In defense of foodies

Share Button

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.

18 comments
turkfontaine
turkfontaine

my wife, Inez, must be a foodie. she's a scratch cook who works on a recipe over and over until she gets it where she wants it. then when i'm eating it, she gives me the blow by blow of the effort, asking me if i can taste this or that ingredient. it's like i'm sitting for my oral examine in front of the department head. i can't just say it's "good", i need to come up with something astute, and that''s not my long suit; astute.


going to dinner with her can be excruciating. she's what i would call a 'forensic diner'. every chef is a possible suspect. she doesn't just eat dinner, she critiques it. she considers every really good restaurant meal to be a personal challenge, as if the kitchen came out and slapped her with a fish and said 'my seconds will call upon you.' then she sets about to exceed whatever it was i paid too much for. 


Inez learned to cook on a wood burning stove in Mississippi, so she is used to starting at the beginning. fortunately, that doesn't mean chopping the wood these days. her range is narrow, but lately, after lengthy research sessions in her many volumed cookbook library, she has been seen hanging out in the isles of Thuan Phat and Zion and 99 Ranch. lots of bottles of stuff i've  seen only in Japan or Hawaii are starting to crowd out the usual ingredients in the pantry. i wouldn't bet against her.

GenePark
GenePark

Given Myong's recent foodie scum behavior lately, I fully support this column Mari. 

CathyTsaur
CathyTsaur

As Dan Pashman's (of the Sporkful podcast and Blog) would say: It's not for Foodies, it's for Eaters. I don't personally self-identify as a foodie because I honestly don't like the connotation and judgement that comes with the term. But I do like to eat and I can appreciate good food!

RKHewEsq
RKHewEsq

Nicely put Mari! I was hoping that there would be dialogue over this, and that you would do the correct amount of quibbling on the defining of words. . . also I take this as your writing sample, and I think you should go to law school, as I need help in the office, lol

Annoddah_Dave
Annoddah_Dave

EO:  Blog Fight!  Blog Fight!  Come on MC give her your best shot!!!  EO you are still a better writer than Fuudie, I would read your blog on toilet paper or any subject for that matter!! LOL

Myong
Myong

Haha, well done Mari!  But I was more referring to the food "diarists" in my post as you call them I guess. And yes, I can't wait to the next time I get to eat with you too!

PMZ808
PMZ808

Totally spot on Mari!  I still find my self arranging my food and taking pictures with enough lighting.  Only to find that my food has gotten cold.  This habit of mines has gotten so out of control that I needed to purchase a mophie to ensure my smart phone still has life.  Not sure if anyone pays attention to the variety of food I eat but yes, I do it because I love food.  And like Myong mentioned, just because a small group of people eat at a "new" place (repeatedly - same small group) doesn't mean it's all what's cracked up to be.  To each his/her own.

Lifes2Short
Lifes2Short

I agree ... My friends enjoy my food pictures  ... its sharing ..  sharing is caring right!

Cakeenvyhawaii
Cakeenvyhawaii

Very well said Mari!! I have considered myself a foodie for years! Long before the age of social media. Why? Because I love food! Fancy food, simple food, new food, comfort food! I love to cook. I love to eat. I love trying new places and sticking to my faves. I love trying to detect that secret spice in a dish I'm trying for the first time. I watch shows about food. I read recipes for fun. I do occasionally post pics of what I'm eating and describe it but food to me is a personal experience. It's art and not everyone likes the Mona Lisa. I agree with everything Myong said but the people he's describing sound more like posers than foodies.

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

@CathyTsaur ah, eater ... a whole new category. did u see the blog in the link below? it identifies foodies as ppl who love to relate to food thru consumption, study, preparation and news. so i'm that, and an eater as well :)

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

@ms_munchie hear, hear! i also like the 'consumption, study, preparation and news' part. apt, that.

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

@PMZ808 u w lighting? this, ur whiskey comments, u constantly surprise me, pam!