You can’t judge a book by its cover, but a group of friends was talking the other day about how judgmental they felt about an even smaller part of a book, the title: It was “The Foodie Handbook”, by Pim Techamuanvivit, author of the well-loved food blog “Chez Pim”. The word “foodie” was enough for some of the group to avoid the book entirely.
The resistance felt a little odd for a few reasons. One is that everyone gathered around the table either was an existing or a potential Chez Pim fan. We love food, we love cooking, we love travel. The party we were at, even, was a book party for a food book – forager Langdon Cook’s “Fat Of The Land,” an account of the ingredients Cook had learned to gather and prepare, from the mountains to the sea. The chef hosting the party, Becky Selengut, cooked a feast for us using ingredients foraged earlier that day by the author. If there was a litmus test of what constituted a foodie, wouldn’t we decisively qualify?
The tension took me back to my geek-day debates about Star Trek fans, who resented the title “Trekkies” as juvenile and condescending, in the same way that “foodie” feels precious and twee. Somehow, for those fans, it felt more acceptable to be referred to as “Trekkers.” How about, I suggested, we try replacing the “foodie” title with “fooder”?
Needless to say, “The Fooder Handbook” didn’t go over well. But I have to believe the right word is waiting somewhere, as elusive as a wild morel, as fresh as a just-shucked oyster, as sweetly, jammily perfect as the preserves Pim chronicles making for herself and for people – no matter what you call us – just like me.
Rebekah Denn writes at eatallaboutit.com.