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The Pete Wells Thread


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Right, I think we all agree on the history. It hardly weakens Wells's point that Brouwer's Mill dates from the slavery period. I assume he just didn't fact check the restaurant's own assertion that Freek's Mill was "original"--whatever that means--in 1784 (leading him to make the "century before" gesture).

It's a really bizarre criticism, though.

 

Obviously the slave trade was awful, especially after it expanded under Stuyvesant, but it's not like any of us would be willing to trade places with anyone in 17th century New Netherland (or anywhere). Extremely high childhood mortality, filth everywhere, no indoor plumbing, no smartphones, &c. &c. &c.

 

The farm-to-table thing isn't some bizarre ultra-reactionary statement that things were better in some general sense in the past. Like, it's not ridiculous to want to explore local heirloom varieties, and whether or not life was broadly awful back then doesn't directly bear on whether it's good to know more about where one's food comes from.

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According to Eater   Let the grumbling begin.

Even now when everybody has seen pictures of all the major reviewers, there's hope for anonymous restaurant reviewing.

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And nothing of significance happened in 1784 with respect to that mill, and at no point did Freeke build said mill (though quite possibly the millpond was the original?).

 

But the original mill was constructed much less than a century after the establishment of the Dutch colony.

 

Er, yeah. I don't know what the restaurant means by that 1784 date.

 

So? Wells is saying slaves were involved in construction around the creek "a century before" 1784, and as we've seen he's "likely" right. Indisputably they were forced to work on farms in Brooklyn in that period.

 

Where's the sloppiness and inanity?

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The sloppiness is:

 

1) Wells manages to make incorrect statements in attempting to nitpick at Freek's Mill's history.

2) His argument against nostalgia, as an argument against farm-to-table, doesn't really hold any weight.

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The inaccurate statement you identified is:

 

A century before Freek built his mill, Dutch colonists forced African-born slaves to turn the Gowanus marshes into farmland and dig the first millponds.

 

 

It should read:

 

Around the time Freek's mill was built, Dutch colonists forced African-born slaves to turn the Gowanus marshes into farmland and dig the first millponds.

 

 

This can serve as a definition of nitpicking. Corrected, his point is actually stronger.

 

His point that a lot of staple foods were being imported back in the good ol' days remains insightful enough.

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Not until they correct the date on the website. :D

 

:lol:

 

I mean really, how can the food be any good if they tolerate intellectual sloppiness like the wrong date. It invalidates their entire position.

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Should we eat here or not?

 

Yes! Though I'd warn that meats were more successful than the seafood I tried (except for the lobster agnolotti, which is great).

 

One thing I forgot to mention in my original post on the Freek's Mill thread is that Alex Alan, the sommelier, really couldn't be nicer.

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The whole reason for me bothering to explain this at all is that this content has to be a whole lot more outrageously wrong before adjectives like "sloppy" and "inane" are justified. As I said, they just bounce back.

 

It's the same sort of exaggeration as claiming that the décor of Chevalier is so ugly that it causes physical discomfort.

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