First off, real food lovers don’t call themselves foodies. Poseurs do.
So, there are people who love food and people who are in love with the idea of being a foodie. After all, the foodie is the new socialite.
We all have that soon-to-be-ex-friend who thinks it’s cool to take a million photos of the one dish they’ve ordered and tweet, pin, ‘gram, and Facebook it to the world at large.
They’re also the ones who let their food go cold because they’re too busy posting to relish the food in front of them and then send it back to the kitchen because it’s not hot enough.
Or promptly forgot about the food after having their fanboy/girl moment and moved on to taking photos of the bar, the bathroom, and other assorted nonsense. Would you put down that phone, pick up your fork, and feed your face already?
A true food lover has food on her mind all the time and does not think it’s weird or awkward to talk about it. Start a conversation with them about anything and you will find it being steered towards food at some point. It goes something like this:
“Didn’t you think Nat Geo’s ‘Story of God’ was great?
“Yeah, I really did. Morgan Freeman was the perfect choice to host the series. I can’t wait to go to Varanasi and try the chaat! I’ve heard that the food and the flavours are a religious experience. Imagine hot kachoris for breakfast followed by chilled thandai while taking in the Ganga. Do you think that’s what Freeman did?”
True food lovers will gush about places you have never heard of. Foodies will not shut up about the places you always hear about.
Sure, it’s not exactly easy to trek to a particular boat in the Mekong Delta and eat the best Pho made by a 60 year old Vietnamese woman – we can’t all be Gordon Ramsay or Anthony Bourdain. But if it was easy, there would be a lot more food lovers and a lot less foodies. If only.
The food nerd knows every joint in his/her vicinity. From the popular stalls (frequented by foodies) to obscure ones hidden in tiny, winding lanes. They’re as invested in a fancy Michelin-star restaurant as in a humble food stall that’s been around for 3 generations.
They devour the minutiae: where it originated, what ingredients go into it, who makes it best, and so on. Because it’s the food they’re after, and not the trappings. Foodies, on the other hand, know what’s popular and where to get it.
As we all know, ‘popular’ is a fickle mistress – here today, gone tomorrow. And while popular may be nice, it ain’t got a thing on classic. Take for example the humble butter chicken or the humbler dosa. The food lover doesn’t need a good ol’ naan-butter-chicken or masala dosa to be anything but.
They will love it just as much as they would a paper roast dosa with wild mushrooms and water chestnut or a deconstructed butter chicken served on smoked ghee rice, provided it delivered on taste. The foodie, on the other hand, will turn his nose up at the former in favour of the latter because, well, a masala dosa is passé and deconstructed butter chicken is en vogue.
In the end, it’s all about love. Foodies love fame. We love food. The end. Feel free to troll.