Food important or not.

Old Jan 19th, 2008, 07:51 AM
  #1  
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Food important or not.

Having read post here for years I know that many people seem to plan trips around food. They seemly are obsessed with what they will be eating. Me I am the type of guy that a bowl of soup or a salad would just be fine for a dinner. Of course a decent couple glasses of wine is required.

So, why is food so important as I just don't get it. I mean, I am not saying it is bad, but,for me I have more important things to do with my time than spend more than a few minutes eating a meal.
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 07:58 AM
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For me, experiencing food and wine of a region is part of the whole picture when traveling. I want to learn as much as I can about the places I travel to and food is an important part of every culture. It is so wonderful to be able to come home and try to recreate a meal and share it with friends, but also the smell and taste transports me back to that special moment or place.
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 07:59 AM
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People are foodies or they aren't. My husband thinks of food as nutrients, whereas I recently sent an email to my sister where I wrote this about a piece of cheese: It was as though sunshine and
flowers had been transferred from a hillside in Provence to my tongue on the wings of fairy goats.

No big whoop. It takes all kinds. Someone has to keep the trains running while the sensualists dream through the world.
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 08:03 AM
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Food and travel is my life. It is almost all I think about - I plan meals ages in advance and put a lot of thought and effort in cooking the very best meal each and every time with the very best ingredients. Nearly every night I dream about cooking. I learn everything about it I possibly can and do kitchen experiments. I have the desire and need to become more and more skilled. I spend endless hours studying cookery (and I do not mean recipes). I stay on top of food trends (it helps that I am a trained chef, although now I only do fancy catering on a small scale and teach cooking classes). I'm the geek who goes into butcher shops and works along with the butcher in the back to ensure I get precisely what I want. It is important to me to also go to the local farm where the meat/produce is raised.

When there is a new ingredient in a local store I go mad (i.e. kaffir lime leaves). We live in a small city so unfortunately do not have access to a lot but I am creative in the ways I get things!

I've eaten meals that last several hours and enjoy the experience so much. I appreciate the ingredients and love to taste the flavours, smell the aromas, feel the textures - it is a multi-sensory experience. Food (cooking and eating) is so fulfilling and gratifying and satisfying.

It is also being creative and artistic. It brings people together and so is a time of sharing great food and great company.

We plan trips around food at times (but not always). Each trip we go on we do lots of research into restaurants so we know what is available in each area. I personally would fly thousands of miles for specific ingredients such as white truffles, great olive oils, etc. To me travel and cooking go hand in hand and I honestly would have a very difficult time living without either.

Need I say more?
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 08:05 AM
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Food can be interesting when you travel because it transmits history and culture and values. To me, this is every bit as important as art, architecture, etc.

While dislike some of the elitism/snobbiness of the foodie culture that's sprung up (some of the best meals I've had have been the most rustic, local, and inexpensive), food is an integral part of my travel experience.

Of course, the bottom line is something a cousin told me a long time ago: people either live to eat, or eat to live. I'm in the first group, which is why I like my trips to have lots of walking and hiking so my clothes still fit when I come home! But really, to each their own!
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 08:28 AM
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Everyone has different values.

And everyone has different experiences. Coming from NYC - which has a LOT of good food, much of it at reasonable prices - I find I expect more than many other people do. When you're used to good food - why settle for less?

Not that we do all Michelin starred restaurants. But we do one special dinner in each city we visit and a real dinner every night. For lunch we're much more casuale - stopping wherever we happen to be - and are satisfied with a good sandwich, omelet crepe, pizza or similar.

But - we just enjoy food too much to be satisfied with a bowl of soup for dinner. Never mind that given the amount of walking we do we would be starving to death - and lose even more weight than we do on our average european trip.
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 08:31 AM
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And we find spending a couple of hours relaxing over dinner an important part of the "slowing down" process that is so important on vacation. At home we usually order in - or go out for something casuale - and don;t have time for the 2.5 or 3 hour dinners that help us decompress.
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 08:40 AM
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What a silly question!

So you have different priorities from some people...what's the big deal, and why do you care?

I don't plan trips around food, but I certainly spend more than a few minutes at a meal and generally want more than a bowl of soup or salad for dinner when traveling, though sometimes that's just fine, too.

I care a lot about food. I love to cook, love to eat, love to while away a couple of hours in a nice restaurant with good company. Often, it's more about the company than the food. I think there are health and emotional benefits from socializing with other people, and sharing food is probably the oldest socializing practice on earth.

No, I'll admit when I read about people going to, say, Paris, and planning to eat three squares a day at every upscale restaurant in town for two weeks running, I do wonder if they might have an unhealthy obsession with food, but hey, to each his own.

If you have "more important" things to do with your time, fine...go do them.
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 08:46 AM
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MY dear St Criq, it is just a simple question, not meant to upset anyone. I think you need something to eat to get over being grumpy. So forgive an old retire fellow for stepping on your toes.
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 08:47 AM
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ditto what StCirq says
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 08:55 AM
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I'm most definitely not grumpy, rogeruktm. In fact, I'm heating up some leftover boeuf bourgignon with a smile on my face and very much looking forward to digging into it.

And it was a silly question because you or anyone would have known the answer to it before you posted it. If you just wanted to spark a debate, it could have been framed as a comment, not a question.
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 09:03 AM
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StCirq - what wine did you use? did you follow the traditional recipe. I must know! LOL

roger - it may be the use of the word "obsessed". That gives away your position without telling us about your eating habits.
I really think if you used the word "obsessed" to describe anyone's trip planning you might get a similar reaction.
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 09:03 AM
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Ah food. Soon I will be opening a can of chicken noodle soup for lunch.

Different strokes for different folks.
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 09:07 AM
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Hi, robjame:

I used a 2006 Baron Philippe de Rothschild Pinot Noir (which sounds way fancier than it is - I think it's about a $12.00 wine).

And I used big chunks of sirloin.

I also simmered it for almost 5 hours.

It's pretty awesome, actually.
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 09:24 AM
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To me, food is a part of culture - which is why eating in China is completely different than eating in Spain. If it didn't matter, we'd all be eating boiled chicken and greens from the yard. But instead, every culture has banded around a cuisine based on the care and provision of the ground you're visiting. Eating is an integral part of life, family, history and human migration.

That said, we don't ever plan around where we're going to eat unless it's a very special occasion that will occur while we're away. I appreciate the food and not so much the restaurant experience. We've had some really wonderful meals in tiny cafes and pubs, just by walking in hungry and following our noses, asking inside what it was that smelled so good. Or asking a new friend where they like to eat. We've had a couple of lousy meals being spontaneous, but the same's true on following guides and lists and recommendations. So we just figure we'll just have fun, jump in and enjoy it either way, either for the laughs or the sauce.
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 09:39 AM
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People are simply not all made the same. Very simple explanation.

Some are dedicated foodie fanatics. Some eat merely to sustain their bodies. Most people fall somewhere in between.

What does it matter to you what other people do? I don't mean to sound harsh, I have just never understood this kind of question.
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 10:21 AM
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Food is one of the greatest pleasures in life. I feel sorry for those who don't agree. It is part of why we travel and we love remembering the magnificent meals we have had all over the place. We had some gorgeous meals in Italy in December, but one of my best experiences was eating a perfect panini with eggplant, tomato and mozzarella near the Pantheon that I had purchased in a small shop, and then having a fabulous gelato. I will always remember that. I could go on and on. If you're not a foodie, you'll never know what you're missing. My children, who are in their 20's, still talk about wonderful meals that they remember from our family vacations. Memories of a great meals shared with loved ones are priceless!
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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 10:32 AM
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I'm not a foodie, but I really enjoy eating. However, when I read some tip reports I wonder how people fit all the meals in -- 2 to 3 hour lunches and the same for dinner. That's quite a chunk out of the day for me.

I prefer doing either a long lunch or a long dinner -- not both. Some of my favorite memories are when we didn't go out for either but rather just enjoyed the balcony, etc., of our apatment.

But, as you've all said -- to each his own..

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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 10:41 AM
  #19  
ira
 
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R writes,

>I have more important things to do with my time than spend more than a few minutes eating a meal.

If all you want to do is stay alive, you need nothing more than corn, beans, squash, water and the occasional squirrel.

OTOH, some of us think that dining, as opposed to just eating, is as much art as sculpture, painting and music.

Dining completely involves the senses: sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing.

Dining allows one to relax and enjoy not only the food and wine, but the surroundings and the company. (It helps if you have a quintet in the background.)

Some of us think that you can't really know a foreign country until you've eaten their food, their way, with them.


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Old Jan 19th, 2008, 10:52 AM
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Hey R,

> Soon I will be opening a can of chicken noodle soup for lunch.

Did you check the salt and fat content? What's in that can other than chicken and water?

I am baking:
1 large loaf of dill rye bread using a new recipe that calls for pickle juice.

2 large loaves of Pain au levain, hoping that one day I will get it right without having to build an oven in the back yard.

3 baguettes and 2 doz French rolls.

Dinner will be:

A thin slice of toast with chicken liver pate'

Grlled sea bass with sauteed fennel and onions, mushroom risotto

Reggiano Parmesano with crackers and a pear

Chocolate truffles

I haven't chosen the wines yet.

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