I hear and see the term ‘foodie’ being tossed around a lot. So what is a ‘foodie’ exactly? someone who enjoys food? Knows where to get the best food? Someone who may enjoy another person preparing them an exquisite meal? Maybe a person who can pair wines and ingredients perfectly? Maybe. I know many people who enjoy cooking and eating and I wouldn’t consider them a foodie at all! I know this sounds like complete snobbery, but I’m going some place with this.
I define a foodie by someone who looks at food not only as a meal and something to be eaten, but by someone who can look at the ingredients and take them in with all their five senses. Someone who not only waits for the final part; tasting, to enjoy the food. But rather has taken in the ingredients, sense by sense.
A foodie can be defined by someone who takes food as an experience and makes the most out of all that experience is. An apple pie is not just an apple pie. Its the fruit on a tree, the farm, the smell of the farm. Its the feel of it in your hand, the feel of the peel spiralling around. The noise it makes as you chop it, the sound apples make when mixed with other ingredients. The smell of the spices (or herbs) that you mix with it. The feel of dough in your hands, the way you try not to touch it too much. The way butter looks when it marries perfectly with flour. Apple pie is Christmas, it’s thanksgiving, it’s a special occasion or no occasion at all. Apple pie isn’t just an apple pie. It’s warming and aromatic. It’s a comfort food. It’s memories. Its a moment of perfection on your tongue. The actual apple pie experience (for a foodie) started well before the pie was put on a plate.
The smell of wine. How it can take you to a cellar in France where the fungus was a living part of the wine making process. How it can bring you to a cheese or food you ate. The smell of someone. The smell of place.
The smooth taste of goat cheese on your palette. The green, the farm, the fields, the rain, the grass. You can take that in too. The feel of fresh made bread in your hand, the way it sounds when you break it open, the steam that releases, the smell that permeates. The way you slop it in oil and it drips down your fingers. Meat cured on hooks, make restaurants smell like old caverns, like a place you’ve always dreamed about. Fish cooked to perfection; tastes like salty English cobblestones, like isles and lochs. It tastes like British rain and London in the Spring. Muscles in clarified butter, transport you to Prince Edward Island, where you sat with the freshest shellfish picked right out of St Peter’s Bay.
A salad made with ingredients you grew. It tastes like summer, and the hot sun. It tastes like earth, the earth that you so lovingly cared for. The sounds of birds singing and the bees trying so hard to do their job. You can almost feel the cucumbers prickly nubs and the soft squash blossoms. The sound your creaky gate made every time you opened it, the sound of dirt too dry and a pea being popped open.
You see food isn’t just something you eat. It’s something that grows inside of you and leaves you hungry for the next experience. A foodie, doesn’t just eat. They don’t just look for the best dish or the best ingredients. They look for the best experience. The something that is hidden, that you only uncover when you choose to use all your senses. Food has the ability to take you someplace you’ve never imagined. You can’t simply eat food. You have to experience it. Meditate with it, pick out the key notes, dwell on the best parts, eat slowly, breath, close your eyes, touch it. Dive in! Food shouldn’t just nourish your body, it should nourish your soul. And when and only when you choose to experience food with your five senses, it is then that you can call yourself a foodie.