Questions About Being a Foodie

“More lemony than toasty, more refreshing than overwhelming.” That was description of a wine that I read on a recent wine list. I always enjoy scanning wine or cheese lists and reveling in the absurdity of the adjectives. Did you know cheese can be “subtly earthy” or “mildly musty”?

I’m not a foodie. I gorge myself at buffets in Las Vegas, order my In-n-Out Burgers animal style, and say with total truthfulness that my favorite drink (alcoholic or non) is clean, pure water. So long as it’s not spicy, I’ll chow anything down the tube — from sushi to seafood.

Maybe this will change. Maybe someday I will sniff a glass of wine with an air of knowingness and pronounce it “oaky”, or ask for my meat done in something other than “medium rare”. Until then, I must study the existence of foodies from afar, pondering their self-satisfied ways, admiring their slow pace with the fork, and resisting my temptation to finish off their half-eaten steak.

Questions for the world:

1. Are some foodies fakes? Do they claim to deeply appreciate fine food and wine for the same reason that many people “love” art and the opera and high culture generally, that is to signal wealth and sophistication?

2. Do you have to be rich to be a foodie? Fine wine is expensive, no question there. Fine restaurants are also expensive. And buying healthy, fine food from the supermarket may at times be more expensive than processed, frozen, unhealthy, unsophisticated groceries.

3. Should parents cultivate an appreciation of fine food in their under-21 age kids? I’m not a foodie probably because I wasn’t raised one. For me growing up, food was introduced mainly as fuel. Joanne Wilson on the other hand, a self-confessed foodie, says on her blog that her kids are food snobs.

4. Is being a food snob analogous to being a literature snob or a music snob or a refined consumer any other type of cultural product where you devote extra energy and derive extra appreciation? Or is it different because food and wine cost real money? After all, you can’t rent food from the library or listen to food continuously on a CD.

All this being said, the social pressure is getting to me. I found myself savoring the different kinds of cheeses for breakfast in Vienna the other week. And don’t forget that I took a cooking class in Florence last summer. Keep. Hope. Alive.

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