Foodie Culture Is Too Fabulous

I am an exploratory eater who will sample almost anything -- snails, most organs, any slimy raw fish, cheeses that smell worse than dirty socks. The only thing I will never try are monkey brains, a bloody and cruel delicacy as the animal is killed table-side.

So while I sort of fit into the rampant foodie movement, I loathe its trendiness and complexity. Give me simplicity. Give me some of the old stuff. I eat, I don't graze. I still prefer a mug of plain chamomile tea, even Lipton's, to savory teas mixed with dried broccoli and cilantro and chives.

I eat mostly healthy foods and lots of farm-to-table, yet, truth be told, I would not pass up a Swanson TV dinner. My childhood favorite featured fried chicken, mashed potatoes and peas, a Sunday night treat to be eaten before "The Ed Sullivan Show."

Truth be told, you can keep your green smoothies. I prefer vanilla malts. Truth be told, I prefer Fritos to crispy-baked vegetables.

I feel like screaming when I hear people speaking in hushed tones of reverence over the preparation of kale chips as if they were physicians discussing methods of heart surgery. In fact, I'd be fine if I never heard the word "kale" again

Food should be enjoyed, not worshipped. Living in a culture in which fancy cuisine has become mainstream is confusing and exhausting.

The word "foodie" is described in the dictionary as "a person keenly interested in food, especially in eating and cooking". The terms was first popularized in the United States by Gael Greene, who used the term "serious foodies" in a 1980 New York Magazine restaurant review. The culture of foodies spread subsequently throughout Great Britain with the 1985 publication of The Official Foodie Handbook, written by Ann Barr and Paul Levy.

We've come a long, gluttonous, obsessed way since Julia Child introduced French cuisine to the American public in the early 1960s. Now our children and grandchildren consider crepes passé and have morphed into global gourmets, devouring pad Thai and palak paneer at an age when I considered Spaghetti-Os a luxury treat. I still consider fondue something wonderful and new.

I am telling my regular staff person at our local fish market that making selections is giving me bad headaches. Do I get orange roughy or halibut or cod or hake or flounder? Should I go for the less healthy and cheaper farm-raised salmon or pop for the pricy, wild caught Alaskan variety? Should I grill, blacken or fry?

Maybe I'll do fish tacos with catfish, even though my most-fabulous foodie friend warmed me to stay away from tilapia because they eat filth.

I told my fab friend that I'm a Chicago-bred woman, still hardy after years of eating perch and walleye from murky Lake Michigan. In my girlhood home, two of my favorite "fresh" fish dishes were herring doused in sour cream, fresh from the jar and sardines mashed with freshly-opened ketchup -- a mixture I still adore.

We ate rice not risotto, spaghetti and meatballs not black squid-ink pasta. A cherished lunch was bologna on Wonder Bread. I still don't really understand what "fusion" means in food, and why things are now "infused." I'm a cook not a chemist.

Today I just spent 15 minutes choosing items for a salad, overwhelmed by the plethora of fixings that span Bok Choy to chard to five types of mushrooms. My mother's salad-shopping meant grabbing a head of lettuce, a cucumber, a couple of tomatoes and a bottle of Wishbone.

We ate off one large plate not small plates, and many of us grown-ups raised in the '50s and '60s are still alive and increasingly living well into our '90s. This, when hors d'ouevres were called appetizers and consisted most often of packaged onion soup mixed with sour cream paired with rippled potato chips -- and not crudités.

Give me a fresh piece of fish, green beans and a baked potato and I'm happy. Give me the restaurant chef who knows that simple foods prepared creatively are more appreciated than weird. Give me a lunch of Campbell's tomato soup and grilled American cheese and I'll dine with you any time.

Iris Krasnow is a best-selling author of books on relationships and a popular keynote speaker. Connect with her on iriskrasnow.com.http://iriskrasnow.com

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