Food is more than nourishment; it’s a boundless hobby

By SABRINA WANG

Most people who know me are well aware of my great love for food.

In fact, food was how I bonded with Kelly, a fellow member of the organization I volunteered at this summer. Kelly took me out for lunch, and we connected over food. Like all random conversations begin, we started talking about our days, how every time we went outside the supremely humid weather made us feel like someone was relentless beating us over the head with a damp towel. We dabbled in the standard fare of small talk until suddenly I was showing her pictures of an amazing eight-course tasting menu I had with my best friend who currently resides London — then everything changed. Disclaimer: I don’t have eight-course tasting menus every day. Or on any day, really.

“Wow,” said Kelly, as she flicked through photo after photo of jelly suspended on caramelized sugar, apple-green mousse arranged in small cups and bite-sized amuse-bouches balanced delicately on a spiralled toothpicks. “You must really like food.” I couldn’t agree more.

When our finally plates arrived we talked about how much we loved avocado on anything and everything. We spoke of pasta and recounted the strangest foods we ever ate (snake for me; that was wild). We talked about food in Hampden and food in the Inner Harbor; which foods to avoid eating before bed and what we liked most to eat in the morning.

Interspersed between bites of eggs Benedict we gushed about cheese. Aged cheddar was my favorite, although fresh mozzarella and melted Brie are close runner-ups (she seconded mozzarella). Through the course of this conversation I realized that I could probably finish an entire gallon of blueberries by myself! The saying, “If you want to gauge how hungry you are, see if you want an apple” never applied to me because I always want an apple.

I’ve always loved mushrooms, even though my sister contends that they taste like dirt. Eggplant, mustard, peanut butter, strawberries, rye bread, coconut, lamb, duck, soups — I don’t discriminate. We spoke about our favorite culinary delights for hours, but we didn’t even cover half of the bases.

It was one of the best conversations I had ever had.

Last Christmas when I went back to Vancouver (best place on Earth for foodies besides New York), I spent most of my free time eating. This fit perfectly with the fact that the pantry and kitchen in my house was always stocked with something wonderful at any given time. Hey mom, if you’re reading this, you’re the best!

“My god,” my mother had said when she came home to an empty fruit basket. “There were five peaches there this morning.” Sorry I’m not sorry.

In French there’s a word that distinguishes between a lover of food and a mass consumer of food: gourmet vs. gourmand: the difference between a critic of food as opposed to a bottomless stomach. It’s certainly a fine line, which explains why I haven’t quite found it.

“Is there any food you don’t like?” people ask me. “Whipped cream from the can is the devil,” I say, and I watch as their faces scrunch in confusion. Is it the calories? The texture? How could I not like spraying the contents the entire can in my mouth in one fell swoop?

Honestly, it’s just gross the way the stuff oozes from the nozzle, the tiny fake peaks of promise that only serve to enhance the betrayal of the real whipped cream it’s trying to mimic. It tastes like a sad bootleg version of cream, like that awful top layer on the top of those ice cream cakes you used to eat when you were a kid — yeah, it’s the worst.

The second worst are raw carrots.

Clearly, I love food. It is nourishment, it is fun, and for some of us, it is a boundless hobby. I love the fact that there will always be a new, unique dish for me to try. Whether some amazing chef just invented it, or I have to travel to an exotic local to discover it, new food will always excite me. That being said, I know that I’ll be able to enjoy old favorites like amuse-bouches throughout my whole life — and if my gourmet experiences have told me one thing, its that food of all types only seems to get better with age. So to my fellow foodies, I say that we have a lot to look forward to.

In the last week of my internship, Kelly and I decided to go for coffee. (I like mine with a splash of milk.) “What are you going to do this weekend?” asks Kelly as we’re driving down N. Charles Street.

“Food,” I say simply, as if that’s all the explanation needed, and she laughs so much that her head tilts back and leans against the headrest.

Sabrina Wang is sophomore neuroscience major from Vancouver, Canada.

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