Why the New York Times cooking community Facebook group has users furious

If you're a foodie and enjoy cooking food as much as you do eating it, then there is no place online quite like the New York Times Cooking Community Facebook page, which offers a collection of exquisite photos and meal ideas from ultra-talented home cooks. As with all moderated sites, there are a few rules that community members are expected to abide by that include keeping "all topics about food or food-related matters like cooking and baking" and "no copy/pasting or screenshots of full NYT recipes" — and while the sharing of cooking tips and kitchen wins is encouraged — an exchange of political views most certainly isn't (via New York Times Cooking Community). 

But there are rumblings going on within the community at the moment — and they have less to do with the sounds of hungry stomachs and more to do with discontent. As writer Chaya Milchtein explained via Twitter thread: "There is a coup going on in the @nytimes cooking community Facebook group. Here's the scoop: A member posted about making sure to vote, and the moderators removed his post since the group is supposed to be a haven from politics, focused only on food." Milchtein continued, "The members, numbering over 62k, weren't having it and made it clear that food is undoubtedly political. They began to fashion food to spell VOTE, using captions only directly related to food. The creativity and patriotism is inspiring."

"Food is political"

Milchetin's Twitter followers chimed in to support members of the NYT Cooking Community who were looking to spice up their posts with images featuring subtle and not-so-subtle executions of the word "vote", which carried innocent captions. One of Milchtein's followers responded to the post by replying "Bizarre that saying 'vote' is controversial. It used to be when people said 'political' thet [sic] really meant 'partisan.' Encouraging civic participation is political but not necessarily partisan, so all kinds of 'no politics' zones would actively embrace that." Another follower pointed out that "Food is political, lack of food is political," while a third rather humorously responded by saying, "Of course food is political, some people don't have it. I do find this lovely in a GBBS way. I think there is room for stuff like this in these cage match fight to the death in the middle of a dystopian hellscape ruled by humanoid chupacabras times."

The New York Times Cooking Community isn't the only social media food space to see a rising wave activism, with hashtags like #bakersagainstracism trending, too. And as Milchetin summed it up: "Bottom line: food is political. Food can be used to build community, change lives, feed the hungry, inspire creativity, and it also could be easily squandered. Use your voice (qnd [sic] your food) to inspire change."