Some 70,000 followers of the Twitter account @RuthBourdain have enjoyed more than 2,700 tweets over three years from a foul-mouthed mash-up of two culinary icons, former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl and chef Anthony Bourdain. During that time, there have been plenty of rumors about who might be behind the account, which won the first-ever James Beard Foundation award for humor writing in 2011.
And now, thanks to the New York Times, we know the man behind the spoof is none other than Josh Friedland, a freelance writer who lives in Maplewood, New Jersey.
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If you're looking at the Ruth Bourdain tweets like, "What the hell, I don't get it," a good place to start the explanation is by going back to March 2010 when the real Ruth Riechl began the routine of posting 140-character haiku-like descriptions of her morning breakfast. For example, "The air has cleared. Dry! Bright. Birds ecstatic. Coffee. Cream. Just-made vanilla-scented apricot jam, still warm, piled on buttered toast." (Seriously, people. It's not a joke.)
So, of course, smart-ass bad boy Anthony Bourdain began reading the "deranged in a really cool, good way" tweets on his Sirius radio show as "The Tao of Ruth."
And the seeds of Ruth Bourdain were sown.
Some of Ruth Bourdain's best tweets, which are often written in Reichl's haiku-like style with a whole lot of Bourdain's sass thrown in, have included:
In a major blow, butter has just canceled its relationship with Paula Deen.— Ruth Bourdain (@RuthBourdain) June 29, 2013
Cold sunshine. Winter cockblocking Spring. Cold raw steak, piled Dagwood-style on buttered bread. Shower of coarse salt. Worst shower ever.— Ruth Bourdain (@RuthBourdain) April 5, 2013
Sunshine! Fresh tangerine zest in le bong: color vibrating in the glass. Hallucinated Mario Batali balsamicizing his tender burrata. Toasted— Ruth Bourdain (@RuthBourdain) March 11, 2013
Going vegan for the rest of 2012. Wish me luck.— Ruth Bourdain (@RuthBourdain) January 1, 2013
Ruth Bourdain even got a book deal in 2012, releasing Comfort Me with Offal," a comic book that's not really a memoir and definitely not a cookbook but does poke fun at the "foodie" culture with phrases such as "charcuteristas" and "douchebaguettes."
No definitive word yet on whether or not this means the end of Ruth Bourdain, but Friedland told the Times that concealing his alter ego has become "exhausting" and that he's looking forward to be able to take some credit for his work. According to other reports, he's now going to focus on reviving his personal food blog (which had been inactive for a while), the Food Section.