January 7, 2014

The War on Whiteness (in Food)

Ground-up ants Quinoa
My new column in Taki's Magazine is on how "white bread," "vanilla," and the like became ethnic epithets. 
Then again, the Borscht Belt jokesters did have a point: Average American whites in the middle of the 20th century sure did eat a lot of literally white stuff. 
How come? 
I finally started to understand when my wife mentioned that sometime before WWII her grandfather had worked inside a Chicago ice cream factory. He came home and told his children, “After what I saw today, never eat any flavor of ice cream other than vanilla.”

Read the whole thing there.

83 comments:

Anonymous said...

"(Similarly, Asians have been demanding to have much of the nutrients polished off their rice for centuries, in part because it’s harder to hide contaminants in white rice.)"

I don't know about this. While I prefer whole wheat bread for most sandwiches(but white for peanut butter/jelly), brown rice is yechhhhhhhh.

It comes down to taste. Honey is brown and beer is yellow but no one complains. They are good.
Chocolate bars are dark. No problem.
Could beer be piss? No one asks. They just drink cuz it's good.

Btw, while I like whole grain sliced sandwich bread, Itaian and French bread have to be white.
And bran pasta is terrible.

Thursday said...

White people can be really creative and colourful, and yield nothing to any other racial or ethnic group, but there is something about a certain kind of mid 20th century white culture that for which bland and homogenized are completely appropriate words. Those awful choruses on certain 50s pop records, the most embarassing of which include versions of negro spirituals! This finds it's answering chorus is the paintings of Harry Anderson (shudder).

The Mormons seem to particularly like this kind of shit.

Matthew said...

I've always loved that point about vanilla - not only is it a far more refined flavor than chocolate, but it's also quite powerful. A tablespoon of vanilla goes a long way.

Perhaps the notion of cleanliness and lightness relates to skin color, as well. It's a hell of a lot easier to tell if a person of pallor has showered in the last month or gotten all the shit off his hands than someone of a darker hue.

Matthew said...

"but there is something about a certain kind of mid 20th century white culture that for which bland and homogenized are completely appropriate words. Those awful choruses on certain 50s pop records, the most embarassing of which include versions of negro spirituals! This finds it's answering chorus is the paintings of Harry Anderson (shudder). The Mormons seem to particularly like this kind of shit."

A) Huh? That music sold all across the country, not just in Utah. Hell, for the most part it wasn't even being produced in Utah.

B) The producers in the recording studio were far more likely to be ethnic* than the population as a whole. When the awful choruses disappeared, it was often due to producers in decidedly Anglo-Saxon regions of the country. You're more likely to find that shit on a Simon & Garfunkel album than an Elvis Presley album. One reason the album from Simon & Garfunkel's concert in Central Park is so popular is that it got rid of all the choruses added on their studio albums.

* Even the term "ethnic," used in modern times, is an attack on Anglo-Saxon whites (and often Norethwest European whites in general) - it implies we have no ethnicity and thus no culture to add to this country - as though it weren't mostly built on our culture.

Anonymous said...

the best drugs are white

Dave Pinsen said...

Vanilla is versatile. You get vanilla ice cream and you can tastily blend it with anything from berries to brandy to espresso. A couple of gay entrepreneurs in New York built a thriving business off of adding exotic toppings to vanilla soft serve.

Anonymous said...

White people can be really creative and colourful, and yield nothing to any other racial or ethnic group, but there is something about a certain kind of mid 20th century white culture that for which bland and homogenized are completely appropriate words. Those awful choruses on certain 50s pop records, the most embarassing of which include versions of negro spirituals! This finds it's answering chorus is the paintings of Harry Anderson (shudder).

The Mormons seem to particularly like this kind of shit.


You might be thinking of the more colorful and expressive artistic culture of southern or Latin Europe. WASP American culture, of which the Mormons are an offshoot, is pretty bland and homogenized relative to the more expressive culture of Latin Europe.

Anonymous said...

Good article, Steve. I didn't know the background history to white bread and food products. It makes sense. I remember even as a kid how any mold growth on bright white bread was so immediately noticeable. You couldn't miss it. Less so with brown bread. It's less of a problem now since everyone has fridges, but I imagine it was a bigger problem back when there were fewer fridges.

Black Sea said...

I don't eat much white bread because I was raised to see it as unhealthy, but the thing some people may not get about white bread is that with certain foods, you don't want the flavor of the bread competing with the flavor of the stuff inside.

Barbeque is a perfect example. Barbecue on whole wheat buns doesn't taste as good because the flavor of the bun gets in the way of the flavor of the barbecue, which is what you're after.

For a similar reason, I like tofu in Chinese food; it adds texture, but doesn't compete with the other flavors. And of course, with Chinese food I prefer white rice. There are times when white bread, white rice, etc. work best.

Anonymous said...

Mayo and mustard are both good. You can put both in a sandwich.

Anonymous said...

You're more likely to find that shit on a Simon & Garfunkel album than an Elvis Presley album. One reason the album from Simon & Garfunkel's concert in Central Park is so popular is that it got rid of all the choruses added on their studio albums.

I think he's talking about those cheesy 50s pop songs. S&G were more of a 60s act and they were folk rock.

Anonymous said...

Vanilla is versatile. You get vanilla ice cream and you can tastily blend it with anything from berries to brandy to espresso. A couple of gay entrepreneurs in New York built a thriving business off of adding exotic toppings to vanilla soft serve.

You sound a bit vers yourself.

Anonymous said...

Surprised you didn't do a post on this (or maybe I missed it). Stewart dedicates a short skit to the idea that Jesus was not white because he was Jewish, it ends with Jessica Williams saying "Jews are white now, so congratulations Jon" - starts around 7:10 - http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/thu-december-12-2013-evangeline-lilly

Anonymous said...

Honey is brown and beer is yellow but no one complains.

Crappy honey is brown. Back in the day, white honey was the expensive stuff.

Anonymous said...

A couple of gay entrepreneurs in New York built a thriving business off of adding exotic toppings to vanilla soft serve.

Oh boy! That makes the extruded goo of vanilla soft serve so hip and happenin'. Just put it in that styrofoam cone and we'll be all set!

Anonymous said...

I remember back in the day when my grandmother would host her bridge club she would prepare these little Benedictine sandwiches, triangles of white bread with the crusts trimmed filled with a dyed green cucumber and cream cheese filling. The things didn't taste like much but they had a spectacular appearance on the plate.

Hankinshaw said...

Ref your grandfather-in-law's dark enlightenment in the ice cream factory (and the buggy look of quinoa for that matter), there is still almost complete public ignorance about what red food colouring is made of (and how widely it is used in yellow etc foods as well as red ones).

Anonymous said...

Could beer be piss? No one asks. They just drink cuz it's good.

Not everyone. Remember the "Corona beer has piss in it" rumor back in the 80s?

Anonymous said...

Before the 1920s whites had ethnicities. So mayonnaise to Ashkenazi Jews meant shedding their Eastern European heritage in favor of what they regarded at the time as American. Mayonnaise is ironically is as Mediterranean as Israel. While claimed by Mayorca, I have to assume that at some point an ancient Israeli mixed a raw egg with olive oil and mixed them creating mayonnaise. Ethnicity may be returning to Whites with all the new immigration.

Rifleman said...

...how "white bread," "vanilla," and the like became ethnic epithets.

And yet vanilla is not white. Vanilla pods and paste are brown and the seeds are black.

Anony Mouse said...

I remember hearing that when Unilever bought Haagen Dasz, HD was using vanilla flavoring that cost hundreds of dollars a gallon. Unilever decided to cut costs by replacing it with a cheaper flavoring. Sales plummeted and angry letters poured in. They went back to the old flavoring.

By the way, fellow vanilla fiends. Penzey's double strength vanilla extract is phenomenal. It makes ice creams and cakes and puddings like no other.

Anonymous said...

"White people can be really creative and colourful, and yield nothing to any other racial or ethnic group, but there is something about a certain kind of mid 20th century white culture that for which bland and homogenized are completely appropriate words."

And there's elevator music.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__tm_j8FPl0

I like elevator music sometimes. In the 70s there were radio stations devoted to that stuff. And in the 60s, there were lots of elevator music albums of famous tunes.

In Jazz, there is Kenny G and smooth Jazz. G-rated.

Japanese overly 'refine' a lot of stuff into generic pleasantness.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oceOkcd18dA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxgdRDnpE68

And J-pop can be very plastic.

French have a way turning everything into air, distilling the spirit but discarding the substance, which is why French pop can sound thin and slight.

Michel Legrand is an interesting case. It's somewhere in the borderline between brilliance and elevator music.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZItqx5dKZE

But if any people can be trusted to turn anything into messy crazy muck, it's the hindus. They currify everything.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5ky5ClIjL8







Chubby Ape said...

Anonymous said...
the best drugs are white


Well the most lethal ones are: cocaine, heroin, the various things produced in labs. that's the dark side of whiteness and purity I suppose.

sunbeam said...

Thursday wrote:

"White people can be really creative and colourful, and yield nothing to any other racial or ethnic group, but there is something about a certain kind of mid 20th century white culture that for which bland and homogenized are completely appropriate words. Those awful choruses on certain 50s pop records, the most embarassing of which include versions of negro spirituals! This finds it's answering chorus is the paintings of Harry Anderson (shudder).

The Mormons seem to particularly like this kind of shit."

Hmmm:

1) I'm not real sure I know what you are talking about. Perhaps you might give me an example? Additionally someone below mentioned a Simon & Garfunkel concert in Central Park. I've never listened to this, so I don't know what's different from the radio or album versions.

2) While I'm not sure what you are talking about, I think I like it. And the fact that I don't exactly know what you are talking about doesn't matter.

Because you see I stand at the Center of the Universe. I'm looking around me right now. I don't see you.

Therefore there must be something horribly, horribly wrong with your tastes and opinions.

See how that works?

Now if you could give me some specific examples of what you are talking about, I'd be interested. I like that sort of thing.

Who knows? I might change my opinion to match yours, then you might be blessed by the gods.

Gene Berman said...

Matthew:

Camping in the Pine Barrens (So NJ--mid-'50s), I was tasked with building a fire and heating some canned soup while my friends hunted (snakes).

Coming back to the site, my friend Homer observed me stirring with my finger and yelled, "get your dirty finger out of that soup!"

Withdrawing my hand from the pot, I held up both arms, dirty and soot-blackened, showing, indeed, that, "see--my finger isn't even a little bit dirty!"

Gene Berman said...

When I was young (born 1936), it was a fairly common saying, "you have to eat a peck of dirt before you die."

Anonymous said...

"You're more likely to find that shit on a Simon & Garfunkel album than an Elvis Presley album."

The problem isn't soft light music if it's sincere and true to the source.
No one's complaining of 'Yesterday' , 'Sad Memories', 'God Only Knows', 'Sunday Morning', 'Norwegian Wood', or etc. They were meant to be gentle and were written from the heart. Even Stones sometimes sang soft songs like 'Lady Jane'. And Smoky Robinson could be light and smooth.

The problem is when something light wasn't so much created from the heart but processed and refined like sugar or cotton candy for mass consumption. It's the difference between light and slight.
It's esp jarring when something essentially rough and brash is rendered this way. Pat Boone did this to rock and roll... though he later parodied himself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASOEIPrYj50

Worse, this can be done to stuff that is already light and 'inoffensive'.

http://youtu.be/LRmF2vjzUxI

I mean what's the point?

-------

But when it comes to ideas, no one is more 'white bread' than libs and mainstream cons.

Gladwell is the Kenny G of ideas.
Cons try to remove anything that might be labeled as 'racist' and now even 'homophobic'. Rich Lowry is G-rated conservatism. David Brooks is vanilla con, and Libs certainly prefer him to Sailer and Derbyshire who give them mental diarrhea. "OH MY GOD, WHAT DID I JUST REAT? IT'S SOOOOOOOOO RACIST!!AHHHHHH!!"

http://youtu.be/maRvfNrntfk?t=1m34s

I guess Chua's latest book has too much peppers and garlic. It's messing lib mental digestive system that is allergic to any 'hate' spice. Waiter, there's hate in my soup!

For 'diversity' to work, diverse peoples must agree on common ideas or have common enemies, and this necessitates the suppression or filtering/refining of any ideas that might undermine the anti-white enterprise. So, to be anti-white bread racially, the 'left' has to be white bread ideologically, e.g. everyone to agree that homo is about the happy rainbow and not about fecal penetration. Homo is the new white bread or at least buns.

Jews used to part of the rise of the unmeltable ethnics with their strong stink. Today, they are trying to deodorize the culture of ant idea or attitude that might be 'noxious' or 'odious' or 'toxic'.
Everything has to be wholesome bagel and cream cheese. Kosher. (Jews began the process bleeding the animal of red blood and rendering it pale and light; we are being kosherized today, bled of our sense blood-and-soil essence thouGh Jews keep their own blood red).
If you don't support 'gay marriage', you are said to be 'less evolved', i.e. more apelike and crude and unclean and vulgar.
Homo is the new 1950s father-knows-best wholesomeness, which is why Paglia bemoans the loss of edge in the homo community which once used to stand for more rebellion and freedom. Today, homo power is all about OBEY US OR WE WILL DESTROY YOU SINCE WE HAVE POWERFUL JEWS ON OUR SIDE. "You better gimme your lunch money or I will have my big brother beat you up."

Mike Royko was the last man.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2506&dat=19871019&id=kcFJAAAAIBAJ&sjid=7AoNAAAAIBAJ&pg=4391,6539871

Anonymous said...

The first Polish spacecraft was put into orbit with two astronauts. One of them took a space walk to repair something on the exterior of the spacecraft. When he was done he knocked on the airlock's inner door. And the other Pollack asked, "Who's there?"

Anononymous said...

Those weren't raisins.

dearieme said...


White people are pinko-grey, being pinkish in summer and greyish in winter. So they should breakfast on porridge in winter and smoked salmon in summer. Simples!

anony-mouse said...

Sorry Steve, its not just Jews.

From the Urban Dictionary:

Mangiacake: Translation: 'cake eater' A derogatory term used by blue collar Italo-Canadians used to describe commercialized middle-class WASPS. Italo-Canadians would view the typical diet of fellow WASP workers to be based on refined flour and sugar.

I suspect there are other examples.

You should get out more.

Anononymous said...

Vanilla is from tropical Aztecs, called tlilxochitl, and therefore exotic.

Anonymous said...

Food tends to become racially associated.

A school got in trouble for serving fried chicken in honor of MLK.

Rice and Asians comment can be seen as 'racist'.

Mexican beaners can take taco/beans comments the wrong way.

Mr Potter called Italians 'garlic eaters'.

Before sushi became popular, there were lots of jokes about Japanese eating raw fish.

There's still dog-eating jokes, but maybe American will eat dogs too--HEY, IT'S DIVERSE!!--and those jokes will go away.

Hindus get tagged with curry smell. And some hindus really need to go easy on that stuff.

For all the celebration of diversity, people like wasp odorlessness when it comes to the body. The white bread odor. Having lived in a housing project where negro onions, hindu curry, korean kim chee, polish smoked herring, mexican peppers, etc all competed with one another--sometimes in the elevator--I know why.
One time, this old hindi lady blew a fart in the elevator, and people were gagging and about to go nuts. A negress was losing her mind and laughing hysterically, a white guy's face was turning green, and I thought I might throw up. I don't now what she ate but it violated the geneva treaty on poison gas.

When I was in elementary school, fish was always served on friday even though it was a public school. I wonder if that's still done.

From my experience, no one is more sensitive to odors than homos. At the video place I used to work at, one homo employee would be so fussy wussy and comment on how the customers smelled. He had the sensitive vampire nose in Twilight.

http://youtu.be/87S9-0uSfwo

But Bella smells like vanilla.

slumber_j said...

It's a good thing I'm all in favor of Steve Sailer's being thoroughly preoccupied by something. If I weren't, I might question an offhand reference to the Gülen people in the piece at Taki's.

But in general, it's a good thing for him to be obsessed--and it almost doesn't matter what the obsession is. A full-on iSteve fascination acts as a sort of mental subsidy to his writing: it means we get more of it.

Anonymous said...

As always, an original and thought provoking analysis. I have to add that for several years after a brief stint working in a meat packing plant I was unable to even think about eating such "white" American staples as hot dogs and sliced bologna. Bismark was right about laws and sausages. (It's amazing how few people realize that meat inspectors are paid by the factory not the USDA and that a too conscientious inspector may wind up collecting unemployment while he recovers from a really bad meat hook wound!) I think that the further people are from the food source the more comfortable they are eating. An anthropologist friend once told me that the best way to down an exotic food was not to think or speculate from whence it derived. He actually developed a taste for fried grubs in Africa and thinks he may have sampled human flesh on one or two occassions in other locales.

Titus Didius Tacitus said...

Yeah, it doesn't get more trite and flavorless than pre-diversity 1950s white pop. Who could possibly like Chet Atkins, in retrospect?

Chet Atkins - Mr. Sandman (TV 1954)

Gene Berman said...

My Dad (from 1932), in Ag Dept (and later FDA) developed test methods for heavy metals (arsenic, antimony, selenium, etc.) in foodstuffs and medicines.

I was quite young (< 10) when
he cautioned me not to use hot tap water in preparation of anything to eat or drink: hot water leached infinitesimal amounts of heavy metals from pipes and, over time, could cause heavy metal poisoning.
When 11, I observed a friend--a couple years older--using hot water in just such manner--and explained the danger to him. He was a bright guy (later to become an orthopedic surgeon)--I thought he'd gotten the message and so, forgot about the incident.

We remained friends over the years (and still) though he settled and raised his family at the opposite end of the country. Meeting at a midwest NCAA event, I was shocked to find he suffered (greatly) from "heavy metal poisoning," origin unknown. When I recalled (to him) my warning so long ago, he quite remembered--but had continued use of hot tap water (even up to that very time).

Gene Berman said...

Anonymous said:

"Mayo and mustard are both good. You can put both in a sandwich."

All I can say, Anonymous, is that if you think that's good, you oughtta
try stickin' some ham and cheese (or even a burger) in there! Remarkable the good stuff you can learn here on iSteve!

Anonymous said...

Lol. Vanilla is a superb flavor.

This is true. Of course the vanilla bean is black. One could even say that whites have stolen the essence of a black plant and reappropriated it into a more pleasing to whites color.

Kinda like how whites steal the essence of black music and repackage and dilute it into a white form.

zolf said...

wonder bread is just a lower class thing for all races. you'll see it as the main bread in poor white and Mexican areas too. In mexico proper wheat bread is very rare.

I never liked white bread, pasta, or rice, lucky for me when people realized how bad this was.

The strangest common food phobia must be a complete dislike of all fish and seafood.

pat said...

I was meditating on recent culinary trends just yesterday. But not about white bread and mayonnaise but about peppers.

Back when drive-ins like MacDonald's, Burger King and Jack-in-the-Box first emerged, all their offering were bland. A burger with mustard was about the strongest entrée they served, And even so the mustard had almost no real mustard flavor. The bun was soft, the beef was well done, and the flavor was bland.

But now it seems that all fast food menus have at least one item that includes 'chipotle' (whatever that is). About half of all burgers, especially chicken burgers, will be described as 'spicy'.

I think this is a Mexican influence. Old World peppers are out, New World peppers are in.

Albertosaurus

el supremo said...

This is an interesting article on the rise of "white bread" making in the postwar era, and its connections with industrial production, mass retail, and WWII and Cold War food policy.

http://www.believermag.com/issues/201202/?read=article_bobrow-strain

Interestingly, suburbanites didn't think much of the white bread they were being equated with, with 60 and 75 percent of people in the famous Rockford survey having problems with Wonder-bread type products in the 50s.

Also the fluffiness of "white bread" came about due to its being wrapped in plastic and shipped a long way away - once people bought from supermarkets as opposed from bakeries, bread was wrapped in plastic and squeezing it was the way people tested if it was fresh.

Apparently mid-century white bread is one of the best selling products in Mexico

a very knowing American said...

In a lot of Central and Eastern Europe, everyday bread is rye, and white bread, made with wheat, is special. White flour, requiring more processing, used to be more expensive than whole wheat -- literally more refined. Among Jews back in the old country, white flour is part of what made bagels a special treat. The rye or pumpernickel bagels you get in Einstein's Bagels nowadays would have been an abomination.

If bread is your main source of calories, and you have to get through half a loaf or more a day, it's easier with white bread. In Germany there used to be some nationalist and protectionist sentiment that white bread is lah-dih-dah and French, while a good patriotic German should be content with rye. You get something similar with the Scots and oatmeal. (Oats: 'a grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people' according to Samuel Johnson.)

Gubbler of the Society of Reformed Chechenistics said...

"As always, white guilt is about your ancestors being too ethnocentric, while Jewish guilt is about you not being ethnocentric enough for your ancestors."

Wasp: "Oh my, we cheated to win. Shame."

Jew: "Oy vey, we didn't cheat enough to win more. Schame."

Anonymous said...

http://youtu.be/GP1KHL0j0GU

Sandler is somthing of an oddity as a 'tough Jew'.

Usually, Jews are physically intimidated by wasps and rely on wit and vulgarity to win.

Sandler is like blue collar tough Jew who can kick any ass.
He's a one-man walking/talking IDF machine.

http://youtu.be/qUKBDcMN7tg

Anonymous said...

To Thursday:

The reason the 50s were "bland" was because the country had lived through the depression and WWII and everyone was desperate for an idealized domesticity. When I reflect on what my grandparents experienced, I understand completely why they more or less demanded that everything had a smooth surface whether we are discussing music or human relations.

Anonymous said...

http://youtu.be/zAWn4FO1MOw

One of biggest hits of 70 in UK.

Explains a lot.

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.indiewire.com/criticwire/new-york-film-critics-circle-to-vote-on-armond-whites-expulsion

Hahaha. Liberal NY Jews wondering if they should expel a loud aggressive Negro from their organization.

Stop and frisk the dude.

They bitch about racial stereotypes but are living up to them.

Pushy Jews may scare wasps, but loud Negroes horrify Jews(except when blacks are hollering at whites).

as said...

"Meshugene Men"

Jewish Mad Men sell Mayo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgztF8Fp160

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.indiewire.com/criticwire/armond-white-steve-mcqueen-harry-belafonte-new-york-film-critics-circle

"And then there was Best Director, which was awarded to 12 Years a Slave's Steve McQueen. To present the award, the NYFCC tapped Harry Belafonte, who took the stage to a standing ovation led by the Fruitvale Station table. Belafonte began by evoking the malign impact of D.W. Griffith's racist masterpiece The Birth of a Nation, and then the film history turned personal. He recalled seeing Johnny Weissmuller's Tarzan movies as a child, watching this beautiful white man swing through the jungle, over which he seemed to have complete mastery, while its dark-skinned native inhabitants were depicted as savage and crude. "I was five when I saw Tarzan of the Apes," Belafonte said, "and the one thing I never wanted to be after I saw that film was an African." (Belafonte's speech can be read in full here, and listen to it here.)

12 Years a Slave, Belafonte said, made him "proud to be an African." But Armond White, who was seated at the back of the room, evidently disagreed. From where I sat, I heard a few loud noises as Belafonte and McQueen spoke, and given White's history of disrupting the awards and his well-documented antipathy towards 12 Years a Slave, I assumed he was the responsible party. But it wasn't until I touched base with colleagues who were at or near White's table that I was able to discern what he and his guests had been yelling. Variety reported that White yelled, "You're an embarrassing doorman and garbage man! Fuck you! Kiss my ass." I was told by several parties that White also yelled out, "White liberal bullshit!"

------

How does belafonte feel about rap music? or interracist porn that agrees with BIRTH OF A NATION that negores only wanna hump white chicks?

And Jewish Hollywood made all those Tarzan movies.

Is White the Tommy Sotomayor of film criticism?

Even though a afrocentrist, he seems to have no use for wiberal pieties.

He seems to see thru Jewish and white wiberal pieties that absolve themselves while conveniently tagging all the blame on conservatives.
So, he's allergic to white wibweal self-flattery by honoring 12 Yrs.

Anonymous said...

Even before sliced and packed bread, European visitors to America were struck by American white bread. In Europe, white bread was yellowish-brownish but in America it was white as paper (and about as tasty). I am talking about late 19 century.

By the way, I don't consider Wonderbread and its ilk a real bread. They are not edible straight out of the package but have to be toasted first. This makes them not bread but a kind of semi-prepared dough.

Thursday said...

You might be thinking of the more colorful and expressive artistic culture of southern or Latin Europe. WASP American culture, of which the Mormons are an offshoot, is pretty bland and homogenized relative to the more expressive culture of Latin Europe.

WASP American culture includes Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Walt Whitman. Heck the puritans in England included people like William Tyndale and John Milton. Heck, Scotch Presbyterianism produced Robbie Burns and Thomas Carlyle. Bland they were not. Other explanations for the shittiness of mid 20th century WASPishness must be sought.

Thursday said...

You're more likely to find that shit on a Simon & Garfunkel album than an Elvis Presley album.

There's an awful lot of Elvis with shitty choruses backing him.

Anonymous said...

http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/01/07/these_70_year_old_nazi_hunters_just_took_on_frances_most_hated_comedian_and_won#sthash.G7XRCzVk.dDberXCf.dpbs

Uh oh, Jews having problem with diversity. The Armond White is nothing compared to this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieudonn%C3%A9_M'bala_M'bala

Anonymous said...

I don't eat much white bread because I was raised to see it as unhealthy, but the thing some people may not get about white bread is that with certain foods, you don't want the flavor of the bread competing with the flavor of the stuff inside.

It's not so much about not competing with "the stuff inside" - that wouldn't explain why people can enjoy baguettes with no filling, barely any spread.

It's about not competing with the roasted flavors that come from the heating process, and with the yeast flavors from fermenting, and how these elements come through more with refined flours.

Now, you can say "Not competing with the flavor of the stuff inside" but that's generally true of Wonder Bread (or the ubiquitous Chinese bakery Asian Sugar Dough that has basically the same recipe as Wonder Bread to no condemnation from any of the ethnic comics who find Wonder Bread risible).

DR said...

"the best drugs are white"

Which brings up an interesting question. Why did white people have such a tepid appetite for marijuana pre-1960? When marijuana was actually legal and widely available the only groups that seem to have affinity for it were Mexicans and blacks. Laudanum was pretty much the drug of choice for proper whites.

Then some time in the 60s white people decided that they actually loved smoking weed. So much so that marijuana has become a staple along with microbews and organic food among NPR-listening, Brooklyn-dwelling SWPLs.

A related personal observation is that many Jewish people tend to prefer marijuana over alcohol. Whereas WASPs are infamous for loving the sauce. I'd attribute this at least partially to the fact that Jews seem to get nauseous at lower alcohol thresholds. The decline of WASPs at institutions relative to Jews maybe led to a shift at Harvard, and later broadly across educated white culture.

Matra said...

So the people who ranked mustard above mayonnaise did they actually put the former on a turkey or chicken sandwich? Surely not. This is where good old fashioned butter is better. It works with every type of sandwich.

“After what I saw today, never eat any flavor of ice cream other than vanilla.”

A couple of years ago a Guinness employee I'm acquainted with made a similar remark about "the black stuff".

Harry Baldwin said...

In his latest book, "Whiter Shades of Pale," Christian Lander has an entry on whole wheat bread and how it's a virtual sacrament for SWPLs.

Gene Berman said...

Other white foods:

Most fish, lobster, crab, clams (oysters are pretty white, too)

Cauliflower, Potato, Radish (only the outside is red), eggs ('cept
for the yolk), milk, butter (it's made yellow by coloring), salt, sugar, garlic, mushrooms, lard,
marshmallow, farina, spaghett (and
other pasta), apples and pears, some onion varieties, coconut, macadamia nuts, cottage and farmer cheese,(and the part of bleu cheese that ain't blue).

And I guess you might add snow (and, if the snow's yellow, you prolly shouldn't eat it).

Handle said...

I was kind of surprised you didn't mention some of the other sanitary-signalling uses of whiteness that are generally accepted and not forming the butt of jokes or slurs.

Consider:
1. Gleaming white porcelain in sinks and toilets.
2. Kitchen appliance and table-tops in the pre-chrome, pre-granite era.
3. Medical lab coats, nurse uniforms / masks.
4. Institutional paint jobs.

The desire to immediately recognize something as bleach-clean and healthy is deeply embedded in human preferences. How about bright-white teeth?

It goes beyond white foods.

Also - on Jews and mayonnaise. Central and Eastern European Jewish immigrants often used dollops of bright white sour cream as a kind of flavoring 'sauce', and then there's cream cheese.

Personally, I prefer the dill or other herb-infused mayonnaises you sometimes get in Holland with your fries.

Anonymous said...

This is OT, but I had to mention it. I was listening to Rush today, and he blew my mind by allowing a caller to discuss some iSteve-type topics on immigration. Usually on these types of forums, people are allowed to say they are for legal immigration, but against the illegal kind. They love immigrants because they are hardworking, family values, blah, blah, blah.

But this woman called and immediately brought up that Americans are being replaced, and that our culture is being changed. She sounded more HBD. But Rush actually let her talk, did not cut her off, or denounce her.

Here is the transcript of the call if you are interested. Rush has even entitled it, "It's not your culture anymore, Americans".

stari_momak said...

American cheese is gross, wonder type bread is gross. But put them together and toss them under the broiler, and there is nothing better. Add a thin slice of tomato under the cheese for an even better experience.

stari_momak said...

"White people can be really creative and colourful, and yield nothing to any other racial or ethnic group, but there is something about a certain kind of mid 20th century white culture that for which bland and homogenized are completely appropriate words. “

I suppose in some areas-- like food. I’m still a fan of certain ‘can of soup’ recipes though. Green bean casserole with canned Campbells mushroom soup and canned durkee fried unions cannot be beat. Ambrosia -- you know, canned fruit cocktail, bagged shredded coconut, and mini marshmallows. How can you top that! (Well, actually I brown the coconut a bit for mine, and use ‘all juice’ fruit cocktail.

stari_momak said...

Speaking of white -- how about Pan Bimbo! Yet another great Mexican import.

Anthony said...

OT: Beeb admits they censored immigration debate.

Anonymous said...

Ground tobacco, coffee, and tea are black or brown, but no one ever seemed to care. And hot cocoa too.

I think Occam's Razor is best. White bread came to favored cuz it tastes good. Same with vanilla ice cream.

White can be aesthetically pleasing on some food, but brown has its appeal too. We want white on the inside but we want it brown and crusty on the outside.
And most pies are brown, not white. And there are dark and yellow cakes, all very popular. And always were.

And sausage and hotdogs were always popular though they weren't white and one could never be sure what was in them.

Anonymous said...

There is the Anglo factor. English food was more boring and less colorful than Italian, French, Spanish, Greek, and etc.

English also didn't eat stuff like squid and octopus which are good. Greek fried kalamari, mmmmm.

Anonymous said...

"WASP American culture includes Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Walt Whitman. Heck the puritans in England included people like William Tyndale and John Milton. Heck, Scotch Presbyterianism produced Robbie Burns and Thomas Carlyle. Bland they were not. Other explanations for the shittiness of mid 20th century WASPishness must be sought."

Not bland but not exciting. I accept that Henry James was a great writer, but it took me nearly 3 yrs to finish PORTRAIT OF A LADY. It was like eating oatmeal. Maybe it's nutritious and good for you, but but but... it's not Babette's Feast of a book.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvNifgj_dv4

Wasp culture could be serious and substantive, but it was lacking in 'flavor', which is why Anglos and Americans lagged in music in Europe... that is until Ameican Anglos and Anglo-Anglos began to get ideas from jazzy and rocking Negroes.
Maybe other Europeans a bit more immune to Rock culture cuz they have flavorful cultures of their own.

Mark Twain was flavorful and fun to read, but he took inspiration from the illiterates who made up their own lingo and slangs away from the official centers of culture. They were forced to be crudely creative cuz they weren't learned all the proper ways of speaking.

It's understandable why Pauline Kael loved BONNIE & CLYDE. When she grew up, there were two forces that said culture had to be good--morally nutritious--for you. Catholics and Conservatives saw culture as moral lessons and the 'best of tradition', and the Left saw culture as 'save the world' and 'workers of the world' sermonizing. So, she became allergic to the idea of culture as a serious moral lesson that is good for you.
It's like we hate 'food nazis' who tell us we shouldn't eat this or that cuz it's too sugary, too fatty, too spicy, too whatever. Mike Royko used to write columns along that line all the time. (Maybe he should have listened to the advice.)
We wanna be left alone to enjoy the flavors. We don't wanna hear food nazis telling us that everything that tastes good is bad for you, and everything that is boring and bland--boiled this and that(mostly veggies and egg whites)--is good for us. We want food-puritans to get lost.

I think Kael had a similar attitude toward culture. She got tired of moral nazis from the right and left. Though Bonnie and Clyde did come to be embraced by the left, it did anger a lot of traditional liberals, and Bosley Crowther was one of them, a 'save the world' kind(thought not of the far left). Kael championed many violent and sexy films cuz they offered the thrills.

Anonymous said...

But just as too much yummy junk food can really kill you, culture that favors thrills over any moral consideration may also prove to be fatal. The final result of Kaelism is Tarantino who, except for RESERVOIR DOGS, is a horrible influence on culture and morality. Real poison.

So, sometimes, moral nutritionists have a point. But just as food nutritionists can sometimes be wrong and give the wrong kind of advice--like telling people to use transfatty margarine than butter--and actually do more harm than good with their quasi-quackery, moral nutritionists may mean well but could actually be making things worse. Catholic Church's extreme sexual repression actually did more harm. Also, the 'family values' stuff is goo goo stuff, morality as sugar candy passing itself as nutrient. Take the phony Kinkade. 'Rightist moral culture' tends to fall into goo-goo stuff(Kinkade and Disney in the 60s and 70s), libertarian infantilism(ala Southpark), or repressive Christianity. All are moralistic but avoids the truth.

Just like there is nutritional food that tastes good, there is nutritional morality that tackles the darker side of truth.

Anonymous said...

'clean' smell will be the next 'racism'.

if 'white' bread is visually 'racist', then odorlessness is 'whiteness' to the nose.

we must promote multi-odoralism. diverse stinkeroos all over.

give me your huddle masses hands with fish smells, garlic breath, curry reeking armpits, oniony skin, etc.

theo the kraut said...

@steve, a technicality:

you uploaded this image:
http://myquinoanutrition.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Red_quinoa.png

It's oversized and has 2.2 MB--a small one with 10 KB would have been enough. I'm on a mobile connection so I notice the slow down, besides, it eats away at my allotted 5GB/month.

Anonymous said...

"The reason the 50s were "bland" was because the country had lived through the depression and WWII and everyone was desperate for an idealized domesticity."

Maybe. But maybe not. Japan suffered a lot worse from depression and war and defeat, but Japanese society and culture were very exciting in the post war era. It produced lots of interesting writers, film-makers, and activists and fashions and trends.
And Italy went through hell too during WWII(though not as much as Germany and Japan), but Italian culture was very much alive in the 40s and 50s with neorealism and political ferment.

But maybe you do have a point after all but for the wrong reason. Americans went through some hard times but nothing like in other nations. There was continuity of domestic peace from war time to peace time in America. Except for Hawaii, no American territory was hit.

In contrast, much of Europe and Japan had to be rebuilt from scratch, and as they were also losers in the war--every continental European power lost in some way to either Nazis or Allies--, they were forced to ask some hard questions. They could not be complacent.

In contrast, the two big winner nations, US and UK, could feel a big 'smug' about having won the 'good war', thus less need for introspection and examining oneself. They just carried on with their lives, and the 50s were rather calm for them. Also, as their nations were mostly intact--though UK was bombed somewhat--, most people could carry on with the old routines.

But in continental Europe and Japan, people had to rebuild their lives and surroundings in the most literal way, and they had no time to 'settle down' to normalcy.

But once Japan was rebuilt, it did settle down to normalcy. America's 50s came to Japan in the 70s and 80s.
It was totally rebuilt and, with the waning of the Japanese left, the conservatives could rewrite history for younger Japanese in terms of 'pacific war... what?'

Anonymous said...

A couple of gay entrepreneurs in New York built a thriving business off of adding exotic toppings to vanilla soft serve.

2 gay dudes selling creamy white stuff covered with toppings? I'd think twice before eating that stuff.

Anonymous said...

The strangest common food phobia must be a complete dislike of all fish and seafood.

I knew a guy who didn't eat shellfish because they looked like bugs. Which is true as shrimp, lobster, crabs, etc. look exactly like big bugs. I like shellfish, like many people, but the thought of eating bugs grosses me out, like it does most people. I wonder why this is though, since like the guy says, the shellfish just look like big bugs. How come more people aren't grossed out by shellfish as would be predicted by they're being grossed out by bugs?

Matthew said...

"When I reflect on what my grandparents experienced, I understand completely why they more or less demanded that everything had a smooth surface whether we are discussing music or human relations."

We ridicule their soft, sanitized music and television but if we had to live their lives and work their jobs for a week we'd all go out on disability. That was a time when far more people still did physical labor and lacked simple luxuries like central heat and air.

We think we're tough because we work in air conditioned cubicles and listen to metal.

Except for Hawaii, no American territory was hit.

Well if you wanna get technical, several US territories were hit: Guam, Attu, Kiska, and others. The Philippines weren't US, but had been until not long before the war.

Anonymous said...

"The strangest common food phobia must be a complete dislike of all fish and seafood."

I can eat fish but I hate to treat fish cuz their eyes are open. That freaks me out.

I like shellfish but a whole lobster does freak me out cuz it looks like a big bug. Crabs and shrimp don't bother me though.

Anonymous said...

I love Steve and I love most of this article but he's got to let his ethnic certitudes take a rest. They lead him into error.

I grew up ultra orthodox ashkenazi in New York and every Shabbos we ate cold cut sandwhiches with mayo. In fact, as a kid I was convinced that doing so was a Jew thing. Apparently - I was informed, it's actuallly a Hungarian thing such that Jews of Hungarian parentage are likely to enjoy it quite as their former neighbors would.

Of course having Stece explore these awesomely fascinating topics is a gift for us all so I won't fault him the occassional misstep brought upon by painting with too thick a brush

But AGAGIN, everey Jew in my family slathers on the mayo and always kinda assumed it was something of a Jewish Food.


Moshe

www.exoticjewishhistory.com
100% money back guarantee for the audio series.

Anonymous said...

* Even the term "ethnic," used in modern times, is an attack on Anglo-Saxon whites (and often Norethwest European whites in general) - it implies we have no ethnicity and thus no culture to add to this country - as though it weren't mostly built on our culture.

That was one of the implications of the usage of "ethnic." Similar to the usage of "soul" food, music, etc.

Uncle Peregrine said...

" Tarantino who, except for RESERVOIR DOGS, is a horrible influence on culture and morality. Real poison."

I personally enjoy Tarantino, but I was struck by how _Reservoir Dogs_ took the consequences of violence more seriously than any movie I could remember seeing up to that time with one of the characters suffering through the whole movie. None of his other films have been like that.

Uncle Peregrine said...

" Tarantino who, except for RESERVOIR DOGS, is a horrible influence on culture and morality. Real poison."

I personally enjoy Tarantino, but I was struck by how _Reservoir Dogs_ took the consequences of violence more seriously than any movie I could remember seeing up to that time with one of the characters suffering through the whole movie. None of his other films have been like that.

Anonymous said...

"but there is something about a certain kind of mid 20th century white culture"

Yes. It was probably the most adaptive in human history - apart from a fatal weakness to cultural poisoning.

Anonymous said...

Good example of the culture of critique on this thread and how it can be applied to every aspect of the culture being attacked - even food.

sometimes a mayo jar is just a mayo jar said...

For a tart take on the decadent phase of the food-purity crusade I commend this old Alexander Cockburn column. Preachy labeling laws & "organic" fervor are a common indicator of repressed tyrannical urges in the USA's more progressive SuperZIPs.