Being a Lower-Middle Class Foodie Isn’t Easy

14 06 2011

I’ve got a problem. I love food, but I don’t have a lot of money. And when I say I love food I mean that I LOVE FOOD! Seriously, I think food’s the greatest. When given the opportunity, I love to talk about it, I love to think about it, and I love to eat it. But because of my financial mediocrity I often feel like I’m on the fringes of the ‘foodie’ community.

Imagine this scenario: You’re hanging out with some buddies from high school and their significant others and they keep mentioning this thing called ‘Tapas.’ They won’t shut up about it. They think Tapas are the greatest thing man has ever produced and even though you’re not exactly sure what they’re talking about it’s difficult not to get wrapped up in their excitement. After a bit it dawns on you that ‘Tapas’ must be a new item at Taco Bell and you’re relieved. One, because you know Taco Bell is generally pretty cheap and two because it’s been a while since Taco Bell had a new item that was worth bringing up amongst fellow Foodies (and we don’t count that Crunchy Burrito because Taco Bell was stupid enough not to call it The Frito Burrito even though it was filled with Fritos and ‘Frito’ and ‘Burrito’ rhyme). Anyway, you’re pumped and you think you’re on your way to Taco Bell, any poor foodies dream. But when you get to your destination you’re shocked, embarrassed, and angry all at once. You’re not metaphysically South of the Border, you’re physically at a restaurant that specializes in over-priced snacks. And not normal snacks, by the way. Not stuff like Cheetos, Nachos, or store brand imitations of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Everything on the menu either involves goat cheese or feta. You’re confused so you just go along with your friends who want to eat ‘family style’ even though you’ve never heard of any family gathering together to eat 13 dollar Salmon Puffs. By the end of the dinner you’re just glad to get out of there with only a fifty dollar tab. You go home, you eat some Pizza flavored Doritos, cry, and go to sleep. The next morning you call your Mom and tell her about Tapas-gate. Though she’s never heard of Tapas, she does calm you down by explaining that the kind of Foodies I was dealing with tend to be wracked with liberal guilt and therefore would never openly mock your boorish tastes.

And it’s not just hard for me out at restaurants, either. When I tell friends about my lunches they ask a few questions, nod along, and then try to change the subject as quickly as possible. Oh, and I guess you should know this about me: I eat a rice and black bean burrito almost everyday. Now I know that may sound repetitive and practically insane, but I like it. It’s cheap, but still tasty enough if you remember to mix in some hot sauce or add some onions. But I guess just because I like something doesn’t mean other Foodies will respect it. The lunch conversations usually go something like this…

Foodie: So, what did you have for lunch today?

Me: A black bean and rice burrito.

Foodie: Oh, nice. Sounds healthy.

Me: I think so. That’s why I eat them every day.

Foodie: Oh, well um, that’s interesting. There’s probably a lot of stuff you can with that.

Me: There is. But I don’t do anything different. Just the black beans and rice and a tortilla.

Foodie: Are the black beans organic?

Me: Nope. Bush’s. They’re usually on sale.

Foodie: Oh. Well do you ever use any interesting cheese or hot sauce?

Me: No cheese, but definitely hot sauce.

Foodie: Cool. I’ve often found that mixing up hot sauces can really make for enjoyable lunches. That’s why I usually keep three or four different kinds of hot sauce in my pantry at all times.

Me: Not me. I just use the one.

Foodie: Well why change a good thing, right?

Me: Exactly. That’s why I use Taco Bell mild sauce every day. It’s delicious and free. Whenever I go to Taco Bell I end up grabbing as many little packets as I can to store in my drawer. I must have like 150 on hand right now. It’s pretty sweet.

Foodie: Oh, wow. Did you watch the Lakers game last night?

Me: The Lakers didn’t play last night.

Do you see what I mean? Everywhere I go I end up feeling really bad about my second class Foodie lifestyle. It’s almost like these people think I eat food simply for sustenance, which is very offensive.

And I know alcohol isn’t food, but it does fall under the Foodie umbrella. Whenever I’m invited to a party I always make sure to bring some alcohol along because that’s just what you’re supposed to do. So I’ll stop by CVS and grab some Natural Light or Keystone Light depending on the sale. But when I arrive at my destination I’m always a little disappointed that no one has any interest in discussing the joy of getting a 12 pack of Keystone for 6.99. They just want to sit around and talk about their micro-brews with names like “Harvest Time Brewing Co.” or “Cape Cod Dark Ale.” Wine is just as bad, too. They don’t care if you spent 24 dollars on 12 bottles of 2 Buck Chuck (I don’t care for that term, but use it so people know what I’m talking about) they’d rather pay 18 dollars for one bottle of wine that has “hints of oak.” I just don’t get it. Who would want to drink something that tastes like a tree? Ugh.

Regardless, I still consider myself a Foodie. Maybe I’m not up to some people’s standards, but that doesn’t matter because I LOVE FOOD.




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