A few days ago I posted a link to an article called "Food Slut" and had the pleasure of a response from its author, Ann Bauer. The essay has garnered much attention in the food blogging community and sparked quite a controversy in Salon.com's own letters section with nearly 60 responses so far. I have been amazed by one idea in particular that I fear may gain credence through the force of repetition: that thinking and talking so much about food is to blame for rising obesity rates in America. Being "into food" does not necessarily equate to gluttony. Not all foodies are fat, though many don't look like models either. I grew up in a family built in part around the growing, buying, preparation, and sharing of wonderful food. My siblings and I learned to appreciate a wide variety of tastes from infancy and we remain passionate about food, but it's not the only thing we talk about. (Any passion, pursued to the exclusion of everything else, risks becoming all the negative things of which foodies have been accused in this debate.) As the volume of food discussion and wealth of options in my consciousness have grown, I have become increasingly selective about what is worth eating; at times, overly so. I have become such a snob about provenance and quality that at times I have wandered hungry through unfamiliar grocery stores feeling like there was nothing to eat. This is both the curse and joy of knowing and loving good food: why bother eating just for sustenance when food can (and shoud?) be so much more? People eat for all sorts of reasons at different times, but it seems that food as nothing more than fuel or eating to fill a void is rather different from the eating for pleasure, inspiration, or education that is the basis of good food writing and of our obsession with food blogging. Some people may focus on quantity--from which obesity is probably a relatively easy step--but my own feeling is that "foodies" are more often concerned with quality.