One thing is for sure, there’s never been a better time for us to fuel our obsessions. Restaurants in the UK are better today than they’ve ever been – as The Guardian’s (anonymous) restaurant critic, I’m lucky enough to be able to scour the country for the good stuff, and there’s a lot of it out there. Once, venturing beyond the big cities meant menus pockmarked with the offerings of mass caterers; today, more and more independents are not only cooking everything from scratch, but baking their own bread, fermenting their own pickles and curing their own charcuterie.
On the home front, keen cooks are also basking in a golden age. We can take advantage of supermarkets stocking anything from arak to za’atar as a matter of course, and the high streets brim with independent food stores, delis and coffee shops. Formerly stodgy old Britain is now a food lover’s paradise.
Are you an extreme foodie?
How many of the below extreme foodie traits apply to you? Let us know in the comments below.
1. You’d never ever call yourself a foodie (shudder) but for some strange reason, there isn’t a better word to describe you. Foodist or foodista are no better – and foodie seems to just stick like treacle. Our kingdom for anyone who can come up with an alternative (let us know in the comments below).
2. You’re perfectly happy to walk a mile to the place that roasts its own Tanzanian coffee beans. Anyway, you’re wearing your Fitbit/Jawbone/whatever fitness tracker – it gives you goals and makes you feel better about the fact that you’re going to add a single-estate chocolate brownies to your coffee purchase: a not-too-hot flat white with perfectly tempered milk.
3. The fishmonger knows you by name and calls you when razor clams are at their peak. You have kindly introduced him to the concept of ageing fish, just as you do beef, to his secret amusement. But you have the last laugh as you cut into the firm creamy flesh of a Kentish sole that has dry-matured for a week.
4. Your children’s packed lunches regularly feature your own-mothered sourdough. That sourdough mother has a name. And gets more attention than the cat.
5. An increasing passion for kitchen kit is threatening your marital harmony.
6. No-reservation restaurants hold zero appeal – the idea of missing out on dinner is way too painful. But you have no problem with standing in line at a streetfood stall, particularly for the Mexican one that makes its own pico de gallo and mole poblano.
7. You don’t need to Google pico de gallo or mole poblano.
8. Three years ago you switched from drinking vodka to collecting gin… your current favourites are made by two local enthusiasts on their kitchen table, or are imported from Austin, Texas or Portland, Oregon.
9. Gin and tonic? Pfft. Gin is for making shrub cocktails with your homemade sipping vinegar, a habit you picked up in the Napa Valley. You are SO over Aperol Spritz.
10. You care about what’s happening in the food world, but diet fads? No thanks. To you that’s the domain of yoga pants-wearing Instagrammers who don’t eat anything, unless it has been processed to oblivion in a Nutribullet.
11. Nutribullets are for making nuanced spice pastes for your exquisite Thai Massaman curries. And the two-blade attachment is wonderful for freshly roasted coffee beans.
12. Your lust list includes a state-of-the-art oven/coffee maker/Thermomix. You’d rather have a wall-sized fridge freezer with all the attachments than a performance car.
13. You plan to open your own charcuterie or artisan sourdough bakery business as soon as you possibly can. You can’t imagine anything more fulfilling than a life built around food.
14. Gardens are not for flower beds or shrubberies, but for ranks of your own vegetable plots, fruit trees and rows of aromatic herbs. You have built your own outdoor wood-fired oven and BBQ – on which you only ever use off-cuts from your grape vine, cherry or fig tree, or fragrant woods such as beech or apple – and a couple of smokers. Why a couple? One for meat, one for fish, obviously.
15. Pig’s ears, trotters, brawn, haggis, lights, you name it, you’ll eat it. You were devastated when those ‘black pudding is the new superfood’ headlines turned out to be a hoax.
16. You eat your sushi with your fingers, as this is how they showed you in Tokyo’s Tsukiji market, the one where you inadvertently ate the cod sperm. Delicious.
17. Pickling? Tick. Fermenting? Tick. Foraging? Tick. You’ve found a ripe seam of ceps while out on your foraging jaunts and you’re not telling anyone about it. They’ll have to prise the location out of your cold dead hand.
18. You have taken several butchery courses, and own a set of your own tools. Your knives are more precious than your jewellery.
19. You know your cider house txuleton from your 18-year-old Galician ex-milker. And you’re obsessed with ‘super-aged’ meat – up to 120 days at the likes of the Lake Road Kitchen in Cumbria.
Do you consider yourself a foodie? Share your love of grub with us in the comments below…