The word foodie has fallen out of favor with foodies. I think this is because educated, upwardly mobile people—that is, most foodies—hate to think of themselves as part of an easily identifiable target market. It’s also an attempt to dissociate themselves from the more obnoxious members of this tribe. Plus, it’s pretty uncool to label yourself as part of a group. Most foodies would no more describe themselves as such than, say, a hipster would call himself as hipster (although you know one when you see one).
Yet a foodie is not the same as the average Joe who likes food and cooking. Foodies have their lingo, their idols, their cant. How can you tell if you’re a foodie or just an enthusiastic cook? Here’s a handy list. I admit that this is far from complete; reader input is welcome.
You’re a foodie if:
-You know that buying locally-grown ingredients is more important (and hip) than buying organic ones.
-You purchase locally-grown ingredients as a matter of principle.
-You’ve heard of molecular gastronomy.
-You can more or less define molecular gastronomy.
-You’re aware that El Bulli is supposed to be the best restaurant in the world.
-You’re aware that it’s impossibly difficult to get a reservation.
-You’re aware that it only takes reservations by e-mail one day each year, and is closed for six months.
-You enjoy retro food like casseroles, iceberg lettuce salads and jello in an ironic way.
-You make updated versions of the above foods using local, ethnic or “gourmet” ingredients.
-You’re sensitive to the needs of celiacs.
-But not to the needs of picky eaters and dieters.
-You have at least one of the following in your pantry/fridge, even though you’re not from the Middle East, Japan, India or Thailand: pomegranate molasses, tahini, miso, bonito flakes, fish sauce, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves .
-You’ve made risotto at least once in your life.
-You’ve also roasted beets.
-And have eaten them with goat cheese.
-You’re offended by Americanized versions of ethnic foods.
-You know when and how Clotilde Dusoulier got into cooking.
-You know who Clotilde Dusoulier is.
-You frown on the Food Network, Rachel Ray, Sandra Lee, Starbucks, chain restaurants, celebrity chefs, and pasta with too much sauce.
-You have mixed feelings about Anthony Bourdain (blowhard), Frank Bruni (Republican) and Top Chef (whoever didn't win should have won).
-You idolize at least one of the following: Jeffrey Steingarten, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Alice Waters, Ruth Reichl, David Lebovitz.
-You hate the word foodie!