In Defense of Foodies and Orangettes

by Jenn on February 16, 2011

in Dairy Free,Desserts,Featured Posts,Gluten Free,Vegetarian

Chocolate Orange Sabayon Crop 2

I identify myself as a “foodie“.

There, I said it.

I identify with a word that brings about utter loathing in a few people lately, but the loudest seems to be a certain book reviewer from The Atlantic this month.

I say I am a foodie because I enjoy cooking.  I enjoy trying new things, whether it be taking on the challenge of tempering chocolate, mastering a gluten free pizza crust, or simply trying new flavors that I haven’t combined together before.  I enjoy going out to nice restaurants, and drinking wine that is meant to be more than a mere vehicle to transform shy people into extroverts over the course of an evening.  Currently we don’t have children, we don’t have pets, we don’t go see movies or concerts and the decor of our 50m2 of sacred space is drearily austere and minimalistic.  So I don’t mind spending money on quality food, either when eating out exploring a new place, or purchasing ingredients at the market to use when I cook at home.  But mostly, I am a foodie because I love how food connects us to each other.

So why all the negativity with the word?  Because some people think being a foodie is by definition a state of elitism, resulting in an innate need to push said food-related pretension onto the masses with the zeal of religious fervor.  But really, how is being a food snob any different than being a snob about anything else?  Isn’t showing off ostentatiously to allow yourself to feel better at the cost of everyone else’s egos the very meaning of snobbery, which has existed in some form, not exclusive to matters of the stomach, for oh I don’t know, several millennia?

Are there people who take the enjoyment of food to religious levels, so much so that their opinions and beliefs around which their worldview of food centers start sounding like a fanatical evangelistic sermon? One whose goal is to either convert the rest of us or at least to try to make us feel very guilty for not “drinking the kool-aid”? Sure there are.


But, as with any group of people, a vast generalization based on a few is never an accurate descriptor of the whole entity.  Surely that must be the reason for B.R. Myers’ disdain of all things “foodie”?  Else why would one have the need to so incoherently group so many different types of foodie-ism together (I’m sure the author would approve of me adding “ism” to the end of foodie there)?  Myers states that gluttony is about “an inordinate preoccupation with food.”  If your exposure to the food world is reading about upscale dining experiences and food trends and watch food reality shows on TV (a few of which I will gladly admit I enjoy – afterall, I learned a few tricks of how to successfully cook risotto by watching Gordon Ramsay yell at people on Hell’s Kitchen), then maybe I can at least try to understand the warped perspective a bit.  But really, there is so much more to eating than showing off.

Equating foodies with elitism misses the point of celebrating food.  For every stuck-up elitist that contributes a bad rep, there’s a family that was saved by cooking and sharing a meal together.  Because sharing food is also a way we share and give ourselves to each other.  Because the experience of eating food isn’t about the taste alone.  No, eating food is a deeply social and emotional act, whether you plan for it to be or not.

Many of my best memories growing up were about an event in which food was involved, and much of it wasn’t fancy gourmet.  Enjoyable food comes in many forms; it can be a sophisticated gourmet version of mac and cheese to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, or it can be a simple trip to a local restaurant for ice cream as a child with my grandmother before she was taken by a long and arduous fight with leukemia.  No elitist gourmet food snob would think that particular restaurant served the best ice cream ever, but if I go “home” back to where I grew up and order some again, I’m not tasting just the flavors of the ice cream;  I’m experiencing all the great memories I had with my Meemaw.  Magically she reappears in my mind, a smile on her face, telling me she still loves me and everything will work out.  However, taste is an ephemeral thing and does not last forever.  But I know if I go back and order that ice cream the next time, I’ll be reminded of her again, even if she wasn’t necessarily at the forefront of my thoughts when I first walked in.


Cooking (and subsequently starting this blog) kept me from going to some not awesome emotional places nearly three years ago.  My husband (then fiancé) and I were both in grad school, but had to live 1,000 miles apart for the second half of our doctoral studies.  During that time, I had a crazy reaction to a medicine I was prescribed that gave me multiple cases of tendinitis at once, rendering me unable to walk for months.  The only problem was that for most of that time I had no clue what was wrong with me, and neither did any doctors that I saw.  I could not do lab experiments, I could not walk, I could not even do menial tasks like laundry.   My husband was helpless so far away, and the emotional stress of it all tore us down countless upon countless times. Luckily, through the grace of a miracle, my mom and dad were able to take turns living with me and taking me to appointments and tests and specialists, while we all scratched our heads as to what could be the matter. I remember sobbing in tears with the student health office just from the hassle involved in trying to obtain crutches to help me walk.  I remember getting pushed out of the way on the sidewalk by people who thought I was moving too slowly and obviously not worth enough to warrant just walking around me.  That time in my life pretty much sucked.  But eventually, I found the correct doctors and got better, and had the support of some amazing friends.  I developed some killer triceps from those crutches (one nice side effect!).  My mom took me to the farmer’s market on the first weekend I was able to hobble around enough, where we gorged on the most amazing strawberries I have ever eaten.  To this day I don’t think I’ve ever tasted strawberries so sweet.  Sharing those market strawberries with my mom was a big part of what got me through that time, emotionally.  I dipped them in chocolate.  And later that year, my husband and I indulged in strawberries on our wedding night as we told each other, now married, “I love you.”


Strawberries have been a central theme on this blog over the years, and now you know why.  For the longest time my avatar on each comment was of those exact strawberries from the market with my mother, because whenever I eat the sweet and juicy little red fruit, the love and support of my family and friends fills me with joy.  I don’t worship the strawberry, I just like being reminded of the incredible network of wonderful people whom God has granted me to be lucky enough to interact with in my life.  Every time since then that I eat a strawberry, I remember this fact.  I like preparing them in a fancy way, and I like preparing them simply – mashed and heated up they make a great topping for French toast.  But my favorite may be dipping them in chocolate, just like I did with my mom those years ago.  For you see, food is not just about taste and making the newest and grandest creation.  Beyond the calories are memories. Emotions.  Meaningful experiences that should never be ignored or tossed aside. Those are the important aspects that celebrating food offers us.

You see, being a foodie is not all about elitism, nor is it about forcing political or health or socioeconomic viewpoints on others while society incessantly exalts the ever more grandiose (some foodies may be able to do some good in the world, too – and if more foodies mean more gardens, I certainly will not complain). There is a different side to the story too, where being a foodie is simply about understanding the connection between ourselves and each other, and knowing that food often plays a role in that equation somewhere.   It can be as simple as fresh fruit and a little chocolate.  Or it can be very complicated with special ingredients.  But it doesn’t have to be pretentious to be enjoyed by a foodie.


For Valentine’s Day this year, I spent two hours just preparing a garnish of a dessert I was making for my husband, orangettes.  So much care and patience involved in peeling and slicing the orange peels, candying them, melting and tempering the chocolate (without a thermometer, mind you), then dipping them into the chocolate, all to be just a tasty garnish on the dessert I had made.  Why would I labor that much over mere food? Because it’s how I tell my husband I love him.  Some people write cute notes or make mix CDs (ok, I’m showing my age there, but don’t you remember doing that in high school?).  Moi, I cook.  I’ve always thought that food was a form of poetry, and the more I cook, the more convinced of this I become.  Just as art or a novel or a fashion choice is a statement of expression, for me food is that medium.  Sure I made a fancy dessert.  But my husband would’ve been equally happy if I’d made a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  It’s not really the food that is the end-point, it’s the meaning behind it.

For you see, food is culture.  How we form and evolve our relationship with food has a profound effect on our outlook of everything else.  Many many ordinary non-elitist folk have deeply meaningful personal stories where food is involved in some way.  Maybe Myers is right, and the seeming “worship” of food that the author seems to take such issue with is really an expression of society’s need for living in the moment, a little escapism from the harsh reality of the turmoils of life.  Or maybe, it’s the very idea of what a foodie is that’s all wrong.

To me, a foodie is just someone who enjoys good company with others around a meal.  Now where is the need to be so vitriolic about that?



Orangettes, adapted from Giada de Laurentis

Preptime: 30 min to get the orange peels ready for dipping
Total: about an hour total, not counting time to let them cool and harden


  • 2-3 oranges (depending on their size)
  • water for first 2 boilings of oranges
  • 150g water
  • 225g sugar**
  • beans from 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 200g dark chocolate, melted and tempered (or at least enough chocolate so that you can easily dip, maybe more/less depending on size/shape of your bowl)*

*if you use dairy free chocolate, this recipe can be dairy free.
** palm sugar works fine in place of regular sugar as well


  1. With a sharp knife, slice an “x” on the bottom of each orange, only cutting through the skin.  Then carefully continue the lines down to the other end so that you have portioned the rind into 4.
  2. Carefully peel the rind off of each orange, and lay flat on a cutting board to slice it into parallel thin slices, about 1 cm (3/8″) wide
  3. Boil the rinds in enough water to cover them, about a minute.  Drain and rinse with cold water. Repeat boiling, draining, and rinsing. Remove from pot.
  4. Add the 150g water and 225g sugar to the pot, along with the vanilla.  Let come to a boil and then add in the orange peels.  Bring down to a low boil and let cook for about 15 minutes.
  5. Use  tongs (because the sugar/water will be very hot) to remove the peels and let them cool on parchment paper.
  6. Once cooled, dip one end (or all of it, your choice) in chocolate  and then let cool.  Garnish on your favorite dessert, or just eat and enjoy with a friend.



Also submitted to – Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten Free Wednesdays

I am also using this post as my submission to GAHIGF, whose theme this month is all about love potions & charmed foods.  Being a foodie is about love of food, love of family, love of friends, love of flavor. Not necessarily in that order, but all of it charms me and warms my heart.


christine February 16, 2011 at 10:09 pm

A-men. That was an incredibly thoughtful and well written post. It took me through so many emotions, and I feel so pleased to hear that I’m not the only one who connects with the “foodie” label but not with the pretentiousness that often comes alongside.

Anyway, thanks. I really enjoyed reading this :)

Jenn February 16, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Thanks so much. I have a feeling that there are a lot of us who have a rather different view of the “foodie” label than the current bad rep.

Rosa February 16, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Lovely clicks, post and recipe! I also identify mayself as a foodie. I hate snobism and elites. For me this word is all about genuine passion for food and nothing else.



Jenn February 16, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Thanks Rosa! Yes passion and elitism are very different concepts indeed.

Caneel February 16, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing!

Jenn February 16, 2011 at 11:13 pm


Courtney February 16, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Wow. I’m at a complete loss for words, Jenn. This post is absolutely beautiful, and I’m pretty much in awe of you and your writing.

Jenn February 16, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Thank you Courtney.

Ali @ His Birdie's Nest February 16, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Great post Jenn! AMEN!

Jenn February 16, 2011 at 11:17 pm


Lisa February 16, 2011 at 10:33 pm

What a beautiful story Jenn. Thanks for sharing it. I too believe that being a foodie isn’t about elitism and I hate that its become that way. Thank you for detailing your point of view so eloquently!

Jenn February 16, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Thanks! I’m really glad that more than a few of us feel this way.

Rachel February 16, 2011 at 10:34 pm

That was an emotional post. From the memories about your grandmother, about your husband and being sick, I am awestruck with your writing and the stories that you told. You wove them together with the theme of food so beautifully. And so truthfully, as well! Food is an integral part of our lives. I will be thinking about this post for the hours and days to come. The pictures are gorgeous, too!

Jenn February 16, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Thanks – it was emotional for me to write, but I felt it needed to be said.

Krystal R. February 16, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Truly a well-written foodie and beautiful post that speaks from the bottom of your (strawberry) heart and stomach, too. AMEN!

Jenn February 16, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Thanks! Strawberries are delicious… 😉

Kim - Liv Life February 16, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Extraordinarily well said!! Lovely photos to go with it…

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 12:00 am

Thanks Kim!

Sammee February 16, 2011 at 11:05 pm

I totally understand this. My dad and I formed a special bond over cooking. When I was a teenager, we would pore over cookbooks during the week to decide what we would make on the weekend. We did things from scratch, using basic techniques and taking the time to enjoy the process. Those meals meant something and were more important that just food. I’m not good enough to feel elitist…there are folks who’s talent leave me in the dust. But I too, enjoy food and the rituals of it. It helps define who we are. Thanks for your post, I totally identify!

Jenn February 16, 2011 at 11:32 pm

You’re welcome, and thanks for sharing your story! There were a lot of cookbooks in my house growing up too :)

Amy (Sing For Your Supper) February 16, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Beautiful, Jenn. Thank you for sharing this!

Jenn February 16, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Thanks Amy!

Kelsey February 16, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Absolutely beautiful, Jenn. In one fell post, you’ve taken me back my childhood when my Mammo would take me to the drug store in Kingfisher, Oklahoma for a chocolate ice cream cone. She’d get coffee and I’d drink a couple of the little creamers. Then she’d dip her napkin in her ice water and wipe the remnants of the ice cream off my little face. I hated it as a kid but what I wouldn’t give now to have just one more moment like that.

You’ve also reminded me of how much I love my fiance and how I show him that through food. I make him his favorites when he’s had a bad day. For our upcoming wedding, we’re not having a wedding cake made by a complete stranger. Instead, I’m putting our stamp on the event by sharing our favorite desserts with our closest family and friends. I could be having a spa day, but instead, I’ll be baking two kinds of cookies, lemon bars, and red velvet cupcakes so our favorite people can indulge in our favorite treats. For me, that’s being a foodie. Using food for love and comfort, not for being ostentatious.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this beautiful, thoughtful, heartfelt post.

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 12:00 am

Thanks Kelsey. I am so impressed that you are baking for your wedding – your husband is one very lucky man :)

Felice - All That's Left Are The Crumbs February 17, 2011 at 12:02 am

Great post and stunning photos. I cook to show my love for my family and friends. It is also a creative outlet. I may not be great with fashion, crafts, photos, or decorating but I do know how to cook the things my family loves. I am sure that people find me strange sometimes because I know food and cooking terms, but I find it strange that they do not. It would be a very boring world if we were all the same, foodie or not.

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 12:13 am

Thank you. And yes, variety is a great thing in life, and in perspectives too :)

Lindsey (Our Share of the Harvest) February 17, 2011 at 12:07 am

Stunning story and photos, Jenn. If Myers thinks that’s the kind of emotion that’s stirred up by being a gluttonous, sanctimonious, holier-than-thou elitist, there’s no hope for them. There’s a reason good food exists in all cultures and among all socioeconomic classes, because it connects people. Preparation of food is part of being human, not elite.

Great post.

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 12:16 am

Thanks Lindsey, and you are so right – food connects people. It’s as basic as that.

Morri February 17, 2011 at 12:55 am

Hiya Jenn (waves fanatically)!

You know, being gluten free has been one huge adventure for me as it has likely been for you (I notice you’re now a gluten free blog and not a mostly gluten free… AWESOME). It’s turned me into the “foodie” I never expected on becoming. The experiments, the joys, the disasters, the delicious concoctions, the amazing mistakes… my head is swimming with the imagined aromas I think dishes will smell like. And then I make them… and they smell (and taste) so much better.

Today I finally opened up a few of Bob’s Red Mill gf flours my mom bought for me in January. I could smell the coconut flour, toasty and warm; the quinoa flour, flaky and light… and when those little muffins came out, I felt so triumphant, so… empowered.

As I struggle with the dilemmas I have about food (the term orthorexia comes to mind), being the foodie I am today empowers me to overcome those issues. Thanks to your blog (and Affairs of Living, GF Girl and the Chef, Z’s Cup of Tea, and a few others), I am so inspired to create my own masterpieces and to post them on my own blog one day.

Cheers, fellow foodie. Continue cooking with your head held high. <3

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 8:08 am

Yeah I realized last year was a totally gluten free blog year anyways, so one of my new year’s resolution was to have this blog own its glutenfree-ness a bit more :) Thanks so much for all the kinda words, really.

Tamara Mitchell February 17, 2011 at 1:04 am

Great post! I’m not sure when the term foodie evolved from being fun loving, engaged, and interested in delicious and nourishing edible things to something people are practically sneering and spitting at as snobby and petty, but I am still an unapologetic foodie as well.

Maybe we need to rename the snobby and petty people foodholes and take back foodie for the fun loving :-)

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 8:13 am

haha this comment made me laugh out loud! I love the word “foodhole”

Cathy/ShowFoodChef February 17, 2011 at 1:08 am

Yeah, I read that article too and just saw it like reality television; a choppy collection of extreme reaction for entertainment purposes that has nothing to do with reality. I loved your post, ironically so full of real life and meaning. Beautiful photos and touching. Thx.

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 8:16 am

Thanks. Maybe you’re right about the author’s original intent, I’m still not exactly sure. But if that’s the impression the rest of the world gets about foodies, well I felt I had to do my part to correct it :)

Maggie February 17, 2011 at 1:21 am

Love this Jenn. You’re a fantastic writer – I am constantly amazed by your talents. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 8:18 am

Thanks Maggie!

A. Rivera February 17, 2011 at 1:52 am

Thank you for sharing such a personal story Jenn. I had forgotten about what had happened to you back during your wedding planning days. So glad that this blog helped you through that tough place.

It can be intimidating to think of yourself as a foodie because of the negative connotations it can evoke in others. But you have reminded me that I need to be okay with what/who I am, and it’s not a bad thing that I am in fact a foodie!

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 8:31 am

Thanks, and not it’s not all so terrible being a foodie :)

Margaret Massey February 17, 2011 at 3:08 am

Nice that we like to do things to show our love. The double boiling at the start removes any bitterness. I have been doing this for over 50 years. Glad you let others into the secret. ~ Margaret

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 8:20 am

Yeah I think the double boiling really worked well. I had a few leftover that I didn’t dip in chocolate, and they were perfectly enjoyable on their own.

theveggie February 17, 2011 at 4:22 am

I identify so much with what you’ve written here. Food has kind of saved me. It’s amazing how after a really awful day, or string of days, or months even (!) prepping for a dish or completing a dish can make you feel satisfied and content. Also in relation to what you said about food being a topic of conversation, it inevitably makes its way into each and every one of my conversations. It’s completely universal, and since politics, religion, work and socio economic issues are increasingly off limits as society becomes more polarized by the day, food as a topic is a wonderful gift to conversation at all levels and places. Food is AWESOME!

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 8:21 am

It’s true, everyone can talk about food, and that is a great thing :)

Prerna@IndianSimmer February 17, 2011 at 5:11 am

What a well written and engaging post! Loved reading through it and walking through all those experiences along with you. I strongly support all the thoughts and believes that you shared here and that’s exactly how I feel food plays a role in my life.
Lovely job Jenn! n now I get my answer too :-)

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 8:21 am

Ha you do!! Thanks Prerna.

Christine February 17, 2011 at 5:20 am

I totally agree with you. A large part of food is enjoying the experience and the people who you enjoy it with! I’ve found that I’ve definitely enjoyed food a lot more now that I’m married – it helps when you have to make all of your own meals. Now, one of my favourite things is makings meals with my husband!

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 8:22 am

Thanks Christine – we also love to cook together – it’s one of the things that brought us together in the first place, and time in the kitchen is always joyful.

Lana February 17, 2011 at 5:32 am

I read the article a couple of days go, and dismissed it as another extremist’s view. It does not have to be one extreme or the other – there are so many wonderful places for us in the middle, surrounded by warmth and smiles that come when we enjoy good food with the loved ones.
I link a lot of my memories to smells and tastes of certain foods and it is all about feelings for me. That’s why I have a blog – so many miles separate me from my homeland and my family, my friends and my sister. Sharing the food and the memories is what defines me as a food-lover.
Thanks for such a wonderful post:)

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 8:23 am

I am the same way, and being also so many miles away, food is how I bring my family into my life a little bit, and the memories of making food is something we sharing with each other, even over the ocean.

Meg @ Gluten-Free Boulangerie February 17, 2011 at 7:34 am

Thank you so much for writing this. I read Myers’s editorial the other day and was at a complete loss for words – I kept wondering, do many people lump everyone who enjoys good food together in one category like that, in the same group as extravagant celebrity chefs? It was especially flustering that he seemed to be throwing people interested in local food and involved with Slow Food into that same “snobbish” group too, without even acknowledging the other reasons (cultural, traditional, etc.) people may have for putting care into what they eat in addition to enjoyment.

It’s reassuring to see your views on the matter, and those of so many people here in the comments, too.

Food is an undeniable part of culture, on a family level as well as in a broader sense. (I think that’s part of why so many of us continue to bake, even when restricted to gluten-free flours – I somehow doubt people would devote all that effort to something if it was *just* a matter of taste!) Of course enjoyment of a meal, especially if shared with family or friends, is about more than just the food itself – – and you conveyed that idea in such an articulate and meaningful way.

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 8:25 am

Ha you are so right – especially with gluten free food, it goes well beyond taste (thought tasty GF food is really exciting) – it goes back to being able to enjoy things that were previously off-limits – to be able to eat bread, and pretzels, and pizza again. Yes taste is important with gluten free food, but it’s so much more than that, too.

InTolerantChef February 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Thanks for your honesty and openness Jenn.
Most ‘Foodies’ have a higher appreciation of food, and put it to good advantage. My little daughter discovered that basil and strawberries go really well together tonight when she picked fresh herbs for dinner and snuck a ripe berry at the same time. She takes balsamic olives to school for lunch instead of sweet biscuits. I think of her as a ‘foodie’ in training- not an eletist snob, but a discerning eater. There will always be some who spoil it for others with their faddiness, but good food will never go out of fashion.

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 8:26 pm

“Good food will never go out of fashion” – I wholeheartedly agree!

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite February 17, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Jenn I read this yesterday when you posted, then again just now and both times I had a lump in my throat reading about the difficult times you went through just to get to where you are today. You are an inspiration to me and I am proud to call you my “foodie friend” (and I can’t wait until August!) and totally agree that until someone comes up with a better word, I am fine with it too. No need for vitriol at all.

The kitchen is my happy place too and only the other day, as I was struggling inwardly with some important life decisions did it really hit home to me just how much of a foodie I really am – on a day when I had 1000 things I *should* have been doing, huge decisions to make, recovering from an awful day at school, what did I go home and do? Bake brownies for my colleagues. I think that speaks volumes.

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Thanks so much Mardi – and I’m glad your kitchen is your happy place, I think it can be many people’s happy place :)

elly February 17, 2011 at 4:37 pm

This is such a personal and wonderful post, Jenn. I really enjoyed reading it and agree with you wholeheartedly. Food is about so much more than, well…food. So much of the food I love is so incredibly basic and simple that many may not understand at all why I’m so in love with it. The reason, of course, is that it brings back so many memories and feelings that you had while eating it the first, second, or twentieth time around.

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Thanks so much Elly! I love that such a simple pleasure can bring such joy.

Katie @ Health for the Whole Self February 17, 2011 at 4:37 pm

This is absolutely beautiful. This particular paragraph really stands out to me:

“Equating foodies with elitism misses the point of celebrating food. For every stuck-up elitist that contributes a bad rep, there’s a family that was saved by cooking and sharing a meal together. Because sharing food is also a way we share and give ourselves to each other. Because the experience of eating food isn’t about the taste alone. No, eating food is a deeply social and emotional act, whether you plan for it to be or not.”

That sums it all up right there for me. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Thanks so much. I’m really encouraged to see how many people share my viewpoint!

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle February 17, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Thanks for sharing the intimate details of what you went through; as tough as it was for you, I find some encouragement as I’m stuck in what can seem a never ending physical problem and I’ll tell you what…I’m ready for some strawberries!

While no one can write an article and categorize an entire group of people negatively and be respected for that vitriol, I do see and know why some find ‘foodies’ offensive. I just don’t own that version of the word. Rude, pretentious, demanding and showing no regard for others in their pursuit of food and I think too often showing off what they think their superior knowledge of food is…those are foodies?

I hope not; because like you, food for me is something so beyond that. It’s memories of cooking with my Grandma, feeding a new husband something special, making every birthday cake ever for each of my now grown children and sharing what I cook with neighbors and friends. In it’s simplest element, for me, food is love. I love the act of preparation and love as much showing others I care about them in that preparation. I love finding new techniques and new recipes and I’ll tell you what…without food, without the creative outlet it has provided for me during the past year…I hesitate to think of how low I might have fallen. Yes, it’s nourishment but for me it’s more than that; it’s soul nourishing.

Beautifully written and heartfelt.

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 11:08 pm

Barbara you deserve all of the most wonderful strawberries in the world! Thanks so much, and I love what you say about nourishing the soul. So very true.

Heather Jacobsen February 17, 2011 at 11:08 pm

I don’t even think that “foodie” has a snobby connotation anymore because SO many people consider themselves to be one (myself included obviously). A foodie, to me, is just someone who loves to eat, experiment with, share with others, photograph (live, breath & eat — basically) food. There are so many ways to do this, it just isn’t possible for it to be elitist. Anyway, just my two cents.

As always, your photography is stunning. :)

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Thanks – I love your definition of foodie!

Jill Colonna February 17, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Well said, Jenn!
Really enjoyed your post and couldn’t agree more on your feelings and arguments about eating well and sharing good food with the ones you love. Nothing snobby in that. Particularly moving on how after something stressful in your life can culminate with the amazing memory of an idyllic strawberry. There’s nothing so sweet yet simple. I shall now be able to read further into your posts, knowing that story.

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Thanks !

Shanon February 17, 2011 at 11:48 pm

What an incredibly uplifting post. I have goosebumps now after reading this! You are a phenomenal writer.

Jenn February 17, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Oh thank you!

AmandaonMaui February 18, 2011 at 2:03 am

I am so glad I was able to read your story Jenn. How much more can I say?

Jenn February 18, 2011 at 8:16 am

Thank you – I’m glad I could finally share :)

Mairi @ Toast February 18, 2011 at 8:54 am

A beautiful & thoughtful post & spot on!

Jenn February 18, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Thanks so much!

Valérie February 18, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Wow… I couldn’t even get through that Atlantic Monthly article – so much misplaced negativism! I personally adore the modern foodie community: they are not gluttons, they are bons vivants who take pleasure in life. And many of them are health- and environment- conscious. Furthermore, I when I started blogging about food, I was amazed at how nice everyone was.

Homemade orangettes are a beautiful thing! I also love your pictures.

Jenn February 18, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Yes, I think many are very conscious about the world around them, and I had a similar experience when I first starting blogging – the foodie community I know is just so supportive, helpful, and are generally all-around nice and pleasant people :)

Jackie Baisa February 18, 2011 at 8:35 pm

I, personally, just dislike the word. It’s too pedestrian. I like gourmand or some other iteration. I think a lot of folks just hate the word. Also, I know a couple of people who hate it (because they are labeled one) when they really aren’t. They are CHEFS. They went to school to COOK for the “foodies”. They, themselves, are beyond “foodie”. So, I can understand some of the disdain. (I didn’t read the article you linked to, so it might have gone in the direction of “snobbery”, which is where your post focused.)

Again, my only beef is the word itself. Otherwise, sign me up!!! :-)

Jenn February 18, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Yeah I agree it’s not the most eloquent word out there. I agree there should be a definite distinction between foodie and chef – definitely never ever ever to be lumped together. A chef can be a foodie, and a foodie may happen to be also be a chef, but by no means are all chefs necessarily foodies.

Yeah the article was mainly about how being a foodie = snooty and uppity, which is one thing I really took issue with, because I feel it misses the whole reason to enjoy food.

Jackie Baisa February 18, 2011 at 8:38 pm

(BTW, didn’t mean to leave out praise for your heartfelt post. Well-written, Jenn!)

Jenn February 18, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Aww thanks!!

Veronica Gantley February 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Your post made me want to cry. I couldnt have said it better. It evoked so many emotions.

Jenn February 19, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Aww thank you!!

Kulsum at JourneyKitchen February 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Hi Jenn I recently found your blog and now headed to follow u on twitter. I loved reading this post and thank God someone finally wrote about it. I have always found people who raise an eye at you when call yourself foodie. I mean whats with words anyway. May be its just me, but a word should never be made a center of debate due to some people’s snobbishness.

Jenn February 20, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Oh thanks!!

naomi February 23, 2011 at 9:49 am

Aww Jenn,

What a lovely, lovely post! Gorgeous images, heartfelt words and a thread of love, family and connectedness drawing it all together. Mmm, feelgood.

Thanks for taking part in GAHIGF. x x x

Jenn February 23, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Thanks Naomi!!

Shirley @ gfe February 27, 2011 at 3:50 am

What an incredible post, Jenn! Thank you so much for sharing it. That was a lot to divulge, but truly does show how food can be so very meaningful in our lives. I get pretty sick of folks telling us what words we should use (or not use) … blah blah blah. I’m a foodie, too, and I don’t think it’s at all snobby. And, I totally agree on the magic of fine meals. I’d much rather pay for those than high dollar cable channels, fake nails, etc. So glad you had that recovery, ate those strawberries with your mom, and are sharing your love of food with us all, and the orangettes are gorgeous. :-)


Jenn February 27, 2011 at 10:08 am

Thanks so much Shirley. I’m glad there are so many of us that can embrace the word so well. Maybe we all shall change its reputation? :)

Stacy (Little Blue Hen) February 27, 2011 at 11:40 am

Such a lovely and thought-provoking post, Jenn. I didn’t bother to read the Atlantic article, but just reading your post really made me think about the reasons I love food. You talk about food during both happy and difficult times, and I agree that it’s so important.

Reading hospice literature a month ago was interesting — they say that people tend to be most upset when a loved one doesn’t want to eat because food is so significant to our culture, family, and relationships. Thank you for sharing such a personal perspective.

Jenn February 27, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Thank you Stacy. Really interesting observation about hospice care, that makes a lot of sense to me…

Astrid May 24, 2011 at 10:11 pm

totally agree with what you said. I feel the same about it. I am a foodie and I am not afraid say this.
I would not have met a lot of lovely and caring people otherwise, so it IS totally worth it.

Jenn May 24, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Thanks Astrid – and yes, I too have met and become friends with such an amazing group of people because of being a “foodie” – and you’re totally right, it is so worth it :)

Nathalie December 21, 2011 at 5:11 am

Ahh girl… totally on the same page! That is exactly my thoughts on what it is to be a foodie. The company of friends and family, the memories of loved ones like my Bonne Maman, the simple pleasure of flavors and textures…

I usually don’t use the word foodie, since it usually ends up in someone asking me to name the best/fanciest/most popular restaurants in town, me having to explain that I’m broke and cook at home most of the time with simple ingredients, and being told I’m not a real foodie then. I then retaliate by boring them away by talking for ever about local producers or the art of making a perfect buttercream frosting :p

Jenn December 21, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Thanks!! ha I definitely understand what you are talking about :)

Melissa April 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

It’s the self-proclaimed foodies that grind my gears.

Aqiyl Aniys | Natural Life Energy April 1, 2014 at 7:29 pm

I don’t think “foodie” necessarily equates to being an elitist. I think it depends on the person, though there are properly a lot of foodies who are elitist. I don’t consider myself a foodie. I personally drink a lot of smoothies, but I do like trying different dishes with ingredients I love though.

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: