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‘Ruth Bourdain’ Revealed: Poking Fun At Foodies

Twitterverse mystery gadfly now revealed – “Ruth Bourdain” joins us to poke fun at our foodie fads.

"Ruth Bourdain's" Twitter Account

“Ruth Bourdain’s” Twitter Account

It was a mystery that drove the foodie world crazy.  Who was so gleefully mocking the world of pumped-up culinary pretention on Twitter under the name “Ruth Bourdain”?

Ruth for Ruth Reichl, food-swooning former editor of Gourmet magazine.  Bourdain for Anthony Bourdain, the globetrotting bad-boy who takes us to eat pig knuckles in Penang.

Ruth Bourdain, the witty satirist behind he Twitter handle, mocked them both – and the over-the-top world of foodie obsession they feed.  Now Ruth Bourdain is revealed, and with us.

This hour, On Point:  sending up foodie culture, with Ruth Bourdain.

- Tom Ashbrook


Ruth Bourdain (aka Josh Friedland) — Josh Friedland is author of “The Food Section,” one of the longest-running culinary blogs on the web. Josh has revealed himself as the man behind the @RuthBourdain Twitter handle. Author of “Comfort Me With Offal: Ruth Bourdain’s Guide to Gastronomy.” (@ruthbourdain and @thefoodsection)

Sam Sifton, former dining editor, restaurant critic and culture editor for the New York Times. National Editor of the New York Times. (@samsifton)

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times: A Secret Food Satirist Comes Out of the Pantry – “It has been one of the most vexing questions facing the food world. Not who makes the best risotto, or where to forage for chanterelles, but this: Who is Ruth Bourdain?”

Los Angeles Times: Can this be the end of Ruth Bourdain? Six greatest tweets before she/he goes – “Now, Friedland says, he’s going to focus on reviving the Food Section, which he says he’s neglected while pursuing his freelance writing, the book, and his Twitter career. But before he signs off entirely, even if only temporarily, here are his six favorite Ruth Bourdain tweets — at least of those that can be published on a family website.”

Excerpt: ‘Comfort Me With Offal’


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  • J__o__h__n

    I was in NY last week and considered getting a cronut but reconsidered when I learned the line is a two hour wait. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    “Is it USDA Organic, Oregon organic, or Portland Organic?”

    From that reading I can’t tell if there is even a “Portland Organic” law.

    “His name was Colin.”

    That’s a hoot and a half. Great stuff.

  • Rgrdy
    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      (Having streaming problems here. The NYT ran an article in the spring, I think, about the prevalence of food tweeting in NYC. It was actually slowing down and cluttering up restaurants. People were having to wait longer than usual because the parties before them spent so much time photographing and tweeting food photos.)

  • Unterthurn

    I loved Gourmet magazine and nobody has replaced it. The advertisers were plain stupid to bail out. We bought two of our cars we first saw in that magazine. My bamboo bracelet watch for Christmas was from an ad I showed my husband from Gourmet pages. We traveled to restaurants in Italy, California and so forth that we had read about in Gourmet to try the delicious mouth watering offerings we viewed in Gourmet’s travel section. I wish Gourmet would return.

  • Lauren

    This is awesome. I love Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain and much of foodie culture, but man, does it need to be taken down a notch. I will certainly be following @RuthBourdain for some much-needed comedy relief.

  • homebuilding

    We already have the “Waxing Orgasmic on Real Estate” (and home remodeling/redecorating) shows…..

    Josh F is truly a much-needed antidote.

    Thus, special/special cable attention to shoe fashion, nails and haircuts might be nipped in the bud.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matt.roberts.16100 Matt Roberts

    I taught food nonfiction as a creative writing class and two pieces I always made my students read were David Sedaris’ “Today’s Special” from Me Talk Pretty One Day and Frederick Kaufmann’s “Debbie Does Salad” as it appeared in Harper’s.  I wonder if this cat is familiar with these pieces.

  • ElihuJ

    A worthy and welcome successor to James Thurber’s “naive domestic burgundy” and Herb Caen’s disdained “prismatic luminescence” school of wine writing.

  • Emily4HL

    I think there’s a lot to learn from the basics of the food movement. Eating more plants and less processed food can dramatically improve our health and the environment. But the more time we spend on organic, local, and gourmet, the easier it is to miss the basics. And the more time spent on restaurants, likely the less improving health.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    A moderated post I thought was deleted has appeared.

    So I substitute this: Where is the TV show for those of us who just want to eat (h/t the caller at about :15 minutes).

    There must be a middle ground between the NYT Food section and the Man v. Food contests which Adam Richman’s doctor apparently has forbade him to partake in any longer.

    • Kathy

      Tony Bourdain?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        He does have a handle on local street food from all over the world, and kudos on that. But that travel in itself is an exoticness for a show made for the American market.

        However, thumbs up on that latest show where he’s got an hour or so, and spends it in some American cities I’ve been to. I have been taking some notes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1542847411 Jim Smith

    I can’t wait to check out his writing. I wonder if Ruth has ever read “The Debt to Pleasure” by John Lancester which is one of my favorite food novels with a darkly funny twist that I think would appeal to his sense of humor.

  • johnsloth

    Chalmers Johnson in his book “Nemesis” made the comparison of the trend in ancient Rome for the once lowly kitchen slave’s rise to celebrity status as the empire grew increasingly, self-implodingly, decadent to our own modern obsession with food and its preparers. We suffer from the luxury of self-absorption, raising what we put into our mouths and bodies to a ridiculous level of importance in an effete display of ostentatious consumption.

  • Casey Culver

    Can you speak to vegetarianism? I find myself so passionate about it, but then I hear the criticism of the previous caller that says chill out. What’s your perspective? 

    • James

      I didn’t spend several millennia climbing the food chain, just to turn around and voluntarily regress. Mankind is omnivorous, and that’s not something we ought to mess with.

      Plus, there’s the whole quality of life factor. For me, a life without meat would be intensely unpleasant.

      If you feel differently, do what you want. It’s a free country. Just don’t try to force me to live by your standards.

  • Kathy

    San Marzano tomatoes? What’s in the sauce. If you’re tossing a pound of sausage and meat in it and all that, probably not going to taste the difference. If you’re doing a very light tomato and a few subtle spices, then I think they do taste a bit more sweet and flavorful.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      That reminds me: Native tomato season! Whoohoo!

      • rlitwalk

        Thanks for your comment Kathy. My sauce is very simple..just an onion, fresh garlic and some Italian spices. I’m going to try a blind taste test with my foodie friends. I remember the blind taste test in France when 3 Buck Chuck had rave reviews.

        • rlitwalk

          So sorry for repeat comments…..didn’t realize they were saved while I created a password.

      • rlitwalk

        Thank you for your comment Kathy. My sauce is very simple. I might try a blind taste test with my foodie friends. I remember when 3 Buck Chuck earned rave reviews in blind taste tests in France.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MatthewHHartmann Matthew H. Hartmann

    The mainstream US food supply and culture is deplorable.  So any discussion which makes healthy food (especially plant oriented) more interesting is welcome in my world.

  • J__o__h__n

    Douglas Adams predicted something close to the named pig with the “dish of the day” where diners met and chatted with the animal before the meal.  He assured them that he would kill himself humanely. 

  • skelly74

    I just left a popular bakery after spying an elegant looking scone that had these exquisitely looking blueberries, partially popping; their juices caramelized into the crust like balls of ecstasy..I purchased this beautiful leavened creation with a piping hot cup of a leathery flavored coffee with an unctuous finish…anyway..half way through the consumption of the lovely biscuit I achieved a colossal orgasm of epic proportions…I am currently unable to perform my work due to unwanted desire to nap…

    Is there a lawyer interested in soliciting said popular bakery on behalf of my interest…for I will surely loose income from my desire to sleep…by the way the coffee has not countered the malaise…

  • KayJay12

    I am laughing so much with this show!  THANK YOU!  My feelings summarized!

  • tbphkm33

    “Simplicity is beauty” – it is so true, just look throughout nature.  I apply this concept throughout life.  In food, the fewer ingredients the better.  Think how many ingredients processed foods have.

    I do often find that often even “healthy” or organic leaning restaurants embrace complexity.  Too many ingredients or too complex the processes.  

    Friends challenge me on this litmus test, but if a restaurant new to me has a hamburger, I will always order that.  Idea is that if they pay attention to a hamburger, then they are paying attention to the rest of their menu.  Too often, even that $24 hamburger is subpar.  On a regular basis, starting as a frozen patty.  Every once in a blue moon, you find a restaurant that has ground their own hamburger meat and serves it up right.  That is the place I will go back to time and again, enjoying their food, knowing everything on their menu is good stuff. 

  • hennorama
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