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The Eight Symptoms of Being A Foodist

Foodist (plural foodists)

A person who is very interested in food.

A person who is interested in foodism.

A person who discriminates against other people because of the food they eat.

Foodism (plural foodisms)

An exaggerated interest in the preparation, presentation and consumption of food.

My name is Desk Girl and I am a foodist.  It’s not only that I like food a lot (and I mean a lot lot), I also tend to think/talk/dream about it every day. And it can’t be a coincidence that almost all my best friends are fantastic cooks who can spend hours cooing about spices and dissecting recipes off epicurious.com. We are, according to one non-foodist friend, ‘Gourmet Dorks’. I don’t mind being called uncool as long as I’m being fed.

While I’ve always liked my food thanks to a healthy childhood and an even healthier appetite, my evolution from food-snob to full-on foodist happened two years ago when I lived at my friend Nina’s place for a month. I watched her juggle her marriage, her two-year old baby, her job and her social life, while still managing to cook up wonderful, buttery recipes every evening. (You can read her cute food blog here.)

The joy she took in planning and preparing food was so infectious that I soon found myself transitioning from the casual Chuck-Beef-Into-Wok-And-Add-Soya-Sauce Cook into someone that understood the value of basil, balsamic vinegar, shallots and rice that doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Here are some symptoms of my foodism. If you share any of these symptoms, we need to talk.

  • I eat Anything, Anytime– well almost everything, except for Black Pudding, beetroots and weird animal parts. Oh and fruit with strange names like Teen Shouky (what on earth is that?) I can also eat under pretty much all circumstances: when I’m angry, sleepy, happy, hot, cold, in planes, over camels, under pressure. I’ve only lost my appetite a total of three times in my life; when I was so sick and feverish, I started talking to my bedroom walls (but that’s another story).
  • I have Food Memory:  if you know me well enough, you’d know that I have the memory of a goldfish with Alzheimer’s that used to do a lot of LSD as a kid. I can’t remember what I did two days ago and most people’s names are a blur, but I can easily remember events related to the food I have eaten in the past 27 years of my life: like the soft ice cream cone that I had twenty years ago in London, the fried calamari in Cyprus when I was nine, the Duck a L’Orange in Gouna five years ago, the Layered White Chocolate cake my friend Jasmine made in theater rehearsals in 2001…
  • I’m a bit of a Food Bully: I may seem a little, ahem, judgmental of people who don’t care about food, or simply forget to eat (who forgets to eat?!!).  I try to be a little kinder to those with legit food allergies, but deep inside I secretly think they’re just a bunch of sissies. And don’t even get me started on vegetarians: while I applaud their moral efforts, I secretly believe that one dinner at my Aunt Nabila (meat, kofta, escalope, boftek and mombar) will easily convert them back into carnivores.

Example:

Aunt Nabila: Have some kofta ya habibty, you’ve barely eaten anything.A skinny girl like you, we need to fatten you up.

Vegetarian: (stammers) Uh, no thank you, it’s just that all your foods have meat in them; and I…uh…No thank you.

AN: La’a! Don’t tell me you’re (disapproving snort) on a diet!

V: Well it’s sort of a diet. I just don’t eat meat.

AN: (Stunned silence).

V: (Hurriedly) I’m a vegetarian, so I can only eat vegetables, but no animal meats.

AN: Yaany eh, you don’t like my food walla eh? Dah ana I slaved away for two days to make this Ro’aa espeshally for you and you don’t like it?

V: No no, I’m sure it’s wonderful I just can’t eat it because-

AN: If God didn’t want us to eat animals, he wouldn’t have made their meat so tasty. Why don’t you like my cooking? What did I ever do to you for you to reject my food?

Good Luck to any vegetarian surviving her.

  • I’m a Bit of a Food Slut: I hate to admit it, but like many men I know, the way to my heart is through my stomach. You feed me, I love you. I realized that recently when my skanky colleague skived off work one day, leaving me to cover his 17-hour shift. He walked in the next day with a big smile on his face and an even bigger bag of hot muffins from Costa all for me. I was furious. I looked at the muffins. I forgave him. That easily.
  • I’m a Restaurant’s worst Nightmare: if we’re out for dinner, I’m secretly checking the cutlery for dirt and mentally reviewing each and every meal that passes our table. The unfortunate side to being a food snob is that I rarely like a meal if I believe I can cook it better myself. The flipside t o that is  I’ve realized that good food and expensive food are incompletely unrelated- in fact, the best meals I’ve ever had are often off street carts in some of the most underrated parts of the country. Which is why…
  • My dream Job is to be a Travelling Food Critic: Do I spend all my money on travelling the world? Check. Max out my credit card on restaurant meals and gourmet ingredients? Check. So what could be better than getting paid to travel, eat and critique the world’s most exquisite and exotic food? Seriously!
  • I Buy Your Love with My Food: I like to seduce people into being my friends by slyly throwing dinner parties or “spontaneously” baking truckloads of cookies for them. Ever noticed how you used to hate me at first, and now, for some inexplicable reason, you really really love me? Yeah, it’s because I fed you my chicken.
  • I Could Easily eat for Egypt: While I can out-eat a few male friends of mine (you know who you are), the only reason I’m not the size of Eddie Murphy before-Nutty-Professor-Made-the-Potion-And-Discovered-Spandex is because I work out religiously, thanks to an athletic upbringing and a father who affectionately calls me Gamousa every time I gain weight. You know how they say that inside every fat girl is a thin girl and a lot of chocolate? Well, inside of me is a fat girl that’s been starved.

So if you find that you have more than a few of these symptoms, it’s time you and I join forces and start a foodist cult or something. Or let’s start off small and have a dinner party first. Bring food.

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