ColumnA step-by-step guide to faking it in the food world.
The scene is starting to feel familiar. You’re eating a dessert out of a mason jar and you have spent the last 15 minutes listening to a conversation about the merits of mezcal in cocktails. “I just really can’t stand the taste. Put a drink in front of me and I can definitely tell you if it has it in it or not,” you overhear, and you internally swear for not having a good comeback.
A comeback that was just a little more…in-the-know.
Really, you just want to throw your cucumber and ginger-infused cocktail in that person’s face, but then again, the meal was good, and if you play your cards right, you can probably get someone else to pay for it. Wait for it…”I just love treating my friends to good food,” says another table-mate. You’re finally in the clear.
As much as you cringe at the word “foodie” – and don’t we all? – there are moments where it’s worth pretending you’re one: getting your meal paid for, scoring a date with someone who knows how to cook well, getting directions to a new restaurant scribbled on a napkin, finding someone to solve your dilemma of what to make with your leftover greens.
1. Class Up Your Water
Serve your water in a pitcher and put something in it. Cucumber, apple, blackberries, raspberries, vanilla beans; anything that will add a touch of flavor and show that you’re someone who can make even a glass of water taste unique.
2. Put Almond Meal in a Cake
Start easy and just replace a quarter of a cup or so. When you say “[insert name of cake] Almond Cake” it just sounds more intriguing.
3. Use a Formula
When you get invited to a dinner party and your friends are brainstorming what to make, pick a savory ingredient, like an herb or a cured meat – and a sweet ingredient like fruit – and then nonchalantly suggest putting them together. “Hmm…I don’t know…what about something with sage and blood oranges?”
4. Don’t Wrap Things in Bacon
So cliche. Unless of course it’s artisan. Otherwise opt for prosciutto.
5. Employ Key Expressions
Start with our vocabulary list and pick up lines, then make sure you say “locavore,” “artisan,” and some obscure French ingredient in every single food-related conversation you have and you will be good to go.
6. Befriend a Farmer
When you actually know the name of the guy you bought your eggs from, you will immediately one-up all your food-loving friends, no matter how many restaurants with “&” in the name they have been to lately.
7. Turn Into Food Paparazzi
Forget the ideal lighting, whip out that phone and start Instagramming your food porn. Don’t forget to hashtag your ingredients.
8. Add a Spice
Whatever you were planning on making for dinner, throw in some cardamom, fennel, anise or caraway. Then tweet about it.
9. Eat Kale Chips at Least Once
They’re easy to make and the fact that you haven’t had them yet really is just unacceptable.
10. Stay Current
Keep up to date on the current food trends and news, and find a few that you hate, then pepper your conversation accordingly. Examples: bacon sundaes, cinnamon challenge and bone luging.
11. Keep a Journal
Write down your food musings. Oh wait, on second thought, please don’t.
12. Embrace Olive Oil
Just keep a little travel-sized bottle on hand at all times and next time you’re out for ice cream, drizzle a little on top.
13. Take Your Leftovers to Work in a Mason Jar
Salad looks so much more appetizing when it’s in an individual glass serving.
14. Only buy Americanos From Places That Roast Their Own Coffee
And please be sure to make sure that they’re ethically sourcing their beans. Better yet, find a coffee roaster that delivers by bicycle.
15. Know the Names of Three Food Blogs
And who writes them, what they tend to make and which recipe was recently published that you “just can’t believe you had lived without.”
16. Memorize Specialties
Think of three places you have traveled to, nationally or internationally. Then figure out what their specialty dish is, and even if you’ve never had it, don’t be afraid to ask “have you ever had *** in ***?”
17. Carry a Spork and a Pair of Chopsticks for Eating at Food Carts
Only your own cutlery will do.
18. Make Your Own Wine Labels
The $5 stuff just got so much better, if you printed it with Helvetica, that is.
19. Put Coconut Water Ice Cubes in Your Cocktail
Why go for regular H2O when you can have something that’s the l’eau du jour?
20. Eat Good and Real Food. Always.
Cut the word “foodie” from your vocabulary and appreciate food for food’s sake. Because when all is said and done, it’s just that simple.
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.