According to Michael Ruhlman, there is a difference! In a recent blog post, he describes foodies as those who love the shiniest equipment and the newest ingredients, and follow the antics of top chefs the way others follow the NFL. By contrast, cooks simply, well, cook. Do you agree?
There was a larger context for Ruhlman's musings on the nature of foodies verses cooks. Many of us saw Julie & Julia this weekend, and many of us read Michael Pollan's article in the New York Times Magazine predicting the end of home cooking. Those of us who call ourselves foodies and cooks have a roll in this debate.
One of the arguments that Pollan makes in his article is that as we move away from real cooking and more toward ready-made, on-the-go foods, we're losing something essential to our human nature. In his response, Ruhlman says, "This is probably why foodies emerged...those who turn food, chefs, food-entertainers, and cooking equipment into fetishes—that is, they accord them some kind of magical power."
Then he turns to the people he calls cooks: "Another segment of our culture who also recognized that we were losing something essential to our humanity learned to cook, out of books, from their moms or grandmothers, from other cooks. And more and more are learning every day."
Ruhlman believes (as do we) that we are not looking at the end of home cooking. Not at all. And not if we have anything to say about it! Foodies who cook as a hobby, cooks who do it to feed themselves, and everyone else who falls in between - we're all part of a pretty big community of people who care about food.
This is a complex discussion, for sure. What do you have to say?