Someone once called me a food snob. At the time I scoffed and thought to myself, “I am NOT a food snob!” But later on I realised, although not a snob as such, I do tend to turn my nose up at average food rather choosing good food. By average I mean insignificant, not tasty. I just don’t find enjoyment from shoving average food into my mouth. Food isn’t just fuel to me, it is something I actually enjoy and am passionate about.
I was chuffed to receive a copy of The Iconoclast’s Guide to Foodies: Unraveling the Mindset of a Food Snob in 50 Digestible Chunks by Alexandra Parsons for review from publisher CICO Books. This book encouraged silent chuckles from the start. Parsons’ wit is entertaining and her imagination diverting. She writes about the passion behind cooking and the art of food from the mind of a foodie, in the voice of an iconoclast.
Parsons is a life-long foodie. She cites one of her greatest pleasures as gathering her family around the table to share good food, a favourite pastime of any diehard foodie. Her insight into the mind of a foodie, albeit a humorous account, comes from a familiar place. I get the feeling she knows exactly what she is talking about.
In an entry titled The Salad Olympics I caught myself nodding my head in agreement to a description about how when preparing salad, a foodie is meticulous about the correct size of a bowl. When I am prepping a photo shoot where a salad is the main subject, I agonise over the size of the bowl. Too big and it’ll swallow the salad (the subject) in the photos. Too small and I won’t have room to toss and move the salad around. It truly is a dilemma! Parsons starts the chapter by saying “For a foodie, salads are a category of Olympic competition.” *insert hearty snort* Oh so true.
What I loved most about this book was the ’50 digestible chunks’ which are small entries of 2-3 pages. The fact these entries are brief meant I was intrigued to continue onto the next entry and the next, knowing I could digest another entry in a coffee break or while I was waiting for a cake to bake. These ‘chunks’ are destined to satisfy the reader that prefers to put down a book at the end of a chapter rather than in the middle.
Parsons’ descriptions on the foodie in the kitchen are hilarious. She paints a mighty picture of the overzealous and passionate foodie taking the kitchen task of cooking what could be a simple meal into grand proportions, and mostly with amusing results. “The kitchen resembles a war zone with buckled baking trays cooling in the sink and dish cloths with jagged holes and burn marks draped over melting chopping boards,” was one such description involving a foodie and a blowtorch. Sounds like a casual Sunday afternoon at my place following yet another attempt at a blog post. Slight exaggeration, but I can tell you the experiments are never without incident.
The illustrations are perfect for the context, they are equally humorous and apt. The characters all take on the look of an intrepid foodie, almost snobbish in their facial expressions. I flicked through and glanced at the illustrations at the start, the voice of the book resonating through the images long before I had started reading.
A few of my favourite entries of this book were Adventurous Eating to No Purpose, which covers experimenting with “exotic meats”, Foodie Baby Names and the sequel, Cheesy Baby Names. The latter being self-explanatory.
I loved this book. It was entertaining and accurate with an obvious hint of wit funny even to the wannabe foodie. I often call myself a foodie, although as I read through these pages I realised I know little about gourmet food. Whereby I love stinky cheese, black truffle and other innocuous, albeit what some may claim to be ‘gourmet’ foods, I am yet to touch even the tip of the gourmet food trolley. If anything, this book has made me more curious, more inclined to get my hands on a side of foie gras or caviar d’escargot.
And maybe even a blowtorch.
** If you have a foodie in your life and you’d like to understand the intricacies behind the mind of a foodie, you can buy your copy of The Iconoclast’s Guide to Foodies: Unraveling the Mindset of a Food Snob in 50 Digestible Chunks from CICO Books.
**Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Iconoclast’s Guide to Foodies for the purpose of this review.