How to be a good eater

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The internet, despite all its endless information and entertainment, has made us bad eaters.

Photo by Laura Peruchi.

Before Google, Instagram, and Yelp, finding a great meal was more about convenience, location, and timing. The World Wide Web, in its vastness, only condenses and filters our tastes to what appears on the first page of a search engine.

We’ve traded foot traffic for clicks, views, shares and Top 10 listings. And as algorithms get smarter and more commercial, what was once a discovery tool has turned into viral revenue. and in over-seasoned hype.

According to a study by ChowNow, 89% of customers research a restaurant on their phone before making a decision. As diners, we are entitled to a level of access that goes far beyond physical space. Now we can read reviews, analyze menus and judge restaurants without even stepping inside.

We have virtual food courts in the palm of our hands, capitalizing on our every craving. Many of us have experienced our palates exclusively through the lens of others, be they chefs, food critics, bloggers and self-proclaimed “foodies”.

It’s a bit as if the democratization of food had taken us away from the kitchen. Each restaurant, bar and individual menu item must be classified and evaluated apart from its intrinsic and original value – the food. To be a “good eater,” one feels like one has to assume basic Darwinist principles and eat only the best a city has to offer.

In our quest for Instagram-worthy and truly memorable meals, we only hunger for experiences that others would dream of. For one thing, the food scene has never been more competitive.

Even within my own circles, I feel like my peers and I are competing for a table in a select niche of restaurants. We favored selectivity over serendipity, because each meal must be “worth it”.

But what if you could eat without any form of documentation beyond your own memory? What if you couldn’t check out the menu ahead of time, browse recent reviews, or follow a highly curated social media presence? What if you had nothing to attract you but your own appetite?

I think most people confuse a “good eater” with the idea of ​​someone who has never had a bad meal. And while that may be true in rare cases of lewd privilege, influence, and access to great food, a good eater isn’t defined by the quality of the food they consume, but by how which he eats. A good eater really knows how to eat well.

As Virginia Woolf said, “A good dinner is of great importance to a good conversation. One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. It’s only when we suffer from stale conversation and tasteless food that we can truly appreciate the art of eating well. As antithetical as it may sound, to be a good eater you have to fall victim to a few nasty dishes. Eating good food is easy. It’s not hard to find the best meal in town, get a reservation and show up.

Eating well, on the other hand, takes perseverance and an unwavering belief that you aren’t owed the best in the kitchen that night. Your appetite is not fueled by the illusion of expectation or a hard quest to elevate your palate, it is driven by pure pleasure and the desire to satisfy a basic human need: hunger.

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