Mark Bittman Makes Me Think

Craig McCord

Craig McCord › Craig possesses 23 guitars and cannot play any of them. He likes fresh grilled sardines with a ...


In his June 24, 2014 article in The New York Times, Mark Bittman writes how he wishes

“. . .there were a stronger, less demeaning-sounding word than “foodie” for someone who cares about good food, but as seems so often the case, there is not.”

He goes on to weigh in on how words such as “natural”, “vegetarian”, “organic” and even “vegan” have lost much of their original meaning.

“But proposing new words is a fool’s game; rather, let’s try to make the word “foodie” a tad more meaningful.” he writes.

How many times have you heard someone say how much they abhor the word “foodie”?

My guess is plenty.

Why isn’t there something better? Food people, by and large, are a very creative tribe. Why hasn’t the perfect replacement emerged?

“Real” means traditional; if it existed 100 years ago, it’s probably real.

Foodie, schmoodie. Mr. Bittman’s point is larger than just finding a new “foodie” word.

And this is where he really made me think.

“We can’t ask everyone who likes eating — which, given enough time and an adequate income, includes everyone I’ve ever met — to become a food activist. But to increase the consciousness levels of well-intentioned foodies, it might be useful to sketch out what “caring about good food” means, and to try to move “foodie” to a place where it refers to someone who gets beyond fun to pay attention to how food is produced and the impact it has.”

That’s a good thought, but a tall order. Bittman knows that, but he continues:

“None of this is complicated, but simple doesn’t mean easy. “Real” means traditional; if it existed 100 years ago, it’s probably real. Hyperprocessed is neither real nor healthy. No single factor is causing our diet-related health crisis, but some things we eat are making us sick and it’s more likely that the culprits are added sugars, not asparagus. So, “healthy” most likely will always be “whole” or even “real.” This doesn’t mean we should eat more watercress because it’s a superfood, high in some supposedly critical nutrient, but it does mean we want to eat more fruits and vegetables. As we know.

Mark Bittman very cleverly takes us from what the word “foodie” means now to what the word could stand for with an increase in our collective consciousness.

That’s good thinking, right?

Give us your take on what “foodie” means and what the word could or should mean.

Photo credit: Craig McCord