I am the Phatman and I am Not a Foodie

So a guy has a food blog and claims to not be a foodie? Maybe. I’ve never even really been sure what that word even meant. A food lover? Doesn’t everyone love food to some degree? We all eat. Most of us cook. Most of us go to restaurants.Parking it Are we all foodies? When I hear people call me that I can’t lie, I cringe. It makes me feel like I am some kind of food snob or something. Then when I read David Chang’s now infamous article bashing craft beer enthusiasts I felt I had to write about the term “foodie”partly because, in a sense, I understand where he’s coming from. Before both beer and food lovers show up at my house with torches and pitchforks let me explain. I’ll give a beer example before I get to food. If I am out doing yard work on a scorching hot day I don’t want a super hop heavy beer to sip and discuss the flavor profile of at length. I want a beer that I can down in 3 sips max. I can’t say I am on board with his claim to love bad beer though but the occasional super cold light beer can hit the spot. Don’t get me wrong, I love the craft beer movement and I’m really getting on board with it but I think there’s a big distinction between a beer snob and a beer geek/enthusiast. I’d like to think that he was exaggerating in his article in an attempt to rile up some certain branch of beer lovers. I’ve seen (albeit rarely) people flat out refuse to order beer somewhere because they don’t like the choices. That’s a bit extreme for me. At this point you are probably saying to yourself “Hey Phatman, you get a nasty bump on the head and suddenly think you are Captain Beerism? He wishes. No I haven’t. My point is that I would never walk into a restaurant and refuse to order food because the menu isn’t up to my standards. I don’t think most beer lovers are like that and I would like to think that most food lovers are not like that either.

Many years ago when I was a blooming Phatboy I was dating this girl that I was crazy about. She made me dinner one night and we were having some soup to start off. It’s just the two of us there, you know, souping it up, when she looks me right in the face and says “I would be so embarrassed to have you eat in front of my family!” Granted, there may be many reasons to be embarrassed by me but them’s fighting words. I ever so politely asked “What the f**k are you talking about?” and that’s when things got bad. Oh good, our first fight. She went on to explain to me that I was eating soup wrong, quoting “As the ship goes out to sea I dip my spoon away from me.” Apparently I was pulling my spoon towards me, because well, that’s where my mouth is. Ever the poet, I replied with a little rhyme of my own “That just ain’t how I roll, now watch me chug from the bowl.” With that, I picked up the bowl and drank right from it. That relationship quickly went downhill from there. Now, while I know which fork is for what and which spoon is for which, I don’t get bothered by all that stuff so much. If they are there laid out for me I’ll use what I’m supposed to use. Come to my house and you will get a spoon, a fork and a knife. You want a dessert fork for steak? What the hell do I care? You start worrying about which way people are dipping their spoons and you got problems that I just can’t fix.

readyA good and great friend of mine bit the bullet and went to eat at a shee shee pu pu fru fru la di da 3 star Michelin rated place. I won’t name it here since I haven’t been there myself but it was, of course, jacket required. I loathe that policy more than I can state with any known words in the English language. Are you going there to flash your status or are you going there to experience a night of dining like you’ve never had before in your life? You need a suit for that?  This friend of mine is no slouch either. He’s seriously a very pretty guy who cleans up real nice. I was so excited to hear about how his night went because he was basically getting fed by one of the best chefs in the world. Was it amazing? Did your food blow your funky mind? Sadness followed when he told me that while the food really was quite good his experience there sucked the bag. How could that be? Well, much like why I avoid these places, he was treated like some schlep who had saved up some coins all year to go eat there. He said you could tell that they judge you by your  suit, your watch and how you carry yourself. For the life of me I can’t understand this. Shouldn’t someone who walks into a place like that and drop upwards of 250$ JUST for the food before tax and service and drinks be treated like this is an experience of a lifetime regardless of whether or not they can only afford to go there once? I once read a review on one of those pleasevalidatemyopinion.com review sites of a restaurant that I love and more than one person complained that people who were dressed in jeans or **GASP** shorts ruined their night.  Well don’t come to my place on Pantless Pasta Fridays.

Do I like a fancy truffle stuffed roasted duck for dinner? Hell yes. Have I ever dropped that kind of money on a single mushroom before? Nope. If it’s served to me I’ll eat it and love it. Same thing with Kobe burgers. I am sure they’re super tasty but the day I pay 100$ for a burger is the day I want one of you to take me behind the old wood shed and put me out of my misery. I went to an upscale burger joint and got a standard burger, fries, and a milkshake. My bill? 28$ plus tax plus tip. So we’re looking at 40$. Was it good? Sure. Was it worth 40$? WineNope.  Give me A&W over that any time. Look, just because I refuse to buy Kraft Dinner or processed cheese or margarine it doesn’t make me some kind of food elitist. If I’m at someone’s house and they’re serving it I’ll eat it. Sure, I’ve got fancy wine glasses and all that and I like that stuff but do I need it to have a good time? Hell no. One of the best bottles of wine I ever drank was on the side of a lake with two great friends whilst fishing. A nice Grand Cru St Emilion from a good year, enjoyed straight out of the bottle. A dude that I know is a sommelier over in France. He was kind enough to let a few of us crash at his place for a few days and he even booked us some killer wine tastings. We got him a bottle of kick ass wine to say thanks. When he saw the vineyard and vintage that it was he was moved nearly to tears. It was one of the highest rated wines he’d ever seen and it would only hit its peak in about another 12 years. He hugged us, walked over to his counter and popped it open and we drank that bottle good. Why? Sometimes it’s about enjoying the moment and the people you are with more than whatever object it is that you covet. That right there is one my favorite moments ever. He knew that the odds of the same group of us all being together again at his place in 12 years were astronomical and it meant more for him to have it with us rather than whisper sweet nothings to his Precious in his cellar for the next decade. That is the difference between a wine lover and a wine snob.

This summer an old friend of mine who happens to be a big fan of this blog invited me for dinner. As we’re enjoying a few pops whilst he’s prepping his food he tells me that he’s been stressing for days over what to make me. I look at his hands and the dude is trembling. So I ask him why. “Man, I’m cooking for YOU. I see the stuff you make. You’ve cooked for me before. What if it sucks?” That’s the exact opposite reaction I want anyone who follows this blog to have. My goal has always been to just share my love of food, offer any helpful tips I can, and break down the barriers of snobbish cuisine. By the way, he made grilled steaks and no they didn’t suck. Dinner was just great. But that’s neither here nor there. I didn’t go there to review him and take 87 pictures of his food. I went to spend time with my friend. He could have even served me Kraft Dinner and I would have eaten it and said thanks. I don’t care what you feed me. I’m like a raccoon with pants…and I’m not that attached to the pants anyway. My night at Momofuku Ko last February was a crazy experience. Was the food amazing? Yes. But Sasquatch and I didn’t love every single dish. One or two were complete misses even. But that wall of bullshit is completely removed there. You don’t need to dress up. You sit, watch them cook and eat. You interact with the chefs directly. You make small talk with the strangers sitting beside you. Put me at a table and make the place stuffy and that night would have ranked much lower. A few years ago cooking for family and friends stressed me out to no end. I wanted every single thing to be perfect. Eventually, I came to appreciate the time we spend together more so than what I am cooking. I still want to make good food but now when people leave I want them to say “Thanks, I had a great night.” and not “Thanks, I had a great meal.”

Stay phat.



Categories: Phood Philosophies

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