The cult of Food.

Tonight I had tickets to watch Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain natter about food for a couple of hours. There are definitely less amusing ways to spend an evening, especially when everyone on stage is drinking beer.

It should come as no surprise to anyone reading my journal that I like food. But on some levels I don’t know that I identify with “foodie” culture. At least, not some of the foodies there tonight who admire to excess individual chefs, exotic ingredients and crazy food experiences. And I say this as someone who considers the Restaurant Magazine Top 50 lists as to-do lists. Though certainly someone who will also happily eat anything from Cheetos to foie gras (and only turn my nose up at a handful of things*, which I’ll still eat in certain dishes).

The audience tonight was probably a mix of professional chefs (whom both Batali and Bourdain jokingly questioned being there tonight, who’s cooking in Seattle’s restaurants tonight?), people like me, and then people like the women sitting next to me who fit into an unfortunate Travel Channel / Food Network demographic that leads to conversations along these lines:

“So are you in the food industry?”

“Me? No, I just like food and I bake a little.” (Me)

“Oh! What do you make best?!”

(Blank look from me, intent stares from them.) ” Errr, cookies? I made some good oatmeal raisin ones last week.”

(Disappointed looks from them.) “So what’s your favorite cookbook?!”

“Erm, I don’t know?”

Batali addressed the issue later when it came up in the Q&A, I don’t really cook or bake anything I don’t think I do well. I make what I want to eat, and I only really deviate from that when people ask me for something specific–which always ends up rather hit or miss for reasons that are obvious to me. We all do best in whatever we’re doing if we enjoy or love it–and it shows.

And on the cookbook issue, honestly, a favorite cookbook? I own over 50 of the damn things, the ones I use the most are ones with recipes most amenable to being made in my usual work/day schedule rather than necessarily being a favorite. It also almost becomes a “Tell me which of your children is ugly?” sort of question. They’re all in my collection for specific reasons.

I don’t know what I’m trying to say here, if anything, I did have a good time tonight, and was quite glad I decided to go. But, I suspect I find your average foodie a bit obnoxious–but then I find your average human being a bit obnoxious.


*Most surprising to most people, this list includes bananas, which generally make me feel ill unless baked into bread or muffins. That said, I adore banana chips.