If Showtime made a show called "The F-Word", about the trials and tribulations of a group of out and proud foodies, would anybody watch it? Imagine it: In the first episode, Gordon is suffering a crisis after being deprived foodie cred when his housemate Ben posts a glowing review of an undiscovered food cart on Chowhound, which Gordon had introduced him to and already planned writing about. Burn!
Okay, maybe not. That doesn't mean talking and writing about foodies isn't interesting. Just check out the Toronto Star, which asks whether the term “foodie” is an insult or a compliment:
“Some people thought it meant that they were a gourmet snob, so they’d reject the term for that reason,” says Josée Johnston, one researcher behind Foodies: Democracy and Distinction in the Gourmet Foodscape, published December 2009. “But other people said, no, I’m a foodie because I’m not a gourmet snob.”
Insult or Not? Let's get into it after the jump!
For my money, I lean towards “insult.” That's probably because most of my harshest critics have been died-in-the-wool foodies. But I must tread carefully here, considering this is a town of very vocal foodies. Perhaps it's best not to generalize to broadly (a good rule whether your talking about hipsters, or fixie riders, or hell... even lesbians). But being fair isn't fun. If fairness were really an issue, then laughing along with foodie critics like Ruth Bourdain and the anonymous bloggers behind Shut Up Foodies would not be half as enjoyable as it is:
Since setting up shop in March, three New York-based writers that go by the names Snacktime, Meatball and Julia Childless have poked fun at everything from the never-ending story of bacon trends to the popularization of urban, do-it-yourself butchery.
“You go to a dinner party and no one talks about books or movies or politics, they want to talk about the fiddleheads they got that day at the farmer’s market,” says Snacktime, a pop culture and politics writer who prefers to remain anonymous. “It was tiresome. And there is often this attitude that eating well/organically/eating locally is this moral victory, and no acknowledgement of the cultural forces that allow only some of us to even have these oh-so-virtuous options.”
I think it's important to pay attention to your food. However, I also thinks it's important to have a sense of perspective. Foodies do good work in pushing the cultural conversation towards topics like food safety and industrialization, but often that conversation can skip over the fact there are those who are simply unable to make certain food choices.
It makes me happy to know people care so much about the sensual nature of their meal, its provenance, and who cooked it. Go on and let your foodie freak flag fly. But let's remember it's a luxury not everyone can afford, and be as vocal about trying to change that as we are about the latest, greatest bacon creation.
Also, let's try not to take pictures of every fucking thing that hits our tables.