Foodie means a lot of different things to a lot of different
people. To some, it may indicate a higher standard in dining preference,
perhaps a snobbery or sense of superiority regarding what one allows to pass
through his or her digestive track. To
others, the term foodie may describe a person who eats anything and everything,
from dirty New York City street food to experimental molecular gastronomy concoctions—if it’s
edible, eat it.
someone who merely cares more about food than your average three-meals-a-day
eater. While the term “foodie” still leaves me with a sense of
elitist discomfort, I believe the word has taken on a new meaning, and with it,
a new responsibility in the twenty-first century New York dining scene.
production of foods that were historically grown on farms and cultivated by
humans. The tomatoes we’re eating at one of New York’s most popular restaurants
may be modified genetically, or transported thousands of miles to reach our
mouths, leaving a disgusting carbon footprint before reaching a perfectly
designed plate. Too much of the
meat served at high-traffic Manhattan establishments was raised in ethically amoral
environments, traumatizing both the animals and humans involved in the
production of the steaks and foie gras we’re savoring at dinner on a Saturday night.
|Keeping it local reduces the carbon footprint–credit|
As a new foodie, I’ve deemed it my responsibility to make
informed choices about what and where I eat. This could mean shopping at the farmer’s market or nearby
food co-op, or perhaps cooking out of Daniel Humm’s new cookbook, I <3 NY,
which features local and sustainable ingredients as centerpieces in his
|Cooking at home is one way to control what you eat.|
I’ve made several food rules for myself, many of which are
contradictory and some of which rarely make sense to anyone outside
myself. But hey, we can’t all be
perfect. When given the choice, I
do not eat meat (which is almost always possible in the NYC dining scene),
and I will refuse to eat any meat that has come from a factory farm. Due to a strange combination of
government subsidies and American taste preferences, I often end up covering
the bigger half of the bill with my veggie options, but feeling better and
ethically accountable for the food I’m eating makes me feel like the best food
lover I can be.
I desire to give up any of my favorite neighborhood restaurants that do not serve organic
food. I feel that not eating meat and sticking primarily to vegetable dishes at my favorite spots including Malai Marke, SoHo Park, and S’mac, or opting for vegetarian restaurants such as
Pukk, ‘sNice, and Table Verte, is my decision as a foodie. Luckily, in NYC, it’s easy to choose from a plethora of
restaurants to find the most responsible options.
|Quinoa Salad from ‘sNice–-via Yelp|
|Thai Papaya Salad at Pukk–via Yelp|
questions, such as where the ingredients are from (grown or purchased), if your
dish is made from scratch, and if any of the ingredients have been previously
frozen. Of course, at a reputable
dining institution, you should assume the best, but I’ve been to many a
recommended restaurant that served pre-made pesto or an appetizer that had
probably seen better days.
restaurants and dishes. Web resources, such as eatwellguide.org, aid in locating restaurants that promote local and organic.
|Local tomatoes from the Union Square Greenmarket–-credit|
You wouldn’t buy a house or car without researching its
background, so why not do the same with the food you’re putting in your body on
a daily basis? Dig a little deeper. Look into where the food in a dish originated before you order it. Fresh ingredients – produced humanely and sustainably – make your dining experience that much more valuable and the food taste that much better. Isn’t that what being a foodie is really about?
|via Eleven Madison Park|