Nostalgia props up a lot of really, really bad food.
How many times have you gone to a city, gone to some legendary institution that everyone and their grandparents loves, and left dismayed by how god-awful it was? Some of these spots are tourist traps that know how to pull the wool over your eyes, but others are truly loved—if only by the locals who grew up with them. Food memories are incredibly powerful, causing people with otherwise refined tastes to swoon over corn dogs from the State Fair, or Twinkies, or whatever they ate the first time they saw a pair of bare breasts. And amid the current obsession with heritage and Americana, no one wants to be the dick to take shots at an old classic. But as in other aspects of culture, the constant backwards gaze can be problematic. We fool ourselves into thinking that we are now adults by letting chefs serve us “elevated” (read: more expensive) versions of the same shit we ate when we were 10, but at the end of the day perhaps we’re all just too scared to move on.