I don’t love the word foodie. But only because it’s used so liberally nowadays that sometimes it makes even me cringe a little. Yet for the purposes of this article, here it is and quite frankly, if you either work in the food sector, in social media or write about food it’s a term very hard not to use.
Because everyone nowadays is a foodie. But what does that mean. Many might respond, “I like food”. But who doesn’t? “I love eating.” Most people do. “When I travel, I love eating local.” Join the club. In my (humble ;-)) opinion, if you are going to call yourself a foodie (self included) or want to cement yourself as some sort of an authority on food, your response needs to go a little further.
I think you should know about or at least be curious about the farm to table process. You should be a little adventurous in your dining or cooking selections so as to try things you might not otherwise eat or cook. And I think you shouldn’t be afraid to know how food is prepared or where the food you’re eating comes from. I’m not suggesting you have to be able to reel off producer names or the exact length of a fermentation process, but by god (and at least in this case), you should at least know that there was one! I don’t make a habit of labeling people or putting them into boxes. But I think that if you want to apply a label to yourself then own it and carry at least some of the characteristics that go with it.
Last week I spent a few days in Paris getting under her culinary skin. I visited the Rungis International Market which is the largest fresh food market in the world with a service reach of 18M people in France alone. This place is so big it’s like a small city – bigger than the principality of Monaco to be precise. Our visit started at 430am so to catch all the fish mongers and hive of activity that goes with the buy and sell of fish and meat.
This is where suppliers across Paris and beyond come to buy their fresh produce from seafood to meat to fruit and vegetables, flowers and gourmet products like foie gras and caviar to over 450 varieties of cheese; this is the market that literally feeds Paris.
In the triperie (meat and offal hall) I saw veals head being skinned, prepared. And brains, hearts, lungs of all sorts of mammals! At 6am, it was a tad confronting but super fascinating nonetheless. I recommend it as an experience for anyone who is remotely interested in food. Because it got me thinking – we should all consistently strive to know and understand what we eat.
Moral of the story: feel free to describe and label yourself whatever you like in life but I think it’s important to give everything you say and do some sort of purpose and be as informed as you possibly can. I’m not here to take the fun out of food – just sharing some of my thoughts for the day!
Signing off from Trastevere
Ps. You can visit the market on a guided tour too. Visit their website for all the detail.
Disclaimer: my recent Paris trip was on invitation by the City of Paris. All thoughts expressed are my own – nobody tells me what to write. To see more of my Paris adventures for this trip, look up the hashtag #yummyparis across social media.