriol Alison Roman is throwing. I mean, the shop descriptions says it: "Our goal is to help more people live a life that sparks joy, and we are committed to offering the simplest, most effective tools and services to help you get there." Featuring items such as a reusable linen bowl cover set, countertop compost bin, wool dryer balls... the horror.

White women have been "selling out" and peddling garbage for ages, where was the criticism then?
posted by brook horse at 7:21 PM on May 9 [18 favorites]


Here's how unqualified I am for this discussion: I thought Chrissy Teigen was white

and I know her only for being extremely excited about Nintendo games in a way that the mainstream media finds notable

but the one thing I do know is that racism typically manifests as a force multiplier rather than an independent thought. Your brain synthesises all the impulses you have when you react to a stimulus, and the strength it does so is based on how quickly that signal comes back. So this Alison Roman probably has an impulse that we shall label 'everyone who's more successful than me who has come after is a hack' and an impulse we shall label 'racism', so she gets a small burst of negative emotion when she looks at Gwyneth Paltrow, and a larger burst when she looks at Marie Kondo, and because her own self-talk says she's not racist because Racism is Bad, she interprets it as just being extra-mad about sparking joy.
posted by Merus at 7:26 PM on May 9 [133 favorites]


but the one thing I do know is that racism typically manifests as a force multiplier rather than an independent thought.

This is an insightful framing for me. Thanks.
posted by medusa at 7:28 PM on May 9 [26 favorites]


"I want to clarify, I am not coming for anyone who's successful, especially not women."

Yes, you did! Yes. You. Did.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:34 PM on May 9 [3 favorites]


Really disappointing to see MeFi fav Taffy Brodesser-Akner and Caity Weaver (formerly Gawker) circle the NYC white women wagons around Roman.
posted by book 'em dano at 7:56 PM on May 9 [10 favorites]


Yesterday, Alison Roman made sure to screenshot the section where she calls Marie Kondo a bitch on her instagram stories. And followed up with a comment about how she wasn't drunk during that interview. So I 100% believe her weak apology was only because Chrissy Teigen said something.

It's weird how Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, Ree Drummond, Paula Deen, and Emeril all have cookware lines, yet she calls out Marie Kondo. Wolfgang Puck has canned soup, but you know go off on a lady who offers storage solutions.
posted by later, paladudes at 8:09 PM on May 9 [15 favorites]


Uh, Caity isn't white.
posted by 99_ at 8:23 PM on May 9 [5 favorites]


@toastyk: I am sorry to see that Sohla got such a wrong reception. She has gone from someone I know nothing about to someone I rather like during her stint at BA (but, and let’s be honest, I still know nothing about). I hope they give her more on-air as time goes by.
posted by drivingmenuts at 8:28 PM on May 9 [5 favorites]


I do think Chrissy Teigen’s thread responding to Roman is worth noting

When Teigen wrote, “I wanted something John didn’t buy,” I felt for her. There are people who wouldn’t try if they were in her position, so good for her.
posted by gladly at 8:29 PM on May 9 [17 favorites]


Thank you for calling that out. My only memories of her are from the Gawker days.
posted by book 'em dano at 8:29 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


New York Times white liberal women remain being problematic, it was just a matter of time before their racism came out.
posted by yueliang at 8:46 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


Hmmm. I'd never heard of Roman before, and now I have. It's crappy that she chose two non-white women as her targets, but isn't this just a nasty variation on the "I'll criticize someone famous in order to draw attention to my lesser-known self" social media strategy we've been seeing since what feels like forever?
posted by rpfields at 8:46 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


I mean, I feel like this question "Do the white women of the lifestyle industry have a race problem?" could just be "Do white women have a race problem?" and the answer would still be yes.
posted by lollusc at 8:56 PM on May 9 [28 favorites]


I never heard of this woman before this stuff blew up on Twitter recently, and to see what people above were referring to with "the stew" I went a-googling. This is a good article about that. This quote from Roman horrified me: “I’m like y’all, this is not a curry…I’ve never made a curry, I don’t come from a culture that knows about curry,” Roman explains, with an air of exasperation. "I come from no culture. I have no culture. I’m like, vaguely European.”

It's like it hit all the squares in the bingo card in one sentence. Labelling particular kinds of foods as "other", denial of the specific cultural and ethnic influences on what you are doing, invisibility of whiteness/ whiteness as default. OMG. But read the article. The author explicates this better than I can.
posted by lollusc at 9:11 PM on May 9 [54 favorites]


and I know her only for being extremely excited about Nintendo games in a way that the mainstream media finds notable

my favorite Chrissy Teigen anecdote is the time her husband John Legend didn't tell her he wrote a song for the Spongebob movie & she wanted to know what else he was hiding from her

I had never heard of Alison Roman before this discussion & I am not inclined to buy vintage spoons from anyone who is a jerk to Marie Kondo, the delightful home organization sorceress who only wants me to arrange my bras by color & be happy
posted by taquito sunrise at 9:22 PM on May 9 [22 favorites]


From lollusc's link: “Do I really need to know about North African culture before using harissa?” Yeah, dude, maybe you should! Your lack of an attention span should not excuse cultural erasure!

Amen.
posted by valkane at 10:07 PM on May 9 [12 favorites]


Ugh, groomed people
posted by flabdablet at 10:16 PM on May 9 [3 favorites]


Wolfgang Puck has canned soup

I almost bought 2 the other day but decided I had enough other stuff in the pantry. Are they any good? I read the ingredients, they looked surprisingly simple and free of additives.
posted by polymodus at 10:33 PM on May 9


Adding my voice to the chorus of “had never heard of Roman before today.” Makes one wonder if jealousy of the fame of Kondo and Tiegen was as much of a motive as disdain.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:49 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


I’ve liked a lot of Alison Roman’s recipes and don’t think she’s the hack that a lot of people are trying to make her out to be in this whole thing. I think she was trying to go for that kind of Tony Bourdain-realness with what she was talking about but just missed the mark.

It’s funny to me that so many people see her criticizing a vastly wealthier, more famous and influential figure like Tiegen as some kind of “mean girl” thing but I think that speaks to what a genius Tiegen is at crafting a certain “I’m just like you!” online persona. I don’t have any problem with Chrissy Tiegen but her fan base seems to mostly be people who for some reason enjoy feeling like they are friends with famous people on Twitter - who ARE NOT people I’d want sicced on me in this situation!

I generally don’t think you should use an interview as an opportunity to dunk on people who haven’t personally done you wrong, but I thought her point about the hypocracy of Marie Kondo slapping her name on a line of housewares was so obvious that it’s truly bewildering to see so many people taking offense to it. I believe her that she was trying to make an unrelated joke and not mock Kondo’s accent, because it rings true to me that a slightly green person who isn’t used to doing a ton of interviews would do something like that. Also, I believe it is entirely possible and even likely that a New York Times contributor is racist, but it seems pretty unlikely they’d deliberately make a joke that blatantly racist on the record in a big interview...right?
posted by cakelite at 11:09 PM on May 9 [4 favorites]


it seems pretty unlikely they’d deliberately make a joke that blatantly racist on the record in a big interview...right?

It seems pretty unlikely that a white person would make a curry, strip it of anything that made it a part of any particular culture, call it a "stew" and profit from that appropriation on instagram, while completely ignoring all the various people and chefs from the various cultures that make curries that are calling foul, ride that into food fame, and *not* be pretty racist though... right?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:17 PM on May 9 [61 favorites]


Ah goddammit, love her recipes but something in her energy just felt like there was something like this waiting to happen, had heard third hand stories she was atrocious to work with, and now... gah.
posted by ominous_paws at 11:18 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


Her videos seem mean-spirited from the get go (the ones that I have watched) where as the bon appetit chef videos are mostly slanted towards self-deprecating. There you go.
posted by valkane at 11:24 PM on May 9 [3 favorites]


I read the title of the post and my immediate reaction was "of course they do."
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 11:37 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


I believe her that she was trying to make an unrelated joke and not mock Kondo’s accent

Come now, how could this possibly be interpreted by someone as not mocking Kond's accent? It's a gross, racist, cliche.

We don't need to make any more excuses for white people; society gives them plenty. She should have simply said, "I fucked up, and I'm sorry" - That's what someone who misspoke and did the wrong thing would do. Of course, coming from someone who thinks white = "no culture", I'm not entirely surprised a simple apology was beyond her.
posted by smoke at 11:47 PM on May 9 [58 favorites]


....her point about the hypocracy of Marie Kondo slapping her name on a line of housewares was so obvious....

It's not obvious at all, see the comments above about Marie Kondo's philosophy being generally misunderstood in that regard. Marie Kondo isn't actually about minimalism, necessarily, it's about occasional reevaluation, increased awareness and not keeping stuff around out of mere habit.

What is obvious however is the hypocrisy of Alison Roman, who is slapping her name on a line of spoons, using the old "criticize someone more famous" trick to raise her profile and picking those targets where she can rely on the most agreement from a certain type of fellow white woman because of racism.
posted by sohalt at 11:50 PM on May 9 [39 favorites]


I almost bought 2 the other day but decided I had enough other stuff in the pantry. Are they any good?
I like them, but I grew up thinking Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup was The American Soup so my tastes aren't super refined.

a slightly green person who isn’t used to doing a ton of interviews
I get being nervous and trying to crack a joke and oh no it totally lands wrong. But like her whole 'it's an inside joke between friends' thing gives me pause because as far as I could tell, the interviewer is not someone she is friends with?? Also making fun of someone else's ESL moment is a bit much for me, but my parents are non-native speakers so I'll admit a sensitivity there.

But this isn't her second or third interview, she's done media appearances for her cookbooks, various podcast interviews, and videos. And I've always gotten the impression that she's relatively media savvy so I am surprised at her misstep here. But she'll be fine in a few weeks. Although, her show may need a new EP.
posted by later, paladudes at 1:06 AM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Born on third base and convinced they invented sports, but secretly terrified of their own superfluousness. Gross.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:26 AM on May 10 [19 favorites]


I'd be stunned if someone dropping a dogwhistle like the construction please to buy didn't, in 2020, know what they were talking about, and honestly, seeing people try to find excuses for it is pretty damn sad. If anything, she's probably just upset that the kind of shit she says to her friends isn't actually okay in the wider world, or, hey, maybe she thought America was ready for the full on return to racist bullshit like making fun of an Asian, non-native speaker of English. Maybe now she's all pissed off because the bubble she's in that let her get away with that sort of shit wasn't quite as big as she thought it was.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:26 AM on May 10 [77 favorites]


One thing I will say about Roman (who I had never heard of before) is that I appreciate having something to be really pissed off about for about five minutes as a distraction from being pissed off about how the government is handling the pandemic.

It’s a gloriously classic story of a racist fucking up followed by a series of eye rolling non-apologies all on full display on Twitter with juicy comeback gifs and roasting comments. *chef’s kiss*

It’s really given me hope that things can return to normalcy.
posted by like_neon at 2:51 AM on May 10 [23 favorites]


Here's what I think is kinda gross about stuff like this, and I'm saying this as someone who believes we should all share food & make food & do fun tasty things with food:

So multicultural food aversion is one tentacle of racism, right: these people are weird and bad and not like you, and one piece of evidence for that is that their food is also weird and bad, & smells gross, & tastes disgusting.

(I spent years of my life in a smallish white Wisconsin town so multicultural-food-averse that to this day they cannot keep a barbecue restaurant open. Barbecue! And when an Indian family stayed long-term in the hotel I worked at, you better believe there were white people complaining about the curry smell in the hallways. Shit, and I'd forgotten this, some random woman approached me in the grocery store to tell me how disgusting she thought me buying sushi was, because not only is this town pretty racist, it's got a cultural value of getting up in people's shit all the time and thinking that's okay. Ugh.)

Anyway, as a white person, you have an opportunity to be an ambassador to other white people, including the type of white people who don't fundamentally trust non-white people. You can say "Hey, I want you to come over to my house and I'm gonna make Oaxacan tamales, and here's how they're different from your standard Tex-Mex tamales, and lemme tell you about how the early Mesoamericans started nixtamalizing corn..."

Or you can be like "Come over to my house and I'll make pocket cornbread hot dish, which is definitely a white person food, because I am a cultureless Euromutt who would not know a tamale if it crawled into one sleeve of my Snuggie and built itself a little nest."

In the former case, the message is "Hey fellow white person, it is okay for you to eat this food because different cultures are made up of human beings like us who discover & innovate & cook & enjoy delicious food, and there's no reason we can't think of each other as equals & try to understand each other & eat the tasty food!"

In the latter case, the message is "Hey fellow white person, it's okay for you to eat this food because I have transformed it into a white person food by giving it a new name and erasing its history! This means you're allowed to enjoy it AND still be racist towards the culture that pioneered it, we just won't talk about that part!"

Not claiming Roman or anyone else is intending to send that second message, but it sure is a message that gets sent a lot.
posted by taquito sunrise at 4:00 AM on May 10 [79 favorites]


I'd somehow missed this gem of an early response from Alison:

Just wishing I had someone to hold my hand during baby’s first internet backlash [crying emoji]

So gross, and so classic NYT. You can just see her pals joking with her about her hilarious baptism. This is right out of the pompous "NEVER LET THEM SEE YOU APOLOGIZE" reactionary playbook.
posted by mediareport at 4:11 AM on May 10 [12 favorites]


Also, gotta love that "I def wasn't mocking anyone's accent, my friends and I have an inside joke where we mock someone's accent" excuse.
posted by mediareport at 4:16 AM on May 10 [16 favorites]


even better, it was "my friends and i have an inside joke where we mock the accent of another wholly separate nation!"

like jfc lady "don't worry, we actually have enough racism for absolutely everyone!" is not actually the game saving throw you think it is
posted by poffin boffin at 4:46 AM on May 10 [40 favorites]


My mother used to say that envy was wanting something that someone else has, but jealousy was wanting something that someone else has that you know you'll never have. I'm reading this as a lot more about female simmering jealousy. Did make the hair on the back of my neck stand up to see a woman attacking another woman in any capacity.
posted by lextex at 6:33 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Envy is wanting what someone else has, but Jealousy is fear that other people will take what you have.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 6:57 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


How does one design vintage spoons? Why not design antiques while she's at it?
posted by Neekee at 7:22 AM on May 10 [7 favorites]


Also, I believe it is entirely possible and even likely that a New York Times contributor is racist, but it seems pretty unlikely they’d deliberately make a joke that blatantly racist on the record in a big interview...right?

I don't understand why this is obvious to you, can you help me out here?
posted by PMdixon at 7:58 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Also, I believe it is entirely possible and even likely that a New York Times contributor is racist, but it seems pretty unlikely they’d deliberately make a joke that blatantly racist on the record in a big interview...right?

people who are casually racist think that everyone else is just like them too. she didn't expect anyone to comment negatively on it because it's not something she would comment negatively on herself.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:03 AM on May 10 [48 favorites]


and like. even aside from that?? do you get it??? the fact that being racist not on purpose... is still being racist!! it's still a bad thing!! and that she was called out on it by so many people and chose to double down on her excuses rather than apologizing?? this does not point to her being A Person Who Is Sorry About Accidentally Having Been Racist, but instead marks her as a person who thinks her racism is normal and unremarkable.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:10 AM on May 10 [46 favorites]


I've been incredibly weirded out since this story broke by the fact that I had/still kinda have no idea who Alison Roman is. I feel like I really should? Like I'm not embedded in food media or anything but I certainly read some of it. Whatever. Assholes gonna asshole.

N'thing that the answer to the rhetorical question in the post title is "of course". Especially when you get into the more home design-y aspects of it (and away from the city-centric foodie stuff), the faces are blindingly, overwhelmingly white. It's...kind of distressing.
posted by quaking fajita at 8:43 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


"Lifestyle industry"

FFS.
posted by SoberHighland at 8:56 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


1. The NYT has had plenty of racist contributors, I thought?
2. Pinterest recipe searches are where you can see the full impact of whitewashed lifestyle content. Lettuce cups with 'Asian' flavor! Crumbed rice balls! So many fearful, bland meals.
3. Marie Kondo gets so much thinly-veiled hate that it has to be caused by more than jealousy.
posted by harriet vane at 9:05 AM on May 10 [8 favorites]


[comment removed - maybe focus on the article and conversation and not just adding context-free "I don't like Kondo" comments]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:20 AM on May 10 [4 favorites]


From the recipe, and from reviews of it, I probably would have cringed even harder if Roman had called her "stew" a "curry." It would have been bland, Americanized, whitebread curry. Or it could be a more-interesting-than-usual stew.

That's actually an understandable reason for that particular framing--a conscious attempt to avoid one sort of appropriation. The problem lies in the fact that, in avoiding that particular pitfall, she risks a different kind of erasure. And, faced with criticism, she ran even harder--in the same direction of avoiding questions of influence.

There's an actual, interesting tension there between the pseudoscientific phrenology of "authenticity" and the boorish "I do what I want and call it what I want," but it's even harder to tease out the genuine conflicts there when the conversation centers around someone who apparently also can't help but make a fucking racist joke.
posted by pykrete jungle at 9:32 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


On a lighter note, this has now led into a debate on Asian American Twitter about whether kim chi is a snack or not.
posted by toastyk at 9:44 AM on May 10 [8 favorites]


Yeah, when I read about this yesterday on Jezebel my immediate take was that it was clout chasing with a generous side helping of racism. Glad to come here and see my take wasn't an outlier.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:56 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


what a genius Tiegen is at crafting a certain “I’m just like you!” online persona

Wait, doesn't everyone tweet gleefully about leaving dog shit on the carpet for the maid to clean up in the morning? I'm not disputing the consensus here but I'm not convinced that there's a protagonist in this story.
posted by klanawa at 10:02 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


I probably would have cringed even harder if Roman had called her "stew" a "curry." It would have been bland, Americanized, whitebread curry. Or it could be a more-interesting-than-usual stew.

The description could've mentioned, "this was partially inspired by some curries, but doesn't have their range of spices, so I'm calling it a stew. It's not a proper curry in the same way that bean soup with a couple of jalapeños isn't chili."

Which is very, very different from "not curry because omg I cannot possibly be making ~~foreign~~ food here!"
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:02 AM on May 10 [18 favorites]


Well, this turned out to be a very weird example of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon for me. I don't really read a lot of food writing, despite being interested in food and cooking, nor do I generally pay attention to the bylines on recipes. But when inspiration struck to make zucchini bread last Thursday, I dug out an old NYTimes recipe I had saved a couple years back, and for some reason noted the author: Alison Roman. The next day....
posted by HumuloneRanger at 10:26 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


It's weird this comes up now, I just recently saw a video with Roman for the first time and realized I don't like her. There is a certain type of coquetry that for some reason really angers me, and yes, I have only ever seen it performed by privileged white women. It didn't mean much to me, because I'm not a fan of her recipes either, and nobody is forcing me to watch her videos, but all of this comes as no surprise.
I think the issue is that some tend to think of New Yorkers as liberal and intellectually curious, which is of course not universally true. Also: very recently there has been a tendency to have more a diverse representation in the whole food scene, which is great. The current BA team is a good example, but also think of Francis Lam hosting at The Splendid Table, or the whole David Chang thing, or the rise to fame of the wonderful Samin Nosrat. Maybe Roman feels (subconsciously?) threatened by this opening. Maybe she is just not a nice person.
posted by mumimor at 10:39 AM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Oh don't get me started on "Asian" [fill in the blank] dishes that seem endemic to a certain type of cookbook or food blog. "Asian-inspired" somehow makes me even madder. Like if you are acknowledging that it's NOT actually a Vietnamese dish, or a Malaysian dish, or a Japanese dish, but you still have managed to lump all Asian cuisine into a single category. East Asian people may "all look the same"* to some people but certainly in the 21st century, most North Americans of non-East Asian background can distinguish between sushi and Sichuan food? Between pho and soondubu?

*All Look Same was one of those early internet hits in my circa 2001-2002 circle of Asian American friends in San Francisco who were, to be fair, were 65% of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, of varying generations of immigration history, and then 20% Filipinx, 8% Vietnamese (who often got lumped in with the East Asians due to Chinese Vietnamese/Sino-sphere), 5% South Asian (mostly Indian) and 2% other Southeast Asian.
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:18 AM on May 10 [10 favorites]


This is the 2nd time this week I've read about white women having conniptions over women of color doing their thing in the lifestyle space. The first one I read about happened in the UK. The envious white woman in this instance (British editor Liv Siddall), had a guy respond to her initial post who used the word "cunt", apparently in reference to black British lifestyle blogger Paula Sutton.

The gall of these white women trying to make a come-up in this manner. They and their supporters are despicable, and I'm all for their being dragged.
posted by droplet at 11:41 AM on May 10 [5 favorites]


I'll go on record as a former chef and say that I made one of Chrissy Teegan's recipes for Mother's Day breakfast this morning . I did make the 'box cake mix' from scratch, and I substituted strawberries instead of the raspberries and peaches because my kids wouldn't eat it otherwise - but yeah - she's pretty freaking awesome. Solid understanding of flavor and texture.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:07 PM on May 10 [7 favorites]


to expand on what 23skidoo is (accurately) saying: when many people have repeatedly explained, described, laid out point by point, whatever, to show why someone's words or actions are in some way bigoted, i still hold out some hope, perhaps foolishly, that if people took a moment to reflect on why their first response to that is to look for some reason why those words or actions are actually not bigoted, they might gain some kind of valuable life knowledge on themselves and the less than great way they view the world and the many different people within it.

tl;dr Please Realize That Making Excuses For Other People's Bigotry Only Exposes Your Own 2k20
posted by poffin boffin at 3:15 PM on May 10 [35 favorites]


I thought a little bit about it, and honestly, this sounds very much like someone who, in their friend circle, feels very much at home dropping little racists dribble shits like this, probably to laughter and half hearted “oh, your so baaad false protest. It’s probably common enough for them to do that that she, thinking her fucked up racist group of friends was the norm, that everyone was just like them (because, hey, wealthy white people, everyone is just like them, right?) that she thought her comment would be met with the exact same response, like the cool girl in a high school movie making fun of the foreign girl and everyone will laugh along.

And when the bubble of privilege pops, and she’s outed for the racist that she is, her immediate reaction is to lash out and defend her status quo and all of her friends, because she couldn’t possibly be friends with racists. I would imagine her immediate circle of friends, the ones she feels comfortable with, they would never think that the slurs they think of as jokes could actually be racist, because racism is like the Klan, and they aren’t like that, in their minds. I’d also put money on them being the obnoxious table of too drunk too early bad tippers that suddenly goes quiet and stops their snickering comments whenever the POC waitress comes by the table. Since her bubble is totally normal for her, everyone criticizing her must be an overreacting PC nazi. Her peer group is what’s normal to her, and any attack on that, to her, is an attack on, say, Mom, America, and apple pie.

Of course, her apple pie probably leaves out cloves and cinnamon. Too spicy, and weirdly foreign.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:16 PM on May 10 [27 favorites]


1.) Yes, Alison Roman is a smug, entitled racist, 2.) Very mad to learn that the basic white girl struggle curry I've been eating for the 2 months of lockdown because it's the cheapest and most shelf-stable thing is more or less identical to the "The Stew" recipe that apparently made Alison Roman famous. It's the go-to vegan curry of every college hippie house kid with access to an Indian market and no real knowledge of serious Indian cooking. It's just the most ground level "I like Indian food and Thai food and am broke but don't really know what I'm dong" recipe there is, piggybacking off that to call Marie Kondo a bitch and say HER OWN SPONSOR doesn't deserve her career because she wants to eat and profit from vaguely Asian food but resents actual Asian women is, whew
posted by moonlight on vermont at 3:40 PM on May 10 [24 favorites]


That "inside" joke really caught my ear as an armchair linguist. Because Roman says, "please to [verb]" is an inside joke with her friends.

Probably so. An inside joke that almost certainly comes from Apu on The Simpsons. And even though The Simpsons has been on for decades, it only recently admitted that Apu as a character, voiced by a white actor, was racist. (And even then, did so grudgingly, and with much kicking and screaming.)

So let's say that Roman isn't old enough to remember when The Simpsons was really, really, really popular. Let's say "Please to [verb]" entered English before her cognizance.

IT'S STILL RACIST. It has now entered the system of the systemic racism in which we all bask, just like lots of other racist language that went unexamined at the time of its entrance to the language. People knew then that "Please to [verb]" was imitating Apu, who was an Asian character being written and voiced by white talent, but it got handwaved, because like Long Duk Dong, it didn't occur to the white people at the time to be ashamed or embarrassed by it.

And all of that is assuming that the language reached Roman completely separate from its original context. Somehow... somehow... she still managed to assign it to an Asian woman, instead of say, a white woman selling vagina eggs.

She knew enough to connect, "It is a stereotype that Asian people speak broken English, therefore, [please to verb] fits into this joke about an Asian woman." Because that's where the "joke" came from in the first place-- it's so funny that Apu speaks English funny!

The racism is coming from inside, outside, under, over, beneath and between the house.
posted by headspace at 3:47 PM on May 10 [34 favorites]


omg yes, moonlight on vermont, I felt like a jerk at the time for having this reaction to "The Stew" recipe, but seriously it is something I associate with food co-ops from my youth. Though usually you gotta throw some tofu in to make it complete.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 3:49 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


The racism is coming from inside, outside, under, over, beneath and between the house.

At this point, I think it’s fair to say the racism is the house, and all it’s occupants.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:56 PM on May 10 [7 favorites]


"For the low, low price of $19.99, please to buy my cutting board.”

Wow, and no, that isn't an inside joke with her friends, holy shit
posted by moonlight on vermont at 4:06 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


From a business relationship perspective, this could prove interesting. So Alison Roman worked under Tosi of Milk Bar fame and who is a business partner of David Chang. Now Chang is actually personal friends with Tiegen if the Marrakech episode of Ugly Delicious is any indicator. Teigen was an early and open supporter of Momofuko restaurants and leveraged her fame and proved her taste to Chang during this period. I assume the food industry of New York City is small and relationships matter, I am just curious how this shakes out business and relationship-wise. Her absolute tone-deafness is stunning to me and I wonder if this is just a publicity stunt but man, for a woman who has nice bona fides in the food world why she feels she needs to do this if it is a conscious stunt, is a wonder.
posted by jadepearl at 4:22 PM on May 10 [11 favorites]


This is all making me think that I'm going to re-watch tidying up tonight because Marie Kondo is awesome.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:49 PM on May 10 [9 favorites]


In some ways, we don’t even need to look that hard for how professionally fucking stupid Roman racist-ing on Tiegen was. Tiegen< is an EXECUTIVE FUCKING PRODUCER of an upcoming show of Roman’s.

It’s. Just. Wow.
posted by joyceanmachine at 5:42 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]


love her recipes but something in her energy just felt like there was something like this waiting to happen

She has seemed increasingly uncomfortable with the fact that she has fans who aren’t as Cool Girl as she considers herself to be, like she’s torn between growing her career and wanting to roll her eyes at the people who follow her. She pitches her recipes as “THE cookies” or whatnot to attempt to send them viral, but complains when people bring that up as a factor in her success (like she’s embarrassed that she markets her products).

The racism is obvious to me from following her and seeing how willing she is to worship throwback Martha Stewart stuff and Ina Garten and other “aspirational” food people who are upper-middle-class white women. Their forays into branded products for Kmart and box mixes don’t make them sellouts, just savvy I guess? But Teigen and Kondo deserve her total scorn? With her criticism of Teigen, I could respect that if she went into “I don’t want to make a mass market product where I have limited control over the quality and would worry it’s being made by people paid sweatshop wages.” But instead it was closer to “Target, ewwwww!”

If she’s smart (or has anyone smart in her life to give her advice), she will see this as the big opportunity it is to stop being a jerk and graduate from middle school drama.
posted by sallybrown at 8:32 PM on May 10 [2 favorites]


Huh. I wasn’t paying any attention to this Alison Roman person, but I just realised that two of the most off-putting food videos I’ve watched recently are hers.

The first is that NYT ‘The Stew’ video that people above have already talked about. I found that video so weird: a person I’ve never heard of telling me, in smug, self-aggrandising tones, how famous she (and her STEW) is. And then... the stew is SO unremarkable. And yes, basically a curry, albeit with a pretty simplistic spice profile. I had feels about that video that I couldn’t properly articulate at the time.

But I’ve just realised that this surprisingly awful Bon Appetit video (about the Momofuko Milk Bar birthday cake) is ALSO her. The ‘smirking hipster’ vibe is so strong in this video. And then the absolute fucking highlight is when Alison Roman and her old boss Christina Tosi taste the cake at the end and then giggle ‘FAT GIRL MOMENT!’ totally charmed by their own mutual bigotry.

Anyway I guess what I’m saying is that now I join the dots it turns out that that several weirdly gross people of whom I was only semi-aware are apparently the same person. So.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 8:44 PM on May 10 [27 favorites]


The racism is obvious to me from following her and seeing how willing she is to worship throwback Martha Stewart stuff and Ina Garten and other “aspirational” food people who are upper-middle-class white women. Their forays into branded products for Kmart and box mixes don’t make them sellouts, just savvy I guess?

Or, you know, felony convictions for insider trading?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:53 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Christina Tosi... "fat girl moment!"

God that's disappointing, I'd only witnessed Tosi in her Chef's Table episode and (though of course it wasn't going to set out to make her look like a jerk) she came across as so almost overly serious and focused in a way I found totally admirable, and this... really isn't that.

Good to know, at least.
posted by ominous_paws at 9:53 PM on May 10 [8 favorites]


Alison Roman still has to apologize to Kondo so I guess, "the bitch" thing still stands. I wonder if Roman went after Teigen and Kondo because in her insular world she had no idea that they had "juice". Maybe for Alison, Kondo has no "juice" therefore deserves no apology. I am trying to figure out if her apology to Teigen came about when she realized that Teigen had enough juice to be an executive producer of her show.

Teigen's response is not about the rascism aspects but about the mean-ness aspect of it all. Teigen is self aware enough to state that she was jealous that Roman had a cookbook that did not require her face to be on it and compliments Roman and how Teigen supported her through her social media, purchasing her cookbooks and making her recipes. This makes the shank sharper when she says she was hurt by Roman's statement. Basically, Alison Roman is cruel, thankless, and unreliable and let's now unfriend each other. Yow. Marie Kondo remains silent.
posted by jadepearl at 10:55 PM on May 10 [6 favorites]


Oh, I remember hearing about the "fat girl moment", I didn't realize this was the other jerk that was with Tosi.
posted by tavella at 11:00 PM on May 10


Marie Kondo remains silent.

Because Roman is nothing to Kondo. You don't issue a press release if a fly lands on your shoe as you climb the steps to your palace.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:02 AM on May 11 [51 favorites]


I appreciated Teigen's approach because Allison Roman is very much in the same geographic area and circles she is in media-wise. But I agree that Kondo is wondering what the heck is going on. Again, kind of raised eyebrow on Roman's career-limiting move. If she was hoping to be Bourdain which, many have failed, she doesn't get the part where he was very self-deprecating and admitted that he face to face dealt with the people he talked smack about e.g., Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay to apologize.
posted by jadepearl at 12:31 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Teigen is now facing so much backlash for the - completely kind and tempered - way that she responded to Alison Roman that she has gone dark on Twitter.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:02 AM on May 11 [1 favorite]


A lot of Teigen’s brand is how she engages with people on Twitter, and it can be pretty damn mean-spirited at times, so I’m never surprised when she faces backlash.
posted by girlmightlive at 6:21 AM on May 11 [3 favorites]


[One deleted. No. ironic. racism. Really. Nobody knows your background or your thoughts except for what you write, and it looks exactly like the real thing.]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:28 AM on May 11 [19 favorites]


Wow. Of course I chose this weekend to ignore Twitter and completely missed this until seeing this FPP just now.

I regret buying Alison Roman's cookbook last month (when I first learned of her, not long before all this went down). I already own all of Teigen and Kondo's books but since I can't return Roman's, maybe buying second and third copies of Teigen and Kondo's books - to give to friends - would be a start. Literally the very least I could do; the bare minimum.

I will say it until I am as blue in the face as Violet Beauregard after an unfortunate gum incident: the duty of white women is to listen to and believe BIPOC women and non-cis persons, and to use our privilege to bolster them. I couldn't agree more with the upthread comment that rightfully skewers Roman for choosing to not criticize Christina Tosi, her former employer who *just happens to be white*, while dumping a truckload of shit on Teigen and Kondo. It's racism tied up with a bow. Doesn't matter if it was consciously "intended" or not- it had racist motivations and a doubly racist impact. White women continue to refuse to accept that unlike women who are not white, we have a plethora of privileges and will never know, on a personal level, the challenges of being a woman, non-cis or transwoman + any other skin color than white.

If you aren't helping your sisters who identify as BIPOC/non-white, and/or LGBTQ+, and/or differently abled, then you aren't helping gender equality. You are harming gender equality.

Stop centering white feelings when we talk about feminism and the rights of women and non-cis persons, and start seeking out, reading, listening to, buying from, and bolstering BIPOC women. If you can't, ask yourself why you feel so threatened.
posted by nightrecordings at 7:41 AM on May 11 [11 favorites]


Teigen is now facing so much backlash for the - completely kind and tempered - way that she responded to Alison Roman that she has gone dark on Twitter.

I saw people brigading her for a different set of posts so it may have been unrelated to the Roman incident.
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:08 AM on May 11


I’ve liked a lot of Alison Roman’s recipes and don’t think she’s the hack that a lot of people are trying to make her out to be in this whole thing. I think she was trying to go for that kind of Tony Bourdain-realness with what she was talking about but just missed the mark.

I've seen a few people excuse Alison Roman on the grounds that she's just being like Bourdain here and she's just getting slammed because women can't get away with stuff the way men can. (I'm not saying that's what you're saying here.) I think that gives too much of a pass to the unconscious racism. But I'd argue it also misses a lot about how Bourdain's celebrity profile evolved over the course of his life. He came onto the scene as a caricature of a "real" hardened chef who loved meat, hated fussy cuisine, and despised foodie celebrities. But by the time he started doing television, he was at least a bit sheepish about the fact that he was working in the same field of food entertainment that he spent several years bitching about. (Less related to this topic but strongly related to me still liking him as I got older: he also backed off on the weird adulation of cartoonish masculinity, stopped acting like vegetables offended him, and took a really thoughtful look at various cuisines and the cultures that inspired them.) Whether Bourdain felt too hypocritical to keep complaining about food TV stars after he became one or if it just got too awkward after he met them, I do not know. But I think he at least had the sense to understand that continuing to play-act as the "tough chef" character years after he quit working at a restaurant was lot more pathetic than demonstrating accessible recipes for a morning show audience and selling branded colanders.

It's weird to see Alison Roman -- a person whose success definitely rides on a wave of Instagram popularity! -- decry the influencer-y foundation of her popularity. It's very weird to see her complain about celebrities with product lines, while acknowledging that she's also hawking a product line. And it's downright deranged that she responded to this mess with one of those "oopsie the internet is being mean to me" responses, which serves to kind of double down on the whole mess.
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:40 AM on May 11 [11 favorites]


Another quality of Anthony Bourdain that I think people don't "get" at first glance - his aversion to celebrity chefs and fussy food was because of an aversion to pretention.

He knew what kitchens were like, and that's why he was opposed to the theater of the celebrity chefs - he knew that most of these chefs' real work in their restaurants was being done by underpaid sous-chefs, many of whom were immigrants, or by weirdos who didn't fit in anywhere else. He grumbled about vegetables, but I think he was more averse to people who regarded an all-vegetable diet as a panacea and by the subtle shaming cast on those who wanted hot dogs or steak once in a while.

I think the seeking out of various cuisines and cultures was something he always was interested in but never thought he'd be able to do, and the sheepishness may be more of his own shyness and trying to grow into how to present himself on camera. In fact, the bluster may also have been his own way to cope with shyness - get big and blustery as a front.

The people who compare Roman to Bourdain just sort of stop with Bourdain's reputation - but never tried to see what Tony actually did. If Tony had been asked to produce "The Stew", he'd more properly refer to it as chole masala or chana masala (depending on which region of India he wanted to feature) and would properly attribute it to the chef who taught him how to make it, or even better he'd invite that chef on to make it. You'd also get a whole dissertation on Bollywood to boot.

Tony may have spoken with bluster, but he shone a spotlight on people who did honest and good work, without regard for whether they were from an unfamiliar place, and saved his ire for people who exploited others, cut corners, or tried to play things too safe.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:47 AM on May 11 [51 favorites]


toastyk, thank you for the links in your comment above - very much worth the read!
posted by insectosaurus at 11:47 AM on May 11


I didn't realize I know who A.R. was until my wife reminded me that the (delicious) food I ate the other night was one of her recipes. This whole thing is a shame, though luckily not really important for the average person. Kinda famous person is mean to really famous people! I did the Marie Kondo thing last year and I have hot takes on this, but I don't think they would add anything beyond what's been said.

Instead I'll give an example of handling food diversity and cultural respect right: the incredible Somewhere South PBS series on Southern food, hosted by (white, Southen) Vivian Howard of Chef & the Farmer restaurant in Kinston, NC. This could have very easily just been her talking about southern food from her own perspective (what rural Carolinians eat - collards, etc.) but so far every episode is her traveling the south and *listening* to people from different backgrounds talk about their southern food. Episodes tend to go this way:

* She talks about a classic Southern thing (collards/greens for example) from her perspective.
* She finds other groups (often non-white) who have parallel traditions. For greens that included an Indian family in NC making saag paneer, Lumbee Indians making collard sandwiches, refugee high school students from SE Asia making a spicy greens dish from a community garden, and a Ugandan (?) woman making a traditional greens dish.
* She asks people of all different backgrounds on camera "what's your favorite green?" or similar.

It's really great, and she's very humble about the extent of her knowledge and is absorbing knowledge without co-opting. The overall message is "ALL these things are the South" and "wow, every culture seems to have dumplings" type of stuff. My fave was when she sat with a bunch of black Southern chefs and a food historian and listened to them talk frankly about how white people co-opted the idea of southern food, even though black Americans are the ones who came up with many of the recipes and who (through slavery and servitude) did much of the cooking.

Off topic, but I guess the message to A.R. is, hey, here's how you do this right!
posted by freecellwizard at 1:40 PM on May 11 [33 favorites]


Jaya Saxena at Eater: “What Exactly Is Going on Between Chrissy Teigen and Alison Roman on Twitter?” (An “Eater explains” piece.)
posted by Going To Maine at 1:55 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


Jose Andres wrote a warm, supportive tweet for Teigen, that's kind of awesome, and a relief, to see a white male Michelin chef actually do that.
posted by polymodus at 2:16 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]


Sam Sifton, NO
posted by Going To Maine at 2:58 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


José Andrés comes off as the menschiest mensch who ever mensched, and if he ever gets milkshake ducked, I'm quitting twitter.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:23 PM on May 11 [11 favorites]


@alisoneroman: I’ve thought a lot this weekend about my interview and the things I said. I know this is a lengthy note (succinctness has never been my strong suit). I appreciate you taking the time to read)
posted by Going To Maine at 4:59 PM on May 11


I’m always more surprised by the stupidity than the racism. I expect people to be racist. I also expect people to be smart enough not to make racist jokes during interviews and dunk on the exec producers of their own TV shows. That part is surprising.
posted by bq at 5:44 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]


What is sort of amazing about Roman's apology -- which is well-done in that she owns the behavior, does not excuse it and explains why it is wrong -- is how many white people it's managed to trigger on Twitter and Instagram. A lot of people seems legitimately upset that she put out a public statement where she said, "I reflected on my actions, they were wrong, here's why they were wrong, and I'm sorry."

It's almost like white people are afraid of accountability or something.
posted by sobell at 5:59 PM on May 11 [7 favorites]


dunk on the exec producers of their own TV shows.

Honestly, this was the most shocking portion to me, although I will own that I didn’t particularly think about it from a racial angle when I learned of it. Don’t poop where you eat.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:06 PM on May 11


The one I saw today is a pretty good apology. It does smack of crisis PR (although I think it's longer than most crisis PR ppl would advise) to me. So...kinda depends on what comes next.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:40 PM on May 11


What was striking about the Roman thing was how quickly so many people in her food world came out with receipts on why she was a mean girl; that was a woman with a reputation, and that reputation wasn’t the type to protect her. I’m betting she was the type of person who was smart enough to be OMG so fun so long as she was kissing up to someone and ingratiating herself into their professional munificence and a real dismissive nightmare to those below and for 48 hours, she saw that the people you mistreat on the way up will meet you again on the way down. Since media at the level she plays at is all about gatekeeping and personal relationships (witness how many former Gawker writers and editors keep employing one another now that they’ve cracked legacy publications), she’s moving to protect her relationships by temporarily reigning in her mean personality.

Roman’s also setting up the inevitable favorable PR arc when her bespoke spoon collection or whatever it is launches — it’ll be a big piece in The Cut or Vogue or some other white-woman-friendly publication on how Alison Roman’s growing up while she’s growing her business (nevermind that she’s in her 30s) and her brand now reflects the thoughtful Roman who’s aware of white privilege and misogyny. So buying her stuff is like being an ally, you guys. Really.
posted by sobell at 6:47 PM on May 11 [11 favorites]


As icky as some of the superstition-fueled products hawked by Paltrow / Kondo (ooh, crystals! tuning forks for your spirit!)

This is not really a fair comparison. Kondo sells a tuning fork and crystal set, yes, but that basically her only woo product. Everything else is just your usual high-end/high-price bland minimalist design.

Whereas Goop has a tremendous amount of harmful bullshit scam products.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:00 PM on May 11 [13 favorites]


I'm also really stunned by the Gen X early 90's energy of Roman's initial shitty remarks about Teigen and Kondo. "She fucking sold out"-- FOR REAL, IN THIS ECONOMY??? When almost everyone I know in the Gen X, millenial, and younger creative cohort is working as many side hustles as they can to pay their bills? That interview was full of the kind of sneering at "sellouts" rhetoric I remember hearing cool older teen siblings, college students, and music journalists directing at Nirvana and Rage Against The Machine and Green Day as a young teen and elementary school kid. Complaining about writers/chefs/artists/creatives "selling out" is inherently based on an economic model of creativity that hasn't existed for 25 years, I almost want to say it became obsolete when the NEA was gutted in the mid-90s and the people who criticized grunge and mall punk for going mainstream hadn't caught up to that reality yet. It is absolutely wild to hear that kind of talk from someone so insulated not only from the current economic disaster, but the 08 crash and the entire internet economy. What kind of sheltered existence has Alison Roman been living???
posted by moonlight on vermont at 7:02 PM on May 11 [19 favorites]


he knew that most of these chefs' real work in their restaurants was being done by underpaid sous-chefs, many of whom were immigrants, or by weirdos who didn't fit in anywhere else.

Sorry to keep up the Bourdain derail but Kitchen Confidential started out with a self-deprecating anecdote about Bourdain's tendencies towards macho drama, and he was always very open about the personal issues (heroin, depression) underlying his relationship to that kind of posturing and adrenaline seeking and yearning for that 'hardass chef' life, it's strange to me that a lot of people took him completely seriously as some kind of one dimensional badass when so much of his book was about taking the impulses that pushed him there apart. And yes, exactly, to the puncturing racism and classism in the celeb chef industry-- years before the interviews highlighting the actual poc chefs and cultures who made the food he featured on his show, he was talking about how undocumented people made the industry work-- the chapter in Kitchen Confidential on the central american guys who kept the entire restaurant industry functioning branded itself into my consciousness as a teenager and was 100% true of every kitchen I've worked in. People saying that Anthony Bourdain got away with having a big mouth because he was a man and Roman is being punished for the same bc she's a woman have a really shallow understanding of what his work was about.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 7:12 PM on May 11 [15 favorites]


Still waiting for her apology for the worst ever take on rice (from her book Dining In):
On the Absence of Rice

You may notice that this chapter is suspiciously lacking in rice recipes. Well, I hate to disappoint you, but there aren’t any. Not in this whole book! I am not saying I don’t like rice; I’m saying I don’t really cook it and including recipes for it would feel dishonest. Rice has always seemed like filler to me, and if I’m going to stuff my face, I’d rather do so with a grain or something that has an awesomely nutty flavor, deliciously chewy texture, and sure, maybe some nutritional value. I mean, why rice when you could chickpea? Why rice when you could lentil? Of course, yes, there’s wild rice and brown rice and heirloom rice and Japanese rice and…But to include a recipe for one would be like pulling the wrong Jenga block from my tower of conviction, and I’m trying to make a point here.
posted by AceRock at 9:46 PM on May 11 [21 favorites]


even up to the apology, everything i've learned about AR (who i had no idea, except thanks to the link to the milk bar cake video, i remembered as one half of the annoying white girls punctuating a fairly easy and fun cake recipe; it turns out my yt food channel of choice is mostly epicurious) has just solidified how much she's not for me at all. and lol @ the rice bit. how utterly unsurprising and boring. i can imagine her career doing just fine, even flourishing, but i don't expect her to be 'better' in the long run -- there's a basic empathy and curiosity that she'll need more time than what she will have to cultivate for that. but maybe she'll learn to be a bit more publicly circumspect about how basic she is.
posted by cendawanita at 11:42 PM on May 11 [9 favorites]


different strokes for different folks. Nobody is obligated to like rice.

Rice is the staple food of more than half of the world's population, and even the plainest bowl of well-prepared rice is a source of joy for many of them. Just because most Westerners eat rice less than often than bread, and thus have less practice in making it well, it's easy for these kinds of statements to pass.

But I can scarcely imagine a respected Western food critic saying the same thing about bread that Roman says about rice. They'd sound ridiculous and be laughed out of their position. (Well, Roman is an attractive white woman, so she might survive by being evaluated as "quirky.")

There have been a lot of dismissive, clueless takes on this thread about a dismissive, clueless writer, but thank you 23skidooo for noticing this one:

we have had 3 mod comments (so far, I anticipate more) reminding people here to stop shitting on Kondo means to me, in my opinion, that this could be a moment to ask if Metafilter might have a race problem too

And here's another one to add to the pile:

But I agree that Kondo is wondering what the heck is going on

I've seen Kondo express nothing of this sort. Just because she doesn't speak English as well as a native American doesn't mean she's some kind of naive, lost foreigner or some kind of blank slate to project our Orientalist stereotypes on to. Her silence could be strategic and she could be as calculating as Roman's or Teigen's responses.
posted by Borborygmus at 4:58 AM on May 12 [15 favorites]


i hate rice but that's bc eating it could kill me. so technically it hated me first.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:02 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Here's Alison Roman "recommending" a Chinese restaurant in NYC:
Before you go, you should know the servers are kind of rude, and looks-wise there is nothing remarkable about this place. It’s BYO though, which is cool. I’ve brought pretty nice bottles of wine into that restaurant, which is funny because it’s this extremely dingy kind of gross looking Chinese restaurant with insanely delicious food. I like to eat really spicy Szechuan food at least once a week. I end up craving it in a way that I don’t crave any other kind of food.
posted by AceRock at 5:52 AM on May 12 [7 favorites]


Oh lord. From the passage quoted above, emphasis mine:

Rice has always seemed like filler to me, and if I’m going to stuff my face, I’d rather do so with a grain or something that has an awesomely nutty flavor, deliciously chewy texture, and sure, maybe some nutritional value. I mean, why rice when you could chickpea? Why rice when you could lentil? Of course, yes, there’s wild rice and brown rice and heirloom rice and Japanese rice and…But to include a recipe for one would be like pulling the wrong Jenga block from my tower of conviction, and I’m trying to make a point here.

I don't think the point she's making is the one she thinks she's making.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:32 AM on May 12 [12 favorites]


I don't think the point she's making is the one she thinks she's making.

Also, I get that it's just a cookbook, but good lord is that some atrocious writing. Not exactly Elizabeth David is she.
posted by AceRock at 6:38 AM on May 12


Also, I get that it's just a cookbook, but good lord is that some atrocious writing. Not exactly Elizabeth David is she.

I am now amusing myself with imagining the ghost of M.F.K. Fisher manifesting itself before her to just.....stare at her a while, before frowning, shaking its head, and then vanishing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:51 AM on May 12 [7 favorites]


Ohhhhhyeah, a plain bowl of rice is a joyous thing for me, too. #ricesparksjoy

Every time we order from this one sushi place near us, we spend the extra $2 for a side of just plain white rice. I know we could make it ourselves and it's just carbs but oh my god, opening up that little box and scarfing down some piping hot rice is heaven.
posted by brook horse at 8:02 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]


I buy a ridiculously expensive variety of white rice called Kokuho Rose because the end result is so perfectly creamy and chewy and sticky and wonderful.

I should make some for lunch.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:05 AM on May 12 [6 favorites]


And I'm STILL trying to make some kind of sense of the "if I'm going to stuff my face" bit. Is that another variation on "Fat girl moment!"?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:33 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


moonlight on vermont - oh my god. It's "I'm not going to work at the Gap for chrissakes" from Reality Bites. (Which was immediately recognized as a supreme bit of shittiness, even in a movie that snarked on selling out.)

Also, rice? RICE? Red beans and rice. Dirty rice. Paella. Biriyani. Jollof. Congee. Mango and sticky rice. Tah dig. The gorgeous aroma when the steamer full of Calrose first opens. The fight with your siblings to get the fried papery bits at the bottom of the rice cooker, or the crunchy bits in the bottom of the bibimbap bowl. The impossible luxury of buttery saffron-fragrant piles alongside persian kabobs. The perfect grains of basmati or jasmine that prevent even one drop of curry from getting lost. The momentary pleasure that so many people in the world who have so little can enjoy.

You know. "ethnic" food.

I see so many people I love and admire let their shoulders slump and admit "I'm so tired," and it feels like a cut every time and I didn't want to add another, but I guess today's my day to bleed out. I'm so tired.
posted by BlueBlueElectricBlue at 10:03 AM on May 12 [23 favorites]


She may be thinking of that bog-standard supermarket-mass-market over-produced plain white rice, "Uncle Ben" in a box rice, which is indeed not that great - but there are so many other varieties of rice, many of them right there for her to be getting anyway but I guess showing how you've shed your plastic suburban nightmare youth takes priority or something.

(And even here! she's not even hipstering properly for God's sake - the way to be snooty about rice is not to dismiss it altogether, it's to say that you only ever use Jade Pearl Rice or something.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:13 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


I mean, why rice when you could chickpea? Why rice when you could lentil?

Uh are we sure this person is for real and not someone with a cooking staff farming content for her, like she's accusing Chrissy Teigen of doing? I am finding it hard to believe someone who doesn't understand that beans and grains are in whole different food groups and hasn't internalized "together, rice and legumes make a complete protein" as the foundation for over half the world's basic cuisine has ever set foot in a kitchen. Imagining trying to eat any basic curry that you're supposed to eat over rice over a heaping bowl of lentils or chickpeas is making my guts churn
posted by moonlight on vermont at 10:36 AM on May 12 [19 favorites]


are we sure this person is for real ... Imagining trying to eat any basic curry that you're supposed to eat over rice over a heaping bowl of lentils or chickpeas is making my guts churn

Unfortunately, it's probably real. It's not the first time something like this has happened, from this corner of the media ecosystem.
posted by Borborygmus at 11:01 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]


Oh, I know she's aware of them - my point is that she's deliberately ignoring them in a misguided attempt to seem "cool". She's tasted shitty rice, it was shitty, therefore all rice is shitty and associated with a cheap cost-cutting suburban lifestyle, and that's her argument and she will not take into consideration any other rice that would shake that self-construct.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:25 AM on May 12


aw man, the worst (and best, yes, it's actually way more of a positive thing than negative.) thing about twitter and media and such is that you have to learn that people who made a thing you like are actually shitty people you don't want to support.

I know nothing about AR, except that I bought her cookbooks on an instagram recommendation of Samantha Irby who I idealize and want to be just like, and they have a couple good, simple recipes I have enjoyed. Now I have watched a couple of the linked videos and stuff, and augh. And her excuse for her racist phrasing is that she...was actually being racist to a different culture? okay?

Also Marie Kondo is a treasure to all nations and actually made like a huge difference in my actual life, spending time thinking about what I actually like and enjoy, both with material possessions, and friendships, and activities, etc and is really insightful and amazing and I hope she sells a million organizing bins and has an amazing life.
posted by euphoria066 at 12:49 PM on May 12 [4 favorites]


I come from a rice culture so am always confused when I see a recipe for anything stew-type that's not served with some kind of carb.
posted by tofu_crouton at 2:20 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


tell me about it. it was a steep learning curve when i watch western recipes of asian dishes that's meant to be eaten over rice and have the eventual result to be enjoyed as-is... like plain soup, with maybe a bit of bread (here's where I reminisce about the first time I realised this, watching a UK Sunday show where they made Thai green curry). which would make sense, if the flavour ie salt + spice ratio is adjusted to be eaten by itself, not as a flavourful accompaniment to the plainer rice, but inevitably my throat gets dry just reading it. (locally this does happen when Malay or Indian cooks make Chinese Cantonese dishes and not adjust, and vice versa - because Cantonese culture does have its own separate soup course, while the typical Malay or Indian custom is to always treat any soupy dish as gravy for rice. So... in a biracial household, if you forgot what you're aiming for, you're going to get something too plain for rice or too strong for soup, lol)
posted by cendawanita at 3:15 PM on May 12 [12 favorites]


Oh my god, cendawanita, that is a magical insight about seasoning/balancing, and now I have to go back and look VERY HARD at a bunch of stuff I've been trying to make and the provenance of the recipes. Life-changing. Thank you.
posted by BlueBlueElectricBlue at 3:22 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


I figured a well-done apology allowed people to like her again without guilt. So you can safely make those dishes without emotional freight and complicity. It is about theater to a certain extent with her denials, apologies, victimization, and all that. It is not about Kondo or Teigen forgiving her but about the audience teetering on the edge of leaving Team Allison that needed to see the public apology. I knew she had to get her PR done pronto checking the more questionable Reddit threads, where her potential new team members were going to emerge and were not ones to make cool-girl persona or sponsors happy.
posted by jadepearl at 4:46 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


I am finding it hard to believe someone who doesn't understand that beans and grains are in whole different food groups and hasn't internalized "together, rice and legumes make a complete protein" as the foundation for over half the world's basic cuisine has ever set foot in a kitchen. Imagining trying to eat any basic curry that you're supposed to eat over rice over a heaping bowl of lentils or chickpeas is making my guts churn

This prizing of legumes over rice, combined with her "stuff my face" language, makes me think this is a form of diet talk, in that very elliptical white upper-middle-class way, where women never say they're watching their weight, but instead act like they just prefer lentils to white rice, and it just tastes better and is more interesting to use lentils instead of rice as your starch. There always has to be a subtle-but-barbed dig at the food they're eschewing, as if to deflect from the fact that it's really just diet talk. Like my coworker who would get her "bowl lunch" from Cava with a salad base instead of brown rice and then go on and on about how it was so much more interesting that way and how the rice would just make it so heavy that she'd fall asleep at her desk and the rest of us would just eat our rice based bowls and let her go on about it.

I mean, I get that some people just prefer different foods, but rice seems to often have this weird talismanic power with people who engage in this sort of white upper middle class diet talk that I don't really understand, though this thread is making me realize the racial implications, as rice is still in white American society mostly associated with "ethnic" cuisines.
posted by lunasol at 5:39 PM on May 12 [41 favorites]


lunasol, I think you’re completely right about this being anti-carb diet talk, but garbanzos have like 4x the calories of rice, so even from that standpoint it’s all about the image of these empty foreign calories and not actual nutritional science
posted by moonlight on vermont at 11:34 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]


Thank you lunasol for articulating something that has bothered me for a long time.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:19 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Does her book have a similar disparagement of pasta? Just wondering...
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:26 AM on May 13


I think lunasol has got it and (sadly, because I love her books) I reminds me of how Anna Jones recipes often say something like 'eat with rice or noodles if you are *really* hungry' and I always flick the vs at the page because I am like 5 years old and don't appreciate being hungry after my main meal of the day.
posted by hfnuala at 6:28 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Apologies from internet personalities mean about as much as apologies from corporations these days. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the same consultants were working on both types, or at least they're swapping notes, I'm sure. It's all part of the show.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:03 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


If she (and really, a lot of people who end up having to apologize on twitter) really meant it she would pin her apology for everyone to see. As is, it will eventually get buried once she starts tweeting regularly again.

And really, twitter should have some kind of way to turn off comments and/or likes on tweets. Why should any sort of apology be able to rack up 17,000 plus likes?
posted by LostInUbe at 7:09 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


a steep learning curve when i watch western recipes of asian dishes that's meant to be eaten over rice and have the eventual result to be enjoyed as-is

My preferred cooking style goes fuck the recipe book, let's just throw a bunch of stuff in there and keep tasting it and throwing in more stuff until it seems to be heading in a direction that's palatable or at least interesting. So I have no idea what title most of the things I make should have.

But one standard trick, to be used when I've ended up way too far down that one way street to setting tongues on fire, or accidentally over-salted something to the point where it would dissolve victims' fillings on contact, is just to keep dumping rice in it until it calms down; and on occasions where that seems to have ended up involving a lot of rice, claim to have been making "risotto".

When they ask for seconds, I know I've got away with it again.

Rice is good stuff.
posted by flabdablet at 7:19 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: keep dumping rice in it until it calms down.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:05 AM on May 13 [14 favorites]


Usually works on me, TBH.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:00 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]


In Dining In, the recipe for “Seared Short Ribs with Quick Kimchi and Sesame Salt”, suggests serving the short ribs with 3 cups of cooked rice.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:35 PM on May 13


Horrible person being horrible. Horrible writer wring horrible crap. NYTimes is not averse to a certain snobbery, but she seems kind of over-the-top with elitism based on nothing, and snark for its own sake, with minimum RDA of white privilege.

As a palate cleanser, look up Conan O'Brien's comments on cynicism.
posted by theora55 at 12:47 PM on May 14


As a palate cleanser, look up Conan O'Brien's comments on cynicism.

"...But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."

This is almost never true, and in my mind exists as capital-b Bad Advice.

Part of Conan's charm is how he acts within his fundamentally and extremely privileged life, and the "work hard and succeed!" advice pretty much always betrays the speaker's lack of experience in hardship and prejudice. He does seem to have a kind of humility that might counteract the irony in his appearance here, but his humility has limits which prevent its effects from reaching a lot of people.

I haven't made it through all of the comments here yet, so I apologize if this lands to the side of the topic.
posted by rhizome at 1:23 PM on May 14 [10 favorites]


Man, Roman managed to get a spot on Stephen Colbert’s show last night. How? I’d never seen video of her before but she was like the Most Basic White Lady From the Basic Factory ever. No wonder she needs to talk shit about other people to seem spicy and interesting, because it’s a Mrs. Baird’s air sandwich otherwise.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:53 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Those certain demographics will almost certainly have motivated the existence of The Katering Show.
posted by flabdablet at 7:38 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Hot wet rice
posted by flabdablet at 7:43 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Teigan just posted in her Instagram story a picture of Gwenyth Paltrow’s cookbook (It’s All Easy) with the caption “Still just such a great book” and tagged Paltrow.

I am LIVING for Teigan’s petty shade at Roman. Don’t even try to convince me this isn’t on purpose. As far as I recall she’s not really posted other cookbooks before. And the choice and the timing is, once again, *chef’s kiss*.
posted by like_neon at 10:27 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


I noticed that Colbert noted before her spot that it was filmed weeks ago

I don't really watch late night shows, but aren't they all making this same note before interviews so views don't think they and their guests are violating social distancing protocols?
posted by tobascodagama at 10:33 AM on May 15


(It was a remote spot from their respective kitchens—I missed that it was recorded earlier but it’s still from quarantine times. I also was watching with sound off and captions on while on my rowing machine, which is why I didn’t change the channel.)
posted by Burhanistan at 11:52 AM on May 15


but certainly in the 21st century, most North Americans of non-East Asian background can distinguish between sushi and Sichuan food? Between pho and soondubu?

I had heard of pho but not soondubu before today and didn't know what they were or where they were from but I know how to use Google and would certainly do so if I were publishing a book with recipes based on either of them.
posted by straight at 10:59 AM on May 16 [4 favorites]


but certainly in the 21st century, most North Americans of non-East Asian background can distinguish between sushi and Sichuan food? Between pho and soondubu?

I don't think most North Americans could distinguish between a frittata and quiche. But I don't think that implies much of anything. There is certainly some causation that runs in the opposite direction, but I think it's too loaded of a topic to make broad assumptions about cultural bias purely based on food preferences or knowledge. Regardless, Roman and her target audience are not those "most North Americans".
posted by 99_ at 12:31 PM on May 16


Alison Roman’s NY Times Column ‘On Temporary Leave’ After Chrissy Teigen Feud (The Daily Beast, May 19, 2020) The newspaper confirmed Tuesday that the food columnist’s recipes are on hold following her public battle with the model and cookbook author. [...] According to Times insiders, Roman had a piece that was prepared to run last week amid the controversy, but it was ultimately not published.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:38 PM on May 19


Meanwhile, I had another chuckle at Tiegan's instagram stories. She had just recently put together and sent out care packages of her products and was apologising that not everyone had gotten it yet. But also talked about how she had not appreciated how much work went into making them when she was a recipient and how she now realises how much work they are particularly when as it was just her and a couple of friends working on them and she doesn't have a huge content farm to rely on....

heh.
posted by like_neon at 2:45 AM on May 20


Alison Roman’s NY Times Column ‘On Temporary Leave’ After Chrissy Teigen Feud

Of all the despicable things the NYT Opinions section has published, this is what gets a column placed on temporary leave?
posted by AceRock at 7:45 AM on May 20 [4 favorites]


Of all the despicable things the NYT Opinions section has published, this is what gets a column placed on temporary leave?

When there's a business entity that has a systemic problem that they're unwilling to put the effort into changing on the ground level, sometimes they'll pick a relatively expendable person who's got a fairly low-impact and minor career and will sacrifice them for the optics - "now you can't say that we don't take this kind of thing seriously, because we've suspended someone's column. ….uh, these other guys who said bigger stuff are still....under investigation. Yeah, that's it."

Usually this expendable person is a woman.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:35 AM on May 20 [13 favorites]


Then you might appreciate "White Woman Who Called Police On Black Bird Watcher In Central Park Has Been Fired" (NPR), from earlier today.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:25 PM on May 26 [4 favorites]


i liked the part in some other interview she did where she's like "my life has been ruined by this"

bitch you deliberately tried to have a man murdered bc you're a disgusting racist. your life SHOULD be ruined.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:26 PM on May 26 [14 favorites]


When you’re on camera making a false report to the police and simultaneously hanging your dog by his collar, it is very unfair to have people judge you by what you say and do.

I have also had a woman call the police to report me (for sexual assault, as it happens) because she was dissatisfied with my company’s request for her to leave after she struck a random unaware third party and knocked him down. Her report was not on camera, but similarly to this case, she announced loudly to the 911 operator about my assault of her, “... and he’s doing it right now!” This was a curious gambit as she was in the presence of fifteen or so other eyewitnesses — staff and customers both — who could discern we were standing about four metres apart when she made the declaration. (As well, she was clear in her description that I was 5’3”, four hundred pounds, and bald, when I was 6’2”, maybe 225, and really not bald.)

Incidentally, I didn’t pursue the matter — she ran out the door before the police arrived and they never saw her. While I have sharply limited sympathy for Ms. Cooper’s loss of her job, I am not sure I would have pressed for such a thing to be visited on my own accuser, even if it were possible. In a fantastic sequel to the story, though, some fifteen years later I had moved up the organizational ladder to the national office where my portfolio included customer relations issues that had not been solved at the local or regional level. I got a call one day from the manager of a facility out west, saying his staff had had to ask a customer to leave after she caused a disturbance and some property damage and she might be calling the national office to plead her case. The name he mentioned rang a bell.

An hour later I received a call from my erstwhile accuser. She did not remember my name at all, so I listened to her complaint and professionally dealt with it as appropriate, in a manner which I fear was not to her satisfaction. I suspect in general, having accused someone of a felony probably doesn’t not help your case with them if you turn to them for resolution of an unrelated issue later. There’s probably a lesson here for us all.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:44 PM on May 26 [4 favorites]


I’d hasten to add that I realize my situation was different from the case in Central Park, with some privilege involved which I am all too well aware of. A white guy being reported while at work in a busy lobby in Toronto in 2002 is going to be treated differently by the police than a Black man in Central Park in 2020.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:54 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]


I can't do an FPP, either (her attempted homicide-by-cop is making my head throb), but wanted to share the statement put out by the National Audubon Society:

"Black Americans often face terrible daily dangers in outdoor spaces, where they are subjected to unwarranted suspicion, confrontation, and violence. The outdoors – and the joy of birds – should be safe and welcoming for all people. That’s the reality Audubon and our partners are working hard to achieve. We unequivocally condemn racist sentiments, behavior, and systems that undermine the humanity, rights, and freedom of Black people.

"We are grateful Christian Cooper is safe. He takes great delight in sharing New York City’s birds with others and serves as a board member of the New York City Audubon Society, where he promotes conservation of New York City’s outdoor spaces and inclusion of all people.”
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:38 PM on May 26 [10 favorites]


Whatever one thinks of Alison Roman, "being mean to famous people on Twitter" seems a different order of offense from "calling the police on a black man with the clear knowledge that such an encounter could get him killed." Filing both stories under the rubric of "White women suck" seems really problematic.
posted by neroli at 5:47 PM on May 26 [5 favorites]


My comment was in response to 23skidoo's one about racism and subsequent job loss -- neither of us are "filing" the wholly separate situations under the same header (which is why the discussion turns to talk of a stand-alone Cooper FPP). Apologies for the derail.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:07 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]


I think I would be more likely not to make the mistake if it was not introduced with the words "...you might appreciate...," as if was an equivalent fun comeuppance.
posted by neroli at 6:29 PM on May 26


[Quick mod note to check in variously on the points that (a) the Amy Cooper / Christopher Cooper (No Relation) situation is both fucked up and as a documented incident discussion-worthy and interesting indeed and probably worth a post if someone feels like putting one together, (b) as a long-form discussion in here it would as folks discussing it have acknowledged be sort of a derail so probably we can all let it be at this point, but (c) the throughline from one incident of systemic white supremacist culture manifesting to another is not so distant and hard to track that mentioning one thing in the context of another needs to be interpreted literally as a one to one equivalence. There's a lot of bad horseshit out there, let's be gentle with each other in navigating how to talk about it and not worry too much about enforcing rules about what can be mentioned where, etc.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:12 PM on May 26 [4 favorites]


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