I hate when someone tells me they’re a Foodie. What does that term even mean?
I understand foodophilia (which creepily, is actually called cibophilia) because like most people, I enjoy food and I love to eat. I lovingly snap photos of what I’m eating as if the plates of food were my family members. Sometimes I plan what I’ll eat for dinner while I’m still eating lunch. I’m way too familiar with the concept of fourth meal. And fifth meal. And sixth. My current Facebook profile picture is a photo of me eating.
My problem? The label “foodie” adds pretension to the simple act of having a meal and that bothers me. Are we so competitive we need to view ourselves as experts in the field of stuffing our faces? Calling yourself a foodie implies you have some sort of superiority over others because you consume meals you consider better than the meals other people consume. The mere choice – or better yet – financial ability to eat at a restaurant nicer than Applebee’s does not make you a culinary connoisseur.
Loving a quality nosh doesn’t set you apart from anyone who ever ate a good Camembert in front of the tv while watching reruns of Sex and the City. It doesn’t even set you apart from the frat guy devouring an entire Dominos pizza in a drunken stupor at 4 AM. He loves that shit too. We are Americans and we’re all pretty good at cramming delectable treats down our pie hole. Trust me. I know.
Everyone likes food, so calling yourself a foodie is just like saying “I like not killing puppies.” It’s just so obvious. So what? Everyone likes not killing puppies.
There are food critics, chefs and people with a trained palette. There are also people like me who just plain love to eat. I totally get it. I’m just annoyed that some people think being called a foodie is tantamount to being some sort of eating expert.
While we’re at it:
Food Expert = Made up title
The same thing can be said for some so-called fashion experts, entertainment experts or anyone who thinks they should be deemed an authority just because they have passion for a common pastime. When you start to make a hobby part of your identity it’s easy to confuse that enthusiasm with expertise.
“I shop a lot. OMG. I must be a fashion expert!”
The biggest problem with the label Foodie is that culinary arts, just like most art forms, is subjective.
Everyone has their own definition of good food. My parents will rock a table for two at Hometown Buffet or Golden Corral and think the cuisine is just divine. I like sushi and they think eating raw fish is potentially dangerous and gross. My dad loves steak, potatoes, hamburgers and decidedly American food as much as I adore samosas, gyros, Korean BBQ, chilaquiles or anything that’s vaguely spicy or exotic.
I have a mild obsession with Korean BBQ, mainly because they give you 10 zillion plates of random stuff like picked potatoes and kimchi.
So who is cool? Nobody – because it’s stupid to assign value to people based on what they eat.
Look at me! I’m a food adventurer because I’m eating an octopus in Costa Rica! They don’t even have health grades in the window because there are no windows. The lady who harpooned & cooked this bitch doesn’t even have her food handler’s card. Or shoes on. Or teeth. Awesome.
You won’t catch my dad having octopus any time soon and it’s not because he’s uncultured or ignorant. He’s traveled to countless different countries, won awards for excellence in engineering, does math puzzles for fun and is one of the most brilliant people I know. He just doesn’t need to feel validated by eating at Per Se. I can never imagine my dad calling himself something as goofy as a foodie.
Calling yourself a foodie just sounds arrogant and silly. The label sounds like something bougie white people came up with so they could turn gluttony into a justifiable and respectable symbol of status.
Instead of telling us you are a foodie, maybe just appreciate and enjoy the experience of eating rather than having to become a high end hobbyist. It’s just douchey.