Food and culture

I am being held in the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. This is the place in which they shot the Shining and I am told that my room has haunted, tortured, tormented and otherwise preoccupied.

Just had a very interesting conversation with Mark Miller. Here’s the question I asked him: what’s the book that best describes the movement of American, North American culture from one that treated cuisine has a closed code the finest moment of which was for some people ice berg lettuce with Kraft dressing to a place with something closer to an open code in which millions of people have an educated palate and an extraordinary set of choices in food, spices, treatments, restaurants. This change has taken place in the last 40 years.

Mark had lots of suggestions but nothing that seemed definitive. As I listened to him talk about the possibilities, I found myself thinking, “he’s too modest to say so, but this guy is one of the reasons North American culture made the transition.”

I will investigate this possibility and report back.

open/closed code distinction is from Bernstein:
Bernstein, Basil. 1975. Class, Codes and Control. New York: Schocken Books.

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