Yesterday, while diligently scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across this posting: “Going to eat more fruit and veggies with lycopene because it’s proven to cause less oxidative cell stress!” This bit of obviously pressing information came from a friend of mine, someone I’ve known for years, but as time has pressed on, I realize now that I really don’t think I know her at all. We certainly don’t speak the same language. She, along with others on my friends list, has fallen into, what I call, the Cult of the 21st Century Foodies. The cult’s members can be categorized into one of three types: the Haute Cuisine foodies, the Passionate Activist foodies, and the Reformed foodies.
The Haute Cuisine foodies (also known as the “I Appreciate Food No One Can Pronounce” foodies) can be best split in two subcategories: the Sous Chef foodies and the Aficionado foodies. The Sous Chef foodies feel as if they must tempt everyone on their Facebook feed with Instagram shots of their latest homemade masterpieces. Last week, it was a mouthwatering cassoulet. Today, it’s a delectable vegetable ragout. (Note: the Sous Chef foodies use such swanky terms like “cassoulet” and “ragout” instead of “casserole” and “stew” because, quite often, French just sounds better. Mais oui!)
While the Sous Chef foodies graciously present photos of their creations, the Aficionado foodies enjoy sharing food experiences in their latest travels, either stateside or abroad. I’ve one Aficionado foodie acquaintance who posts pictures of pretty food from overseas, but she doesn’t even bother to add commentary about whatever it is she’s eating. She thinks she’s being artfully obscure; I think she’s being a bit of a hoity foodie. (If only the Aficionados would be gracious enough to educate foodie illiterates like me!)
The second type of foodie I’ve encountered on Facebook is the Passionate Activist foodie. Like the Haute Cuisine foodies, the Passionate Activists can be divided into two subcategories: the All-Natural foodies and the Scaredy Cat foodies. The All-Natural foodies lament the decline of the production of actual food. They live for all things natural and wholesome and good. They pepper their lexicon with a lot of fanciful, flavorful words and phrases to share with everyone, like “sustainable farming,” “organic,” “vegan,” ”gluten-free,” “slow food movement,” and (my favorite) “kale.” This is all certainly fine and dandy, even if it’s all gobbledygook. All fine. All dandy. That is, until the All-Natural foodies saturate their (and everyone else’s) Facebook feeds with links to articles written by fellow All-Natural foodie types who do nothing but preach a life of divine health.
The Passionate Activist foodie one doesn’t want to encounter, even on a good day, is the Scaredy Cat foodie. Scaredy Cat foodies are doomsayers. To the Scaredy Cat foodies, Everything You Eat — except for (some) nuts and (some) berries — Will Make You Die Slowly. The Scaredy Cat foodies believe this because their careful research is often littered with such strange and frightening terms as “Genetically Modified Organisms,” “Growth Hormones,” “Carcinogens,” and “Organophosphates.” Inevitably, the Scaredy Cat foodies will become extinct because, in the end, they will have no choice but to subsist on a diet of fresh air and Soylent Green.
The last type of foodie within the cult is the Reformed foodie. All Reformed foodies have had a Come to Jesus moment of some sort, usually pertaining to their health. As a result, the Reformed foodies have made the decision to change their eating habits and are more than eager to inform everyone on their Facebook feeds about their conscientious decision to do so. I applaud the Reformed foodies and offer notes of encouragement, all the while cursing my own slothfulness, bemoaning the lack of time (or lack of effort) I suffer. Although after the two-millionth posting about the low fat, low-carb, low-sodium, low-calorie dish the Reformed foodie is about to “enjoy,” those of us who couldn’t care less due to our own dietary inadequacies find ourselves taking drastic measures, like learning how to use the “Ignore” or (should desperation call for it) “Unfriend” commands on our own pages. After all, this healthful obsession of the Reformed foodie is just so very tedious.
In the end, we lowly non-foodie mortals can only watch on in bafflement as our foodie friends – the Haute Cuisine foodies, the Passionate Activist foodies, and the Reformed foodies – spend their days, their afternoons, and their nights going barmy over what’s simply a general necessity to us all. Frankly, as I scroll down my Facebook page, I find that all I really want to do with my cult-like foodie friends is take them all out for a big, fat, juicy burger. After all, isn’t that what friends – even Facebook friends – are for? I think they may even thank me later for it.