Of Early Birds and Cavemen: The Two Dumbest Hipster Food Trends You'll Read About This Week

This week's Sunday Styles is working a strong theme on food's frontlines: time, like an episode of Lost, is in flux! Because there are some some among us who are eating like OLDS, and some who are eating like cavemen.

Trend Piece Problem #4,079: When you read it and think to yourself, but doesn't everybody act this way in some regard?

Which brings us to Damien Cave's "Newly Frugal Generation Revives Discount Dining," which is about a bunch of young people in Florida who are eating at Early Bird specials! This is funny, because we all know Florida are mostly Jews and Old People and Old Jews and sometimes, The Youngs get mired in these cultures! And now that the economy is fucked, The Youngs are looking to save money, too! Novel, except, not, because the entire idea that there's something worth writing about here is predicated on interest in

The way young people are saving money and
The culture of "Early Bird Dining."

This requires the assumption that young people are saving money differently than anybody else, which they aren't. And the only person who would make that assumption would be an out-of-touch old at the New York Times. The kind who thinks we youngs like to be called "dude," right?

He expected his offer of a 50 percent discount before 6 p.m. to attract the usual crowd of frugal retirees. But word kept spreading, and on most nights now, at least half the tables are filled with young families, singles or hip couples - women in short skirts and men who prefer "dude" to "sir."

Short skirts! Men who go by "dude!" For fuck's sake, next thing you know, they'll be doing the jitterbug and communicating with phones at the table and drinking fizzy drinks!

To Cave's credit, he did get a good piece about the euphemisms restaurant owners are using to call their savings:

In some circles, of course, the early bird still carries a whiff of mothballs, thus the rebranding. When Benihana tried it last summer in South Florida, they called it "twilight dining." At Café Baci in Sarasota, which has also seen more young people lately, they use "early dining." Hudson Riehle, a senior vice president for research at the National Restaurant Association, said other restaurants around the country had tried "afternoon dining" or just ditched the label entirely, using "prix fixe" instead. "The term ‘early bird' may be a little dated from a lexicon standpoint, like ‘doggy bag,' " Mr. Riehle said. "But the concept has been and will continue to be an extremely effective marketing tool for certain restaurants in certain markets."

In New York, we call it "That Chinese Place on the Upper West Side Around 82nd I Think With All The Free Wine" or "The Sushi Joint on Park and 20th With Free Sake," or just "Restaurant Week," etc. Most of our specials involve booze, because we're alcoholics, and Florida drivers are old and terrible, so they probably shouldn't give them free booze, which is an aside from the fact that they're old. There. Trend piece. But the different ways that people have been saving money over the last two years has been covered. A lot. People will save wherever they can. Bottom line. Find me a trend of people trying intently not to save. I'd enjoy that. Or the endlessly clickable "Cheap Eats" issues/posts by NY Mag or Time Out or wherever. Those too.

Trend Piece Problem #4,080: When you read it and think to yourself, please, please, do not let the rest of the country think that there are more people acting this way than this person has managed to find for this article.

Ask yourself:

In their respective realm, what's the only thing worse than an overzealous vegetarian?

If you answered "an overzealous carnivore," you're correct.

The one thing that Mr. Durant worries might spook a female guest is his most recent purchase: a three-foot-tall refrigerated meat locker that sits in a corner of his living room. That is where he keeps his organ meat and deer ribs. Mr. Durant, 26, who works in online advertising, is part of a small New York subculture whose members seek good health through a selective return to the habits of their Paleolithic ancestors.

Or as he and some of his friends describe themselves, they are cavemen.

In. Deed. As far as trend pieces go, however, this is awesome, because it's not really a trend piece insomuch as you'd have to be out of your fucking mind to think anybody else besides a few really ridiculous people are doing it, but it also gives you pause, as if to say, this could become a trend. Basically, it goes like this:

1. They buy a lot of meat in bulk.
2. They eat it, sometimes raw,
3. And then fast for a few days.
4. They're also these kinds of people:

Mr. Taleb, who rejects the label "caveman" in favor of "paleo," avoids offices (including his own) as much as he can. He prefers to think on the go. Dressed in a tweed coat and Italian loafers, this paleo man is a flâneur, sometimes walking miles a day, ranging from SoHo to 86th Street.

[...]

"I like New York, but it's hard to sit in a Midtown office all day," said Ms. McEwen, a slim brunette, who prefers the term "hunter-gatherer" to describe her lifestyle.

[...]

Upon visiting Mr. Durant's apartment for the first time, in August, Mr. Averbukh scowled at a tomato plant on his host's roof deck. "Cavemen don't eat nightshades," Mr. Averbukh, 29, said.

I prefer the term "handsome" over "zaftig" but you don't see me correcting people. Also, I'm confused: this guy's trying to call himself "paleo" while dressed in Italian loafers? Does that make me in my Sambas a woolly mammoth? Also, everyone in New York is a hunter-gatherer, you obviously haven't been shopping at Whole Foods in a good minute. Anybody who condescends a tomato as a nightshade should automatically be held in lower regard than the tomato.

Of Early Birds and Cavemen: The Two Dumbest Hipster Food Trends You'll Read About This Week

Why can't people just have complex views about food without resorting to extremist ideas that both fit as fashions and act as cure-all's for the health of America? Eating and nutrition are complex algorithms to get right! Michael Pollan knows this, because he wrote a great book with a great mantra—Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.— that stood in the middle. And guess what happened? He heard from every asshole with a fully organic nightshade garden or a meat locker of terror in their brownstone because he wasn't on one side or the other:

The adverb "mostly" has been the most controversial. It makes everybody unhappy. The meat people are really upset I'm taking a swipe at meat eating, and the vegetarians are saying, "What's with the ‘mostly?' Why not go all the way?" You can't please everyone. In a way that little word is the most important. It's not all or nothing. Mostly. It's about degree.

Correct. And extremists in any regard, but especially food, often have some pretty good ideas somewhere buried under all that self-convincing rhetoric! But they're almost always (mostly) assholes. And wrong.