Sorry but I loathe the word foodie and chowhound didn't really capture what I was going for in this instance.
I got to thinking about this when replying to the "first food memory" thread. I come from a family who loves food and loves to eat but there are certain food epiphanies that stand out as having changed the way I think about food and cooking and that turned me from just a person who loves food into the certifiable food freak I am today.
Probably the first such instance that stands out is when I was about 9 and my mom took my brother and I to have dinner at her old college roommate's house. It was the 70s and it was the first time I had had real french bread. It was a baguette and it was different in every way from the soft wonder-like bread that I had had up til then and been told was "french bread".
We also had steak that night. There was no ketchup with it. Up til then I had had chuck steak which is why there was always alot of "tenderizing" going on. Also a salad made with red leaf lettuce and some sort of sweet vinaigrette dressing. Not iceberg lettuce, not french dressing (again with the not french french? what was up with that?)
My brother kind of remembers this meal but I've never forgotten it. I think the impression it made on me was that there was a way to cook that was not just getting the most food for the least amount of money on the table but that there were standards at play. I also was beginning to realize that real food was made from scratch and that condiments don't
always improve food.
There were other things, like my grandma's crabapple jelly. It was the most beautiful color
in the jar on the window sill. So food can be pretty too..that started to sink in then. There are more, these are just some of the first ones but I want to hear yours..