Monday, April 19, 2010

yes, i read menus like some read "twilight"....

what's a "FOODIE"???

im sure you've heard the term.  there are "foodie" festivals.  "foodie" handbooks.  and "foodie" 'zines.

but what IS a "foodie", and where did this term COME FROM?

a "foodie" is, quite simply, a food and drink aficioando.  not only to like food but to be interested in it.  the term was coined in 1981 by paul levy and ann barr who used it in the title of their book the official foodie handbook.  though used interchangeably, "a foodie differs from a gourmet in that gourmets are are epicures of refined taste who may or may not be professionals in the food industry, whereas "foodies" are amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation and news."  gourmets want to eat the best food and "foodies" want to learn everything about food.  the ordinary and the extraordinary.  the science, industry and personalities.  "foodies" are obsessed with all things culinary.  they read menus like books.  terms such as "epicureans" or "gourmets" conjure up snobby images of people who will only eat at restaurants with truffled pate on the menu.  not so for a foodie....anyone can be a "foodie".  "foodie"-ism is a modern, popular way of engaging food culture for the general population.

"foodie"-ism is a true hobby.  some areas of pursuit and activities within the overall umbrella of "foodie" would be:

restaurant openings and closings
wine tasting
beer brewing and sampling
food fads
health and nutrition
food science
scotch tasting

some "foodies" may develop a particular interest in a specific item, such as the best croissant or french fry or souffle or ceviche.  lots of magazines now have a food column and the rise of "foodie"-ism made way for the food network and other food programming, such as top chef, iron chef and hell's kitchen.
also more evident are the rise of specialized cookbooks, neighborhood farmer's markets, food-orientated websites like zagat and yelp, the institution of the celebrity chef, food blog, food movies such as julie and julia (which came from a food book that came from a food blog) and food specialty stores like williams-sonoma and sur la table.  local favorites of the specialty store are kitchen window, cooks of crocus hill and golden fig.

there are some basic traits of being a "foodie".  they would never answer the question "what are you eating?"  with "i don't know".  in general, you have to know what you like and why you like it, recognize why some foods are better than others and in general, have good tasting food all or most of the time.  this isn't to say that you can't eat nacho combos once in awhile, but it is to say that you aren't fooled into thinking that is a well-balanced meal.

do you know the difference between a poblano and a jalapeno?  barrata and brie?  heirloom and beefsteak?  if not, as a would find out.  do you have to shop exclusively at farmer's markets?  no, but as a foodie you look for good, fresh produce.

as a self-proclaimed "foodie", i am lucky enough that being a "foodie" is a part of my job.  my obsession with cooking and reading about food and drink and my fascination with trying new restaurants, actually pays off for my clients.  my events have themes and food plays a part of it.  a big part.  recently honored with an industry award in the category of "best use of food and beverage" was about as big of an honor as a "foodie" can get.  to be recognized for using food as theme makes all those dreadful (read:  sarcasm) hours of wining and dining worth it.

lindsay piram

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