A brief statement of purpose

There are already about a billion food blogs, so what might be a justification of yet another one, and who am I to do it?

What I aim to do in this blog is more than simply provide recipes. While recipes of my own will, in fact, be posted, some of the blog will consist of a variety of comments about restaurants and their practices, food preparation tips, personal annoyances (such as loud restaurants and the epidemic of misspellings on menus), and whatever else pops into my head relating to what we put in our mouths (and swallow, I hasten to add). The whole thing is meant to be somewhat provocative. I hope, if nothing else, it won't be boring. I, of course, solicit reader participation.

As for who I am and why I think I might have something to contribute to public discussions on this essential and pleasurable activity - eating - you'll have to click here.

The curmudgeon's biography

   I am a recently retired professor of political science. How is this background related to an interest in food strong enough to put together this blog? It isn't directly, but my study of other cultures has probably helped. I have to credit my mother, though, with instilling this life-long interest in comestibles. She fed me a large variety of foods, particularly for the 1950s. I ate all of it. She would frequently say, "Russ will eat anything as long as it doesn't eat him first." My father, on the other hand, would eat only about a dozen things, his favorite being a plain, totally buck naked, hamburger at the Golden Arches. I was with him one time when he placed his order, and I felt both sympathy and amusement as the order-taker struggled to understand that he wanted only a total of two ingredients: the beef patty and the bread. I don't know how my mother reconciled my father's tastes with mine. Perhaps she made two different meals, or perhaps she just plopped "cheese toast" - his second favorite preparation - on his plate as she and I dined on more interesting fare. 
   My own "credentials", such as they are, consist of collecting cookbooks (about 700) and cooking magazines (hundreds), dining out, and preparing food at home (to the delight of my wife who last prepared a real dinner in 1985). Food is very frequently on my mind. It’s a major hobby and has been for decades. I particularly like preparing ethnic food of many sorts. There are only two items I've encountered which I dislike: peanut butter and dessicated coconut (coconut milk I like very much). I will add a caveat here: I don't get around as much as Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern.
   So now that I'm retired, what better way to keep me off the streets and out of trouble than this blog. As you will see, though, I've retained a considerable part of my political science background. This is the assertive and provocative part. I dislike bullshit very much. While Socrates makes the case that BS started twenty-five centuries ago in politics, today it reveals itself in virtually any area of human endeavor, even relating to food and wine. It's so ubiquitous that I suspect most of it is barely recognized as such. A good bit of my motivation for starting this blog, as a matter of fact, is what I've termed for many years, Bullshit Detection and Eradication. Wine “experts” will be one of my early targets. Back when I was chair of the Department of Political Science, I suggested changing its name to The Department of Bullshit Studies. Alas, I never succeeded in convincing enough people by the time of my retirement.
   A word on the term "foodie". As many people have noted, and as I agree, the word is wildly overdone. It also sounds a bit juvenile and more than a bit pretentious (no offense intended to anyone). “Gourmet” and “gourmand” have a longer pedigree but are blatantly pretentious, particularly the former. I considered “foodist”, but that carries a vaguely scientific meaning, as in “scientist”, one who studies food. I don’t study it; I eat it, so that term was out. I finally settled on “foodster”. I don’t believe it’s particularly pretentious. In fact, it’s a bit amusing and self-deprecating, it seems to me. The word “hamster” might come to mind, particularly now that I’ve mentioned it, but that's all right. I like hamsters, although I don't see what purpose they serve in a Darwinistic sense. In any case, it’s intended to convey the idea that I concern myself with various aspects of the eating experience for many of my waking hours. In other words, it’s a hobby, nothing more and nothing less. So is Foodster better than Foodie? At this point in time, I think so. If it ever becomes as commonplace as Foodie, I may change my mind, though.