Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How I Know I Am Not a Foody

Last summer I got to spend three weeks in the south of France with friends (foodies every one) and dined on the best food of my life and drank some of the best wine--and, somewhat less successfully, conversed on the delicate beauties of French cuisine.  The fact that I do not do very well in conversations about food and drink was perhaps the first sign I had that I am not, alas, a foody. 

Another sign is that I like iceberg lettuce.  Not to ruin anybody's day, but I actually prefer it to other forms of lettuce and I'm well over eleven years old.

And I drench my salad in dressing.  Iceberg lettuce floats, though only a tiny bit of it breaks the surface of (I should warn the fainthearted) Thousand Island dressing.  (If some wag is thinking about quipping that if I actually ate greens with more flavor I would not need so much dressing, I have just said it for you.  So there.)

Also, I like mayonnaise.  A lot.  

Also, I cannot name two ingredients in a Cosmopolitan.  And I have never made a martini.  I have drunk several, without thinking much of them.

Also, I have never knowingly watched the Food Channel.

Also, although I could look up the word "nougat," I will not, even though I have no earthly idea what it means.  Okay, if forced, I would guess it means "gooey."

Though my brain knows better, my tongue still thinks Velveeta is cheese.

And I think it's pretentious to say "bon appetit," even if you're French.  But if you're not French, I actually feel my skin crawl.  Literally.  I really do.

I like hot dogs, and, yes, I know how they're made.  My friend Shane has taught me to prefer dogs with some snap to them, and Prague reminded me that I do like sausages that retain some resemblance to meat under the skin.  But no matter.  Give me a hot dog, and I will want mustard, relish, slaw, AND chili on top of it, which can bury a lot of shoddy workmanship in the wiener-making business.

French's yellow mustard.

Because my mother was not a good cook--color-coding was her idea of culinary art ("Everything we're having is BROWN!")--I prefer condiments in general to actual food in general.

I prefer sweet iced tea to hot tea.  Even I feel pretty crummy about this, and tend to drink more hot tea than iced tea, thinking perhaps that I can reform my taste buds in this way, though I drink more Coke Zero than any kind of tea.

Over the years, I have learned to appreciate and prefer steak that is bloody (in France I impressed my friends to no end by ordering steak tartare at a restaurant, which served the dish with mayo, by the way).  I prefer dark to milk chocolate, and especially dark chocolate served with (thank you, Dominique) a dark dark dark dark dry red wine.  I absolutely delight in foie gras, even though I ordinarily detest organ meats ... and even though I am sympathetic to the plight of ducks.  I now know, too, which dining utensil to pick up first without even waiting for somebody else to make the first move.  But however much I love asparagus and cabbage, I still can't get down a single brussels sprout (the love child of asparagus and cabbage, as I see it), unless the sprout is roasted and I can pour catsup on it.

I should get some points for spelling catsup with a "c" and an "s."  Thank you.


  1. Sounds like a foodie to me. I love every one of the things you've mentioned....and I LOVE food. Iceberg is now(again) on some of the 'so-called' best menus. No way to eat a hot dog but with French's. Mayo is the bomb. Nothing wrong w/your taste buds.!..Having different tastes makes you a foodie..Ate, for my bday,(paid for by Nick) at a local restaurant whose chef was just named one of the top 10 chefs in the nation by many publications and he was on Iron Chef (the Food Channel) and it was mediocre at best...8 food-lovers agreed. Ate their cannibal steak(tartare) cuz they told me it was their specialty....not even so-so. And I have enjoyed great meals with you many times. There's a whole lot of pretense in these foodie circles. No need for you to feel 'less than' when it comes to food .

  2. It may be as you say, Mary, but I haven't a tenth of your knowledge and appreciation of good food--and would be lucky to have even a quarter of the knowledge of the rest of my friends. Unlike you I cannot pick out specific spices and other ingredients by taste. And it may be, as another friend said of my taste in interiors, that I have some taste but not the money to match my taste. Still my propensity to put, in general, cheap domestic beers on par with imports and handcrafted local brews and my rock-solid devotion to burgers probably will bar me from Foody Heaven when I die. That's okay, though, so long as there are McRibs and soft-serve ice cream in Hell.



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