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Paula Deen feuds with Anthony Bourdain: gourmet elitism?

Aficionado Anthony Bourdain attacked fellow-foodie Paula Deen. Deen fought back, and what she said just might reveal a lot about high food culture.

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Though the celebrity chefs have never met, Anthony Bourdain took aim at Paula Deen in an interview for this week's TV Guide, calling her the "most dangerous person to America" and proud of the fact that her food is "bad for you." Deen's retort revealed a lot.

The Food Network hostess remarked that unlike Bourdain, she and her colleagues give "time and money to help the food-deprived, sick children and abandoned animals."

"You know, not everybody can afford to pay $58 for prime rib or $650 for a bottle of wine," she said.

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It seemed like Deen was labeling Bourdain a member of an elitist group that has lost touch with the average consumer. In addition, it seemed like she was echoing an opinion that has floated around the proletariat kitchens of the world for centuries: that gourmet chefs think the more expensive a thing is, the better it will taste.

"It has always been crucial to the gourmet's pleasure that he eat in ways the mainstream cannot afford," writes B. R. Myers in the Atlantic, "For hundreds of years this meant consuming enormous quantities of meat."


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