The Foodie Blues

Evil Twin I think I’m a foodie. I don’t want to be a foodie. I hate those guys. They’re kind of pretentious. They’re all “gastrique” this, and “beurre blanc” that. Pompous asses who shove their sniffers into a glass of wine and take a swig, detecting “floral notes of cigar smoke, the pungent tang of wood glue, the piquant punch of raisins braised in goat’s mucus,” all before spitting the wine into a glass.

I say to myself, “Am I a foodie?” And I think, “Nah. I’m no foodie. I’m just a guy who likes food. A food hobbyist, if you will.”

On a lark, I search the Internet. I say to the Internet, “Define: Foodie.”

And it shows me this. And I think, “Uh-oh.”

Let’s see.

I’m not a “gourmand,” nor am I an “epicure,” as I am far too amateur for that. But —

Do I have interest in the food industry, in food trends? Mmm. Yeah.

Do I watch Food Network and Top Chef? Uhh, well, yes, along with Bizarre Foods and No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain.

Do I subscribe to food-related magazines? No. Er, okay, yes. Cooking Light and Bon Appetit, and I catch back issues of Food and Wine.

Do I read food-related books? Starting to. I love me some Ruhlman. “The Elements of Cooking” is a great work.

Do I like celebrity chefs? Duh. If Alton Brown and Bourdain had some kind of love child, that love child would be a hero on par with Hercules or Achilles, and I would follow that hero into the snapping jaws of Leviathan.

Food-oriented websites? Shit! I’m clocking too many of these, but yes, yes, I like those, too. New favorite is Cookthink (which is almost like Pandora, but for recipes).

Food blogs? Ehh, not so much?

Specialized food stores? No, not usually? They’re usually over-specialized, and way, way, way too expensive. (“No unitaskers,” says Alton Brown.)

Farmer’s Markets? Crap! I’m back to the “yes” column. Yesterday, I went to the Springtown Farmer’s Market. I was excited to go. (For some reason, Scott Hanna, the Marvel inker, had a booth. I talked him up about how one breaks into that industry. Maybe he considers himself an “ink farmer,” I dunno.) I bought potatoes, red lettuce, learned what “tatsoi” is (answer: it’s just a type of mustard green from Asia), got a lead on some farm-raised duck, nabbed some farm-fresh bakery products (many with walnuts), and declined an offer of a free tree.

I then got home and made a quick salad viniagrette of:

  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 2 1/2 TB of aged balsamic
  • 1 TB of macadamia nut honey
  • juice of one small lemon (fresh)
  • a fistful of minced garlic
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of fresh-ground pepper

And I slapped that over the red lettuce, some sweet onion, and chilled roasted asparagus. It was really lovely.

Shit! Shit. See what I did, there? “Macadamia nut honey?” “Aged balsamic?” WTF? How pretentious is that? What is wrong with me? It’s just — I can’t look away. My food interests and food habits have, in the past, been less than admirable, and I never thought to do differently. I’d love to go back to not caring what I shove in my maw. McDonald’s is delicious. Junk food rocks. If I could slather a hunk of butter in a pitcher of high-fructose corn syrup and inject a piping hot tube of Taco Bell “taco meat” into the middle, I would. Thing is, a tiger can change his stripes, I just don’t know that he can change them back.

I think I’m a foodie, now. Whether I like it or not, I’m like goddamn Popeye. I Yam What I Yam. (That’s not a pun, so don’t yell at me. That’s just how Popeye, that spinach-addicted roid-pirate, says it. Shut up. You shut your mouth.)