What do you hear when someone says “foodie”? Do you hear “a classy person with a refined taste in food, wine, and fine dining”? Is foodie synonymous with sophistication in your mind?
I hear something entirely different.
I hear “I really don’t have a life, and I don’t have any more meaningful hobbies than chasing the latest and the greatest when it comes to food and restaurants. I spend a disproportionately significant amount of time and effort thinking and pursuing different types of restaurants. I try to dress up my profoundly empty and boring life with trips to the Napa wineries / Michelin star restaurants, standing two hours in line to have brunch on Sundays, and dining in overrated, fattening French & Italian restaurants in the city, because I really can’t think of anything else better to do.” Being a foodie in town also means that you follow the Mission/Valencia 7pm-pm-dinner-in-bed-by-10 dining sheep.
I hope no one ever calls me a foodie, because that will be an insult that I am not sure I am capable of handling.
Today, upon returning from lunch I found these two flyers on my desk. I couldn’t help but smirk with disdain at what I saw. Clearly, whoever left these tickets for me didn’t realize that between the two kinds of people out there – the ones who live to eat, and the others who eat to lave, I clearly and unambiguously belong to the latter category. And, I can’t even imagine how embarrassed I would feel, if I ever even thought of joining an organization that’s called the “Eat Club.” I guess, San Francisco has just added another item to all the things that makes this city so douchy.
Mr. Danko Jones brilliantly observes in his Huffington Post article about foodies:
“Foodies” are people who feel the need to distinguish themselves from the rest of us who eat food. Haven’t met one yet? I’m sure you have. These are the people who, when invited to your dinner party, can’t help but loudly lament why you chose to serve Doritos as snacks rather than a brand of “organic,” “bio-dynamic,” “low-fat” pork rinds only they know about. They’ll also announce, later in the evening, that they don’t own a television set even though no one asked. In other words, they’re assholes.
Then, he goes on to say something that even more hit home for me:
We live in a world where there’s almost a billion hungry people. Festooning oneself with the tag of “foodie” is a perfect example of first world arrogance. I’m just waiting until these foodies figure out a way to flaunt breathing air or taking a shit better than the rest of us. Because they’re the type of people who’d do something like that. It’ll probably involve wiping one’s ass on sheets with a 618 thread count or Papally-blessed wet naps. It all just makes me crave a Big Mac combo with an apple pie and a triple mocha almond fudge sundae. Which I will enjoy without guilt.
Lately, I have been asking random people whether being called a foodie is a compliment. Pretty much all of them say that it is. I wonder how long I will be waiting to hear what I really want to hear – that it’s a big insult.
I don’t think I will ever understand why people overeat and why they are tempted to overeat during the holidays. What is it that they find on their table during Thanksgiving and Christmas that they can’t arrange to eat on any other day? Why does sitting together with family and friends make people overindulge, rather than focus on each other’s company and eat less?
I would think that seeing a giant, whole turkey on the table would make it all the less appetizing and would make one want to eat less. I, for instance, prefer a turkey on wheat roll from Subway on any day. However, having attended a few holiday parties, and watching the greed with which the people shove food into their mouth, I couldn’t help but ask myself why they are so hungry – is the food rationing back in effect, that I am not aware of? Is the food about to run out and we are facing some kind of hunger, and that’s why people are try to eat during these holidays not as much as they want or can, but as I much as they are physically able to stuff into themselves?
Perhaps researching the origin of the holiday gluttony in America in general, and in San Francisco specifically will shed some onto this mystery. I might just get bored enough in the next few days to attempt to try finding an answer to this question online.
Being called a “foodie” is not a big compliment; not to a straight anyway. As refined as you may think your pallet is, food is a basic, fundamental need. Some people are involved in the food industry professionally – chefs and cooks, food network hosts, catering companies, and members of related industries. The rest of us should not be obsessing or spending too much time and other resources on figuring out what and where to eat next.
We all like food that tastes good and cafes and restaurants that have the atmosphere and energy to our liking, but let’s not take it out of proportion. There is more to life than food or at least I would hope that that’s the case for most people. Or… maybe there isn’t in this city? After all, it’s not uncommon for a conversation that start with “Have you been to this new restaurant?” and last for way too long, where one restaurant is named after another. This appears to be one of the more pressing questions on the typical downtown SF agenda?
I like to eat as much as anyone else. I like going to new restaurant that constantly open up all around San Francisco. But, I also recognize that there are other finer things in life and they certainly don’t include “fine dining”. Finer things in life generally include (a) literature and (b) art in all its forms, i.e. music, architecture, sculpture, dancing, live theater, movies, and other activities that engage and stimulate our mental or spiritual capacity. I supposed it could be argued that religion is also a form of art.
It appears that too many people in San Francisco are focused way too much on food and dining (and drinking) and are not focused enough on the things that can truly be called as truly finer things in life.