Friday, January 27, 2012

I think I might be a foodie

And for some reason, I really have had to come to terms with that. It just SOUNDS bad. I don't want to be a foodie. Do you?? It's like being called a hipster (I'm still not quite sure what that means, for the record). I think it implies brevity - following a fad. Is that right? Whipping your camera out and taking pictures of....everything. Stalking Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain because you know they would love you if only they knew you (ok that WAS me).
My whole life is about food. I'm pretty ok with it. My bulldog's whole life is about food too, and I want to be like him when I grow up. I think it's possible that there are two factions: foodies, and food lovers. Without foodies we wouldn't have things like THIS or THIS, which would really just be a shame. Yes folks. It's a rock. A rock on a string. AND it's sold out.
Foam is a foodie thing. It used to be a molecular gastronomy thing. Which, before foodies, I'm pretty sure was just called haute cuisine. Or something. And now it's fruit paper, and shrimp cocktail in an atomizer.
Now, don't get me wrong - I think what Grant Achatz and co. have done for food is nothing short of extraordinary. And if eating is really all about sense memory (ok and, you know, sustenance), then I guess it gets the job done. It recalls the memory of the most perfect shrimp cocktail. Or the ripest, most beautiful tomato. But nothing can ever, never, replace an actual most perfect tomato. Especially if it's still warm.
The antithesis of atomized flavors has got to be these guys - the Slow Food Movement. It's people who do what their families have always done, within their culture, preserving terroir (a sense of place, loosely) and ensuring that it IS the most perfect tomato, or the most perfect cheese.
Another incarnation is Thomas Keller. Hero status? Maybe. The man is a beacon of all things good. And hopeful. When the Occupy Movement descended upon the French Laundry because a group of prominent bankers were dining there, what did he do? Passed out chocolate chip cookies. Dining at Per Se was one of the single most powerful, beautiful, and memorable nights of my young life. The care for the diner is so evident. The care of the food, the chairs, the flowers, There were NO burnt out light bulbs! I know he has legions of fans (foodies!?) following him around in worship comas, but...I have to say, I kind of feel as though he deserves it. I don't think it's such a bad thing getting people to care about food and where it comes from, even if it has become mostly a marketing tool. Who cares? I found this in the Acme the other day:

They're...potatoes. Fingerling potatoes, guys. If, as a culture, this is how far we've fallen, we might be in big trouble. Or maybe this is a glimmer of hope? I'd like to think so. Except then I think about the Organic Movement. And how it's gotten so big that the Big Bad companies have jumped into the pool. Aka, the sources of all things bad and evil in this world. Sort of. But because of how big it's gotten, it's impossible to sustain. You can call your yogurt organic and source the milk from an organic cow in Tajikistan. There's no consideration given schlepping your wares across the globe from an environment that's unmonitored and potentially hard to control (this is, of course, a hypothetic situation. We here at Capogiro love Tajikistan). End of story? It's organic. So it must be good. It must be good so people will buy it. And those people might be foodies, who only eat organic.
You know what's good? Farmers markets. Gardens. Your backyard. Your neighbors backyard. I know it's damn near impossible to live like this all the time - I mean it's just unrealistic. And let's be honest, expensive. But for me, it's an "every little bit counts" scenario.
I'm not trying to climb all up on a platform. It's just a whole bunch of truth, all this mess. I don't want to live like the Jetsons. I do want warm tomatoes forever and ever. I don't want bananas to go away. They're seriously one of my most favorite things in this world. I also don't want a genetically mutated banana. But, I'm a food lover. Maybe Grant Achatz can make one for me.

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