I love being a foodie. Food is such an essential part of my identity and personality, that I can't imagine myself without food. I am always the friend baking birthday cakes in the dorm kitchen or finding the best places for brunch with my friends. I own a food journal to remember all the places I have gone out to eat in my foodie life. I make homemade spaghetti sauce when we all have to stay and work on campus over spring break. However, being a foodie does have its downsides.

Foodie vs. Lover of Food

ratatouille, meat, tomato, courgette, pepper, vegetable
Christin Urso

To best explain the downsides of foodie-ism, I find it necessary to explain the difference between a lover of food and a foodie. I like to believe that everyone loves food, given that it is a basic need for life. In my definition of the two, lovers of food just love food. That is it. The taste and the food coma is what they love. They take forever to decide what to order because everything sounds good to them. They know that satisfaction is all they need.

To me, a foodie is a person who loves food, but they love all aspects of it. They love the ingredients, where those ingredients are from, the preparation, the presentation, the way it makes them feel, the memories it might bring up, and how the food is bringing people together. You know those scenes in Ratatouille where Remy is imagining the jazz colors of what he is eating? That is the euphoria of foodie-ism. It is so much more than the taste, it is the all-encompassing concept of food.

The Pressures of the Foodie Life

candy, cream, cake, cupcake, chocolate
Grace Becker

As much as the high of eating is fantastic in the foodie life, there are so many pressures that come with it. I remember when I was growing up that my mom raised me to be a foodie. I learned how to shop local, make things from scratch, and talk about food like a pro (or as much of a pro I could be at 10). However, when I spent a night at a friend's house, my friend was embarrassed by what their parents made for dinner and became self-conscious.

This continued in high school as well. When I cooked with friends, they picked on me for helping them measure things precisely. They poked fun at how excited I got to teach someone why ingredients need to be exact when baking. Or they got mad, said my perfectionism was annoying, and that I needed to relax. I then became quiet and pressured myself to not say anything or to even avoid cooking with others altogether.

cheese, bread
Nancy Chen

In college, it still continued. I was able to come out of my foodie shell a lot more and laugh a bit more when people made jokes about how much I love food. I even found some foodie friends! However, it was sad to see how my boyfriend was a little timid for me to meet his family in fear that I may not like their food. He and some of my other friends even got a little timid when cooking with me.

This may not be a "pressure," but as a foodie, it is embarrassing when you accidentally go over the top. I love doing potlucks with friends because I can try new recipes, but, as other foodies can relate to, it is so embarrassing when you walk in and are the only one who made something homemade or the only one who went a little above and beyond. If I was just a lover of food, these moments of pressure wouldn't exist as I would just be there to eat and enjoy the taste instead of wanting to capture the entire moment and sensations of the food event.

Figuring the Foodie Life Out

feast, salad
Makaya Pratt

In all of the instances of pressure, I always find myself having to explain to others that just because I am a foodie, does not mean that I have five-star restaurant needs and expectations. Honestly, I live my foodie life trying to be Anthony Bourdain, I like finding the tucked-away places to eat. Don't get me wrong, I like to treat myself once in a while and make a filet mignon, but my favorite places to eat are the small, family run restaurants where you walk in and get a story along with your order.

I have also found myself trying to write off my flair for cooking. During those potlucks, I try to convince others how easy the dish was to make or when they ask who made it, I hide my face and feel really embarrassed for making it to begin with. Being confronted with these downsides of foodie-ism makes you feel ashamed for having the cooking talents of a grandma or the passion for food like an artisan chef.

cheddar, dairy, dairy product, milk, cheese
Amanda Shulman

I have come to accept the fact I am a foodie, and I am starting to embrace it (a huge thank you to Spoon for helping me learn to love my foodie personality). Yet the pressure of loving food to the point of being a foodie still gets to me. It's one thing to love food because it's considered awesome to love food, you aren't picky, you love to eat, and you're not ashamed to eat. But being a foodie, you have to learn how to explain that you aren't picky, that you do like eating a whole Domino's pizza as much as the next person, and that cooking is just a hobby to you like drawing is to an artsy person. Being a foodie is hard, but when you can have a jazz moment like Remy the rat, it is worth it.