The book deal Anthony Bourdain forged with Marilyn Hagert bore fruit on August 27 when an anthology of her newspaper columns, Grand Forks, a History of American Dining in 128 Reviews, was released by Bourdain’s imprint at Ecco Press.
I still have no desire to read it, but I caught online last week this clip of Hagerty doing the Today Show.
Only in a galaxy far, far away would an author publishing 30-year-old material be getting even a nanosecond of air time on any national talk show. Indeed, during Hagerty’s interview, they flashed several pics of Bourdain, looking fetching, as if to explain why they were letting this relative nobody fill space between their commercial breaks.
But it was while Matt and Savannah had Marilyn taste and give a spot review on the latest NYC foodie obsession, the cronut, which Marilyn pronounced “chewy,” that it suddenly occurred to me…
In spite of all the attention she’s gotten from Bourdain and the foodie elite since her review of Olive Garden went viral, Marilyn Hagerty was, and always will be, an UnFoodie!
She eats at Taco Bell and McDonald’s. She eats things out of cans. She probably eats cheese slices wrapped in cellophane. And her readers do likewise. And they enjoy it.
In other words, like most of us, Marilyn Hagerty eats to live, she doesn’t live to eat.
As I watched Marilyn hold her own against that pair of New York sophisticates, possibly not even realizing she was defanging them with her innate civility and common sense, I felt great admiration for her.
In the airless, jaded realm of food worship, where the grosser and scarcer a thing is, the more tasty it must be, Marilyn Hagerty speaks with a clear voice for the goodness of a meatloaf made with ketchup and cheap hamburger.
(Yeah, I know Bourdain’s been saying pretty much the same thing while flogging her book, but somehow it rings hollow coming out of his ortolon-tainted mouth. I, on the other hand, have no dog in this fight.)
The plain food we UnFoodies eat is OK, too. Sometimes it’s even tasty. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We shouldn’t feel bad about being grossed out by bugs and animal guts. It’s OK if our cheese is wrapped in plastic so it doesn’t get moldy.
Marilyn, you go, girl!