LOS ANGELES — The public choking deaths of three prominent Los Angeles foodies has prompted an investigation into the trendy movement that celebrates all things edible. Experts and aficionados alike are scratching their heads and wondering if there’s a darker side to the foodie fanaticism that seems to promote at dangerous, even zealous levels of savoring particularly gourmet bites of cuisine for unreasonable amounts of time.
Witnesses at the restaurants where the incidents occurred had similar statements, such as how the victims’ moans of savoring food turned into desperate gasps. “There was a lot of attention being paid to the flavor of the food, and of the other people in the room, but very little attention seemed to be paid to the actual act of eating!” one exasperated, anonymous person told reporters.
“We think some of these people have taken their love of the local restaurant and food culture to such extremes that a public health disaster may be upon us,” said a local city official upon being asked about the recent choking deaths that happened in the span of three hours in one evening.
“Are these dark days for foodies?” a bearded man rhetorically asked himself as he was stopped outside a downtown eatery known for its hip aberrations in what used to be known simply as ‘cafe food’. “I hope not,” he said, shaking his head, “because eating food is like a really serious hobby for me and my friends.” He admitted he had a modest collection of local restaurant menus, some of which are no longer in use, or their particular establishments had closed down.
Downtown LA has been known to inspire many trends that spin off from disturbing local crises, such as the popularity of reading John Keats’s poetry after an outbreak of tuberculosis hit Skid Row. Death and food is surely not going to deter cool people from relishing rare or strange new dishes.
LA Weekly has even been blamed by fringe conservatives who view the foodie culture as nothing more than hipster romanticism over standard parts of our daily lives, like eating.
“If a magazine is going to bend over backward to report on cool food, and how to look while consuming cool food, and in what places to look cool while consuming cool food, then maybe they have a hand in the distraction and confusion that might have had more than a little cause in why these three young food trendsetters died horrible public deaths,” one health official said.
“Scattering one’s awareness in too many directions while eating is taking a risk,” he cautioned.
Gastronomic Epicureans Have Too Much Time On Their Hands? read one headline from a local Fox News affiliate station. “But what else are people supposed to do?” the bearded man asked. “Read the Bible?”
[photo of Pete’s, downtown LA, by dana robinson]