Foodie-ism: a National Epidemic?

No cynicism here: the bee finds yummy potential in many flowers. Even those without truffle oil.

Miles run today: 11

Column filed today: 1

On a scale of one to 10, how great it is to lie in bed and smell pancakes being cooked by your husband: 10.5

Our neighbors’ puppy was out yesterday, taking the yard in tight circles, all NASCAR-like. The owner said they had taken the Cutest Puppy in the World to the mountains on a long hike this past weekend; they thought he’d be worn out. But no dice. Still energetic.

Our son is a puppy. We must make sure he goes outside each day for exercise. Rain, hail, snow, 100-degree temperatures… we’re outside.

When our son was young, a friend told us, “You do realize that you’re only increasing his stamina, right?”

This disturbing thought had not occurred to me.

I wondered if I should be yelling, “Now, lie down! Watch two hours of TV! Don’t get up!”

But I never did.

And now, something even more sinister is occurring amongst the children of this nation: Foodie-ism. Well-meaning adults have created monsters; little creatures who know how to operate garlic presses and mandolins, food processors and pineapple corers. My children think that homemade bread is a God-given right.

I am not, in any way, suggesting that my kids would turn down Doritos. Heaven forbid.

But when I made a Cooking Light alfredo sauce for chicken and vegetable pasta the other night, my daughter said, “You know, this is really just like the white cheese sauce on Velveeta Shells and Cheese.”

I looked at her very hard.

And then I had to acknowledge that a child who, when asked by her grandmother what she would most like her to make when she was at her house, said “salmon with capers,” is a bit of a food snob.

The little, almost-5-year-old girl down the street eats olives by the handful. Not just any olives, but the high-end kind. She can tell the difference.

A recent picnic at a local park revealed to me that some local kids love brie. (Mine prefer Havarti.) They ate prosciutto like it was going out of style, wrapping it around their hands in much the same way as I used to remove the edges of my Oscar Mayer bologna.

My mother was a gourmet cook, channeling Julia Child and whipping up coq au vin with delightful regularity. But some things just weren’t available at our local grocery stores.

When I was five, I didn’t know that prosciutto existed. Mangoes were things people ate in other countries. And pineapples were things we bought in cans. I remember reading in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe about turkish delight, and it sounded fantastically exotic. Now that I’ve had it, the magic is gone.

I am wondering if we should put Foodie-ism on the president’s four-year gotta-address list. I mean, Michelle has all those kids farming kohlrabi and Swiss chard in the White House gardens.

What frontier of food will exist for my kids when they are grown and every Twinkie has been fried at the state fair, every pepper has been bred to the highest mark on the Scoville scale, and every Kobe beef burger is cooked to the perfect degree of done-ness?

Where does it end, people?

Perhaps, for me, it ends at truffle oil. I have never (knowingly) ingested truffle oil, though I am sure I would love it.

I will not allow any to pass my lips, because I know it is a slippery slope to Foodie-ism. Do not invite us to dinner if you are serving anything involving truffle oil. I am trying to protect my children and their futures.

What is your most exotic food indulgence? What would you eat for your last meal on earth?

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42 thoughts on “Foodie-ism: a National Epidemic?

  1. Daryl says:

    Of all the fantastic meals I have eaten–and in the words of Rob Lowe, “Literally, thousands”, your homemade spaghetti makes me consider selling my soul for the chance of third helpings.

  2. robincoyle says:

    You crack me up.

    My girlfriend and I made Turkish Delight after reading The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe because in our 12-year-old minds, it sounded romantic and exotic. C.S. Lewis oversold it. Ugh.

    My last meal? Veal Piccata. Sorry baby cows everywhere.

  3. I love GOOD crab-cakes. You know with more crab than cake. Also, My wife and i once drove 125 miles for a piece of turtle cheesecake from a gourmet restaurant we vacationed near the previous summer.

    Hmm. Spaghetti and wine. When’s dinner?

    • annewoodman says:

      Yum! I LOVE LOVE LOVE crab cakes. My husband makes some amazing ones from a New Orleans cookbook we got years ago. I buy the crab meat and look at him expectantly. ; )

      You are invited for dinner anytime. That is, if you can drag yourself away from your divine lake house. ; )

  4. jmmcdowell says:

    I’m afraid for this American, too, the “turkish delight” of C.S. Lewis fell flat. But lest I sound gauche, my last meal would have to include some of my aunts’ incredible Serbian versions of baklava, strudel, spanokopita (“pita”), and lamb. And Belgian truffles—of the chocolate kind, not oil. 😉

  5. This insight into kids and their posh food tastes really made me laugh. I do remember kids coming round to my house when I was growing up and looking into the fruit bowl and being completely baffled. My mum is Brazilian and would only buy tropical fruit. To me it was completely normal, and now I enjoy oranges and apples because I never really had them growing up! (Though I would still eat a mango over anything.)

    • annewoodman says:

      That’s cool. Wonder how difficult it was for your mum to find the fruits and foods she was accustomed to?

      My kids love mangoes, too. We used to buy mango juice instead of orange juice for them each morning.

      • Actually, we were talking about that the other day – how much more of a diverse range of foods the supermarkets stock, compared to 25 years ago when she did struggle. Whenever her sister came over to visit, her suitcase would be full of tins and packets!
        Mango juice is the best!

  6. Bernie Brown says:

    I guess my most exotic tastes are kalamata olives (the only kind I’ll eat) and I do love brie, especially in a sandwich – grilled even. Then, of course, I also like a burger from Cook-Out and Lay’s Original Wavy potato chips. My foodie-ness didn’t start until my kids were grown. I think the inlfuence of the cooking channel combined with the expanded choices in the supermarkets got me hooked.

  7. Carrie Rubin says:

    Luckily, I seem to have escaped this with my boys. I cook healthy meals but nothing exotic, and they seem just fine with that. As for my last meal? Maybe a pizza, a tub of popcorn, and a big bar of chocolate…

  8. Amy Mak says:

    Oh my goodness, I love this post. I so get it! My children are such food snobs too, asking for sushi every time I go to the grocery store. Um. Do you give our your spaghetti sauce? I wouldn’t mind if my husband said he would sell his soul for something I made for him!

    • annewoodman says:

      Ha! Food is probably the reason we’re still married. ; ) I got him through food, and that’s how I’m keeping him.

      We had to stop buying sushi for the kids at the grocery store because when they were young, we could all share it… now they want their own. And it’s too expensive for that! ; )

  9. In defense of Turkish Delight, don’t knock it unless you’ve tried proper Turkish delight from Turkey or Greece (or probably some other places around those parts too). It really is delectable. If you try it from there, and still don’t like it, then you may knock it 😉

    My kids have quite exotic food tastes as well. When we go abroad, in restaurants they will order things like swordfish, and local specialities, completely ignoring the chicken nuggets and burgers.

    I’ve always had quite adventurous food tastes. My grandmother on my mother’s side was French/Egyptian, so she used to cook middle-Eastern dishes. I also lived for a couple of years in rural France as a child, so I’ve always been used to eating and trying lots of different things. If I had to pick my ultimate meal though, I think seafood would feature quite heavily, probably lobster mostly.

    • annewoodman says:

      You called it–I have not had real turkish delight… only the kind imported to our local Mediterranean store/restaurant. I will have to try the real thing and get back to you. Plane tickets, garcon!

      French/Egyptian sounds so fun and exotic! And growing up in rural France seems like something I need to go back in time and try out. ; )

      I want to be there for some lobster. I never get lobster… and I LOVE it.

  10. Jay Helms says:

    I do think you are right about the food frontier disappearing. Yet, I can’t say I feel bad that my kids are much more versatile in their food likes than I was growing up. I have vivid memories of looking over the menu at a seafood restaurant at the beach and being overjoyed that they had hamburgers and french fries available. Ridiculous.
    We became foodies when someone introduced us to Cooks Illustrated magazine, and Carla and I started to cook together for less expensive date nights.
    Favorite Exotic Food: Chocolate (The number of steps in the process to make it like we have it now versus how we take it for granted, is embarrassing.)
    Last Meal: Chicago Pizza

    • annewoodman says:

      Mmmmmm, Chicago pizza! Yummy! I will join you in that yumminess!

      My mom and dad were horrified when we took one of my friends to the Florida Keys (back when I was a kid), and she ordered pork chops. We all scarfed down a seafood smorgasbord and felt sorry for her! ; )

  11. thepoelog says:

    It’s so true! Kids are waaaay more sophisticated these days. I thought for the longest time that asparagus only came out of a can! Most exotic: two items I discovered in Istanbul, ceviz (syruped walnuts with their husks still on) and sahlep (a warm thick drink made out of ground iris root). Last meal: XFE’s brisket cooked on the Big Green Egg.

    • annewoodman says:

      It’s sad but true: I can definitely still eat asparagus out of a can… while still enjoying the real thing as a totally separate vegetable. ; )

      Ceviz sound amazing, and I don’t even know how to imagine sahlep. Will have to try it!

      I have seen the Big Green Egg and never eaten anything from one. I’m glad to hear about it! I’ll be at your next barbecue!

  12. limebirdkate says:

    My kids don’t know anything about garlic presses or caviar or prosciutto. A good ol’ PB&J or my homemade mac & cheese will keep them happy. Actually that is probably the most exotic I get in my kitchen–I don’t serve Kraft, I make my own mac & cheese. As far as my last meal, my mother’s homemade spaghetti and garlic bread is my choice!

    Oh, just realized I’m posting as my alter ego!

    • annewoodman says:

      Maybe your kids are also younger than mine. Mine are hungry, hungry all the time.

      Also, I don’t make homemade macaroni and cheese… maybe I should try it? Shamelessly, I love the boxed kind. But I bet yours is delicious!

  13. Something covered in chocolate would be what I’d ask for. My current problem is Dark Chocolate covered pomegranates. MMMMM. THink I’ll go grab some now.

  14. Ravena Guron says:

    Ack! My brother once tricked me into eating Turkish Delight (I thought it was jelly or something? I don’t know how he tricked me) and it made me retch.

    Sadly, I can’t cook. At all. So I’m planning to become super rich and hire a chef to do all my cooking for me, so I don’t starve 😀 Exotic tastes wise… I eat a lot of indian sweets, which I’ve been told require “acquired taste” but I’m not sure that counts, because they’re not exotic to me 🙂

    • annewoodman says:

      You are plenty young enough to learn to cook! And then you can make whatever you want. Have you heard the news that writers aren’t rich yet? ; )

      Glad to hear turkish delight isn’t a universal love for English people. And my kids like a lot of Indian sweets (our neighborhood has a lot of folks from India and little Indian markets).

  15. Melissa says:

    I love this, it cracked me up. However, I think it’s great how much more open minded our kids are towards food. They eat things that we would never have thought of. Youngest son LOVES kale chips. I had my first kale chip the same time he did. We got to share that.

    My last meal, though not possible, would be my grandmother’s fried chicken, (Holy cow, that woman knew how to fry one up!) her rice and gravy, canned beans and biscuits with her fig preserves. Pure southern perfection. Kind of like she was.

    • annewoodman says:

      Mmm. Mmm. Mmmm. Your grandma sounds like my kind of woman! ; ) My grandma used to fry chicken every Sunday after church for my mom and aunt. By the time we came along, she did a lot of pot roasts. Which were sublime. ; )

  16. Both of my parents worked long hours, so I grew up eating a lot stuff that’s bad for you. Pizza, deli meats, fried eggs, the clamboat platter from Friendly’s, those hot dogs with the meat sauce on ’em…

    My mom did cook once in a while, and when she did she was across the board wonderful. She worked with ground beef the way Michelangelo worked in marble. Her meatloaf is still my favorite food ever.

    My son cottoned on to none of the things I enjoyed (and still enjoy). He won’t eat pizza or hot dogs and will only muscle down my mom’s meatloaf when threatened. He is a fruit, nut, and vegetable person. I don’t know where he gets it from, but it sure makes it hard to find a restaurant where he and I can both enjoy the food.

    But I can’t complain, he’ll live to be a hundred. I’ll probably be lucky to get to 75.

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