I think it was the afternoon I took a bite out of a duck confit crostini with fig jam at the third day of a food+eating festival that I wholeheartedly decided I would never be a food critic. I was just not cut out for the job.
We’ve all been there. Having that thought of wouldn’t it be the best job in the world to be paid to eat?
But with such glory comes with a price.
Read about my thoughts of the term “foodie”,food critiquing and the one of many experiences I’ve had with gluttony. And make sure you stay till the end, I have a beautiful spring recipe I like to share with you all.
First of all, right off the bat, not anyone can be a professional food critic. It’s in the few percentage range out of normal people that comes the job of being a regularly paid food critic or columnist. Most newspapers hire “writers not foodies”. Most food critics have a degree in journalism, because their words and vocabulary are meant to not only showcase a restaurant’s food, but to capture the audience’s attention to peruse the article.
And obviously, they need to eat a lot. And not all of the food is good food.Even if it is, like anything done repeatedly, you tire of it eventually.
With the amount of food they eat in a week, they need to exercise. A lot.
Got food poisoning? Oh well there’s a deadline to meet.
Now it’s no secret I love food.You know when you’re taking a bite out that special something that’s bursting with flavour,awakens your appetite,perfectly crafted and decadent and you feel like you could close your eyes and marry it? In those moments, even for just a split second I dream of a life where I can be around such delciousness all the time. Those moments that I say to myself wow I really love food.
But reality is, those moments don’t come by all the time. In fact, sometimes you try to “recreate: or “relive” them and depending on different circumstances, they just fail. And you’re disappointed because it wasn’t as good as that first time.
Flashback to a week ago when I attended Eat Vancouver. The first time was glorious. I experienced so much gastronomical feels maybe partly because of the excitement that I dreamed about it the day after, wanting to relive those moments. And so I gave in on the third and final day and went back by myself. And it was not half the fun as the first time.I retried a lot of the things, and tried new things, maybe I wasn’t very hungry, but they just didn’t taste as glorious as the first time round you know? Gluttony allowed me to get more and more and buy more. I settled on Pier 7 that was offering a tasting flight of three items. Tuna tacos,duck crostini, and a chocolate pinnacle dessert. I wasn’t even hungry, but just thought to myself “got to try everything, might as well right?”.Plus I felt like it was only a foodie obligation to. I wasn’t a big fan of the raw tuna, took one bite of the duck crostini and my teeth met the large bone of the duck with the fatty,oddly tasting of the duck meat it self, and I proceeded to throw away the rest of it because I couldn’t stand the flavor. I gulped down the dessert to drown the aftertaste and determined it was nothing special. I left the event feeling uncomfortable and stuffed. What I learned from this was that even though some things may seem so good that you want to put it on repeat, it’s special for a reason. Maybe it’s an occasional thing. Or one time deal. But when you try to repeat it everyday an “indulgence” is no longer an indulgence.
Another problem I have with the concept of being a food critic, or even a foodie, is the unattainable satisfaction. Even though ‘foodies’ proclaim they adore food with every ounce of their body, they are endlessly in the pursuit of finding more food, better food..ect. Or they are endlessly critiquing food for the little details ,flaws and flavors or what not. To me, food should taste good and be nourishment to our bodies. Restaurant outings should be limited to an occasional outing because we tend to have higher expectations outside our homes because we are paying for it. When we were always “looking” for the good/bad in the food we are eating, we become so focused on this objection, we are less focused in just enjoying the time,the food, and whatever company you have.
Food critics make their job to critique food for the good,bad and horrible. To me, this just sounds like a tiring endeavor.
As much as I love embarking on new “foodie” adventures, I love myself a nice,homecooked meal. Simple or a bit more extravagant, if it tastes good, I’m in.
You can make such delicious dishes out of few, in reach ingredients. Like that last week I went to the farmer’s market and bought two items:arugula and aged goat cheese. And that set me off to make elegant salads and vegetable dishes all week long.
Here’s the recipe:
Arugula,freekeh and aged goat cheese salad(1 meal serving or two sides)
with simple honey mustard dressing
Prep time:Under 10 minutues
1/4 cup uncooked freekeh
A big handful of arugula leaves, washed
1/2 a small cucumber or 1/4 a big cucumber,diced
1/4 sweet bell pepper,diced
1/2 a carrot,sliced
1/2 celery rib,sliced
1/2 small apple, any red variety
small strip of onion,red onion,or shallot, diced
a small bunch of fresh cilantro
a good piece or thumb of aged goat cheese(this is a strong hard,crumbly,slightly salty cheese)
1 tsp of dijon mustard
1/2-1 tsp of honey(depending on how sweet you like it)
1 tsp of olive oil
1 tsp of water(to thin)
1)Bring freekeh to a boil in a small pot with 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a simmer for 20 minutes covered. This may start to bubble out a little, this is normal. Once twenty minutes is up, turn off the heat and let it stand uncovered for 3 minutes. Scrape of the freekeh from the pot with a rice spatula. Let cool.
2)Prep all your vegetables.
3.Mix everything together. Dress with your dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4.Crumble goat cheese on top at the end and nosh
This salad is so versatile, you can use whatever veggies you have on hand. Feel free to adjust to your own preferred proportions. This recipe is an example of how easy it is to make a restaurant style, healthy meal with some basic vegetables and few more unique ingredients to spice it up and give it a ton of flavor!
If you are vegan, you can totally substitute the goat cheese with extra firm crumbled tofu(with lemon juice and cracked black pepper so good!),nuts or seeds.
Indulgences are great, but they don’t always have to come from outside your home, in a fancy restaurant. Find pleasure in the little simple things, maybe taking that moment if you’re eating an egg sandwich that has a perfectly fried egg,golden runny yolk and ketchup sandwiched between some buttered $2 crispy bread, and acknowledge, this is delicious. I love life right now. Or maybe if you’re like me eating oatmeal with sweet,caramalized bananas and cinnamon incorporated throughout with chunks of walnuts and a waddle of nut butter smooched on top. Enjoy those everyday” foodie” moments. You don’t need that much to enjoy a good meal. And also acknowledge, sometimes things go wrong maybe in your cooking, or even just in your day, and everything’s not going to taste mouthwatering delicious 100% of the time and that is okay. Be appreciative that you have this nourishment available to you, and the ability to percieve taste, because it is such a wonderful sense us human are able to possess and enable to our full ability.
Here’s to enjoying food,life and unleashing our inner gluttonous creatures only,occasionally.