Notes from an armchair foodie
Let’s be frank about food. It’s gone from being a basic necessity to a pop culture coup of the 21st century. Take food trucks for example. We all know how we used to define them. Today, they are galloping gourmets, rolling restaurants, and crazy cuisine counters seemingly stationed on every corner and available parking lot. Then there’s the reality chef shows of which I can’t comment since I haven’t watched them. It’s hard enough spending time in my own kitchen. Can’t imagine hanging out in Hell’s Kitchen or even observing it from afar. And how about The Chew? The name alone sounds like a promotion for good digestion. You know I’m just having fun with food for thought, right?
Because I pretty much stick to the basics when it comes to fulfilling my dietary requirements, don’t think anyone will be calling me a foodie anytime soon. However, as a self-proclaimed armchair culinary connoisseur, I sure love to read about food! Yes, that’s me pouring over the food sections in magazines and newspapers to learn the latest in restaurant trends, new kinds of cooking classes, and “prep” terms I need a dictionary to understand. Did you know that bain-marie is a fancy term for a hot water bath used to control the temperature when cooking a custard or cheesecake?
I’m fascinated with food critic reviews, the rising stardom of chefs, and compilations of “the bests” in every kind of category imaginable. I make note of food festivals although I never seem to find myself at one. What surprises me the most is my penchant for popular recipes in every category. I’ve started a collection knowing full well I would have to take out a small loan to cover the cost of ingredients and utensils not to mention finding the time to prepare them.
One thing that hasn’t changed about food is how it brings people together—to celebrate, commiserate, and commemorate. We all have to eat and it’s more enjoyable with others. Not sure if progressive dinners are still in vogue but “back in the day” they were a lot of fun. So are potlucks, barbecues, formal meals, casual ones and of course late night snacks. Take out has even gone gourmet. In the words of James Beard, “Food is our common ground, it is a universal experience” and according to Alan D. Wolfelt, “Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” With summer around the corner, it’s a perfect time to try a new dish, take it to a picnic and share some love!
Originally published in the Orange County Register, Laguna Woods Globe edition, June 9, 2016