My foodie Jeckle and Hyde

Which one will I be tonight?

True confession: I am a Jeckle and Hyde of foodies. With every food choice I make each side competes for a voice.  Jeckle and Hyde are constantly fighting  for control of my foodie-self. The battle is constant.

As  my two sides can attest, being a foodie is no easy task these days. Somewhere between political foodie and renegade foodie is the space I occupy, but if there is balance, it is because of my two very different personalities..(some would say I have more..).

Mrs. Hyde: An unapologetic meat eater, even likes her veal medium rare. Never met a raw fish she didn’t like. Eats shrimp and crab.  A notorious carb hound, even with gluten. Eats out of season fruit.  Desirous of exotic foods, even though they travel great distances.  Hunting and fishing supporter. Embarrassing plate cleaner. Enjoys real cholesterol-ridden eggs.  Cooks the lobster live. Occasionally buys food at COSTCO, not just wine.  Craves, adores and lusts after foie gras, which is so depraved, its even outlawed in some states.

And now, introducing Mrs. Jeckle: A passionate locavore, skipping to numerous farmer’s markets throughout the week and supporting local brands.  Disgusted by animal cruelty and fervent marine conservation supporter.  Thinks that hunters (and fisherman) should use the animal for food without waste. Eats only dolphin free tuna. Never buys bottled water. Loathes shark fin soup and whale hunting. Obsessive label checker..and not just for calories. Cooks with coconut oil.  Supports local restaurants. Spends extra money on humanely raised meats and poultry. Shies away from processed foods. Uses Honey or Agave instead of sugar. Never says “no” to a child selling something at my door (particularly if that something is Girl Scout cookies).

Both of these people live in the same body, sharing the same stomach and wallet. These two contrasting dichotomies are both me.

Last week there were several epic battles raged by these two internal warriors. My Jeckle was fired up that CITES failed to protect both sharks and blue fin tunas from over fishing. My Twitter feed blazed with links to articles about CITES, I created a Twitter list for sustainable foodies and reintroduced the story of the Santa Monica sushi restaurant that was busted selling whale meat. Earlier in the week, Jeckle scoured three farmers markets to find the fresh, local tomatoes for pasta sauce even though COSTCO has them for cheaper.

Meanwhile, even as Jeckle followed Shrimpsuck.org on Twitter, Hyde was salivating at the thought of the freezer full of shrimp almost certainly not caught sustainably given its bulk price at COSTCO. Clearly, it was Hyde who hid a tasty treat of toro (the coveted belly of the bluefin tuna) in my pre-potential ban refrigerator (Hyde and my husband enjoyed the toro with shades drawn and lights off). When my husband and my Hyde went at dinner he ordered Chilean Sea Bass and my Hyde didn’t stop him nor did Hyde ask if it was MSC certified. Hyde had veal, but if you hate my Hyde for that, you probably didn’t get this far. In defense of my Hyde, the veal is from a local source (even slaughtered locally).  Here’s the really deep confession: I only recently learned what MSC meant and stood for. If we vote with our wallets, my choices were not a vote for sustainable foods.

I am only human and a foodie at that. I may even be more foodie than human.  I’ll even go so far as to admit that many of the sustainable things I do, I do for selfish foodie reasons. Take for example, my locavore leanings which started because local food just tastes better and isn’t preservative laden. The fact that buying food locally is good for my community makes me more passionate about it, but that came second. While buying bottled water is wasteful and bad for the marine environment, I never bought a Brita and only stopped buying bottled h20 after I moved someplace where the tap water was drinkable..good even. The truth is, ultimately, my foodie inclinations dictate what direction my wallet heads.  Not every one of my choices is going to be a good one and almost everyone is guaranteed to tick off someone with a political axe to grind.

So forgive me, dear reader, I just can’t be a political foodie.  I see the very important political and economic dynamics at work; I acknowledge their importance.  But first I am a foodie, secondarily I am blogger/Twitter activist.  Besides, sometimes I just want foie gras! Sure, you’ll see me commenting on topics important to food. I DO have an opinion (often times more opinions than personalities). But without apology (ok, maybe a small apology), sometimes, there will be a meal that many of you just don’t like. I am a sinner. But I was a sinner waaaaaay before I was a foodie. I am (mostly) at peace with my malignant inner Hyde and the gray areas in which I operate. I guess the day they can make foie gras in a petri dish without hormones, preservatives or animal sacrifice will be the day that my Jeckle and Hyde can stop their battle.

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About Tara DeWitt Coomans

An aspiring cook and an accomplished eater, Tara is inspired by the world around her and the food on her plate. "When you can't jump on a plane and take a vacation to an exotic destination, chances are you can whip up a dish or go to a restaurant that will take you there." says Tara. She often eats out at a restaurant after trying to accomplish a given dish at home. None the less, she enjoys food and what it says about the human experience. Tara is a full-time freelance writer and blogger. She specializes in writing about food, cooking and travel. You can find her in the kitchen, on the plane or at her computer.