Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Designer Food

These days, food is as much a commodity and taste signifier as a carefully chosen accessory.

A few months back I read the Omnivore's Dilemma while camped out on the snowy mountainside of Aconcagua, and resolved to eat better, to purchase responsibly and organically and seek out only local butchers and farmers. After summitting, I descended, a newly self-righteous foodie, and scarfed a microwaveable pizza with chalky cheese that was anything but local. But after 13 hours of climbing, my was it delicious. I won't go into the whole socio-economical-geo-political argument about food and the fact that eating healthfully, locally and organically is a luxury of the upper tiers of the economic strata...instead, let us consider the Karl Lagerfeld Coca Cola bottle:

There are parallels between a Karl Coca-Cola and shopping at Berkeley Bowl. Both choices make a statement about the consumer; yet sometimes that statement entails choosing food and drink that are more iconic than nourishing.

This is not new, of course. We've been creating culture and community through food for ages. What interests me is the haute food category which spans the spectrum from the silly (Cavalli vodka, stupid designer waters) to the truly delectable (designer salt!).

French retailer Colette even has a small food section that sells covetable items like Keith Haring cookies, and the aforementioned Karl Coca-Cola. I have to admit to having a fetish for food gifts and welcome other fancy food retailer suggestions (socially and ecologically responsible ones, of course) via comments.

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