You never know what’s going to set off a Twitter chain reaction with the ferocity of a hydrogen bomb, but often, the topic is food. And why wouldn’t it be? Food is so intertwined with our identity, culture, and history that everyone’s an expert—everyone has a lifetime of experience that can’t be denied. And so it’s easy to see why Twitter user @cheesybeaver got upset when her pretty charcuterie board was flippantly criticized for being bourgeois.
“Don’t judge me,” said @cheesybeaver. “With the deals, bulk shopping and baking at home, this cost less than $20.” (The meal, it was later clarified, was split between two people with enough for leftovers.)
Many users jumped in to share photos of their own DIY board lunches, explaining that it can be a reasonably priced way to shake up the daily routine. The original poster also pointed out the classism inherent in any criticism that charcuterie is “what rich people eat,” tweeting lower in the thread, “This kind of thinking also just enforces all the bullshit tropes that only wealthy people deserve nice things.”
Twitter being Twitter, there were dozens of other social issues to mine from the charcuterie exchange, and thousands of posters took up the cause with gusto. Some highlighted the Americocentrism of disregarding charcuterie’s role in European society (these boards are rather universally enjoyed in countries like France and are not considered exclusively for the rich). Others discouraged bad praxis (pick your battles and don’t try to claim people who assemble charcuterie boards are class traitors). One user pointed out the habitual appropriation of poverty foods by high-end trendsetters and how this might have caused the charcuterie conversation to spark in the first place. There were many jokes, and at least one desperate plea to fellow Twitter users to stop arguing about charcuterie because this is the real world and we only have one life to live in it.
We’ve written before about the dangers of presuming that the food you eat is somehow more “correct” or “virtuous” than the diets of those around you, and this latest Twitter implosion is no exception. Make your food choices based on personal fulfillment rather than performance, allow others space to do the same, and this charcuterie discourse should die down pretty quick. Surely we’ll all find the next social media firestorm soon enough.
In the meantime, here’s a love letter to charcuterie, and the people we choose to share our boards with.