In defense of foodies

Please. A bit of respect for the maligned.

Ever since Myong Choi came out with his “Fed up with foodies” rant, people have been gushing in agreement. A few have even gushed to me. Well delivered, Myong. Great for the new site.

But hear me now: True foodies don’t deserve this. You do a disservice when you paint us with the same brush.

photoAre you a foodie if you can’t eat something without posting a pic of it first? If your commentary ranges from absolutely nothing to “Best. Pork belly. Ever. Nuff said”? How about if you check out a new place, try two dishes and post a “review”? Or if you preface your review with “This is gonna suck because the parking/hours/no credit card policy blows”?

If you answered yes to any of the above, I cannot defend you. You’re no foodie. You’re a food diarist (except for the “parking blows” people, for whom I don’t have a word). And that’s where you got it wrong, Myong.

You were right about one thing: This is a self-anointed group gone wild in this age of smartphone cameras and digital food porn. But you can be a foodie without posting a single pic or uttering a single word of commentary. And you can certainly be a foodie if you’re the last person in town to check out a new place.

It’s about your passion. You understand, Myong. You would go to movies, follow your favorite directors and actors, revel in plot twists, witty dialogue and telling facial expressions whether anyone valued your opinion or not. You’d do it because something innate drove you to it. You’d do it because you love it.

That’s the same quality that defines a true foodie. We may or may not know the ingredients and techniques that go into a dish. But we know we love it, and if asked, we can say exactly why. We can identify dishes around town that make us happy, whether it’s the old-school burger at a hole-in-the-wall or the grilled octopus with goat cheese at the latest farm-to-table iteration. We’re true to our standards, which are as developed and constant a part of our psyche as your movie preferences are to yours, Myong.

The fickle and finicky? We find them hard to eat with. And we’re always hungry. Not necessarily in body, but in mind, because we’re reading and thinking and talking about food. So we’re never content with an unchanging roster of favorite dishes and places, we constantly seek out more. Because we can’t not. Because we love it.

That’s it, Myong. Foodies are like any other group that follows a passion. Listen to us if you want; if not, that’s OK too. Just don’t malign us.

I’ll still eat with you, though.