Although I love food, I am not a “foodie,” I can add that I’ve never been a foodie, nor is it likely that I will ever be a foodie. I don’t know who gave us the silly word “foodie” but it’s about time they took it back.
For those who don’t know, a foodie is someone who makes a hobby out of food and food-related activities. You will find foodies at restaurant openings and cooking classes. Serious foodies will develop an interest in a single food item like burritos.
The closest our town came to having a foodie was journalist Thelma Ames, who wrote for the Cherryfiels Bugle. Thelma took her food and her food reviews very seriously.
As one of the few people in town who got an out-of-state paper Thelma always tried to write like she was writing for a big city paper.
When she would review a local bean supper, she'd go off on a tangent and talk about things like plantains and artichoke en croute and panna cota. Once she suggested that, instead of franks and beans, the local Baptist Church should serve a honey mead glazed pork with sweet potato, tomatillo relish and ginger red pepper coulis.
If she had written things like that years ago she'd have been accused of being a communist, or at least a foreigner or something.
I thought about Thelma's reviews the other day after reading an article that went on about all the publicity Maine is getting lately in some of those glossy national travel magazines.
Magazines with names like “Bon Appetit,” “Wine Spectator” and “Shape” have written all kinds of things about Portland's Old Port that would make you wonder if they ever saw the place. One writer compared it to the French Quarter in New Orleans. The writer didn't say if it was before or after a huricane.
In the “Bon Appetit,” a writer said of a Portland restaurant, "Spending time there is like being transported to New York's East Village."
I've always assumed that magazines like “Bon Appetit” and the rest are read mostly by people stuck in places like New York. For that reason the magazine articles were mostly about fancy New York restaurants. If that's the case, why would a sophisticated New York couple drive eight or nine hours north to Portland on congested roads in order to eat at a place that's just like the restaurants in their New York neighborhood? You'd think that people spending all that time and money to get up here to Maine would want to experience something you couldn't get back in the big city – like Red’s Eats. Seasoned travelers - people who don't read snooty travel magazines - know what Maine's all about. If I were up here from New York, my first priority would be to gobble up a classic, bright red steamed Maine hot dog, followed closely by attending a traditional bean supper.
You won't find anything quite like those Maine classics in New York's East Village - or any of its other villages for that matter.