Sipping an Americano at a Boulder cafe, I watched a 30-something woman swiping right rapidly though potential mates on a dating app. This parade of smiling, filtered faces may be a fine appetizer. However, for the really important stuff about compatibility in relationships, you have to take a deeper dive into the personal menu.
Age, religion, gender identity, occupation and political affiliation matter, but the info about a future lover that may matter the most is how they eat, cook and dine out. Would you kiss someone who loves veal and consumes Twinkies? What’s for dinner may honestly say more about whether love will last.
No doubt sexual attraction matters, but most couples spend a whole lot more time shopping, cooking, eating, drinking and dining than having sex. (If you are the exception, don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids with electrolytes.)
A shorthand list of labels has evolved over time to help reveal a potential mate’s culinary compatibility. Not that long ago it was simple: You were either a “carnivore” or a “vegetarian.” Then other identities complicated the issue, ranging from “natural foods lover” to “vegan,” “gourmet” and “green diner.” Now, climate change beliefs naturally dominate the dinner plate and the bedroom.
According to various news reports, there is a growing roster of new identities being adopted by younger generations, labels like “climavore,” “reducetarian,” “climatarian,” “sustainatarian” and “regenivore.”
Admittedly, these definitions and distinctions are less than precise, but most involve caring about biodiversity loss, agricultural water use, food justice and greenwashing.
Which of the following are you?
Climavore: This is a flexible designation. Some climavores eat pasture-raised poultry or more locally grown produce, organic ingredients and a plant-based diet.
Reducetarian: These eaters are environment-curious but unwilling to make a complete commitment. They try to eat less of the foods with the greatest environmental toll and have concerns about animal welfare, their personal health or climate change.
Climatarian: These diners are more serious. Climatarian food choices are based not on flavor but on how they impact climate change. They avoid beef and blueberries flown in from Chile and foods generally regarded as evil including sugar, slave-grown cacao, cartel-controlled avocados and rainforest-destroying coffee.
Sustainatarian: The environmental toll required to grow and transport foods is the primary concern of the sustainatarian. They eat some meat and dairy, but only when local. The focus is on regenerative farming and ranching practices and sustainably harvested fish and game. They reduce their climate “foodprint” by opting for lower-carbon dining.
Regenivore: These eaters focus on supporting food companies actively healing the planet through carbon-reducing agriculture, animal welfare policies, and fair payment to the people who grow and process the food we eat.
Learning to speak omakase
The Merriam Webster dictionary has added some new food words to our common language that give a glimpse into contemporary eating culture. The newest foodie vocabulary items include “pumpkin spice,” “omakase,” “ras el hanout,” “mojo,” “birria,” “oat milk,” “sessionable,” “banh mi” and “plant-based.” Use these terms in your Instagram posts for extra hipness points.
There are problems with that last vocabulary addition. More than 25 million American consumers say they eat plant-based foods and beverages at least sometimes, according to market-research company NPD Group, but there is no dietary or legal definition of what “plant-based” means, or whether those foods are any better for our health and the environment.
Menu note: According to recent Datassential research, there are a handful of words restaurants can add to a menu item’s description that virtually guarantee increased sales. At the top of the list, according to consumers: “bacon” and “cheese.”
Taste of the Week: Empanada Outpost
Tucked inside the funky shop-lined Old Town Marketplace, Abuelita’s Empanadas (332 Main St., Longmont) is an under-the-radar oasis of authentic hand pies. Born in Durango, Mexico, Mirella Wood handcrafts crusts stuffed with a variety of savory and sweet fillings. The oven-baked roster features chicken tinga, sweet potato, spinach and cheese, ham and cheese, steak and others. I became an instant fan of Mirella’s spicy chile relleno empanada and her sweet pineapple empanada.
Local Food News: A Legend Passes
We bid a fond adieu to legendary Boulder restaurateur Don Monette, who passed away Feb. 14. In 1971, he and his family started turning an old cabin into Flagstaff House Restaurant (1138 Flagstaff Road, Boulder). Back in the 1980s, when I was a young food editor, Don kindly made me much more knowledgeable about food and wine.
Pasta Press, a new Italian eatery, has opened at 1911 11th St., Boulder.
Pizzeria Alberico has opened at 1730 Pearl St., Boulder, replacing Pizzeria Locale.
The Empire Lounge & Restaurant in Louisville (816 Main St.) is closing after almost 20 years in business. The eatery was originally opened by late chef Jim Cohen in the former Colacci’s Restaurant space.
Longmont’s Urban Field Pizza and Market (150 Main St., Suite 202) has expanded to a second location inside the lounge next to the Boulder Theater (2032 14th St.). The square pizzas are now available before and during concerts and for pick-up and delivery in Boulder.
Culinary Calendar: Boulder’s Shark Tank
Naturally Boulder’s 18th annual Pitch Slam, Feb. 23 at the Boulder Jewish Community Center, is a competitive Shark Tank-style event featuring local natural and organic companies. This year’s competition features Hazlo elixirs, Hooch Booch kombucha and Peak State Coffee fortified with functional fungi.
If you have backyard fruit trees, attend the March 4 workshop presented by Community Fruit Rescue and Boulder’s Benevolence Orchard & Gardens to learn how to prune properly and upgrade the amount and the quality of this year’s harvest. Register: bit.ly/tree-pruning-workshop
Nibbles Index: Pricey CO Pies
$21.23 That’s the average price of a large cheese pizza in Colorado, making the state among the priciest in the nation, according to a study from Slice, a pizza-delivery app.
Words to Chew On
“Eating a burrito is like eating a living, breathing organism — you can feel the burrito’s ingredients sigh inside with each bite, each squeeze.” —Gustavo Arellano, author and former Coloradan