On being a lover of food…

I am a food-lover. Whether it’s eating it, or making it. Whether it’s cooking, or baking. There’s something therapeutic about it for me. I will, however, never be a foodie. I am not fancy enough for that…

Fancy? Yes fancy. I seldom see the point in making things so exclusive that most people can’t afford to go there. I would, on most occasions, rather cook up a feast for friends with all the bells and whistles, than go to a restaurant.

When I do go to a restaurant, I don’t judge it by how it looks. Nor do I judge it on the fame of the chef.I judge it on the atmosphere, and the food, how it tastes, and how welcome they make you feel.

I have had the best food in some of the most obscure, small places, where foodies as such, will never set foot. Their loss, really. Food made with passion, with love. Not because it’s molecular gastronomy, or another weird taste combination…

When I dine out, I want the food to be wholesome, made with love, and it should taste like it came straight from a home kitchen. The portion should be equivalent of what a “normal” person would eat, not two bites. And I would want to return there… and bring my friends along the next time!

This is where the problem sets in. Some of my friends will never, ever in a million years set foot in some of the places I would love to take them. Why? Because it’s too common. Yes, I typed it. Common. Just because they don’t serve gourmet 5-course meals. Because it’s not exclusive enough. Which means you can still book a week in advance and get a space… Never mind judging the food on how it tastes… and that feels like the proverbial kick in the gut for me.

It’s kind of like deciding what a person  is like before you get to talk two words to them. Standing at a distance, being all hoity toity. It makes me sad… Which also means I have stopped trying. I will probably never in my life invite them to lunch or dinner again. I will however associate myself with like-minded folks…

People like me who do still visit Spur sometimes, or KFC, maybe even grab a Wimpy breakfast on a Saturday morning. Things people like me grew up with, and are used to.

This does however not mean that I can’t appreciate good exceptionally good food, good flavours, intricate details… It just means we (I) like variety (according to me, of course).

The fact of the matter is, loving food, doesn’t mean it only has to be gourmet food. Or expensive food for that matter. I am rarely willing to pay over R1000 for a very exclusive tasting menu per person… it is borderline ridiculous for me.

Food should not be exclusive. Everyone should be able to have great food. Whether they prefer to cook, or bake, whether they frequent the Spur for buffalo wings, indulge in KFC burgers once in a while, or make things from scratch. Or if they want to dine out at a fancy place…

I’m not one for fancy restaurants, as I almost always feel out of place. And will rather go where I feel welcome, and can be myself. Then I will definitely return.

This doesn’t mean I am cheap and completely unsociable. It just means I can probably cook it better at home. And enjoy doing it in the process… there’s no feeling better than seeing someone enjoy something you have cooked, and even better, asking for seconds. It’s instant gratification after slaving away in the kitchen for a few hours. Therapeutic really.

This is exactly why I am on a cooking spree – have been for most of my life really, and am hunting down recipes, trying out new stuff. And some of my friends seem to be very willing test subjects. For now, I have moved over to baking things though, and will be trying out a few new things in the coming week… Seeing if I can refine my baking skill some more…

I will probably be on a cooking spree for the rest of my life. Pushing myself, broadening my skills. And maybe one day, when I am all grown up, I will open my own restaurant… with non-exclusive, wholesome food. Where people can ask for seconds if they really enjoyed it.

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