I love food, but hate foodies. How can it be true? It’s a matter of semantics. A foodie by definition is a person keenly interested in food, especially in eating or cooking. However, the connotation of foodie evokes one of two things: the food snob who delights in delicacies to be pretentious (formerly known as the epicure) or the glutton who gorges himself on anything good coming out of a kitchen (formerly known as the gourmand). Neither idea is appetizing to me.
I enjoy food as a hobby – not eating. That may sound weird since I enjoy cooking and blogging about food. My joy comes from learning the background of the dish – its cultural implications, its story. There’s also a bit of fun and adventure in creating a recipe. Another passion of mine is writing. Sharing recipes via a food blog seems natural. I appreciate food as sustenance, as an intrinsic part of culture, and as an opportunity to connect – you know, break bread together. The term “foodie” trivializes the concept of food and all that it represents.
I recognize that eating food is a wonderful sensory experience. The sight, the smell, the touch, and the taste of fresh baked bread is simply amazing. But what about the history of that particular recipe for bread? What about the cultural significance of that type of bread? What conversation took place during the meal? If your only enjoyment derived from food is eating, then called yourself an “eatie”, not a “foodie”.
Sometimes foodies are described as having a discerning palate. There’s a saying that one man’s trash is another’s treasure. The same can be said for food. Diet is often determined by availability, religion, superstition, and tradition. Many Westerners are alarmed by the practice of consuming Asian edibles such as horse meat, fried tarantula, chicken embryo (balut), snake wine and cat excrement coffee. Yet throughout parts of the United States and Europe, you can find dishes such as fried bull testicles (Rocky Mountain Oysters), a pudding of sheep’s organs (Scottish haggis), blood sausage (Polish kiszka), raw bird’s heart (Icelandic Puffin heart), lye fish (Nowegian lutefisk), and rotten maggot cheese (Sardinian casu marzu). As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it could be said that taste is on the tongue of the diner. Bottom line…it doesn’t take a “foodie” to appreciate food.