All too often I find myself in a defensive state bewildered by such phrases as “Jacob, does this meal meet your standards?” or “I could never have you over for dinner, that’s too much pressure!” or "is this how you would have styled your cheese toastie?" Not only is this hard to grapple with the feeling that I am perceived as a complete food wanker but the harsh reality that my extrovert tank is less full due to my obsession with food or being a food stylist.
I clearly remember going to a friend’s house where his mother refused to cook dinner, knowing I would be a guest at the table. Her dinner menu consisted of some local Chinese take away from her local grease eatery. Nothing tastes more authentic than a good dose of honey chicken and sweet and sour pork with a side of MSG. As I sit and stare at the dining room table covered in take away containers and disposable chopsticks I sincerely thought to myself – am I that hard to please?
I clearly remember as a young teenager my sister attempting to make dinner for the first time. She thought she would make a dinner that consisted of her favourite elements. With a wide grin and puffed out chest she served each family member a plate consisting a piece of chicken schnitzel, potato bake, pasta salad and toasted garlic bread. I attempted to eat the carb-loaded meal to the best of my ability without any comment or snark. The moral of the story is; if you were to feed me a horrible meal I would still happily eat it without a peep!
I can safely say I am no food snob! Sure, I have been known to send a steak back for being overcooked, ask for my money back after finding an elastic band in a side of sautéed vegetables or return my chicken caesar salad due to a crawling cockroach, but all in all, I would consider myself a pleasant patron. I even still ate my fourth, fifth and sixth course after a fellow patron sitting next to me decided to vomit their six courses all over the beautiful crisp white linen tablecloth at the prestigious Press Club in Melbourne. Least it was a memorable lunch out, right? Or that more recent time eating dinner at a dingy food court in China Town to find two rats picking up the scraps from the floor. Surely the dining experience you offer at home isn't too similar?
My eating habits are just like the next persons, whether that be a dirty kebab at 1am, a bucket of KFC or a big mac from time to time. Yes, it's true, I may dabble from time to time in fast-food. Although I am a self-professed foodie, do remember food is never about the food, it’s about people coming together. As corny as it is, food is the only international language we have. I say that to you as I look forward to my dinner invite from you all in the coming future - i'm free this Friday!
Happy Feasting Foodie Friends!