While there is a democratic notion that everybody should have access to good food, and that “anybody can be a foodie,” the most highly valued foods and food experiences—the foods that provide maximum distinction—are far from universally available. Non-elites may have knowledge about gourmet foods, and may desire things like cappuccinos, organic produce, and meals at celebrity chef restaurant destinations, yet such knowledge and desires are restricted by economic capital. The American food system is a highly segregated terrains where what you eat depends heavily not just on your income, but where you live. Food deserts, understood as large geographic areas without access to healthy and affordable foods, plague the American foodscape, and typically have a racial and class dimension (Raja et al. 2008). Having access to good food is not simply a matter of convenience or pleasure, but is strongly associated with health outcomes (Gallagher 2008; Cook et al. 2004; Stuff et al. 2007). Food security remains a significant national issue, affecting an estimated 11.9% of households (38 million people) in 2004 (American Dietetic Association 2006: 448). The food banks and pantries that appeared in the 1980s as temporary stopgap measures have no disappeared, but have only expanded and become more deeply institutionalized (Daponte and Bade 2006), while participation in the food stamp program has increased alongside poverty rates (American Dietetic Association 2006: 447).
— Josée Johnston and Shyon Baumann, Foodies: Democracy and Distinction in the Gourmet Foodscape