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Ruth Bourdain, anonymous tweeter, unmasked

Posted by: Lee Svitak Dean under Chefs, On the national scene, Restaurant news, TV food shows Updated: October 8, 2011 - 3:57 PM

 

 

Spoiler alert: Do not read if you don't want to know who Ruth Bourdain is.

Ruth Bourdain = Robert Sietsema, food critic for the alt-weekly Village Voice in New York City.

If you are not on Twitter, you may be wondering why anyone would care. Well, in the very small food world, and in the even smaller Twitter food world, Ruth Bourdain has been the puzzle that keeps many readers glued to their Tweetdeck since Ruth Bourdain first penned a tweet in March 2010. The up-until-now anonymous writer on Twitter, who also appears on tumblr, has created a mash-up of Ruth Reichl, former Gourmet editor and her lovely prose, with the vulgar, often profane comments of Anthony Bourdain, former chef , author and TV celebrity in the food world. On his Twitter profile, Ruth Bourdain even notes, "This is a parody." The avatar, above, is a mishmash of images that, well, sort of meld Ruth Reichl with Anthony Bourdain if you've had enough drinks -- or something stronger -- in you.

A recent tweet of Ruth Bourdain:"Cool fog. True Autumn. Bong lit. Smoking pork shoulder with sweet onions, tart apples, local cider. Seasonally stoned."

And another: "Have you heard about the vegan strip club in Portland? This is so wrong. No woman deserves to be treated like a piece of tofu."

Ruth Bourdain often tweaks the comments of Ruth Reichl (and others), as shown in this exchange only moments ago.

Reichl: "Shimmering morning. Tasting fall. Crisp slices of tart, sweet pear. Prickly, pungent gorgonzola on warm toast. Mugs of spicy cider."

Ruth Bourdain: "Shivering. Tasting fall: wet leaves, rotting pumpkin, and wormy pears. Hey, who's the prick who put pungent gorgonzola on my warm toast?"

In May, the writings of Ruth Bourdain won the James Beard Foundation's award for humor. He has more than 45,000 followers on Twitter.

Both Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain, as well as the food celebrities that Ruth Bourdain loves to skewer, hang onto his every word.  "It is kind of genius. I love it. I'm a total addict. I'm hooked already and, frankly, flattered and disturbed in equal measure," Bourdain has said.

How do I know who Ruth Bourdain is? He was tweeting while listening to the same speaker I was, in a closed room in Charleston, SC, at a conference with the Association of Food Journalists. Ruth, Ruth, Ruth. You wanted to be found out!

I have to say, though, I feel a bit like the one blurting out the truth about Santa AND the tooth fairy AND the Easter bunny all at the same time. Or as having pulled the curtain aside on the Wizard of Oz. Perhaps we should all just click our heels together and recite: "There's no place like Twitter with Ruth Bourdain."

Robert Sietsema, a Minnesota native, grew up in Edina. he notes, there was only one high school in the city. (Edina now has two.) Waiting for a comment from him, though he has told other bloggers that he is not the writer Ruth Bourdain. In an interview he said he was not Ruth Bourdain, but then noted that "If I was Ruth Bourdain, I wouldn't tell you."

Follow Lee Svitak Dean on Twitter @StribTaste
Or on Facebook at Star Tribune Taste

 

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