This is the fourth anniversary of My Global Kitchens website … so I decided to casually write about some of my current thoughts.
I recently took an “Are you a Foodie” quiz. It was funny and although I love food and do a lot of foodie type things, eating regularly at new restaurants isn’t “my thing.” Yes, I possess a great deal of food and nutrition knowledge and can understand most random menu items and descriptions. I love to get together with others who truly enjoy food – ordinary street food, local specialties as well as the unusual ethnic delicacies. And yet I am happiest cooking food in my own kitchen, where I know where everything comes from and how my creations should taste.
Most of my friends and even my husband are amused with me and giggle at my obsession with cooking, my love of reading cookbooks and food blogs, and my tenacity with trying new ways of making just about everything. Of course, I have my favorites – chicken picatta, vegetarian soups, crazy salads. If I am stressed or lonely or happy or sad or tired or energetic – I cook. I even laugh at myself – I don’t really understand why I love to be in the kitchen and create – but I do. I’m at peace with it, even if I am cooking just for me!
This is not to say that everyone else is incapable, or that I am in some way superior because I pay so much attention to food. Quite the opposite. I almost feel embarrassed that an “Are you a foodie?” quiz exists. The responses made my skin crawl: For example, I had 19 out of 20, so does that make me a foodie? On and on, with kind of a smug sounding ring to most of the responses. Most comments were from foodies.
I don’t call myself a foodie. I love food, but I call myself a good cook. A former cateress.
The real problem for me is that I don’t like to be put into any “box” or be labelled as part of a group because usually I’m a bit of an outlier, a rebel. I don’t relish being casually thought of as a foodie. In my experience, once we or others are labelled, it’s almost one size fits all. “She’s a Republican and probably grew up with guns.” “He’s a Catholic so when I mentioned my daughter living with her boyfriend, he looked horrified.” “She has a PhD and is really bright.” “He grew up with family money, is spoiled and can’t relate.” Blah blah blah.
I don’t appreciate the “us” versus “them” mentality. Having lived the first 17 years of my life in Iowa in a two parent, middle class family, I’ve heard more than once how sheltered and naive I must be coming from this background. In reality I have lived in different locations and travelled throughout this country, and throughout the world so I have personally seen the many many possibilities and blurry lines when it comes to religion, politics, race, education, interests.
And yes, food. Some of the best meals I have eaten came from wood burning stoves in villages without electricity. I don’t enjoy solely surrounding myself with people who are exactly like me, who believe the same things, attend the same religious institutions, belong to the same gym or groups. For me variety is the spice of life and I enjoy my various friends and acquaintances, I really do. Sometimes a person with vastly different beliefs becomes a teacher to me, and what I thought was true absolutely goes up in smoke. I will also say I am delighted, in a perverse way, when some of my stereotypes and the stories I make up based on appearance or preconceived notions prove to be entirely false.
I’ve learned a lot over the past four years. I’m thrilled I’ve been able to share my stories with you. I hope you’ve grown and expanded along the way. And I’m looking forward to many more adventures, to learning many more lessons and to being proven wrong … again.
And now for one of my favorite quotes: