For as long as I can remember food has always meant more to me than just a means of satisfying hunger, or providing sustenance. To identify myself as a foodie seems like such a simplistic way of explaining my deep and passionate appreciation for something that defines entire cultures, and holds such a place of significance in our daily lives. The raw power that the lack of, or the surplus of food holds over us can be seen in its influence over nearly every aspect of the human experience.
Historically speaking, food has been a key player in many wars and political conflicts. From the French Revolution, to the Boston Tea Party, and the recent Arab Spring, outrage over food can cause major political unrest. Our universe seems to support the idea that he who holds control over food supply, holds the power.
Currently, the majority of us are lucky enough to live in places where the supply and demand of food sources are immune to the power struggles of yester-year. But this doesn’t mean that food has lost its far reaching power pull over us. The recent surge of interest in anything culinary related seems to uphold the idea that the influence is stronger than ever.
The suggestion though that the word foodie should be used to represent a new generation of people who embrace food culture as a lifestyle, seems counter intuitive to me. It implies that a life lived in the opposite fashion, a life where one is not obsessed with food, is even possible. Food is a constant in every culture and in every place on this earth. We are all in one way or another obsessed with food. As humans we have taken our basic need to feed ourselves, and turned it into a form of creative expression that’s interwoven itself into nearly everything we do. We are constantly making lunch plans, going to the grocery store, avoiding food allergies, instagraming a cupcake picture, feeding the hungry, buying popcorn at the movies, we are vegetarians and vegans, we’re grabbing a quick bite in the drive through, checking food labels, making dinner for our families, getting ice cream with a new love interest, trying the latest diet plan, etc. the list just goes on. There are entire TV channels about cooking and eating, cookbooks and diet books, food blogs, there are careers built on critiquing the latest restaurant, food reality shows, and most of us are even concerned with what’s in our pet’s food. Not to mention the big business that organic and sustainable farming has become.
I say all this not to complain, quite the contrary actually. I’m pleased that food culture is getting so much attention and respect, it should. I can think of nothing else with the power to both destroy bonds, and to create them. When it comes to food we are the very definition of obsession. We have been obsessed all along, we just didn’t realize it. Being a foodie is not a new concept. It’s just a modern way of describing the tendency we all have to turn food from simple sustenance into something much greater. We are all foodies. Whether it’s by our own admission or not, none of us can escape the fact that food is forever.