Hipsters, gluten and food snobbery

I’m not 100% sure what a hipster is, but it appears to involve multiple tattoos and skinny jeans and possibly an unruly beard and maybe implanting one of those black Polo-mint-shaped earrings through which you can see daylight into a stretched lobe and drinking the limited edition output of microbreweries.

Hipsters appear to irritate normally level-minded people, and sneering at them has become socially acceptable; from my seat, the more right-on and left-wing you are, the more sneering you do, which seems strange.

Apparently many of them now hate gluten as much as they do shaving and regular ear shapes, which makes them sitting ducks for everything from actual abuse to jokes and pisstakery galore. (Examples of the latter only.)



Coeliacs are playing along too. Increasing numbers are taking to disclaiming hipsterdom to reinforce their medical intolerance to gluten.



With all the anti-glutenising self-proclaimed wellness experts opining on the interweb these days, it seems odd to me that a relatively harmless assortment of young people appear to be on the receiving end of the flak, and even blame, for GF’s trendy status. But we live in a time when it is acceptable to criticise others for what they put into their mouths, and I guess it’s much more fun to mock a hipster than to take the mick out of a nutritional therapist with an anti-wheat detox fixation or indeed the more typical average lifestyle gluten-dodger of today, who’s a thirty-something woman watching her waistline.

The following popped up on my stream the other day.

Is it only in this country that this might be considered funny? Only the British apply class to food. Quinoa and kale – and much of ‘free from’ – is middle class (or ‘hipster class’). Chips are working class. Don’t go getting ideas above your station, laddy, is the message here. Don’t try to climb the social ladder by changing what you eat, or we will pull you back to where you belong.

Here’s Britain’s food problem in a nutshell of inverse snobbery. Eat ‘differently’? Show an interest in a non-traditional food – food that’s perhaps on an upward trajectory and therefore been dubbed ‘fashionable’? Then it’s time to take you down a peg or two. If the increase in gluten-free menus and allergy-aware dining irritates you – and some appear to be inexplicably offended by it – then channelling your fury towards people you irrationally dislike is now the norm – no matter that they are only responsible for a tiny fraction of the phenomenon.

Those who are experimenting, those who are curious, those who want to eat a way contrary to the embedded junk- and processed-food culture, those who want to support the food service outlets who are trying to cater with originality, are not permitted to simply get on with it and do so.

Until that changes, I don’t hold out much hope for our much publicised issues with food, diet and obesity.

But meanwhile, sod it: here’s a bloody good recipe from Michelle at Foods Matter with kale, quinoa and – good grief – fresh beetroot and coriander seeds too. Hipsters in body or soul, enjoy.

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