Saturday, September 26, 2009

I think I want to be a foodie. Or not.

I want to be a foodie because I love food.

I had goat meat today. It was from Sindhu, which I fully recognize is probably a bastardized Indian-food-for-gringos restaurant. If Chinese restaurants in Michigan are any indication of the authenticity of foreign foods in this region, it's nothing like real Indian food for Indians. Okay, done with the disclaimer. Never the less, it was goat. It tasted kind of like lamb, with that ... lamby taste, which I had been craving for a long time. I mean, I haven't had lamb in at least a year.

According to Monika, it's the fastest growing meat for eating. Meaning more and more people are eating it, not that goat grows up quickly for slaughtering, but that's initially a bit confusing. Goat is a staple meat for a lot of people in the world because goats are easy to raise.

A few weeks ago I had uni nigri sushi for the first time and I loved it. I've had ample opportunities to order it in other Japanese restaurants, but I did it this time. Uni is sea urchin roe. It's soft and yellowy-orange. It tasted like very concentrated seafood, like the juice of a head of a head-on shrimp or crab tomalley. Not to be confused with tamale. It's the greenish yellow "crap" inside crabs. Asians LOVE tomalley. LOVE. (Apparently there's some health warning about toxins in it but I don't eat it often and or pregnant for it to be a concern.)

But there are two main reasons for my hesitation about this aspiration. First and foremost, I think foodies fetishize food. This is feeling is captured well by David Rakoff's book Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, the Torments of Low Thread Count, the Never-ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems. Particularly the part "The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil". I don't want to be like Zingerman's, which definitely fetishizes artisanal olive oil and a lot of other "artisanal" foods. Stuff White People Like should add "foodie" to its list.

I think foodies get to a point where you are judged by the food you make and eat. Like I should be embarrassed because I don't make everything from scratch and eat questionably fresh tuna rolls. Oh, and not everything I eat has fewer than four ingredients or whatever Michael Pollan's rules are. You know the way people try to out "indie" each other by naming indie bands they know and asking "Have you heard of (insert combination of random words that is apparently a band name". I think foodies can do that too. Like, have you tried ___? It's divine. See David Rakoff's essay on fetishizing sea salt.

Second, is it possible to be a foodie and not be a cook? Because I'm not sure I like cooking that much, still. But today I bought rapini (aka broccoli raab) at Meijer and I think I will sautee it in some garlic and oil. I like it because it's a leafy green with a slightly bitter taste. Boiling pasta and sauteeing vegetables in oil is about all the cooking I do. Well no, I can also make miso soup and scrambled egg. Now those are all the things I can make.


ecomarci said...

i know what you mean. my Dad is somewhat of a foodie, although to us being a foodie is synonymous with experimental cooking, and that has definitely been passed on to me and my brother. example: we brought pine nuts with us on the bike trip. i know that a lot of my lifestyle is firmly planted in "upper-middle class" roots, but at the same time I really enjoy things like fancy food, classical music, expensive bikes...

i guess I try to make these things accessible to other people when ever I can, and try not to be a snob about it!

Jessieroo said...

I didn't know this word, "foodie," but I love it! I'm not sure where in this I fit: I'm crazy about food, but I'm not on a life-long quest for the best artisan olive oil.

Also, your Zingerman's reference was priceless and 100% true. They make delicious food, but are tremendously over-rated--particularly by Ann Arborites (I would know).