“Foodie” – Yet another opinion of the oddly controversial title

March 10, 2009 at 1:07 pm (My Propaganda, Of interest to Foodies, Rants) (, , , , )

Tattoo pic by Lady Luck tm on flickr, "Taking Photo" pic by adactio on flickr, "Baked goods smell awesome" pic by fd on flickr, "Cheese bread and grapes" pic by fd on flickr.

Tattoo pic by Lady Luck tm on flickr, "Taking Photo" pic by adactio on flickr, "Baked goods smell awesome" & "Cheese bread and grapes" pic by fd on flickr.

So the food-loving online community is apparently in an uproar over this little word. After poking around, I’ve concluded there are 3 main camps:  

1: Those who wear it as a badge of slightly-silly honor, “I love good food, and I think knowing about food is neat!”

2: Those who think the word “Foodie” is too silly. “Why are we putting -ie on the ends of words? Goofballs.”

3: Those who’ve come to know the word in a negative light. “Saying you’re a foodie is saying you’re a horrific food snob.”

I belong firmly in the first group, and kind of stare in surprised wonder at the other two. Camp #2 doesn’t upset me much. The existance of camp #3 bothers me quite a bit. Clearly, there have been some obnoxious and stuck-up people in certain parts of the country walking around calling themselves “foodie” and it’s tainted the word for huge swathes of the population. Shame, I say! Shame!

Early on in the word’s popularity, I looked up the definition on the web. It was difficult to find these same articles now, since there has been a veritable explosion of discussion on the topic, but I finally rooted them out for reference in this post.  http://www.slashfood.com/2006/02/10/what-is-a-foodie-anyway/ A rather long quote from the above short article:

“To be a foodie is not only to like food, but to be interested in it. Just as a good student will have a thirst for knowledge, a foodie wants to learn about food. A foodie will never answer the question “What are you eating” with “I don’t know.” There are some basic traits of being a foodie, as there are basic traits that come with all labels. Generally, you have to know what you like, why you like it, recognize why some foods are better than others and want to have good tasting food all or certainly most of the time. This doesn’t mean that you can’t eat “Flaming Hot Cheetos” every now and again, but it does mean that you don’t fool yourself into thinking that it’s a nutritionally balanced meal.”

This was published in 2006.  Here is an excerpt from http://www.foodieprints.com/item/167/catid/22 , published in mid-2007:

“Like gourmets, foodies collectively can make or break a restaurant. They have created a large complement of blogs, wikis, and even magazines where large online and off line communities pour over reviews. However, foodies will embark on activities that gourmets will not. For instance, foodies will spend time looking for the “perfect” taco or hamburger, honest everyday foods. Whereas, self-identified gourmets find such pursuits beneath them.”

I consider this to be the essence of the matter. A gourmet, just like a foodie, COULD  be a snob. Doesn’t have to be! He or she may simply be well-off and addicted to the traditional finer foods available in high-end restaurants, and be a super-nice person. But it’s possible for a foodie to be inappropriately aloof also. Just the same as anyone. I don’t believe that any of the words in question:  gourmet, foodie, epicure, etc. should immediately bring bile-inducing snobbery to mind. foodsnob

Anyone can be a snooty jackass, their love for food is not an indicator one way or the other.  I am not aware of a term that refers only to the snobby sector of food lovers. But as commented in the above quotes, gourmets are more interested in traditional and ‘refined’ food, for the most part, whereas the Foodie is interested in a wide range of food topics, to include both Smoked Salmon Pate and/or the most fabulous tasting elephant ear at the fair and what type of oil is used to fry it.

In my opinion, foodies (And gourmets, for that matter) may or may not be occupied with the actual preparation of foods. You don’t have to be skilled in food prep to be either one. But it is often the case! I’m good with cooking and baking, and it seems that many Foodies are. After all, if you have an opinion about the right way to do something… and if you want something done right…. you do it yourself! Heh.

Here is a blog post about the title “foodie” and why this chap has decided that he doesn’t like foodies, or the term. It seems like he’s determined that the amazingness of food should be played down, and that social and economic concerns in developing countries should prevent westerners from romanticizing and writing cookbooks about said country’s cuisine. He’s clearly got a lot more going on than just disliking the term “foodie”, but it is a good example, I think, of the stigma that a lot of people feel is attached to the title. http://mightyminnow.wordpress.com/2007/12/05/dawn-of-the-foodies-americas-most-obnoxious-clique/ Here’s an excerpt:

A superb example of "How not to be", weather your passion is organics, or just good food in general.

A superb example of "How not to be", whether your passion is organics, or just good food in general.

“Of course, you will never see a foodie at the local Sudanese joint—which, by the way is where I spend most of my time—banging on about how zesty, moist, and tender the lamb is. You will catch a foodie nowhere near the Sierra Leonean place asking whether the fufu is made from yams, plantains, or cassava (my favorite), and which of the three is best. No! The foodie would not be caught dead anywhere near where real people eat.”

I find these statements to be completely off the mark, because not one foodie I know (or have heard of online) wouldn’t leap at the chance to try Sudanese food, or, if they had the blessing of knowing the various ingredient variations of fufu, wouldn’t cheerfully ask which was used, and subsequently devour it with relish! Being a foodie is about being hungry to know more about food, and cuisine that comes from a different culture is treated with special respect and particularly keen interest!  It’s also interesting that the foodie definitions he cites at the bottom of the article, though, do not seem to strongly support his assertions that foodies are melodramatic ethnocentric snobs.

So.

Camp #3: Simmer down some! It’s very likely not your fault that you have a bad impression of the word. But this is something that a great many people consider to be great fun (Fresh new title!), a friendly and bright interest that involves zero snobbery, and if the word is a tad silly sounding, hey – – We’re cool with that, you know? (Camp #2, that bit’s for you guys!)

I am a foodie. I’m proud to wear the title, even if I risk being assumed a snob by some, -I truly hope the stigma will wear off with time. In the meantime, I will do my best to model the correct, accepting, and fun-loving meaning of the term.  Thanks for reading!

Foodie definition What is a foodie What does foodie mean

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Aspartame is bad for you, and you should stop using it. Right now.

September 13, 2007 at 8:04 am (Health Issues, My Propaganda, Rants)

I sure hope this is old news, to you.

I found this article, it’s very telling.

Again, more evidence that the FDA is snugly jammed into the Food Industry’s pocket. Sad and shocking, but true.

d.i.y naturally: Diet Soda and Cancer?

PS: Aspartame is Nutra-sweet.

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Eau de Thunderstorm

September 5, 2007 at 8:28 pm (Health Issues, My Propaganda, Oddly Intriguing, Rants)

So, I’m sensitive to artificial fragrances. And in truth, to some natural ones, too, if they’re strong enough. I’ve been scent-free in all my consumer choices for several years now. People who bathe in their perfumes and colognes before they go out are one of my hugest pet peeves, and honestly, it can ruin an outing for me, if I’m forced to sit close to them for extended periods of time. I get quite a headache, and also just hate the strong odors.

artificialfragrance.pngAmerica is terribly inundated with sources of artificial smelly chemicals. It’s in our hairspray, gel, shampoo, conditioner, detangler, body spray, soap, lotion, aftershave, deoderant, washed clothing, dangling from our rearview mirrors, plugged into our spare outlets, candles, room sprays, bathroom sprays, public bathrooms are nearly intolerable, and there are hundreds of smelly products available and very common that these categories don’t even cover. These are all very normal things. Most americans have most of these things in their homes, and use them nearly daily.

Well, you say, if it wasn’t safe, the FDA wouldn’t allow it to be sold, right? So it must be ok. -Unfortunately, the FDA is the first to admit that they don’t have the money, power or time to protect American consumers from unhealthy substances. Artificial fragrances are full of compounds labeled “Irritant” “Respitory Irritant” and other disparaging terms by their MSDS sheets. The long-term effect of these compounds being absorbed and inhaled over the course of a lifetime is believed by many to be very cumulatively unhealthy. I do have references for this, but that’s not what this post is about, so I’ll gloss over that for now. Suffice to say, it’s not good for ya. I stay away from the stuff. And I love it.

Now, that said, I’ll bet you didn’t expect my next paragraph to begin with “I ordered 7 artificial fragrance samples from the internet!” >_> Well, I am. And I did. I feel kinda funny about this, since I’m almost sure that the stuff will give me headaches, and I won’t be able to wear it, BUT! The scents from this company are just so bloody interesting sounding, I had to smell these scents they were describing. I may not get much milage out of the stuff, but at the very least, it will be a neat conversation piece.

On to the sample descriptions!

The descriptions for the products were written very well, often giving a history or some fun facts about the subject producing the scent they’re trying to reproduce, like they tell the story of how Toll House got started, when they are describing their “Chocolate Chip Cookie” scent.

demeterlogo.pngThis company, called Demeter Fragrance Library, produces mainly one-note scents, opting for the simple, rather than the complex. Examples of this include the long list of single flower scents they carry. Iris, Lilac, Sweet Pea, Peony are some. They also specialize in the unusual, smells that one would not expect someone to be wearing. Like Brownie. Or Leather. Laundromat? Fresh Hay? Thunderstorm? Oh yes. They also have several baked goods in a collection, I’ve already mentioned Choc. Chip Cookie and Brownie, they’ve also got Angel Food Cake, Cinnamon Bun, Gingersnap, and Vanilla Cake, to name a few of them.

Earthy selections include Wet Garden, Dirt, Dust, Rain, Snow, New Leaf, Sawdust, Russian (Aged, sweet) Leather, Humidor, Tobacco Pipe, Bourbon, and Grass. They strive for an authentic representation of the smells, apparently, -these are not fanciful names placed on a (vaguely) similar smelling perfume, they really want it to smell exactly like “Grass” with no other smells added. This intrigues me very much. They go on and on about the time they’ve spent perfecting these products, getting the scent just so. That sort of perfectionism definitely turns my head.

So. They had .5 ounce mini-splashes which go for $5 each, and I decided to get 3 or 4 of the ones that interested me most, because my curiosity was killing me. So, here’s the seven I ended up ordering. =P

demeterxmastree.png

Christmas Tree

Happy tree memories, all year!

[a great deal of Christmas tree history omitted here]

Today Demeter captures that wonderful scent of the Christmas Tree for you to enjoy all year around. Use the room spray to recreate that wonderful Christmas spirit and to evoke memories of Christmases past any time of year.

(I adore this smell. I insist upon real Christmas trees, because I just can’t imagine not having this smell, the real thing, in the house at Christmastime.)

Snow

demetersnow.jpg

Remember what newly fallen snow smells like? Or a fresh snowball? This is it. And we worked on it for quite awhile to get it right. Take note too southern Californians, Hawaiians, Floridians, Carlbbeans, and other denizens of warmer climes, this is lovely! All precipitation (rain and snow) comes from water vapor in the air. If the air is warm, the frozen droplets melt and fall to the earth as rain. If the air is cold enough the water vapor crystallizes around a speck of ice or dust and falls to the earth as snow. If there is no dust for the water vapor to crystallize on, it will remain in the air as a cloud. There are many different types of snow related to the many different shapes of snowflakes that exist. The Eskimos, or Inuits, who live in the north, have developed many words in their language to describe the different types of snow. Some of these are: • anniu– falling snow • api– ground snow • siqoq– smoky, drifting snow • upsik– wind-beaten snow • kimoaqtruk– snow drift • salumaroaq– smooth snowy surface of fine particles • natatgonaq– rough snowy surface of large particles At Demeter, after years of effort, we were able to capture the essence of snow in a scent; chilling, cool, clean and fresh, with a touch of dust (necessary to form flakes) and earth (upon which to rest). There is literally nothing like it outside of the Demeter Fragrance Library. The Fragrance Foundation recognized this unique fragrance reproduction as the Best Fragrance in America in 2000, awarding Demeter’s Snow two FiFi Awards, the fragrance version of an Oscar.

(I love love LOVE the smell of snow. This is the one I’m most excited about. Pleeeeease be as good as advertised!)

demetercucumber.pngCucumber

Cucumber is one of our original scents, and still one of our favorites. The cucumber is believed native to India, and evidence indicates that it has been cultivated in western Asia for 3,000 years. From India it spread to Greece and Italy, where the Romans were especially fond of the crop, and later into China. It was probably introduced into other parts of Europe by the Romans, and records of cucumber cultivation appear in France in the 9th century, England in the 14th century, and in North America by the mid-16th century. Demeter’s cucumber is the very best of the modern version, all about the juicy garden freshness, light and sweet, of picking cucumbers just before dawn, when the summer dew is still on the plants and the air itself is perfume.

(Only after I ordered it did I discover that Kanten, my husband, does not think he’ll like this smell?! Weird. I think that Cucumbers smell divine.)

demeterlychee.pngLychee

Lusciously delicate with fruity notes, our Lychee captures the essence of Spring in this exciting oriental fragrance.

(Lychee is one of my favorite fruits, I enjoyed it so much during my time in China, I’d buy them on the streets and just eat them until I was sick. YOM! Their scent is very ‘perfumy’ and subtle. I hope this one lives up to the claims!)

demeterrain.pngRain

Have you ever considered the olfactory side of rain? You know it’s coming, you can smell it in the air (exactly!). It does seem that on summer days when it is hot and dry, with a thunderstorm brewing just over the next hill, you can `smell the rain.’ Well, you can smell something, but rain? Have you ever tried to smell this same rain in January when the ground is frozen solid? Not a chance, but when the ground and plants are warmer, you can smell something. What you really smell comes not from the air, but the ground! Plants release oils that enter the soil and blend with the other earthy odors. These odors are released into the air when the relative humidity at ground level exceeds 75 percent. Moist humid air will transmit odors far better than dry air. In these moist humid conditions we notice these odors more readily. And since rain is so often connected with moist humid air, we tend to associate one with the other. The Demeter Fragrance Rain captures this complex sensory moment perfectly. Like poetry, Rain is subtle and difficult to define, but real, with Rain being the cleanest and most delicate of all Demeter fragrances.

(I’ve always loved the ‘smell of rain’. I am so excited about seeing what this smells like.)

demetergrass.pngGrass

Playing in it…….lying on it……or even mowing it….Grass smells wonderful. Centipede grass, the most widely used lawn grass in the southeast United States, has something of a romantic history. Around 1918, the U.S. Department of Agriculture sent a Dr. Meyer, a plant explorer, to China in search of plants that might be economically useful. Tragically, before his return home Chinese bandits killed Dr. Meyer. His suitcases arrived in the U.S. where a collection of seeds was found, including a packet of Chinese centipede grass seeds. [yadda yadda history omitted here] From China to Washington, DC, to Savannah to Quitman to Tifton, to the entire southeast and beyond, from one small packet of seed and three live sprigs, today centipede grass can be found on lawns and ornamental turf areas around the world. In Demeter’s Grass Pick-Me-Up Cologne, we have captured the freshness and sweetness of a lush green grass pasture, much like the pasture that Mr. Riley Renfroe planted with centipede grass from those three live springs over 80 years ago.

(I really hope this smells like freshly cut grass! I must say, I wouldn’t even mind a hint of gasoline. O_o )

demeterplaydoh.pngPlay-Doh(tm)

Demeter has bottled that fresh, just-out-of-the-can, “eau de PLAY-DOH” aroma as part of a year-long celebration of the beloved modeling compound’s 50th birthday. The 1-ounce, spray bottle fragrance is meant for ‘highly-creative people, who seek a whimsical scent reminiscent of their childhood.’

“One of PLAY-DOH compound’s most notable characteristics is its scent,” said Leigh Anne Cappello, vice president of marketing for the PLAY-DOH brand. “When you open a can of PLAY-DOH compound, you are instantly transported back to childhood. What better way to celebrate the 50th birthday than by bottling the scent for adults everywhere to enjoy as a reminder of their youth.”

PLAY-DOH® brand modeling compound was invented in 1956 at Rainbow Crafts, a Cincinnati-based cleaning company. Scientists there were trying to develop wallpaper cleaner when they discovered the now iconic children’s toy. Realizing the compound’s play potential, the company introduced it at the American International Toy Fair in New York City in 1956. PLAY-DOH compound was first available only in one color and size, an off-white, 1.5 pound can. Now, a half a century later, kids can explore their imaginations and express their creativity with up to 50 colors. The formula for PLAY-DOH compound still remains a closely-guarded secret to this day.

(Neat!)

So, I am due to get these around Wednesday or Tuesday next week, and I’ll have to post a nice update when I get them, critiquing their every nuance!

-Sy

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