No more foodies any more

Wine-buff, travel-bug, sports-mad, news-hound: standard suffixes for the lazy conversationalist.  

Male nickname suffixes: nothing more than the addition of the letter y to a name (Matt-y, Smith-y).  I presume it’s a y anyway.  It could be ie.  

On that theme, there’s one particular ie that I find very irritating and that’s the ie to be applied to the end of the word food.  Foodie.  Foodie.  Foodie.  Even writing the word causes a little bit of bile to rise up and catch the back of the throat like acidic backwash.

Do we really need a word for people who are passionate about their food, and even if we do, do we need a word that manages to sound trite, childish and smug all at the same time?  “I’m a real foodie” clearly attempts to convey the idea of a fashionable character with money and taste who is able at the drop of a hat to regale you with stories of restaurants where they have dined, the signature dishes they have consumed and even the personal history of the chef who may have cooked their dishes.

It’s not just the word foodie either.  This breed of people have developed their own language and it’s the language of the pretentious menu so loved by food bloggers.  Is some food on top of some other food?  it’s been rested.  Does food have chili in it?  it’s been ‘spiked’.  Are there spices?  it’s been given a ‘kick’.  The meat was not bought from a farm, it was ‘sourced’.  Do you have a random collection of separate entities on your plate?  Why, something must have been ‘deconstructed’.  Does your meal look nothing like what you ordered?  I expect that it is the ‘chef’s take’ on a classic.  

Menus seem to fall into two extremes, the yin and yang of culinary pretentiousness.  Either you are presented with some kind of Victorian novella to describe the dish or you are presented with a single word, iron-chef style.

To pick the first example of the former category that I came across: Roasted Creedy Carver (no idea) duck, spice pear gel (so I assume not a pear, but a gel made from pears, reminding me very much of a limited edition radox brand) , braised duck leg, turnip (seems a shame to have so little information about how this is cooked give the information lavished on the duck), English Ale-Gar reduction (a reduction involving ale?  A reduction involving agar?  Can you reduce agar?).  This level of waffle actually makes me yearn for the menu item that simply says ‘mackerel’ and I’ll happily take pot luck with what’s been done to my fish.  Many of these items come from the sort of restaurants that are designed for people who will quite happily book a table for 5.30pm on a Monday evening 3 months hence to ensure they have a foodie go-to experience to be unveiled at a weekend dinner party.

But the worst thing of all is that the person who symbolises the word foodie for me is Alex James, that uber-twat cheese-evangelist late of Blur and best chum of both DC and Clarkson.  Apparently (and this is pretty much a genuine quotation) his 20s were all about booze, his 30s about drugs and now his 40s are about food.  He finds it an amazing way to connect with people in a far more fundamental way than his music ever could.  Leaving this aside, the creator of tikka-masala cheese for Asda (now discontinued) and the soft ‘Blue Monday’ is the epitome of the type who feels food has some kind of inherent cool to it.  Food isn’t a status symbol, but we do eat a lot of it and it’s probably wise to make sure that it tastes nice and doesn’t do too much damage to the planet.  That is all.



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