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What/Who is a "Foodie"?


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Regardless of anyone's opinion on the term "foodie" it has nothing to do with the article. Meyers uses the terms "gourmets" and "food-obessed" as well as other terms through out the article and at no point does he contend the reason why foodies suck is because of the term "foodie."

Indicating this article couldn't exist without the term foodie is like saying racism only exists because of the n-word, which is absolutely risibile.

Take the article and substitute "people who like food" wherever foodie occurs and see if the article retains any impact. Stylistically, the article requires that word.

The substitution also makes many of the statements sound as foolish as they really are.

As someone upthread noted, Myers sets up strawmen and requires us to accept them so he can then rant. He is begging the question in the classical rhetorical sense (as opposed to the current usage by TV pundits, which has a quite different meaning) which is a sign of a weak argument.

Edited by gfweb (log)
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Huge pretentiousness and elitism in the wine world, not so much in the food world.

Just my perception.

dcarch

I don't think the general public distinguishes between the food enthusiast and wine enthusiast communities.

Heck, the expert on North Korea (still having trouble wrapping my head around that one) who wrote the article in question doesn't distinguish between the ethical foods movement and extreme eaters.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Huge pretentiousness and elitism in the wine world, not so much in the food world.

I think there's plenty of pretentiousness and elitism in the world, no matter where we look. And I think, yes, there's plenty of snobbery in the food world.

From people who are sanctimonious about their dietary choices, to people who are elitist about the restaurants they frequent, to the "my gadget is better than your gadget" crowd -- plenty for an observer to level "snobbery" charges.

Add the fact that a large percentage of this planet isn't going to eat a nutritious meal today. It makes our "French vs. Italian truffles - which is better?" discussions seem almost callous. Many food writers have written about the morality of a $1,000 lunch when so many go hungry. It's something at least worth thinking about, if nothing else to be thankful for the ability to be a "foodie."

(I'm just playing devil's advocate here. I happen to like truffles, gadgets and fine dining.)

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Agreed on all counts. I think I've mentioned in previous posts that a backlash against food culture was more or less inevitable given the amount of BS that goes on in the community as a whole. I just have to re-iterate that we can't make distinctions among ourselves when all of us, from foie gras gorgers to cruelty-free locavores, are tarred with the same brush.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Isn't it funny, I thought that an interest in food - especially in the preparation of food - was a highly moral thing. I know it sounds soppy, but everything bar the salt I put in my mouth stopped living because a human being decided it was food. It seems immoral not to make the most of it in every way.

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Back to the article itself, the most annoying thing (besides the explicitly stated all-"foodies"-are-the-same bit) to me was the ranting about the supposed elitism of foodies on the one hand and the author's attempting to show off his education and familiarity with what he calls the "real" arts on the other. Reminds me of those pundits who whine incessantly about academics and intellectuals when they themselves are academics and what passes for an intellectual these days.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Isn't it funny, I thought that an interest in food - especially in the preparation of food - was a highly moral thing. I know it sounds soppy, but everything bar the salt I put in my mouth stopped living because a human being decided it was food. It seems immoral not to make the most of it in every way.

Excellent point. This thought should be chiseled in stone. I know that my family, while living through the Great Depression, felt that the preparation and the sharing of food, was a highly moral expression of humanity.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I think it has a lot more to do with endemic pretentiousness among food enthusiasts (members of this board excluded). . .

Why exclude members of this board? I find the "endemic pretentiousness" of which you speak just as prevalent here as anywhere else. I've been told by people here, for example, I shouldn't buy certain items because "they're not local", and have dined with folks who insist on offering a play-by-play on every obscure ingredient they detect in their food. For many (including me), those are evidence of the pretentiousness that "foodies" exhibit.

I dislike being referred to as a "foodie" merely because it implies, to me, a certain trendiness; I envision foodies as people who jump on the food bandwagon because it's the cool thing to do. Like people who shunned pork for years only to reintroduce it to their diets with relish because Anthony Bourdain loves it, or people who ran out and bought Global knives just because Emeril used them. They don't really put much thought into their actions (or the motives behind their actions); they just do it because they think it makes them "special".

I also just don't like labels. I like food; I eat it; sometimes I talk about it. Why I need a single word to describe that?

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Skimming the article, it is poorly written in a way that obscures the thesis, appears to be meant to be incendiary and reactionary, and yes based on straw-man arguments tarring many with a broad brush. The main point seems to be more against eating meat than against foodies. Or perhaps his point is that it is ok to eat meat as long as you don't enjoy it or take any interest in where it comes from. It's sort of puritanical - food is for sustenance only, comparable to having sex only to make babies.

That being said, I do think that morality should be an issue in what we eat. I am personally morally opposed to eating a number of species (and I realize that many people and cultures do not share my same moral code). One trouble with the article is the rejection of moral concepts like actually being willing to be involved in killing and preparing meat or that eating and feeding others can be a sacred act (I seem to remember a story about loaves and fish). I wonder if he has the same reaction to the obsessiveness of many vegetable gardeners.

I think what I object to most is the idea of taking interest in food is intrinsically morally corrupt. In my view, people should have passion for something, be it food or football. But implying that having a passion for food must lead to gluttony is like saying an interest in economics must lead to avarice. And the eG Forums are testimony that the community formerly known as Foodies is heterogeneous and non-elitist (although, yes, individuals may be elitist to varying degrees) - hey they let me join.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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I think it has a lot more to do with endemic pretentiousness among food enthusiasts (members of this board excluded). . .

Why exclude members of this board? I find the "endemic pretentiousness" of which you speak just as prevalent here as anywhere else.

It's a joke. I guess it's not a very good one.

I agree with the rest of your post, except I think it's inevitable that any group sharing an interest is going to be labeled. I try to use "food enthusiasts" on this board when referring to people who are enthusiastic about food, but "foodie" means the same thing, as does, say, "food nerd."

"Food nerd" I think is a good one because to me the word "nerd" implies interest and expertise in an esoteric matter, but I realize that to other people it has implications of social awkwardness etc. so I'm not proposing it as an alternative for general use. Words have different implications to different people and I don't think we should get too hung up on how something is said as opposed to what is actually said.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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He lost me with his opening sentence: "It has always been crucial to the gourmet’s pleasure that he eat in ways the mainstream cannot afford."

In my book, what is crucial to the gourmet's pleasure is good, fresh ingredients, well-prepared, with a creative twist that takes a dish out of the realm of the ordinary into the sublime. Cost has little, if anything, to do with it. Last summer, I cooked Kim Shook's sauteed corn with shrimp and tarragon for lunch for myself and three friends; as best I recall, the ingredients cost me something under $10, and my guests raved about a dish that was so unusual, so out-of-the-box, so good. (Thanks, Kim!) Now, while I realize $2.50 for a meal is outside the financial reach of many of the world's citizens....so is access to the Atlantic Monthly.

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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He lost me with his opening sentence: "It has always been crucial to the gourmet’s pleasure that he eat in ways the mainstream cannot afford."

In my book, what is crucial to the gourmet's pleasure is good, fresh ingredients, well-prepared, with a creative twist that takes a dish out of the realm of the ordinary into the sublime. Cost has little, if anything, to do with it.

Indeed, most of the world's great cuisines began as a way of making the undesirable bits and pieces of available food palatable. Gourmet cuisine was born of frugality.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Isn't it funny, I thought that an interest in food - especially in the preparation of food - was a highly moral thing. I know it sounds soppy, but everything bar the salt I put in my mouth stopped living because a human being decided it was food. It seems immoral not to make the most of it in every way.

That being said, I do think that morality should be an issue in what we eat... One trouble with the article is the rejection of moral concepts like actually being willing to be involved in killing and preparing meat or that eating and feeding others can be a sacred act (I seem to remember a story about loaves and fish).

Helenjp and Haresfur touch upon the issue that I think would have been the subject of a thoughtful article (rather than a diatribe).

I once listened to an interview with Joseph Campbell. He said: We live off the death of others, and that makes us profoundly uncomfortable. Not just you and I and others of our time and culture--the peoples of early and so-called primitive cultures have also been aware of this dilemma. Many early myths and rituals are designed to acknowledge and show respect for this fact: the deaths of animals and plants sustain our human life.

I point this out to my vegetarian friends when we have discussions about meat-eating (specifically, mine). We share life on this planet. I certainly have issues about the way some animals are raised and slaughtered, and also how some crops are grown. However, unless we start eating rocks (I don't recommend it), we will be living off the deaths of plants and animals. That fact is inescapable.

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Even vegetarian food requires animals to die -- millions of small ground animals are going to end up in combines, harvesters and threshers so that vegetarians can eat "meatless." I see no difference in raising an animal for slaughter and killing animals as a byproduct of harvesting plants.

The only way to ensure no animals die is to hand-pick the food personally. Anyone who does that has my respect for being hard-core.

Edited by ScoopKW (log)

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Maybe it's my age, maybe it's something else...but I don't understand the aversion to the term "foodie". I'm not a gourmet, or a gourmand, or "a food enthusiast", I'm someone who has had long distance friendships cemented by a love of geeking about food. I had a marriage that had a passion for food as one of the cornerstones. Street food, humble food from faraway places, handmade noodles from hole-in-the-wall purveyors...it's not all about the Veuve Cliquot and foie gras, although I won't turn away from that when I can afford it, either!

I don't do well when partnered with people who eat to live. I don't understand why there's supposed to be any shame associated with that. Frankly, I find terms like "food enthusiast" to be too much "doth protest too much", and am more averse to the workarounds to "foodie".

(Then again, I don't get the "don't call me a Trekkie!" defensiveness, either. I'll admit that my friends used to say "Trek fan" to get away from the entire Trekkie/Trekker divide, but it wasn't out of a sense of shame over the enthusiasm.)

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I point this out to my vegetarian friends when we have discussions about meat-eating (specifically, mine). We share life on this planet. I certainly have issues about the way some animals are raised and slaughtered, and also how some crops are grown. However, unless we start eating rocks (I don't recommend it), we will be living off the deaths of plants and animals. That fact is inescapable.

What I say (and, by the way, happen to believe) is that I owe it to the lions and tigers to take my natural place in the food chain. I am clearly a carnivore. My eyes are in the front of my head for hunting, like the other carnivores. I have dog teeth for eating meat. My digestive track handles meat just fine. There's no question that I am by nature a carnivore.

And so are the lions and tigers.

So, if I eschew eating meat for moral purposes, that would make me very noble. Much more noble than the lions and tigers that continue to eat meat because that's what they were put on this earth to do, and because they're too dumb and ignoble to do otherwise.

I just don't want to make myself more noble than the lions and tigers and other meat-eaters. I think that's not fair. So I'm not going to. We'll all remain equally noble.

I'll take my rightful spot in the food chain. I owe it to them.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Maybe it's my age, maybe it's something else...but I don't understand the aversion to the term "foodie". I'm not a gourmet, or a gourmand, or "a food enthusiast", I'm someone who has had long distance friendships cemented by a love of geeking about food. I had a marriage that had a passion for food as one of the cornerstones. Street food, humble food from faraway places, handmade noodles from hole-in-the-wall purveyors...it's not all about the Veuve Cliquot and foie gras, although I won't turn away from that when I can afford it, either!

I don't do well when partnered with people who eat to live. I don't understand why there's supposed to be any shame associated with that. Frankly, I find terms like "food enthusiast" to be too much "doth protest too much", and am more averse to the workarounds to "foodie".

(Then again, I don't get the "don't call me a Trekkie!" defensiveness, either. I'll admit that my friends used to say "Trek fan" to get away from the entire Trekkie/Trekker divide, but it wasn't out of a sense of shame over the enthusiasm.)

My feelings exactly!

I never minded being called a trekkie back in the days when I attended Sci/Fi Cons. It was a lot of fun but I never took it seriously and I was into sci-fi prior to Star Trek.

I'm pretty sure I've been a foodie all my life. When I was in the WACS in the late '50s, and stationed in San Francisco, I spent a lot of time exploring restaurants and food stores all over the city while my friends were sight-seeing and I made friends in the Chinese community who invited me to their homes. That was when I learned to eat with chopsticks and learned how to make wor won ton from scratch.

I also met a girl of Russian descent at a tiny market catering to eastern European folks, and from her mother learned to make blini as well as borscht. I celebrated my twentieth birthday with an Italian family in Sausalito from whom I learned how to make Cioppino and veal scaloppini. I spent some evenings with friends at "coffee houses" but mostly I searched for interesting ethnic restaurants and food shops.

I really can't consider myself a carnivore but rather an omnivore. Meat is not the major portion of my diet but I do think it contributes to my personal well being.

And to those people who deplore the use of animals as a food source, I point out that if there was no demand for these animals, they would certainly become extinct. No sane person would continue to spend money on breeding and feeding an animal of any kind that is not a pet, were it not for the demand as a food source.

I would hate to see all these disappear from the earth.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Maybe it is a generational thing or an issue of self-perception, but I cringe whenever someone labels me a foodie. I think many food writers and restaurant folk use "foodie" a tad derisively to separate themselves from food amateurs. I don't think I've ever heard a restaurateur or a Bourdain type refer to him/herself as a foodie.

I call myself a foodie.

And don't know about "Bourdain types," but as for Bourdain himself, in The Nasty Bits on page 198, he's talking about dining in Vietnam:

". . . I quickly duck under the tarp, walk bent over at the waist to the table, and scrunch down and try to find someplace for my knees among a large, extended family of Vietnamese. Linh, a fellow foodie, just smiles and shakes his head."

Page 199:

"What do you eat here?" I inquire.

"Eel," he replies. "This is the eel shop. Only eel."

"How did you find this place?' I ask.

"A friend took me here. He knows I like eel - and he heard about it from

a friend."

I explain to Linh what the word 'foodie' means and he seems very pleased.

"Yes," he agrees. "Often you must go off the road. You must investigate."

So for those of you that have never heard anyone refer to themselves as a foodie, now you've got two:

Me.

And Tony Bourdain.

______________

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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What I say (and, by the way, happen to believe) is that I owe it to the lions and tigers to take my natural place in the food chain. I am clearly a carnivore. My eyes are in the front of my head for hunting, like the other carnivores. I have dog teeth for eating meat. My digestive track handles meat just fine. There's no question that I am by nature a carnivore.

And so are the lions and tigers.

So, if I eschew eating meat for moral purposes, that would make me very noble. Much more noble than the lions and tigers that continue to eat meat because that's what they were put on this earth to do, and because they're too dumb and ignoble to do otherwise.

I just don't want to make myself more noble than the lions and tigers and other meat-eaters. I think that's not fair. So I'm not going to. We'll all remain equally noble.

Are you being ironic, Jaymes? Because it doesn't make a lot of sense to use animal behavior to calibrate one's moral compass:

"When a male lion takes over a pride, he kills all the cubs of his predecessor to maximize his genetic success. So of course when I remarried, the first thing I did was to kill my stepchildren. Sure, if I eschewed murdering children for moral purposes, that would make me very noble. But I just don't want to make myself more noble than the lions and tigers and other cub-killers. I think that's not fair. So I'm not going to. We'll all remain equally noble."

Mind you, I'm not opposed to eating meat. I just think it's very difficult to find an argument that successfully makes meat-eating a moral good.

So while the article we're discussing is mostly silly, I do agree that all the blather about "respecting the nobility of the protein" is basically nonsense. It's a mechanism for foodies to justify a decision that is at best morally neutral as a noble stance in favor of the animal.

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What I say (and, by the way, happen to believe) is that I owe it to the lions and tigers to take my natural place in the food chain. I am clearly a carnivore. My eyes are in the front of my head for hunting, like the other carnivores. I have dog teeth for eating meat. My digestive track handles meat just fine. There's no question that I am by nature a carnivore.

And so are the lions and tigers.

So, if I eschew eating meat for moral purposes, that would make me very noble. Much more noble than the lions and tigers that continue to eat meat because that's what they were put on this earth to do, and because they're too dumb and ignoble to do otherwise.

I just don't want to make myself more noble than the lions and tigers and other meat-eaters. I think that's not fair. So I'm not going to. We'll all remain equally noble.

Are you being ironic, Jaymes? Because it doesn't make a lot of sense to use animal behavior to calibrate one's moral compass:

"When a male lion takes over a pride, he kills all the cubs of his predecessor to maximize his genetic success. So of course when I remarried, the first thing I did was to kill my stepchildren. Sure, if I eschewed murdering children for moral purposes, that would make me very noble. But I just don't want to make myself more noble than the lions and tigers and other cub-killers. I think that's not fair. So I'm not going to. We'll all remain equally noble."

Mind you, I'm not opposed to eating meat. I just think it's very difficult to find an argument that successfully makes meat-eating a moral good.

So while the article we're discussing is mostly silly, I do agree that all the blather about "respecting the nobility of the protein" is basically nonsense. It's a mechanism for foodies to justify a decision that is at best morally neutral as a noble stance in favor of the animal.

Oh, I'm being a little silly, of course. But I do think that there's a fairly large grain of truth in the notion that we have a spot in the food chain to which we were assigned by some sort of destiny beyond our understanding.

But the evidence is clear. There it is.

And for other than health reasons, I don't really feel a strong sense of urgency to abandon my spot.

I guess I'd use your comment above, only to the opposite conclusion. Given our obvious purpose in this cosmos as being created to be meat-eaters (for some reason at which none of us can likely guess), "I just think it's very difficult to find an argument that successfully makes meat-eating a moral" bad.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I'd be really interested to see if any party can justify pro- or anti- meat eating stances through Kant's moral imperative. AFAIAC any other definition of "morals" is synonymous with "prejudices."

I'm prejudiced like that. :raz:

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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In my mind, the use of the term foodie is one of respect. I'm not calling myself a chef, or a cook. I'm not a gourmand or a professional critic of food.

I'm someone who likes to eat, who thinks about eating, dabbles in cooking, and respects all of the above groups of people enough to not artifically place myself in their categories. The foodie category is one of humility, a fan of great food and chefs and cooks, and as such I think the lightness/juvinile quality of the name is approiate.

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  • 2 years later...

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2013/05/against_foodies_alison_pearlman_s_smart_casual_reviewed.html

One paragraph from the review:

Foodie culture demands a similar self-serving fantasy when it comes to chefs’ combinations of world cuisines—what used to be known as “fusion” food, before that term lost its cachet. Pearlman observes that “comfort food,” a term that entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 1997, has gradually grown to absorb all manner of world cuisines—she points to cookbook titles like Hip Asian Comfort Food and Italian Comfort Food. Pearlman argues that taking “a metacultural position, embracing cultural pluralism while also advocating the search for common ground,” is in itself an expression of one’s progressivism—“a badge of urban-elite status.” She refrains from describing this phenomenon in a less flattering but perhaps more accurate term: cultural appropriation. The pattern she describes is one in which privileged, mostly white people elide and hijack cultural differences in order to soothe their own anxieties about social change. Comfort food, indeed.

:-)

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