Foodie Underground: When Food Equals Love

ColumnInternet dating for the food loving crowd.

It was the usual, Friday afternoon internet surf: half an hour spent scouring blogs, trying to track down some new recipes. As I scrolled down the Eater page a banner ad on the right side caught my attention – impressive, given my usual blindness to anything that looks like advertising – “Eater Dating.”

A site completely devoted to online dating for foodies?


I cringe and marvel at the idea all at once. As it turns out, Eater Dating is the brainchild of bar and restaurant site Eater and the online dating site How About We. The difference from regular online matchmaking services? How About We is all based on suggesting an intriguing first date, which fits well if you’re trying to find someone that’s just as food obsessed as you are. Imagine the possibilities:

“How about we try the new food cart?”

“How about we drink bourbon out of mason jars?”

“How about we get wheatgrass smoothies and then hit up the tempeh reuben joint?”

“How about we buy some fennel and make our own sea salt shortbread?”

“How about we cure our own pork in our kitchen pantry and live happily ever after?”

I’ll stop there, since “Pick up Lines for Foodies” is a whole other column waiting to happen.

The crossover between food and love isn’t new. Jamie Oliver has his own dating site, in collaboration with Even OkCupid has a foodie test, because god forbid you put “foodie” on your online profile and don’t actually fit the correct description. (The fact that you actually have never purchased artisan cheese at the market would be so disappointing to your future beau.)

A good friend of mine immediately insisted that I join Eater Dating, just so that I could report from the trenches; turn Foodie Underground into Foodie Love Underground. No, thank you. Online dating mixed with self-professed food snobs? That sounds almost worse than cupcakes.

Ultimately, food can be sexy, but dating the foodie crowd? You can only take so many discussions about the merits of sparkling water and urban wineries. As Felicity Cloake of The Guardian put it, “does a foodie really need another foodie to be happy?”

I am not so sure.

George Bernard Shaw once said, “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” If there are two of you with a love for food, there may not be so much room for the actual love part. And by that same token, if you’re in the business of dating, and you’re schmoozing foodies, you better know what you’re getting yourself into.

There is also the Swedish site Restdejting, which launched last year, that not only aims to find people true love, but ensure that food doesn’t go to waste. An initiative of farmers’ cooperative Lantmännen, it brings together eco-conscious singles who want to share their leftovers, or whatever ingredients they just can’t seem to put in their dish of the night. You enter what five ingredients you have laying around, and with the help of social media, hope some other food lover in the near vicinity is in the mood for the same thing.

Genius, considering the fact that anyone who has pickled herring, lingonberry jam, and an extra bundle of dill and hardtack on hand and ready to offer up is probably soulmate material. Scandinavian food is in, after all. Plus, if you’re breaking it down to simple ingredients, there’s not really any room for food pretentiousness; you just want to make sure that cute guy down the street doesn’t have to eat a fillet of wild-caught salmon alone.

The results speak for themselves:

“I never thought I would find love in the refrigerator. But there it was, hidden all the way in the back behind an egg carton…”

Maybe love is as easy as your favorite ingredient. If it doesn’t lead to love, at least you have delicious food to show for it.

After all, isn’t it better to eat good food alone than bad food together? That may depend on who you’re talking to, but much like Harriet Van Horne wrote in an issue of Vogue in 1956, “cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”

Which means no matter where your love life is at, the least you can do is commit to making excellent food.

Maybe then you can at least avoid internet.

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.

Image: decafeined, Alexis Soon

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.