Friday, July 30, 2010

Food Dork

Do you think chefs are cool?

Do you admire their bragadaccio, their swagger, their facility with foul language?  Do you kind of wish you could wear a white jacket, carry a knife kit, precisely mince an onion without looking?  Does the idea of handling a flaring gas range, a selection of freshly-sharpened knives and a window full of tickets seem beyond your understanding?

Me, too.  I think chefs are cool.  But I'm gonna let you in on a little secret.

Most chefs are Food Dorks.

Now, maybe I'm giving out a trade secret, I don't know.  But considering the recent rise in popularity of geeks in general, I think it's about time for chefs to come out of the closet.  I mean, gamer geeks are getting big press at Comic-con and squealing over Mario cupcakes.  Programmer geeks have their own inside-joke t-shirts and cubicle toys.  There's even a super-cool website devoted to all things Geek:

Although I'm pretty handy around a computer, and have fond memories of playing the orginal Space Invaders, I would hardly qualify for any of those Geek titles.  However, after getting to know several of Miss Chef's colleagues--not to mention Miss Chef herself--I am delighted to find that I do  have my own geeks to hang with.

Food Dorks!

Are you one of us?  If you read this blog on a regular basis, you just might be!  So, I've created a simple little test to see if you're ready to proclaim your allegiance to our own breed of Geek.  How many of the following apply to you?

1. Grocery shopping is not a chore, it's a weekly outing you look forward to.

2. You frequently find yourself tabulating how much of your meal includes local ingredients.

3. You grow some of your own food.

4. Spring, summer and fall mean less to you than strawberry season, tomato season and apple season.

5. You have planned at least one vacation around restaurants or food sources.

6. You are a regular visitor to a farmers' market.

7. You're on a first-name basis with at least one vendor at a farmers' market.

8. You actually have a preference between this vendor's and that vendor's tomatoes/berries/lettuce/beef.

9. You have visited a farm where some of your food is grown.

free-range flock at New Town Farms

10.  When you read the side of the box, you're looking at the ingredient list, not the nutrition label.

11. You've had a line of thought that starts with something like, "We should make pesto with all that basil," and leads to something like, "I wonder if hard-neck garlic takes longer to grow than soft-neck?"

12. You already knew there was a difference between hard-neck and soft-neck garlic.

13. You do your holiday shopping in your pantry.

mushrooms for Miss Chef's bûche de noël

14. You've made dinner reservations several months in advance, because it's the only way to get in to the restaurant.

15. You're willing to spend more on an exceptional meal than on your monthly cable bill.

16. You don't understand why anyone in their right mind would waste water on a lawn.

17. You have friends and/or family who gladly come over for a canning party.

interior of a bell pepper

18.  You have planned out a dream garden on paper.

19. You have put at least part of your dream garden in the ground.

20. You have converted someone else to gardening.  (Go ahead, give yourself a point for each person!)

21. You have memorized the locations and seasons of wild, abandoned or otherwise unharvested food trees, shrubs, thickets, etc.

22. You've put something in your mouth when you weren't quite sure what you were eating.

part of last year's garlic harvest--our first!

23. You have to bite your tongue pretty darn hard when you see somebody eating a "healthy" frozen dinner.

24.You have a ridiculous number of food pictures on your hard drive!

25. You have another obvious example in your head that I haven't mentioned.

Now, I'm not gonna make you add up your points and rank you from "Begining Food Snob" to "Hopeless Dork."  I would just suggest that if you said "Yup, that's me!" to five or more of these, you're probably on the way to Food Dorkdom.  In that case: Welcome!  Pull up a chair; there are nuts to crack, peanuts to shell and recipes to swap. 

And of course, there's always enough food to go around.

Did you answer "yes" to the last example?  Add your idea in the comments!


  1. You know the difference between battery, cage free, and free range chicken eggs. LOL

    I must be a dork.

  2. Well, does this count? When I see a pic in a magazine with food, or am watching a food related tv program, my first statement is, " I'd eat that!". Then my brain starts figuring out what is in the dish and how to make it.

  3. Okay, so perhaps I'm still very much a newbie... we are going to our local grower's market next Saturday morning though! :)

  4. 10,9, 5, 3

    That's all.
    I'm ashamed to admit I don't really like to cook, unless someone else is around to clean up and wash all the dishes.
    I dislike cooking boring food American food and prefer all the fun preparation of East Indian food and cultural foods.
    But I dislike shopping for food.

    I should have married a chef. I love to watch and be around people who love to cook.

    And yes, I would be happy to wash the dishes and clean up if someone cooked for me :-)


    ps How did I find your blog again? lol!

  5. GREAT post, Flartus!!! I'm on the verge of dorkdom, I admit it. I'm a bit of a foodie and it's soemthing I can see developing more and more as life progresses. I think it helps a ton to have a friend in the same boat (Christy for me- we love to explore food together).

  6. I would add "When your beloved sister plans a visit from the other side of the country, you spend as much time thinking about what you're going to cook together as about all the wonderful conversations you're going to have." Yup, that's me, right at this minute.

  7. Thank you for this reality check. I think I am a very low-level food dork. Alas, I am on a first-name basis with the lady at Subway who makes my sandwich. So.... can I answer yes to 7 AND 9??? I guess yes to 9 is pushing it....

  8. Another reason I know I'm a food dork... I feel like a total stalker but love the "attention" I get via social network from local restauranteur Scott Wise from Scotty's Brewhouse and Scotty's Lakehouse. The Brewhouse is the money maker, the Lakehouse is his dream. The Lakehouse is what I've written about- local produce, local beef, recycling as much as possible, etc. He dropped his entire marketing budget and only uses social media- Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. He's found it helps with immediate response for customer service- he sees a tweet about something going down at someone's table right at that moment and he can contact the manager and remedy it before the patrons walk out the door.

    So I'm a food dork because this guy is like a personal hero / celebrity dude to me!!


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