When did this shift of priorities take place? Where does this newly found esteem for food come from? Every waking hour we are bombarded by photos of food, gourmet dishes, exotic cuisine, and fancy drinks. The glamorization of food has reached religious proportions. We are in awe of anything that looks or sounds like gourmet food. We spend hours discussing food and restaurants. We have armies of food connoisseurs who think they are God-given gifts to humanity. They smugly smile when they talk about a $32.00 dessert they recently had at some posh restaurant, as though they have been to heaven and back. Appreciating food has suddenly become the hip, cool thing to do. Now everybody is a food critic. We have all become foodies, food junkies, food bloggers, food buffs and food truck enthusiasts. We have food aesthetes, who live and breathe for food. We have food aficionados and food experts who are not chefs, have not cooked one single meal in their lives, and yet their raison d’etre is food. We have epicureans who are obsessed with discovering the latest restaurant that serves the best chimichanga, or food savants, who have nothing to say about anything but food. We have Yelpers who take their jobs more seriously then some oncologists I know. What we eat we have to share it on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and the amount of likes we can generate by doing so is simply mind-boggling.
Granted, food has always been a big part of human gratification and appreciating gourmandise has always had its appeal. Good chefs have been admired – rightfully so – and good cooks have always been esteemed, but never to the extent where the glamorization of food (and not food itself) has become a cultural phenomena. We think twice before spending money on a new shirt, a vitamin, a donation to a charity, a small piece of art or a book, and yet we don’t care if we spend money on overpriced sushi, gourmet burgers, shepherd’s pie or a $6.00 latte.