Call me a food advocate, not a foodie

I am not a foodie. Considering I was a personal chef and cooking teacher for 10 years, that surprises and confuses most people. They tell me I must be a foodie, as I’m so passionate about food and cooking. I call myself a food advocate (and am happy to see more people adopting the term). Delicious food prepared at home with love, to serve and enjoy with those you care about. That’s what I’m passionate about. Vegetables and fruit that have been grown with care for the land, meat that has been ethically raised, seafood that has been sustainably harvested.

Roma Tomatoes

I don’t care about food trends (and encourage people to ignore them). I don’t jump on the latest technique/tool/ingredient bandwagon. I don’t believe in food competitions and stopped watching Food TV years ago, when the programming ceased to be about food and cooking, and became entertainment and competition-centric.

Though I blog about food, I don’t get the invitations to galas, openings, and food blogger events, because I am not one to promote food in that way. I encourage people to cook – know your ingredients, where they come from and be sure to support independent, ethical growers and makers of fresh food. With the exception of a rare few, most restaurants buy from restaurant suppliers – meat raised in factory farms; vegetables in bulk that are often imported and are often genetically modified (corn, wheat, canola, etc.); and lots of processed ingredients including soup base, salad dressing, sides, condiments and sauces.

Fresh Fish

Does eating ethically cost more? I suggest that’s the wrong question. Good food costs. It should. Anything of quality does, from cars to electronics, homes to services, clothing to vacations. You get what you pay for. For some reason, when it comes to food, culturally we have shifted from seeking quality ingredients to searching for the lowest price. Much as you deserve a fair wage for the work you do, so does the farmer and his staff who raise/grow our food. The question that needs to be asked, is “why has food become so cheap?”

Strawberries

It’s a question of priorities. I don’t collect shoes or jewelry. My cell phone is three versions out of date and I drive an economy car. I don’t smoke or drink alcohol. I rarely eat out. My wardrobe is small and we PVR movies instead of going to the cinema. So when I pay 50% more for ethically raised local meat; organic local cream and milk; and fair vegetables and fruit (and chocolate and coffee), I’m choosing where my dollars are spent. I’m choosing to support local farmers, growers, ranchers and shops. When that defines a foodie, I’ll more than gladly accept the label.


This blog post was prompted after reading Mark Bittman‘s latest op-ed in the New York Times (June 27, 2014). He challenges those who embrace the term foodie to become more activist with respect to food quality, genesis, ethics, and supporting fair prices for farm labour. That’s why he’s one of my favourite food writers and cookbook authors, a leading proponent of good, fair food. Visit his web site here.

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