Are you a ‘foodie’?

Brighton Food Reviewer, Jodie Wallis, April 2015

Jodie Wallis - Brighton Food Reviewer

Well, the fact that you’re reading a blog about being a foodie, on a website about restaurants suggests to me that you are.

Just in case I’m wrong and you just happened to stumble across this blog and you don’t even know the term ‘foodie’ here is the Wikipedia definition:

‘A foodie is a gourmet, or a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages. A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger.’ Sound familiar anyone?

1 in 4 consider themselves foodies

A recent poll of 2000 adults by Kimberly Hurd from Zomato, UK found that 1 in 4 consider themselves foodies. This didn’t surprise me, in fact I thought it would have been higher.

Britain’s food culture has changed a lot in recent years and we are now much more knowledgeable about food and drink than people have given us credit for in the past.

There is even a Foodies Festival, which is now one of the fastest growing food events in the UK. The Brighton Foodies Festival is at the start of next month – on May 2nd, 3rd and 4th.

Foodies Festival Brighton 2015

Food is one of the biggest pleasures in my life

You can rightly assume that I myself am also a foodie. I expect the fact that I am writing this blog has given this away.

I find it difficult to relate to people who aren’t foodies. You know, those people who eat ‘because they’re hungry.’ I don’t understand this at all.

Food is one of the biggest pleasures in my life and has been since my Mum put the bottles away and brought out the spoon. I grew up in a family who made something of every meal.

Brighton foodie blog, Restaurants Brighton
Dad and his 8lb’er Sea Bass

Despite financially struggling when we were young, my parents did their utmost to ensure we had a variety of good quality food.

My Dad shoots game and fishes which has meant we have always had the freshest, most organic meat and fish going.

My Mum has told me of how she used to try and think of interesting ways to serve rabbit as at one point we were eating it every night. I am really thankful to my parents for teaching me the love of good food.

The trouble with being used to ‘eating like kings’ is that we have extremely high standards so it can be hard to find the right restaurant. Luckily, Brighton and Hove and Sussex is a fantastic place for true foodies. It just takes getting out there and trying as many new places as possible.

The growing variety of cafes, restaurants, pubs, and bars is astonishing!

Brighton – The UK’s No 1 Foodie Hotspot

Did you know that Brighton was recently recognised as the The UK’s No 1 Foodie Hotspot by the Huffington Post and travel and arts writer Joanne Shurvell. With mentions of 64 DregreesGB1 restaurantTerre A TerrePub Du Vin, Graze and The Coal Shed featured among others as great ambassadors for our city. The Huffington Post - Restaurants Brighton
There are places to go for all courses: breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, coffee and cake, appetisers, dinner, dessert and after dinner drinks.

Are you a foodie blog - Restaurants Brighton
Picture courtesy of Busby and Wilds

There’s something for every preference and taste also. Indian, Seafood, Steak lovers, Vegetarians, Japanese, Gluten Free, Italian, Burgers, Spanish, Thai, Chinese, American, French, Indonesian, Classic British, Sri-Lankan, Vietnamese. I could go on.

There are even speciality shops where, as well as buying the produce, you can stay and be served: French patisseries, cheese shops, creperies, and unique wine tasting bars. More and more options in Brighton every day.

So, apart from seeing food as a pleasure and knowing where the best restaurants are, what else is it that makes you a foodie?

The Foodie Test

Here are some factors that determine whether you’re a foodie or not based on the findings of the Zomato poll, mixed in with some of my own:

  • Do you get excited at the thought of eating a meal? Whether this is going out for a meal, or cooking at home?
  • Do you start to think of your next meal just after finishing your last one? The first question I ask my fiance after we eat our evening meal is ‘What shall we have tomorrow night?’
  • Do you cook sauces from scratch? I haven’t bought a jar of Dolmio since I was a student at University. I will confess though that on occasion I will buy a jar of bechamel sauce, but whenever I do I feel such guilt I don’t enjoy my dinner!
  • Do you buy locally sourced produce? When I do buy fruit from a supermarket, I always look at how far away it was grown and packaged. If outside of the UK, I put it back.
  • Does it matter to you how fresh, and sustainable produce is?
  • Do you have more than 15 herbs and spices in your cupboard? This doesn’t include the ready mixed ones like ‘Fajita Spice’!
  • Can you make something out of whatever’s left in your fridge and cupboard and still come up with something delicious?
  • Do you have a slow cooker and if you do, do you use it regularly or does it have years worth of dust on it at the back of the cupboard? My wonderful mother in law to be gave us hers and I haven’t looked back. There’s nothing like coming in from work to the smell of homemade casserole.
  • Do you buy the best cuts of meat from the most recommended butchers, NOT from Asda and Tesco? I can hear all you foodies gasping in horror at just the thought of it!
  • Free range and organic all the way? Ok, yes both are expensive but not as expensive as processed, ready made meals and dishes.
  • Does most of your wage go on food ingredients and eating out?
  • Would you never dream of ordering the same thing twice or ordering the same thing as the person you’re eating with?
  • Do you complain in a restaurant if your food is not up to scratch?
  • Do you ask to speak to the Chef after your meal?
  • Do you review restaurants when you get home?
  • Do you know which wines go with which foods?
  • Do you know the difference between bacon, prosciutto and pancetta? Unlike my gorgeous fiance who fried prosciutto last week thinking it was bacon, and ate a few slices of streaky bacon for his ‘antipasto’. Though, perhaps he was just being more ‘foodie’ than me, as bacon is cured meat so technically not raw. I’m sure he knew that.

If you answered yes to more than 10 of these, then you can officially call yourself a foodie.

(Actually, I made that bit up but I think you get the picture.)

Criticism of the word ‘foodie’

Linguistically speaking, there has been some criticism of the word ‘foodie’, as it is argued that there are already many words to describe the concept of a person who enjoys food and cooking. Gourmet or connoisseur for example. The critics believe that the invention of the word foodie is ‘childish’ and ‘embarrassing’.

I think these people may take life a little too seriously, and in fact the word ‘foodie’ just makes it culturally and socially more acceptable to be interested in food, wine and cooking.

To call yourself a ‘gourmet’ or a ‘connoisseur’, might get you a few funny looks from your friends and family and, as we Brits have become more food aware, it makes sense for a new, more down-to-earth term to appear.

Anyway, whatever you choose to call it, food is one of life’s simple pleasures and I believe that they are the best. Live to eat, don’t eat to live. And Brighton and Hove, and Sussex is a wonderful place to do this.

Right, I have to go now. It’s lunchtime and I’m excited.