Food News

Are you a food tragic?

You don’t have to pretend any more. If you’re obsessed with food, here’s your chance to declare it.


**Mostly As

** Food is one of the good things in your life, but one of many. You are happy to remain innocent of the proper singular term for ravioli, and hope to never own a fish knife, but are willing to try most things once, whether it be beurre D’Isigny or devon. You’d never call yourself any kind of cook, but somehow things turn out right for you. Your approximate food-tragic level: Homer Simpson.

**Mostly Bs

** Food and dining are among your chief joys. The knowledge you pick up along the way enhances your pleasure, but you’re largely satisfied with the entrée-main-dessert concept and haven’t yet tried adding mid-courses or uttered the word ‘appellation’ out loud. These may be good things. At barbecues the plate you brought is always the first to go. Your approximate food-tragic level: Pac-Man.

**Mostly Cs

** You love to eat, are usually planning dinner even as you’re enjoying lunch, own two different kinds of kitchen thermometer and make most of your travel decisions based on the availability of restaurant reservations. Your dinner parties are the stuff of legend. Your approximate food-tragic level: Peter Russell-Clarke.

**Mostly Ds

** Put the fork down for a second and listen. You own cutlery that mere mortals don’t recognise and eat things most people would hesitate to give to the cat. (No, we don’t want to hear your cat recipes.) You have a problem. Or a three-star restaurant. Or a restaurant review column. Don’t expect a dinner invitation any time soon. Your approximate food-tragic level: Anton Ego. Or Hannibal Lecter.

The love of food isn’t, as a rule, a matter for competition – in the developed world, at any rate. Heck, a great many of us spend a lot of money and plenty of time feeling the burn, saluting the sun and weighing the pros and cons of gastric banding precisely so that our interest in eating isn’t too readily advertised to all and sundry. But, that said, to know thyself is a virtue of sorts and January, with its freight of resolutions and vantage of the year spread before us, is a fine time to take stock of things. Or just have a lark. And so we put it to you: have you crossed the drizzle of single-estate extra-virgin that marks the line between eating to live and living to eat? Answer our simple quiz and you’ll soon know the truth: are you a food tragic?

On your phone, you have

(a) the numbers of a few of your favourite restaurants

(b) the numbers of all the restaurants you want to visit

(c) a picture of Sean’s Panaroma’s dining room as your wallpaper

(d) Tetsuya Wakuda’s mobile on speed-dial.

Your web bookmarks page reveals




(d) your own food blog.

Your restaurant trophies include

(a) matchboxes

(b) menus

(c) cutlery

(d) locks of chef hair.


When cooking, you like to hear

(a) your friends chatting

(b) a little light music

(c) the pan

(d) the voice in your head.

Roquefort is

(a) a cheese

(b) a lush, piquant sheep’smilk blue

(c) something customs authorities have no right to deny us

(d) just not ever going to be the same after tasting the stash Alain had in his private cave.

Your favourite restaurant critics are

(a) John Lethlean and Pat Nourse

(b) AA Gill and Jonathan Gold

(c) François Simon and Sam Orr

(d) Quentin Crewe and Alexandre Balthazar Laurent Grimod de La Reynière.

Opening the fridge, you’re most proud of your collection of

(a) mustards

(b) butters

(c) gins

(d) home-rendered fats.


Presented with the first cut of a roast suckling pig, you

(a) go for the buttery shoulder meat

(b) cut yourself a rack

(c) see if you can snag the tail, ears or trotters

(d) snap open the jaws, pull out the tongue and start rooting around in the cavity for any other offal the kitchen may have left lying around.

The béarnaise you’re preparing separates. You

(a) say bugger it and happily serve the steaks as they are

(b) calmly add a few drops of cold water and whisk it back together again

(c) split béarnaise? Who are you trying to kid?

(d) decide to deconstruct it and serve it as shallot powder, with black salt and the word ‘butter’ printed on a piece of edible paper in a vinegar gelée topped with a tarragon-chervil air in a halved pullet’s eggshell. With steak.

For Christmas, your loved ones bought you

(a) a Microplane grater

(b) a KitchenAid mixer

(c) Ferran Adrià’s Sferificación mini kit

(d) a breeding pair of Wessex saddlebacks.

As someone who loves to eat, you make it your habit to carry

(a) tissues, wet-wipes or some other napkin substitute

(b) cutlery

(c) a pepper grinder

(d) Gordon Ramsay.

When it comes to ‘challenging’ foodstuffs, you’re up for most things but draw the line at

(a) anything that’s identifiably part of an animal’s face

(b) the insect world

(c) endangered species

(d) non-consensual cannibalism.

Your travel plans

(a) are followed by a dig through for restaurant recommendations in the area

(b) are usually based on the quality of the food in the region

(c) revolve solely around food and restaurants

(d) come only once you’ve confirmed your reservations and made sure the hairy crab are biting.

On the plane you

(a) try to opt for anything Asian on the menu or anything that benefits from being reheated before being served

(b) are glad you make a point of only flying business and only with a very specific cadre of airlines (and say a little prayer of benediction in Neil Perry’s direction)

(c) note the looks of envy your packed home-cooking draws

(d) wait until no one’s looking before you undo the silk ribbon on your Fauchon box of truffled pâté de foie gras and Anatolian figs, then open the half bottle of that St Estèphe you favour.

Your favourite food movie is

(a) Mostly Martha

(b) Tampopo

(c) Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe

(d) only available in plain wrapping from a certain Japanese mail-order firm.

In sizing up a potential mate, you are pleased to note

(a) they like food

(b) they like to cook

(c)  the tattoo of Fernand Point on their bicep

(d) that Ferran looks taller in person.

This article appeared in the January 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

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