What Being a Foodie Means to Me

cool-cartoon-1089012Let’s just get this out of the way now and agree, food is great. For some, food is seen as a necessity for survival. For others, food creates an experience in which family, friends, and even strangers can come together to share culture, religion, politics, and stories. Over all, the possibilities with food are seemingly endless, in both a preparation and execution fashion. But about the people who are eating this said food? They vary just as much as the food does. From ages to gender, and everything in between, the list goes on. The same can be said for their food preferences. Some of them couldn’t care less what’s on the plate, they’ll eat just about anything. Others, will throw a fit if their meal doesn’t meet their specifications. Some know what they like and will try, on occasion, to be adventurous, to experience something new. Others will stick to what they know; its the familiar stuff that makes them happy. Considering such a variation of food eaters out there, where exactly do people who identify as foodies come in? In fact, what is a foodie?

According to the ever-reliable Urbandictionary.com, a foodie is:

A person that spends a keen amount of attention and energy on knowing the ingredients of food, the proper preparation of food, and finds great enjoyment in top-notch ingredients and exemplary preparation.

Yea, that sounds about right. Foodies are people who have apparently taken their love of food to the next level. These are the people who will geek out at the sign of a sale at of cookery or bake-ware on Amazon.com or at William & Sonoma. These are the people who will always have a camera on them whenever they go anywhere related to food, be it a strawberry field, farmer’s market, or restaurant. Basically, foodies are those who fall in the grey area between interest and obsession. Think trekies but for the food world.

So what exactly does this have to do with me? Well, since having my foodie awakening back in 2010, I’ve learned much regarding gastronomy and the culinary world. Prior to 2010, I was one of those people who simply ate food without thinking much about what I was putting into my mouth. Today, I try and stay on top of what is going on in the food world regarding flavor trends, social issues, and what not. While my friends are busy scrolling through Tumblr, I’m searching the web for new food blogs and recipes. Being a foodie is more than just a past time or a hobby, it has become a part of who I am. Not only do I love food, I appreciate it. For me at least, that’s the core of what being a foodie is all about. Appreciation.

One final note before signing off today. While I love being me, what I love about being a foodie is that I am not the only one. There is an ever growing population of us! Foodies United should totally become a thing, whether a website or some form of national/international club or organization. I know that I would join. Would you?

Till next time,

Litbaker

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Foodie Brain Blast!!!!!

Two posts in one day? My god, whatever this must be about has to be important!

*Drums roll in the distance*

I believe that I have done it, that I have found one of the seven wonders within the foodie universe. What is this earth shattering discovery? Its called FoodFanatic.com and for someone who merely hours before was commenting on how their life is surrounded by food, this website is like a godsend. How do I know that I have stumbled upon a foodie Shangrila? Because of what is written on the about us page: “Food Fanatic was created with a few simple ideas in mind. We love food, in fact, you’d say we’re downright fanatical about it. But we also love pretty pictures, excellent writing, and people who are passionate – maybe even fanatics themselves – about creating good food. -”

*Swoons*

Food, passion, pictures, and writing? It’s like four of the most important things ever coming together and forming the Justice League of foodie websites. Just like Seriouseats.com, this website offers an extensive list of different recipes. It has healthy recipes, one pot meals, desserts, vegetarian recipes, even a section labeled ‘Food Network Recipes’. How much better can you get? On top of all of this awesomeness, where this website really finds its charm is the fact that they have different bloggers -fanatics- writing in their own recipes for their respective section. I think that that is so cool, having real people simply doing what they love, baking and cooking. I highly suggest checking out this website as I will most likely be doing for the next few hours.

And yes, I actually shouted out the phrase ‘Foodie Brain Blast!’ when I accidentally stumbled upon this website (while watching The American Baking Competition in the background).

Till next time,

Litbaker

A Love Letter to Curry

It’s the little things in life that I enjoy the most. A simple night out with close friends, for example, always has the opportunity of turning into something so much more. If you have friends like me, this is not so much a possibility but rather a guaranteed occurrence. I think the fact that all of us suck at organizing kind of helps with that. How bad are we at organizing? Well, imagine that you have made plans to hang out with friends at 8:30, well its 8:15 and you still haven’t decided on a place to eat, or even meet up. Yea, that’s basically the default way we begin our nights out. But don’t put all the blame on us. Its not our fault that our town is bursting at its sides with eateries. And since no one else had offered up suggestions, I appeared to be in charge of of deciding where to eat. To do this, I had to actually go down a list and exclude all the kinds of food I didn’t want. Greek, Mexican, Portuguese, Persian, Sushi, Indian, Italian, Afghani, and Classic America were all ruled out. Yes, that list is impressively lengthy but all of that and more exist within the confines of my town alone. Given such pickyness, we boiled it down to two places: An Asian fusion place and a Thai place. The Asian fusion place, called Ting and in a the same location as another Asian fusion placed called Dao (Sense a theme?) seemed intriguing but WAY too pricy for our cheap butts. So Thai it was!

While there a variety of ways that I could describe Sri Thai, I’m going to sum it up with this: They love Hello Kitty. Yea, that is not a mistake, I’m serious. They really do love Hello Kitty. From the soap dispensers to the little plates that they place the checks on, there are little nods to the white, happy kitty all over. It sounds tacky and would probably make one question the quality of the food but don’t give in to your inner skeptic, the food is outstanding. It really is, and I am not saying that because they make delicious curry there (though that it half of it). In all seriousness, considering the decent prices, you are guaranteed a savory and filling meal at Sri Thai. Considering that, it makes complete sense that this, along with a few other places in Huntington Village, have earned the title of a ‘go-to’ spot. But simply showing up when expected would have been too easy for us.  Indeed, there was a bit of confusion on where exactly we were going to meet up. It took some time but we finally arrived at our destination! It didn’t really matter to me that we had taken an additional ten minutes to figure out where we were meeting, I kind of already knew what I was going to get.

Curry Heaven!!!

Curry Heaven!!!

It really is no secret that curry is one of my favorite things in the edible world. Why curry? Perhaps it is because it is the thing that made me a foodie. I mean, I think a good curry could make anyone a foodie, especially if they went eighteen years without ever having it. Yes, eighteen years, that’s not a mistake either. To explain this rather upsetting aspect of my life, you need to understand that my mom is NOT a foodie. I guess that fact that my mom makes couscous without seasoning it should be enough to explain things. Now don’t go thinking she doesn’t love food, because she does, she just likes it a certain way. Unfortunately me, curry, amongst other things, is not included on household approved meals.  With that out of the way, you can almost imagine

A meal is never complete without curry puffs!

A meal is never complete without curry puffs!

the culinary revaluation I had the first time I took a bite out of curry. It was so different from anything I had ever had before, words really can’t describe it. I guess if you really want to understand, watch that scene from Ratatouille in which Remy first eats good food. You’ll get what I mean.

And in case you are wondering, the curry was amazing! While I usually order massaman curry, I decided to try something new and was greatly rewarded for my curiosity. Panang curry might be my new obsession. Leslie went with a traditional chicken curry that equally looked delicious. On the opposite side of the table, my friend Olivia decided to opt out on the curry boat. I have nothing against Pad Thai but come on, how can any one -except my mom- turn away from curry!!!!!! Well, I guess when your Pad Thai looks as good as her’s you can. Fine, I’ll let it go…this time. I am, after-all, a forgiving soul. Besides, afterwards we went out for frozen yogurt and piled on those toppings!

Olivia's Pad Thai

Olivia’s Pad Thai

At the same time, we briefly toyed with the idea of creating our own youtube channel in which the three of us would critique movies while we watched them but sadly that idea was ruled out. Alas, my dreams of youtube stardom have once again been slashed. Someday the dream will become real!

Overall, for a night out organized at the last minute, I had a blast. I think the only way it could have been better was if the local bookstore had been opened; I could have stared at curry cookbooks all night. I guess that will have to wait for next time. Sadly Olivia is off to Israel in a few days for birthright so it will be a while before another night of high-jinx. Of course that doesn’t mean the fun will be ending. In the meantime, I can dazzle you with stories about the cake decorating class that Leslie and I are currently taking. Did we have any experience doing this sort of thing before? Nope! More on that next time.

Actually, now that I think of it, Olivia is my second friend going to off to Israel. A close school friend is already in Haifa where she will be for the next couple of months. Damn, looks like Israel was the place to be for the summer season. Well, if I can’t be in Israel, I’ll just bring Israel to me! That’s right, its time to break out my Israeli cookbook. Oooh, this is going to be fun!

Have any of you had a life changing culinary moment? If so, please share below in the comments section!

Till next time,

Litbaker

You Call it Brunch, I Call it Delicious

*Apologies in advance, this is a very long post. I promise that future posts won’t be this long*

For the handful of you readers who took the time to come check out this blog, take a sigh of relief, I am back! And as promised, I’m going to bring some actual substance to today’s blog post. Substance you say? Indeed, I do! But first, let’s take a moment to talk about brunch. And yes, before you start to fret that I am wasting your time with my whimsical musings, I am going somewhere with this.

Brunchtime with Friends

One of the perks of living in a rather foodie part of Long Island is the various foods options available to a rag-tag group of friends when the tummy starts to grumble. Yesterday, me and my two close friends from high school decided to meet up for a meal. While brunch was proposed we took a little bit of time trying to work out where we wanted to go. Ok, we took a lot of time tying to figure it out. However, due to our rather limited budget and the splendors of coupons, we were eventually able to narrow down our choice to the one and only, Sweet Mama’s. For you Long Islanders, this wonderful place is located in Northport and is definitely worth the drive if you are fond of classic American breakfast, lunch, and dinner foods. It’s that sort of mom and pop place that feels like you are walking into a close friend or relatives dining room. How’s the food? Um, amazing. Check out yesterday’s lunch/brunch menu.

Lunctime Noms at Sweet Mama's

Lunchtime noms at Sweet Mama’s

While all those specials looked absolutely scrumptious, my friends and I opted for items off the menu. Here is a run down of what we had: four waters, one hot chocolate, two french toasts made from croissants with strawberries, blueberries, and copious amounts of cream cheese and butter, one side of home fries, one side of bacon, one Mediterranean wrap, with feta, olives, lettuce, and tomatoes, along with coleslaw, one order of potato pancakes (with sour cream), and one  ice cream sundae with three spoons. Not bad for three girls with a $5 coupon.

The remains of a heavenly plate of french toast

Remnants of my friend Leslie’s french toast

As my friends and I munched away on our yummy noms I kept thinking to myself, “Why is french toast so good?” Well for starters, it just is, plain and simple. But seriously, the fact that the combination of bread with butter, and an egg mixture can produce such a heavenly meal is a testament to why food is good. Especially when you are down for experimenting with flavors and different food stuff. But if you are like me, still new to world of cooking and a bit cautious to get fancy with the spices and what-not, we can thankfully turn to the wonderful resource that is a cookbook. I’m not sure about you guys but I thank my stars that the act of writing down a recipe complete with measurements, cooking temps, and instructions is a popular trend within our modern society.  But for those of you who don’t know, this trend is only a few centuries old. “Really?” you ask, “tell us more”. Okay 🙂 Time to show-off my research skills. Prepare to be amazed!

The Abridged History of Cookbooks (part one)

The modern cookbook is just that, a modern invention. While the recording of recipes can be traced back to the time of Egyptian kings, these documentations were often reserved for the tomb walls of kings and the wealthy. In regards to early European cookbooks, these were hand-written manuscripts, and their circulation was limited to those who could both afford and read them. This was a tradition adapted from, you probably guessed it, the ancient Greeks and Romans. However, their culinary records were not done in the style typically expected. In fact, one of the earliest accounts was recorded within a poem. Can you picture Shakespeare writing a sonnet titled “Ode to French Onion Soup”? Me either. On a rather cool note, these early ‘cookbooks’ provide wonderful insight to the food culture and its relationship to society during the age of antiquity. One book of note, De re Coquinaria (Of Culinary Matters) by Marcus Gavius Apicius, was written in Rome around the first century. Split into ten volumes, each tome featured recipes and culinary advice such as how to best store perishable foods. With over four hundred different recipes, “Apicius is careful to specify ingredients, though without quantities and often in random order” (Willian & Cherniavsky 14).

For the sake of length, I’ll pick up on my history of cookbooks section next time. We have a lot of history to get through and I’d hate to bore you.

If you are curious about Apicius and his masterpiece, do a little research online or at your local library. You can actually find translated copies of his recipes in case you are feeling like challenging yourself.  Oh and before I forget, my mother’s friends have recruited me to do some baking next week. The selected recipe: Orange Berry Muffins. I will post the recipe next time as well.

Till then,

Litbaker

Ps. Here is one of my cute kitties. Say hello to Cody.

Aint he a handsome fella?

Isn’t he a handsome fella?

Link to Sweet Mama’s: http://www.sweetmamaskitchen.net/ordereze/default.aspx

Work Cited

Sitwell, William. “A History of Cookbooks.” We Love This Book. N.p.,26 June 2012. Web. 24 May 2013. <http://www.welovethisbook.com/features/history-cookbooks&gt;.

Willan, Anne, Mark Cherniavsky, and Kyri Claflin. The Cookbook Library: Four Centuries of the Cooks, Writers, and Recipes That Made the Modern Cookbook. Berkeley: University of California, 2012. Print.

The Ramblings of a Foodie Dreamer

There are two things in this massively complex world that I love: food and knowledge. Without one, we’d be dead. Without the other, well, let’s just say we wouldn’t be living in the wonders of the twenty-first century. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that I don’t have to say anymore to convince you why both subjects are important. We good? Good. Moving on now.

This blog, a rather rash idea suddenly spurred into action, is not going to be about me. Ok, a little bit of it will be about me, but I am not the star of the show. Food is along with the history behind it. Think of this blog as a research blog, one that has little crumbs of knowledge interspersed amongst recipes and the ramblings of a wanna be librarian and food-fanatic. Have I lost you? Let me try explaining this again. History is all around us, some of it more obvious than others. What I desire to do with this rather small piece of web-space is to showcase and highlight the history of food, its presence and impact on both my life and yours. How? By focusing on those that have made food what it is today. From the history of cookbooks in America to the [abridged] biographies of culinary heros and trendsetters, I wish to uncover and understand why our modern culture of food is the way that it is today.  Throw in some niffy parts about me learning how to cook while researching these food heavy-weights along with studying to become a librarian and I’d say you’re in for a grand old time!

Now before you comment, I am quite aware of the magnitude of this project. It is going to take a lot of perseverance, research, money, and a sturdy wall to bang my head against during times of frustration. Is it going to be easy? Probably not, though I’m grateful that I possess quite a few skills when it comes to doing research (thanks to my sociology degree and four year work experience as a student librarian). And I’ll also say this, I can cook (kind of) as well as bake, so I won’t be hopping into a kitchen completely clueless. That’s already half the battle right there. Additionally, I will try very hard not make my posts the same lengths as something like an honors thesis. My goal is to be informative, to inspire the readers to do some research of their own if anything that I write intrigues them. The same applies to the recipes that I will feature; please give them a whirl and let me know how it works out for you. I have a massive recipe list stored on my computer, Demyx  (I’ll explain the name later) that I’ll post eventually.

That’s all for now  though I can assure you, more will be coming and its either going to be awesome or just simply hilarious. Either way, you’ll have something that will amuse you.

Till next time in which I promise to have 1). something informative to say, 2). an actual recipe, and 3). cute cat pictures,

Litbaker