Thursday, May 7, 2009

What is a food geek?

Perhaps I should have expounded upon this in my first post.  Nonetheless, I feel that it is important to define what this term means to me, and why I chose it for my blog title, especially since there are apparently a number of other Food Geek bloggers out there.

I defer to my husband on the definition of the word geek here.  He has a whole passionate spiel about what separates a nerd, dweeb, and geek.  And in his definition, a geek is someone who is extremely passionate about a specific subject, but in a literate, educated sort of way.  This leads to the expression "geeking out", which describes the action of getting extremely excited about something you really love or just learned, related to the subject in which you are a geek.  Therefore, as a food geek, most of my blog posts will be dedicated to geeking out about food specifics that I love. 

How did I become a food geek, you might ask?  Well, in my case, I don't think that I had much of a choice.  My father trained as a chef before I was even born, at The Bakery, a landmark Chicago bastion of classic cuisine.  He and my mother opened their first restaurant, The Strawberry Patch, in Princeton, Illinois, when I was only 2 months old.  Food has always been a central part of my life.  At a time when other children were eating McDonald's and Hamburger Helper, my family eschewed pre-prepared food in favor of whatever was seasonally at its peak.  It helped that my mother's parents still grew a great many fresh vegetables on their farm, and the bounty flowed on to us.  Additionally, my father frequently brought in diverse ingredients for their Peoria restaurant, Stephanie's, and many of these found their way into our regular meals.  

When I left for college, food shock was probably the most difficult thing for me to adjust to.  Dorm food, at best, left me bored, and at worst, drove me to seek out alternate food sources.  This is not to say that I was forgiving to establishments that had less than optimal food.  After all, there must be a reason that my friends put me on trial for being a food Nazi.  

Fortunately, I was in Chicago, which is an excellent location for a food geek to develop her sensibilities.  Once I was armed with my own kitchen and a couple of cookbooks, the floodgates opened.  In a city where obtaining just about any ingredient is possible, I was driven to seek out the new and interesting.  Fresh fish markets, produce stands, gourmet grocery stores, they all became the norm.  Realizing that I got more enjoyment out of my stove than my anthropology degree or the corporate world, I took the last step and attended Kendall College for formal culinary training.  I embraced my inner food geek.

Perhaps this explanation gives you an idea of what I want to do with this blog.  But if you're a fellow food geek, you will hopefully enjoy following along.

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