After a quick Internet search for a good definition of "foodie" as well as related terms — such as gourmand, gourmet and epicure — I decided it would be a more enjoyable exercise to take the time to reflect on my food memories and experiences in order to come up with a list of foodie lookfors.
It was a lot of fun. For a bit of fun for yourself, go ahead and rate how much of a foodie you are — see how many of the following points you can identify with. To me, a "foodie" is one who:
• is more concerned about who wins the current season of Top Chef than best actress/actor at the Academy Awards.
• always has "food on the brain” (one is intrinsically a foodie — it can neither be feigned nor forced — most "foodies" have always been devoted to and delighted by food, even as children).
• wants to know where their food comes from, how it is made and, therefore, why it tastes better.
• enthusiastically discusses the details of the upcoming dinner while still enjoying lunch.
• cooks for love and takes great pleasure in preparing meals for others.
• plans vacation destinations not for the best beaches, shopping or golf courses, but for the best restaurants, food shops and wine bars.
• owns a personal copy of the following movies: Babette's Feast, Big Night and Like Water for Chocolate.
• waits in eager anticipation for the Wednesday paper in order to read the food section.
• would never be satisfied with a bowl of cereal or a bag of microwave popcorn for dinner, no matter how harried or stressed the day.
• can name a restaurant in any given major city that they are just dying to try out.
• has at least one file folder filled with newspaper and magazine clippings of recipes that they have great intentions of making one day.
• includes www.epicurious.com as one of the first five bookmarks/favourites on their web browser.
• always has the latest copy of the LCBO's Food & Drink magazine handy.
• seriously intends to write a cookbook, if only a collection of family recipes to be passed down as an heirloom.
• appreciates the value in spending the time to plan, shop for and create a special meal, snack, drink or dessert even though the experience of eating it might be over in minutes.
• owns a multitude of kitchen appliances and gadgets, recalling where each came from and knowing what each particularly is best suited for.
• appreciates all food — whether a simple omelet or a five-course feast — just as long as it is prepared properly.
• has an uncanny memory for the minutiae of past meals — and can accordingly vividly remember his/her first taste of kiwi fruit, first Thai food experience and first taste of goat cheese.
• will pick up a non-food magazine (Instyle, Coastal Living or O) in a doctor's waiting room and immediately flip to the table of contents to scan for any article related to food or entertaining.
• has purchased the movie Ratatouille for the child they haven't yet conceived.
• has a host of "signature" recipes that they love preparing and sharing (a foodie often starts planning what they are going to make for their holiday "gourmet gifts from the kitchen" in July).
At the shop, we sell loads of shortbread, especially at this time of the year.
Here is a recipe for my signature whipped shorttbread. They are very light and tender so be forewarned — they are quite fragile.
We no longer sell this particular variety of shortbread at the store because we found that packaging them into bags caused too much breakage and crumbling.
Called Shorttbread, this recipe makes a beautiful (not to mention delicious) hostess gift. Be sure to package your cookies into sturdy vessels like biscuit tins or ceramic dishes to prevent any breakage.
Signature Whipped Shorttbread
- 1 lb. salted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Cream butter in a stand mixer on medium speed (or use hand mixer) until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract.
- Sift dry ingredients twice. Add dry ingredients slowly to the butter-vanilla mixture (in about three additions). Chill dough in fridge.
- Roll into one-inch diameter balls on parchment-lined baking sheet and press to slightly flatten with the tines of fork.
- Bake for about 22-30 minutes in a 300-degree F oven.
- Makes about 25 Shorttbread cookies.
I almost always bake (and cook) with unsalted butter, however, this recipe calls for salted butter. For best results, please do not substitute the unsalted variety.