Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Favorite Thing: December 2010

The open-faced pig jowl, slow-poached egg, cheddar cheese, radicchio sandwich from Bar Tarine

Who is a more reasonable critic: the involved enthusiast or the unbiased outsider?

I had my favorite breakfast ever on December 19th at San Francisco’s Bar Tartine. It feautred the greatest combination of five ingredients since the 1992 Olympic Dream Team starting line-up: sharp Irish cheddar cheese - pig Jowl (yep, this jowl), an incredibly flavorful and unctuous piece of meat, effectively tasting like pork belly from a pig raised solely eating bacon (in a non-creepy way) – eggs that were soft-poached, which both focused the eggy-ness and created a smooth, custard-like, texture – the radicchio, whose bitterness in harmony with its subtle vinaigrette's acidity somehow cut through the embarrassment of fatty riches – all on top of Tartine’s country bread (a thorough wax-poem can be found here). Despite all the big ingredients, the result was as perfectly balanced as it was laughably unhealthy. It is the bacon, egg, and cheese a lapsed-Kosher Jesus would eat.

This was the best brunch of my life but there is one problem, I DON’T LIKE BRUNCH. I do not like breakfast food in general so the idea of wasting a great meal like lunch on it seems like wasting a monkey paw wish on world peace (or is like wasting a monkey paw by not wishing for world peace?).

What is the value of the opinion of critics who inherently differ from a criticism’s likely reader? Why should the world demand a 11-year-old girl from Pawnee, Indiana care about the thoughts of a 34 year-old, bespectacled, Wilco-loving, Brooklyn-living, rock critic’s opinion on Katy Perry. On the other hand, if certain art is criticized only by those who enjoy it, then there would be no way to determine its comparative worth. Where would the line be drawn?

From what I remember from Philosophy 100, this mirrors the debate over relativism; should a culture of the past be judged by current standards or by the standards of its day? For example, should our forefathers be condemned or exonerated for their questionable pastimes (i.e. slavery and “Indian” diseasing).

I do not remember if my professor picked one but luckily there is a particular recent cultural phenomenon that helps achieve a balance between the two, (today’s go to cure-all) the Internet. The gap between the major critic and the blogged-layman has shrunk enough that both opinions can be heard concurrently. Leaving me free to write about my beloved breakfast sandwich without having to worry about arguing the case for its standing in the annals of brunchery.

Did I mention how utterly yummy the side of rosemary potatoes was?

1 comment:

  1. Wow Jessman, your writing is very Bourdainesque! The sandwich really sounds awesome. Don't disrespect breakfast food!