Last week, The New York Times snooped the culinary world’s most cunning detectives by revealing the identity of their most famous tweeter, Ruth Bourdain.
Before releasing his or her identity, Ruth Bourdain, a mash up of former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl and T.V. food host Anthony Bourdain, wrote over 2,000 tweets commenting on the culinary elite.
The author of Ruth Bourdain not only mashed up Bourdain and Reichl’s appearances in a profile picture, but also in the voice of the character, lending it the haiku-like structure of Reichl’s tweets and the combative nature of Bourdain’s personality.
Despite Robert Sietsema, former Village Voice restaurant critic, being mistakenly identified as Ruth Bourdain and Alice Waters’, chef, author and proprietor of Chez Panisse, false admission, the actual author is Josh Friedland. Friedland is a freelance writer in Maplewood, N.J. He produces the “Food Section,” one of the longest-running culinary blogs on the Internet. Since the rise of Food Network, parody blogs, Twitter accounts and videos have popped up across the Internet. From Bobby Moynihan’s hyper Guy Fieri on Saturday Night Live to the biting Food Network Humor blog, the serious business of food is frequently lightened up by professional and amateur humorists alike.
Friedland, a pretty expert humorist himself, crafted interesting tweets combining Riechl’s literary Twitter voice, which is nothing less than poetic, and Bourdain’s critical Twitter voice, which is nothing we can share here. A crucial part of this persona was Friedland’s ability to remain a ghostwriter. Friedland went to great lengths to cloak his true identity, even changing his cellphone number, using voice-altering software for interviews and asking editors and reporters to sign nondisclosure agreements.
Friedland even wrote a satirical book “Comfort Me With Offal” as his character. Ruth Bourdain was even awarded a special award from the James Beard Foundation, winning the first award in the Humor category, but no one showed up to receive it.
So it seemed not even the James Beard Foundation could out the anonymous culinary tweeter, but now that Friedland has revealed his identity, he says he plans to continue writing as Ruth Bourdain. Read The New York Times article by David Sax here. Meanwhile, Ruth Bourdain can be found, tweeting away at @RuthBourdain. Is it only a matter of time before Kansas City’s burgeoning food scene gets its own parody Twitter account? We will have to wait and see.