My foodie journey

by Madeleine Brown

Self-proclaimed foodies are intimating. I get it.

“You don’t cook from scratch?”

“You buy your meat where? A grocery store?!”

“You’ve never heard of Julia Child, James Beard or David Chang?”

It’s partly why I hesitate to accept the title of foodie. (Although I realize I completely fit the definition.) But, let me tell you, myself, our bloggers and foodies everywhere started with zero food knowledge. We’re not quick to admit it, but it’s true.

I began my “foodie journey” as a home baker. One fall afternoon in grade seven or eight my sister snacked on a packet of oatmeal cookie mix—yes, the dry mix itself. Always one to outdo my sister (it’s a younger sibling thing) I took the mix  from her and prepared it. To my surprise my overcautious mother was too busy to hang over me as I used the oven all by myself. It was liberating—no, I wasn’t the rebellious type growing up. From there baking became my thing. For Christmas that year I received a box of baking supplies including every possible shape and form of silicon baking moulds—all of which I still use—and two Company’s Coming cookbooks. I baked over a hundred cupcakes for my grade twelve chemistry independent research project comparing a selection of flours. I made the desserts for all the social occasions my parents hosted. However, despite this obsession I refused to cook; that was and still is my father’s domain.

Then university happened.

More like I moved out of residence in third year. I certainly prepared food in residence mostly breakfasts and simple lunches as well as stove- and oven-less cooking for the odd potluck. Suddenly though in third year I had to get over my insecurities about cooking and take the leap. I cooked out of necessity: I was cheap and didn’t want to always buy meals. Then I got into meal planning and planned my meals every week, preparing them Sunday afternoon.

I started writing, reading and thus developing an opinion on food. It was the only thing I felt qualified to speak to when I started writing for my university newspaper. I went on to volunteer and intern in a variety of food-related environments.

And, now, I’m—I suppose—I’m…a…well, um…foodie. That said while I live by the philosophies that generally guide those who own that title, I don’t force them on anyone. I also still appreciate that guilty pleasures are a thing. And, that baking and cooking are scary. (Secret: I still even feel that way about them.) So, yes, I may judge you a bit for not even trying either, or indulging in hot dog stand hot dogs and sliced American cheese, but I want to draw you into my world. I know one-sided opinions and a sense of superiority are not how you gain followers. Please read, consider and eat thoughtfully. Even if all you can think is, “Wow, that’s delicious/horrible,” you’ll have pleased a small, blonde girl in Toronto.

My foodie journey
It all began with a cookie