How to become the ideal EATER

What does it mean to eat? Should we be simply satisfying and sustaining? Or should we aim for gratification and gluttony? I tried to answer that question in my cookbook Papalosophy and realised I fortunately had a whole lot more learning (eating) to do.

In an interview with BCN Foodie Guide last year I was asked to define the ‘foodie’ (to save you cringing I’m replacing the term with eater).

A real eater wakes up with the goal of enjoying the best 3–10 meals of their life. And they go to bed with a determination that tomorrow they will eat even better.

To be a foodie and to be an ideal eater is one in the same, although in the reality we live, to be a foodie means one must photograph the food, while the action of eating is optional.

To be an ideal eater means saying yes to anything you are fairly sure won’t kill you and always going into a meal with an open mind and partially empty belly.

To eat is to enjoy one of life’s most primal pleasures. It’s an act we area obliged to perform in order to survive and if you are one of those people that savour every bite then life is most definitely a never-ending banquet.

With over 30 years of serious eating under my belt I’m going to put the fork down for a minute and share my top 10 rules for being the ideal eater.

  1. Take your palette somewhere new and exciting every day but…
  2. …don’t be afraid to find an eating routine and enjoy its comfortable predictability.
  3. Never confuse an allergy with a preference, and don’t let the latter control your eating destiny.
  4. If it’s not sold in plastic you can probably eat as much of it as you like.
  5. Whenever possible, eat outside or with a view of the outside, or at least a Netflix series set outside.
  6. If your kitchen contains anything with ‘lite’ in its name, then, quite frankly, there is no hope.
  7. Eating with someone else at the table makes every bite taste that much better but…
  8. …don’t be ashamed of the guilty pleasure that is balancing a plate on your knees while buffering the entire Seinfeld back catalog.
  9. If you find yourself literally soaking your food in soy sauce or ketchup there is a problem with your seasoning, or your soul.
  10. Gluttony should be a stretch goal so leave the all-you-can-eat buffet or the dieted regimen for the hacks and the hopeless — remember that eating is a long-term game.

Last month I was invited by The Traveling Editor to speak on a panel at the New York Travel Fest about what makes the ideal eater. Along with Helen Rosner (Executive Editor at Eater) and Matt Gross (formerly at Bon Appétit), we set about hungrily answering this question before lunchtime rolled around. But the more we argued, the more we realised that being an eater has no sunset clause. It’s a quest for pleasure that is only over the day you lose the strength or will to breathe let alone raise a fork to your lips.

I will never tired of eating, for survival or simply to satisfy my gluttonic tendencies.

Life is a banquet and most poor bastards are starving to death! (Patrick Dennis & Auntie Mame)
Like what you read? Give Papa Serra Jr a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.