Celebrating the soul of the gourmand! A year of Unlimited Grub Grabs!

I am the soul of the gourmand.
Good food fuels my body, and good wine burns my blood.
I have tasted hundreds of dishes
Regardless of cuisine yet mindful of the price.
I seek great-tasting food and drinks.
My heart will only be satisfied by the best.
And so I invite you to my UNLIMITED GRUB GRABS.

I am 食いしん坊 著述家 (kuishinbou chojutsuka), the gluttonous writer… But everyone just calls me “Mark.”

It’s a little hard to believe, but a year has passed for this blog. That equals to a whole year of writing about food, discovering new places, learning about new stuff, trying out other cuisine, and of course, pigging out.

“Unlimited Grub Grabs” is the result of my dream to be a food writer. It’s a late-blooming dream, a bit far-fetched even; but ever since I developed a strong passion for good food (I think they call this “gourmandism”), I figured this was, eventually, the way to go.

I’m fascinated with the works of food experts and enthusiasts like Doreen Fernandez, Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern, and others I’ve seen on various media. Reading about their culinary adventures or watching them on TV makes me want to go out and have my own food trips, which is partly why I came up with this blog.

I’ve always wanted to try various cuisines, find good restaurants and food shops, and probably eat something exotic along the way. It helps that when I go out by myself, with my family or other people, I discover something good to eat or an interesting food place. It also helps that I eat a lot. Writing about what I eat was, I believed, the last and the most logical thing to do.

Unfortunately I don’t get to travel and dine like other food writers, bloggers, or gourmands. Eating out, even if it’s for lunch or dinner, is too hard for me! I wonder how these people manage to post about something new every week or so. It’s as if they have unlimited budgets for this! Also, where do they get tips about food events and dining spots and such? Sure there’s the internet and the lifestyle pages, but sorting out the good leads is a chore, and a time-consuming one at that!

(Actually that’s because I’m living on a very tight budget, and eating out is not in it most of the time. Part of it is that I don’t get to roam around so much too. Turns out being a foodie can get expensive!)

I guess that’s why I go after places that serve good portions while being budget friendly (which is, by part, the point of this blog). I also suppose devoting your time and energy to looking for restaurants and such is something I have to endure and be good at to become a food writer. It’s hard work, but it’s part of the job, so to speak.
At times I get lazy in writing an article or two, but there are moments when I feel like giving up on being a food writer or a gourmand. Sometimes I end up sour-graping over my inability to come up with a blog post like the others (as you would have noticed in previous paragraphs).

It was when I looked back at my old posts and past adventures that I realized I was set to accomplish more beyond pigging out and writing about food.

When I cleaned my blog a few weeks ago, I thought I should edit some of my past articles and add a bit of this and that to make them look more readable or scholarly, to say the least. I thought people don’t pass by my blog anyway, so nobody would notice, right? I changed my mind after going through everything though.
That’s because I realized that the more I wrote about my food adventures, the more I discover something about myself and my interest.

I learned this past year that gourmandism, dining, and food writing has become something beyond a personal quest. Through my little adventures I’m starting to understand the art of dining beyond eating and enjoying a restaurant I’ve visited.

I remember that when I wrote about Matsuri Bayashi, I was just going fanboy over a good Japanese restaurant I discovered. (I was a fan of Japanese cuisine then as I am now.) Then a favorite watering hole of mine closed down. Then I started going out with my family and some people who matter to me. Then I met Freddie Aguilar. And then so many other adventures happened. Before I knew it, I realized I wasn’t into it for the food after all.

Soon I started to discover new restaurants and look at old and popular ones in a different light. I learned to drink into the surroundings and savor the sights and scents of everything I ingest.

But it was not just the food and drink that I learned to appreciate: it was the experience itself that mattered.

I noticed that through the months my writing style somehow changed, from simply writing about the places and food I’ve encountered, to expressing my thoughts about my experiences there. I may not look like it, but in a nutshell I felt that I learned so much from my adventures this past year.

Just recently, I read this interesting article about the difference of eating and dining:

“Eating is the simple, the physical. Eating is practical and necessary. It is feeding the body. Dining, on the other hand, is something more. Dining is spiritual. Dining is sharing. Dining is more than food. It is family, friends. Dining is not feeding the body, it’s growing the soul. It is a relaxed communion of the sensual and the sensuous.”

Somehow, this sums up what I’ve learned this past year: Eating is an action, dining is an experience. Eating fills your belly, dining fills your soul. Eating is savoured by the senses, dining is enjoyed with your heart and soul. Eating and dining are meant to be enjoyed by yourself or with others. Most importantly, eating and dining are two (of perhaps, so many) sides of loving food.

Fifteen episodes, less than 700 blog hits, hundreds of megabytes of pictures and text, thousands of calories (burned and gained), and a year of pigging out later, I have yet to truly understand the dynamics of food writing and gourmandism.

Still, I look forward to another year of discoveries, sampling more cuisines, great pig-out spots, new flavors, and better experiences in the world of good food. I’m still wondering what’s next for me, but yeah.

Once again, I am 食いしん坊 著述家 (kuishinbou chojutsuka), the gluttonous writer… But everyone just calls me “Mark.” And I look forward to having you all join me again for another year of “Unlimited Grub Grabs”.



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