Suman Bolar in Himal Southasian:
When I tell people that I write about food, I unfailingly receive one of three responses (and sometimes, all three): a) “Oh! You’re a food critic”; b) “You’re so lucky!”; and c) “You’re a foodie! So am I!”
Wrong on all three counts.
First, I am a food writer, not a food critic. Food is meant to nourish and enrich our lives; it exists for our sustenance and pleasure. Food is perfect in and of itself and does not need to be criticised. Cooks, chefs, and restaurants – now those are a different matter entirely. So restaurant critic, yes; food critic, no. Second, I am not 'lucky'. Like any other professional, I have worked hard and spent big to be able to do what I do – I have travelled the world and sampled various cuisines on my own dime, spent time and money tracking down interesting foodstuffs and experiences, attended writing and food-related classes and workshops, and often gone out on a limb with an unpopular opinion and paid the price for my candour. And last, you may be a 'foodie', but I am not. In fact, I don’t even know what that means. Does it mean you’re addicted to food, like a druggie is addicted to drugs? Or does it mean you are a trained cook, in the same way that a techie is trained to work with technology? Or wait! Could it mean that you eat a lot of food? In which case, 'glutton' would probably be a better word to use. If, however, you enjoy trying different kinds of food and learning as much as you can about every aspect of whatever you are eating – if you are, shall we say, hungry to develop an intimate knowledge of everything you consume – then you, like me, are an epicure. Call yourself one.
And now that I have that off my chest: Yes, I love what I do.