Five Ways To Spot a Foodie

Yesterday, our own Katharine Shilcutt wrote an incisive, observant and nuanced article regarding the backlash against the "foodie" culture. Naturally, the discussion in the comments section, on Twitter, and elsewhere on the internet has primarily revolved around the many virtues of frog's legs, and whether or not a cooked frog can be considered a "whole frog" without its head, and other nitpicky crap only the foodiest of foodies cares about. Yes, as with many articles concerning specifically defined traits, we're seeing a lot of misunderstanding, misinterpreting, and just plain ol' missing the point entirely going on. So allow us to clarify:

WE DON'T HATE PEOPLE WHO LOVE FOOD. That would be crazy. We're a blog full of people who love food. What we hate are people who make the food secondary to their own vain trendiness, who will move on to some other scene once this one is no longer the hot button. What's the difference, you ask? We thought Katharine explained it pretty well, but just in case you needed more elucidation, here are five ways to spot a foodie.

1. Won't Put Down the Damn Phone We understand that with passion comes the occasional fanboy moment. We're not denigrating the folks who sit down at, say, Pink's Pizza and immediately think "Holy shit! This is a gorgeous pizza!", tweet a single photo of it, and then eagerly tuck in. We're not even speaking ill of the folks who try some kind of zany experiment like taking a photo of their progress through a gigantic chicken-fried steak every five minutes. That kind of stuff adds to the enjoyment of the meal and can turn a simple dinner into a truly fun experience. No, we speak of the ones who have their phones out throughout the entire meal, tweeting or texting random thoughts that may or may not have anything at all to do with where or what they are eating. People who take pictures of themselves and their friends before they've even tried the food, who crop the meal out of the shot in favor of some other status symbol, like the name of the restaurant or a fancy-ass aquarium or some such nonsense. These folks clearly don't care about what they're eating, they only care about having made the scene, giving themselves self-congratulatory pats on the back for their hip taste and expecting their friends to join in the circle jerk. Would you put down the phone, pick up your fork, and feed your face already?

2. Won't Eat Outside the Box Some foods are always great, regardless of whether or not they are currently en vogue. Shilcutt's point regarding frog's legs was not that they're not awesome, but that they've always been awesome, and they'll still be awesome long after the foodies have moved on to next week's trend dish. So when you see someone who claims to love food enthusiastically order a pork belly or a cupcake, yet witness them turn their nose up at a perfectly fine plate of ribs or a muffin, you know you're not dealing with a true food lover, but with a foodie. Foodies love food the same way everybody loved the Spin Doctors for one summer back in 1993. That ain't love, kids: That's infatuation and trendiness. Ask your parents about the difference.

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John Seaborn Gray