The Food Freak

Cooking, dining, and appreciating food through the written word. A young West-Coast food-lover has been displaced to numerous small towns and cities on the East Coast; in New Jersey, New England, and now the Hudson Valley. This is his story.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Food Freak begins his story

Immigration and diversity breeds variety in the American diet, but only LARGE pockets of immigration make possible good ethnic restaurants and food markets. When you raise a food freak in such an area, you spoil him. When he is forced to leave such an area, you fracture him, leaving the most biologically basic part of him in frequent want. His favorite foods cannot be bought at his local restaurants, his favorite ingredients are not available at any supermarkets. He thus leads the life of a forager travelling hundreds of miles at a time for a bite of authenticity, innovation, or simply a brown paper bag of frozen Trader-Joe goodies.

The Food Freak is a person, a critic, and also a symbol. He symbolizes all that is possible in matters culinary given the diversity of the American cultural landscape; he symbolizes the future generation of food-lovers who do not believe only in brown butter and creme fraische, nor only in grilled steaks and brick-oven pizzas. Most importantly, he symbolizes all that is frightening to Coco's, Chili's, TGIFridays, and the WalMart's, Supershops, and Ralph's of the world (oh and PF Chang's, you better watch yourself. You are currently on my BITCH list). We're Asian and Latino, Indian and African, and we're pulling in both white and black America. We want it simple, we want it good, we want it cheap, we want it authentic, and we will one day rule the country. We don't care if we can't read the store-sign, or the menu, or that all the best dishes are reserved for people who speak the language. We are not threatened by restaurants where we are the minority, or supermarkets where we do not recognize the produce. We welcome them, we encourage them, and most importantly, for this Food Freak, we miss them dearly.

This is the story of one Food Freak's adventures on the East Coast...

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