Everyone’s a critic!

17 May

I hate being called a foodie. I can’t really avoid it but it’s one of those insipid words which seems to attach itself to being a food blogger like a slimy leech. Foodie conjures an image of a certain type of person. A middle-aged, bloated imbecile whose pretension is matched only by his smarminess. He will trap you in a corner at a party and spout drivel at you. He’ll bore you senseless with his diatribe on the foolishness of drinking any Argentinian Malbec other than those from Mendoza’s high altitude wine regions. The only thing worse than him telling you about the latest food trends is him telling you about the trends that are ‘so last year’. He wants to know what your favourite delicatessen is, he can’t wait to tell you that he’s visited the birthplace of his favourite cheese and God forbid he find out you’ve bought your weekly shop from a supermarket because he will rain down vengeance upon you! 

If you’ve ever been telling someone something along the lines of ‘Oh, we went to this pub down the road. The Sunday roast was quite nice.’ and this was closely followed by the sound of someone chipping in with counter points and ‘better’ recommendations, that’s the sound of Capt. Muppet from Tosspot Division. He’s on the case and he’ll get to the bottom of your inferior gastronomic knowledge in no time. My advise: run. And I can speak on some authority here as I used to do some of these things. But the thing that stopped me was the realisation that honestly, no-one really wants to hear it.

“…and I’ve just found this new pop-up Gastro supper club that serves Liberian food out of a tramp’s shoe. Have you been yet? Have you? HAVE YOU?!”

*sigh* I’ve been lectured too many times on the need to shop local, buy a slow cooker, try a gluten free diet or avoid deep fried food (as if that’s going to happen). The point is, I can’t understand why ‘foodies’ feel that they are allowed a degree of moral superiority due to that fact that they essentially just eat different stuff than other people. I’ve been lucky enough to try some spectacular foods. I’ve had fresh crab in Ha Long bay,  truffled macaroni cheese in London and amazing Polish bloomers from Barbakan deli in Chorlton. On the flip side though I’m not above the other end of the food spectrum. Cold curry sandwiches from leftover greasy take-away curry are one of life’s great pleasures. I’m not sure I could make it through the week without something full of fat, sugar and inordinate e-numbers. I’m not however stomping around the place demanding people eat more saveloy, try a veg-free diet and telling them they simply must get the new ‘Just Eat’ app.

Why? Because food is such a personal experience. The foods that I love and hate may be based on taste or they could be based on the preparation, where they come from and the history of the dish. Childhood dishes, family dishes, pick-me-up dishes and everything in between. We love food for a hundred different reasons. People should also be smart about food of course, it’s the main thing that keeps us all alive, but there’s a fine line between sharing your knowledge and preaching bullshit.

Knowledge is power and as Uncle Ben says ‘With great power comes great responsibility’. The responsibility of every ‘Foodie’ is to not turn in to a condescending pillock.

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6 Responses to “Everyone’s a critic!”

  1. teaglemonster May 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    Nothing worse than catching a glaring eye from yonder as I cram my face with a dozen glazed donuts. I mean, yeah, I know I should have gotten a variety pack but that’s no reason to glare at me.

  2. Rock Salt May 18, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    I totally agree, despite running a programme called Foodie Penpals… I’m trying to reclaim the word. Variety is the (organic, locally produced, gluten free, high welfare) spice of life.

  3. panaculty July 6, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    Couldn’t agree more!

    Doesn’t matter whether it’s fine dining or a bloody good feed at a burger van… Let’s reclaim the word ‘Foodie’. Or maybe create our own… The Eaterati? Flavourists? Gasterix?

    possibilities are endless..

    • mangechester July 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      I like ‘Eaterati’. I’m already looking into patenting it… then I’ll have to delete this comment to destroy any evidence that it was your idea. *plots and rubs hands together maniacally*

      • panaculty July 15, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

        This could be the beginning of a tasty, if not diabolically brilliant, friendship.

        Don’t suppose you’re heading to the blogmeet in Common on Aug 28th? Kate of Manchizzle fame is hosting. I doing my best to get more established so I’m going along to make friends!

      • mangechester July 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

        Hadn’t heard about it until you mentioned it but I’ll be making my way down there now that I know.

        Should see you down there then.

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