Who is "@Ruth Bourdain"?

By Kathleen Reynolds | September 01, 2013
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comfort me with offal
Photograph: comfortmewithoffal.com

Who is Ruth Bourdain? She's fresh and she's local, and, as you may have heard, the wit of Twitter star Ruth Bourdain is harvested right here in the Garden State. This summer, Josh Friedland, Bourdain's alter ego, at long last revealed himself to The New York Times, who outed him as a "mild-mannered freelance writer in Maplewood, N.J."

Ruth Bourdain is a fictional personality, a mash-up of former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl and chef Anthony Bourdain. Originated on Twitter, the character's true identity had been perplexing and vexing the food world since early 2010.

As the editor of the acclaimed food blog thefoodsection.com, Friedland had the perfect vantage point from which to skewer anything and everything fresh for the picking within the extreme enthusiasms of the gastro-galaxy. And fun-loving foodies have flocked to the feed: @RuthBourdain now has over 72,000 followers. Ruth's perspectives captivated the food world to such a degree that in 2011 the James Beard Foundation Awards created a new category, naming Ruth Bourdain recipient of the newly minted Award for Humor Writing.

But the award was not enough to draw Friedland out from the ether. The virtual character continued to develop with sardonic tweets that harpooned anything with a whiff of food fanaticism, eventually rendering enough fodder for her humorous handbook, Comfort Me with Offal: Ruth Bourdain's Guide to Gastronomy, released in September 2012.

Even with the release of Offal, Friedman remained under cover until this summer, when his big reveal ended speculation about the voice behind RuBo. As he explained to the Times, concealing his alter ego had become exhausting, and being unable to take credit for his work had become a hindrance.

You can catch Josh Friedland talk about his adventures in food blogging at the South Orange-Maplewood Adult School on November 15th. Visit somadultschool.org for more information.

Article from Edible Jersey at http://ediblejersey.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/ruth-bourdain
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