I used to smile and offer a little chuckle whenever a friend would accuse me of being a foodie. And yes, I meant “accuse” because the statement usually came along like this:
“Well, it’s not up to your foodie standards…” or “Oh, I know, you’re such a foodie you don’t eat that stuff…”
Yeah, ok, I prefer local and/or organic foods. I like my food to be thought out, well-seasoned, properly prepared and plated attractively. I believe food should stimulate all of my senses and that good food is best when shared with good friends. Given a choice between taking a risk on an unknown local spot or the predictable mediocrity of a national chain, umm… well, it’s no choice. I’ll take the risk, every time.
And yeah, ok, I like to cook. I prefer to do my shopping at the farmer’s market and I opt for quality ingredients. Sure, most of the stuff I make is a bit higher end than the typical home cook and a good amount of it could be plunked onto just about any restaurant menu without too much refinement. Yes, I know how to use ingredients like fennel, cardamom and umpteen flavors of sea salt. But no, I don’t think that any and every dish is improved by the addition of them, or any of the other painfully-hip au currant ingredients out there.
I once had a meal where every item, and I do mean every item, included truffle salt. What could have been a wonderful experience where the addition of truffle salt to a signature dish made the whole meal pop became overdone, boring and predictable.
Yes, I love taking snap shots of the food I make and the friends at my table. No, I am not at every meal fussing at everyone to not touch their food while I decide if the fork looks better on the plate or on the napkin (witness the fact that I frequently forget to take pictures – my guests are more important!)
Yes, I love creating new dishes and I’ve even been known to succumb to a cool food trend or three. At the moment, I’m rather fond of tiny desserts to be honest. Just last night I turned out an amazing tapioca pudding that was served in tiny glasses and topped with strawberries and whipped cream.
Note I did not say that I served: miniature nutmeg-infused vanilla-bean tapioca cordials, topped with sliced, organic strawberries, a sprinkling of Turbinado sugar and a dollop of hand-whipped cream then dusted with Ceylon cinnamon.
Though all of those things would have been true, I think it’s ridiculous to go to those extremes unless you are selling the dish on your restaurant menu or doing it for some special occasion (and that’s pushing it!) And no, I didn’t take a picture of the little things.
If you want to accuse me of something, then say I over simplify things. I’ve been known to plate up a restaurant-worthy meal and poo-poo the ensuing praise with “Oh, it’s just a simple…” insert whatever it is.
Or maybe you should accuse me of believing that people and conversations are more important than whatever culinary delight is in front of us.
Yes, I love good food. It’s a passion of mine. And yes, I’ve even jokingly referred to myself as a foodie. But I simply don’t understand the current state of food snobbery (and that’s what it is) masquerading as “foodie” status today.
It’s pretentious and ridiculous.
It’s guaranteed to garner eye rolls from just about anyone who has been around long enough to see a few food trends come and go.
And the biggest thing to remember? It’s highly likely that somewhere along the line, something else is going to come along that gets in the way of your ability or willingness to indulge in excessive foodie behavior. It may be kids; it may be a job that requires a lot of travel. It may be a relationship. It may just be time. And when that happens, do you really want to have to contact all of your non-foodie friends (assuming they haven’t abandoned you) and apologize to them for being a pretentious ass?
Oh, and if you are going to do the apologizing thing, may I suggest something incredibly simple like a great bottle of wine and some flowers to go along with it? No one will take that sort of apology seriously if it’s accompanied by macarons that you hand-ground the almond flour to make.
I don’t care how good the macarons are!