Delicious is 140 Characters
How do you tweet about an almond croissant? Between messy nibbles of sweet flaky pastry, foamy sips of flat white and sporadic notetaking, I am distracted by this question. I am also inexplicably energized — invigorated — by the person across from me. He is breathless, excitable, caffeinated, and for a man of words, completely recognizable. Yep, Tim Hayward knows how to tweet about an almond croissant. He can do anything.
Like a salt-and-peppered male version of Mary Poppins, he pulls sundry wonders from a beat-up canvas satchel: glossy, heavy-stocked postcards for next month’s foodie nerdfest (Comic Con for food, we decide); the latest edition of Fire & Knives; the obligatory iPhone, 4th generation. When I check his twitter feed two hours later, I will find that our conversation is the break between abundant 140-character quips.
Even on this overcast January morning, he can’t resist a grin. Shit’s happening! Last night I watched him wreck a dogsled in Norway. This morning he tosses around a possible foodie trip to South by Southwest. Halfway through our coffee, it’s looking like a possible end-of-week world-takeover. Meanwhile, Peter, the owner of Kaffeine stops by to say hello.
“I think we were both at Brawn on Tuesday,” says the soft-spoken Kiwi.De
Tim flips the mental pages of his datebook back to the scene: It’s the new Columbia-road local that he approached “at ramming speed. I’m breaking out in a meat-sweat,” he tweeted.
Peter got the update, and apparently so did another mutual friend and @TimHayward follower. Clearly domination (at least of the twittersphere) happened days ago.
For someone who can quickly spout the history of our Fitzrovia-based location as easily as he can talk about food in Woody Allen films, Hayward is a modern dude who writes about lifestyle in a thoroughly modern way. He uses any media — including tweets about pork-induced perspiration — to tell food stories that connect him to his readers as much as his readers connect to him. We’re all in this together, you imagine him to say — we writers, readers, eaters and unknowing neighbors.
Hayward was not always so web-based, but early on, he armed himself with the terrifying knowledge that Yelp is power. Food writers everywhere needed to work a little harder for their bread.
With fearless competition firing from every realm, food writers need sharp virtual cutlery. The Yelpers aren’t the only ones to incite panic among print dinosaurs. Bloggers, Flickr groups and twitter-sized recipes are part of the spread. No one uses one form of media. That, after all, isn’t our lifestyle. “We all eat,” they post. “So why not write about it?” The thing is, Anne Lamott learned and writes, that many very popular lifestyle observers make “the mistake of thinking that everything that has happened to [them] is interesting.” And lifestyle writing isn’t always about hosting dinner. Sometimes you gotta be the guest.
Hayward thinks about food all the time. He knows you do too. But it’s not his lifestyle he wants to share; it’s everyones. And that message is everywhere. He’s on your coffeetable, in your bookmarks tab, your iCal and your inbox. He’s right here, in front of you. And so is this almond croissant.