The 'War' on Alice Waters: Some Context

Last week we took Gourmet to task for fishing for negative lines about Alice Waters and taking the quotes out of context. Among the zingers, we were particularly surprised to see a couple of quotes from eGullet, a messageboard about all things culinary: "She’s one person in a large movement that would have been just fine without her, albeit perhaps a little different at the margins," said eG user "Fat Guy." And from user rancho_gordo: "What is it exactly that she did that has changed things?"

It's a rule of thumb that you can find negative comments about anything, anywhere on the web if you look hard enough — you can even find harsh comments about Alice Waters appended to every recent article on Gourmet.com — including the one in question. Turns out that rancho_gordo, a.k.a. Steve Sando, was so perturbed about his take being taken out of context and without proper attribution that he piped up in the comments of the Gourmet article to say so:

The shrillest of you have yet to address the fact that the quotes were taken out of context and that there was a long discussion about Alice Waters, her role and local food in general on egullet. It wasn't black and white. There was some criticism and there was much praise. But you, like the author of this "article" have taken the easy way out. it's fun to be outraged and indignant but it really doesn't help the overall cause.

We got in touch with Sando so he could let it all off his chest. Here's what he told us:

I think the Gourmet online piece was odd and lazy. Author Laura Shapiro obviously was trolling the Internet looking for quotes to support her idea that there is some kind of war against Alice Waters. The quotes she pulled from eGullet were insanely out of context as it actually was a pretty interesting thread with lots of questions, answers and even some nuance. The danger with people like Shapiro, who seem to want to make Alice Waters an icon above reproach, is that it makes AW seem even more elitist and out of touch.

If I ever meet this Laura Shapiro I'm going to give her such a pinch!

Here's a link to thread on eGullet, so that if any of you would like to quote from it, you — unlike Laura Shapiro — can link to the discussion itself instead of the top-level domain. Proper attribution, Media Olds — tsk tsk: Tired of the Alice Waters Backlash - Are You?, On sustainability, locavorism, CAFOs...

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