ColumnSnobs, Europhiles and Organivores: You know who they are. Here’s how to cope.
When your friends start texting you photos of what they made for dinner and include only a list of ingredients, you know you have a food problem: You’ve turned into that person. If you’re lucky, things will hold at that manageable minimum, but inch one crumb further, and you might soon be labeled a Food Snob, or worse, the in-house Europhile. Because for every style of food under the sun, there’s a food personality to go with it. We’ve put together a guide to help you that’s just perfect for navigating, and sometimes placating, the wide world of foodies.
1. I Made it Myself!
Taking a cue from Martha Stewart, this is the friend who effortlessly whips together coq au vin at the drop of the hat, any hat. Is there anything they can’t do? Yes: Admit that cooking takes time. Although you are used to them effusively detailing their latest creation – “Who knew fennel would be so good with figs?” – the truth is they’re completely frazzled when they find they have over-committed themselves once again and now are up to their elbows in half made canapés. Unfortunately, Trader Joe’s mini quiches are not an acceptable substitute, so the only answer is an overdose on homemade espresso shots. Hors d’ oeuvres and the jitters, every time. Rx: a large glass of rosé.
2. The Organivore
“It’s finally farmer’s market season again! I just don’t know how I’ve managed all winter without kale.” Beyond filling their basket with root vegetables and cold pressed olive oil from the next valley over at the weekly market, the Organivore is also known to always opt for the kind of authentic eateries that serve wine in Mason jars unironically. Nevermind if it’s organic falafel; the Organivore will inquire as to whether the yogurt in the house-made tzatsiki is goat’s milk or cow’s milk and which local farm, exactly, it has come from. Rx: Focus the conversation on the polenta.
3. The Europhile
“I was eating Nutella before you could even buy it in the States,” they say, pronouncing the word “Nutella” in the European accent of their choice. This is the friend you’re happy to take along to the French bistro because they’ll know exactly how to order, but you’ll cringe when you realize they plan on studiously avoiding English throughout the entire meal. Rx: Never bring them a bottle of wine as a gift.
4. The One Upper
“You like this calamari? Do you? Yeah? It has nothing on the raw octopus I ate on my last trip to Southeast Asia. I said to myself, ‘if you can get past the squirming tentacles, this will probably be the best thing you have ever eaten.’ I was totally right.” If you find yourself forced to spend time with this person, give wide berth to any exotic or international cuisine as you will only set yourself up for a shame session. Try a good café for lunch and get sandwiches. This way, you’ll only have to hear about the excellent baguette with real Brie that your globetrotting friend once consumed on the banks of the Seine itself. Rx: This foodie is your Wikipedia of food. Keep her busy recounting categories, techniques and definitions.
5. The Snob
“The pork. belly. last. night. was. horrendous.” Soup is returned because it’s not the right temperature, wine pairings lacking “nuance” are rife, and if the meal does not begin with two pounds of freshly steamed mussels, you’re in for disaster. Since the Snob has not used his own kitchen, keep your mouth shut and enjoy the fact that when the food apocalypse comes and his favorite restaurant can’t import raw Danish butter or the Barolo anymore, he’ll be asking you how to make eggs for breakfast. Rx: Let him pick up the tab.
6. The Anti-Snob
“Foodie culture has totally taken over this city. At least there are still food carts keeping it real,” says the anti-snob while ordering a wood-fired pizza smothered in truffled gorgonzola, figs and prosciutto. Anything that’s served in a cart, from a trike or out of a small window – preferably in a back alley – is acceptable. Dating tip: You’ll be hard-pressed to get the anti-snob to treat you to a three course dinner, but on the bright side, she’ll fill you up with more food cart crème brulee than you could ever dream of. Rx: Let her pick up the tab.
7. The Avoider
“No thanks: I’m off gluten right now. Also, could you put the cream sauce on the side? I’m avoiding dairy. There aren’t any traces of nightshades in this, are there?” Be it dairy, gluten, corn, soy, meat, wheat or anything with a high glycemic index, the Avoider strictly follows the advice of the latest health book they have tracked down, much to the chagrin of those with actual food allergies. Rx: Give them a gluten-free vegan cupcake with sprinkles and they’ll be thrilled.
8. The Blogging Food Pornographer
“Let me get just one more shot. Wait, can you move the fork just a little to the right? Can we change the lighting at all?” Although they run a traffic-laden culinary corner of the internet, your blogging food porn addict just can’t give it up. Ever. Food apps, a huge Instagram following, two lenses for the DSLR at every meal…the list goes on. Rx: Ask them to explain Tumblr.
9. The Bacon Lover
“I don’t eat meat. Except for bacon.” Just like the internet, the Bacon Lover is crazily obsessed with anything that smells of fried pig fat. If you’re invited over for brunch, prepare yourself, as their kitchen is sure to have a lingering bacon smell that you’ll never get out, no matter how hard you scrub. Rx: Be sure to bring a change of clothes with you.
10. The DIYer
“Try some of this homemade kombucha! I don’t even go near that high priced stuff at the co-op anymore.” Not to be mistaken for I Made it Myself, the DIYer is a little more low key with their cuisine. Think sprouting greens on the windowsill, homemade pesto and ricotta salata. All labeled. Rx: Give the gift of a new Sharpie.
Are you one of these 10? Consider yourself and your foodie reputation warned.
Editor’s note: This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’s weekly column at EcoSalon, Foodie Underground, discovering what’s new and different in the underground food movement, from supper clubs to mini markets to the culinary avant garde.
Images: KaiChanVong, Anna Brones, Bolshakov, striatic, lisaclarke