Mike forwarded me an article recently about how hipsters are turning their noses up at their signature beer. It’s apparently become too mainstream.
Makes me feel sorry, poor hipsters. What are they going to drink now when they’ve had too much poor-over coffee and their nerves are frazzled, or it’s just time for an aperitif for their dinner of wild kale and kimchi tacos?
And then I feel super bad because I like kale and kimchi (mostly), and I’m sort of a food snob, and most definitely a beer snob. Who am I to make fun of hipsters?
The other day, we were talking about what kind of picnic to take to the play this week. We have a resident repertory theater company that performs in an outdoor amphitheater on the edge of town. It is on the list of about a million things I love about living here.
Before the amphitheater was built, with its reserved seating and acoustic panels, the company produced plays on a stage in between the river and a grassy slope, cordoned off by a tall fence. Seating was first come, first served.
The play would start at 8 pm. By about 5, people would be lining up to get the best seats possible. By the time the doors opened at 6:30, the evening heat was enough to make the pressurized wood fence weep creosote, and about two thirds of those in line had broken open their coolers and were drinking the wine they meant to have with their picnic dinners, straight from the bottle.
Those days people would spread out on the grass with a blanket, and ignore pleas from the stage to scootch together because it was a sold out show and there were still a hundred people jockeying for space. Those days people would dig their heels into the lawn to avoid sliding and laugh off the fact that their chocolate mousse desert had melted all over the bottom of their vintage picnic basket.
Back when I was starting out in fundraising, I was the staff person who managed the campaign to build the current amphitheater for the company, so I was usually at every play, encouraging people to scootch together and fetching the occasional corkscrew.
In the new amphitheater, the grassy slope has been replaced by reserved seating. There are no lines, and the only ones sweltering in direct sunlight are the actors on stage.
The conveniences of knowing where they’re going to sit and having a flat surface on which to put a picnic basket have combined to encourage play-goers to go rather overboard on their evenings out.
Today, people bring all manner of crystal and sterling and cloth napkins to the plays with their vintage picnic baskets. If you buy the box seats with tables, there are caterers available to set up multi-course meals complete with centerpieces of stacked fruit and pastry towers.
Don’t get me wrong; I love to sit down to a meal that’s presented well. When someone puts the sauces in their own, little dishes and each course has its own set of cutlery, I may squeal like a little girl.
But seriously, this is outdoor theater. Even if it’s Shakespeare up on stage, nobody’s really expecting Queen Elizabeth, OR her buffet. Get over your hoity-toity selves. Even in the cheap seats these days, there are people precariously balancing cutting boards stacked with smoked salmon and Gouda.
About the second time I have to step over someone’s cooler that’s functioning as drink holder and cheese tray, completely blocking the aisle, I start to wish I’d thought of camouflaging our own meal to look like a bucket of the colonel’s original recipe, tucked into a Styrofoam cooler from which it looks like I just emptied my husband’s wrench set when we needed a container.
So you can imagine my consternation the other day when I was asking what my own family wanted in our picnic for the play and Jack suggested something a little fancier than our normal Subway sandwiches.
Not that he was concerned about what we eat, he said, but how it looks.
For real. My own kid is worried about how fancy our food looks. I mean, it’s a pretty regular occurrence for us to be halfway through a show when I notice Colin’s wearing the same clothes he’s had on for the last three days. Worrying about whether our meal is fancy enough is our version of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
So, which is worse, the fact that my kid is concerned about what his food looks like to other people, or that hipsters are eschewing as too “mainstream” a beer that has pretty much been mainstream for the last 150 years? Or am I the hypocrite so worried about appearing to care too much about appearances I’m ready to tuck a pack of Pall Malls into my t-shirt sleeve and wheel my Hibachi into the theater just to see who I can offend?
These are the things that keep me up at night. Which poser do I make fun of?
And where can I get a kimchi taco for breakfast?
Your vote will help me sleep at night. Thank you.
Photo by: cmichel67