Thou Shall Eat Deliciously: Ten Commandments for Foodies
Like most humans out there in the greater universe, I love food. There is a world of flavors out there, and living in one of the culinary hotspots on the planet (sorry New York, but our produce in Los Angeles is better), I get to try a whole bunch of them. And not only that, I have access to all of them at diverse markets nearby so I can create my own variations in my kitchen at home. My love of food, both of eating it and cooking it, is pretty well known due to a previous food blog with my own recipes and currently running a foodie cluster for Jewish young professionals in Los Angeles.
However, with great foodie-ness comes great responsibility. As foodies, we have to uphold certain values when it comes to getting our grub on in the world. We all eat, but being a foodie means savoring and valuing it. This is the reason why we have designated ourselves as a part of the foodie race; because we understand that food is a part of life, but goes beyond that to become a part of our very existences and interactions.
Therefore, I decided to create the Ten Commandments for Foodies. If you want to be a true foodie, follow these simple rules and I guarantee you an awesome and delectable experience.
1) Thou shall be adventurous. Chocolate bars with masala or rattlesnake sausage may sound a little crazy, and there are certainly some weird foods out there. But being a foodie means trying something that may have some people scratching their heads and wondering why you did that. Don’t let their wrinkled noses and fake barfing sounds deter you. Go ahead and try that yak at the Himalayan restaurant down the street or taste the ice cream with the bits of caramelized turkey skin in them. Ignore the haters. There’s a reason why you’re the foodie and not them.
2) Thou shall not be a snob. Random fact: Most human beings on the earth have to eat food in order to survive. You’re not the only one who eats. Yes, you may enjoy food, but it doesn’t make you special that you can pick and choose exotic flavors to enjoy or that you plunked down a large amount of cash for a meal. Don’t act like you rule the world simply because you know the difference between crème brulee and crème fraiche. Being a foodie doesn’t make you better than anyone else. Also remember that not everyone in the world has the luxury to have food. Let that guilt sink in while you’re ordering your microgreens.
3) Thou shall respect your food service professionals. It takes many hands to bring your delicious food to you: Chefs, sous chefs, pastry chefs, line cooks, waiters, waitresses, and even delivery people. Beyond that, there are bus boys, cashiers, dishwashers and even janitors and decorators who bring about the ambiance of wherever you are. They work hard to give you the best food experience possible, whether it’s delivered to your door, served at your local cafe or a brought out at a nice restaurant. They are not your slaves. Respect your food service professionals and they will respect you. (For more information on this, see my friends at Glove and Boots on restaurant etiquette.)
4) Thou art allowed to have personal preferences, as are thy fellow foodies. There are certain foods we either like or dislike, no matter in what context they are delivered. For example, I hate the taste and smell of bananas. The smell makes me nauseous, and if there’s a banana in a smoothie, it doesn’t matter how many other flavors are in there; I will find it. If someone tries to force you to eat or do something that you don’t want to, it’s your right to walk away. The same goes in relating to your fellow foodies and their food preferences. All your foodie experiences should be fun, not a game in edible superiority.
5) Thou shall not give into peer pressure to like or dislike something. There was a restaurant I went to in Westwood that famous LA food critic Jonathan Gold is gaga for. It’s one of his favorites. But I tried it and it was a big giant, “Meh,” for me. And guess what? That’s completely fine! There are certain places that I absolutely love that I’m sure Jonathan Gold would never step foot into. I’m allowed to not like something, and I won’t dislike something simply because it’s not “cool” in the foodie universe. Every foodie has a unique palate, and that’s what makes each individual foodie special. That being said…
6) Thou shalt not judge thy fellow foodie. My fellow delightful foodies roaming the world all enjoy certain things that I might not. Personally, I’m not as crazy about Mexican food as the general Los Angeles population is. (I know, gasp!) Some of my friends absolutely can’t stand Middle Eastern food and it’s one of my favorite types of cuisine. But it doesn’t matter, because each foodie is one of a kind and doesn’t necessarily share the same interests across the board. But if you judge your fellow foodie, you’re closing the door on sharing other food-related experiences with them, and food is all about bringing people together, not driving them apart.
7) Thou art allowed to maintain health/religious/personal beliefs with food. There are many food limitations out there. People with diabetes have to monitor their sugar and carbohydrates. Those with Celiac disease can’t have gluten. There are vegans, vegetarians, kosher, halal, allergies… the list goes on and on. These issues, whether for a person’s health, religion or belief system, should not make these people less a part of the foodie world. On the contrary, like with foods you like or dislike, you should be enjoying what you’re eating. It’s pretty hard to do that when your religious beliefs are compromised or you’re having an allergic reaction.
8) If it’s good, thou shall share it. Did you find an excellent hole-in-the-wall barbecue place? How about a great new food truck? If so, it is your duty as a foodie to share this information. A lot of independent restaurants, cafes and trucks don’t have a ton of money for great publicity teams that can deliver the message about how amazing their food is. They depend on word-of-mouth, particularly the mouths of fine foodies, whether through conversation or social media. This rule, however, also applies when you’re at a restaurant with your friends. If there is something that’s very delicious that you’re eating, don’t hog it all. Share a taste with your friends. Spread the good word that is food.
9) Thou are allowed personal food pleasures. Sure, I’m a foodie, but guess what? I really like deli food. Take that back. I love deli food. Is it super-gourmet? Nope. Is it tasty? Magnificently so. Will I apologize for it? Not a chance in hell. I have been eating deli food my whole life, probably since I could chew. It’s the food that brings back the memories of my grandparents taking us to eat corned beef sandwiches. We are allowed to have these things in our eating lives that bring back blissful memories. They may not be cool, but they are what make food truly special. And if you want to argue with me, watch this scene from Ratatouille and try not to smile.
10) Thou shall play with your food. If you’re not enjoying what you’re eating, then what’s the point of being a foodie? Whether cooking your own dishes, trying out a new restaurant or returning to your favorite place for the hundredth time, enjoy whatever tastes you choose. Life’s too short to be eating badly, so go for the best stuff that you can and appreciate every mouthful. If you take your food too seriously, you lose the joy and the pleasures that come with a full belly and a satisfied tongue. So don’t be afraid, let’s go play! So bon appétit, betayavon, and rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub, yay G-d!
Do you have any more to add to the list?