Here’s an idea related to “even your coffee has an author-function“: food auteurism, a phrase which seems very natural and yet before today didn’t have any hits on Google.
For most of the 20th century, after the industrialization of the food and agriculture industry, food was mostly anonymous. Traditionally, your farmer, grocer, butcher, rabbi vouched for the quality of your food, but that gave way to government inspections, certification, and standardization, plus branding.
Now, though, that industrial anonymity is troubling, and we increasingly want our food to be sourced. This is partly driven by nutrition, partly by social concerns, and partly by a need to differentiate our identity through what we eat. And it’s achieved partly through a return to a quasi-preindustrial model (farmers’ markets and local gardens), partly through a shift in brand identification (let me drink 15th Avenue Coffee instead of Starbucks), and partly through a new rise in authority of food writers and experts: Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman.
It’s a new way to generate and focus cultural attention, and to help us make sense of the explosion of information and misinformation about food. Food as an information network.