Thursday, May 1, 2008

I Want to be a Food Snob

One of my favorite books of all time

I came across an article in Slate Magazine called "The Agony of the Food Snob," and while what I'm about to say has nothing to do with the real point of the article, it got me thinking: Do I count as a food snob? Not based on author Daniel Gross's definition...
We food snobs buy dried Italian pasta rather than Mueller macaroni, artisanal fizzy lemonade from France, not Hi-C. And then we prattle on about it ad nauseam. Of course, our organic, imported, steel-cut, Meyer-lemon products taste better than their domestic, industrially processed analogues. But they're also important cultural markers. The foods we buy signal to others that we don't just subscribe to Gourmet; we ingest its message of seeking out the finest ingredients. Food snobs know that food isn't simply fuel to get you through the day: It's an expression of taste, refinement, and global consciousness. And thanks to the expansion of trade, the construction of superefficient supply chains, and the Internet, the opportunities for being precious about food have never been greater.
That doesn't sound like me. And so I feel left out. I actually want to be one, probably because I'm thinking, How can I be a true foodie, without being a food snob? And I swear to you, I am a true foodie.

Here's how I see it. I have an appreciation for the finer things on the shelf. Sure, I'd enjoy fancy macaroni over generic. But that doesn't mean I partake and buy the fancy stuff all the time. Sure I like fizzy lemonade. But am I not allowed to like Hi-C, too? Is it one of those either/or situations? Alert the logical fallacy police. With chocolate, I need it every day; I will take what I can get. If I have to eat the grossest kind from Long's Drugs, so be it. If I can get my hands on some Charles Chocolates or Recchiuti Confections, obviously I'll go for that instead. Am I less of a food snob because I'll eat Whitman's?

One time at a restaurant on Santana Row in San Jose, CA, my party ordered all the different chocolate desserts off the menu, and we tasted each other's. I identified for my friends, after taking a nibble, what brand of chocolate was used in each dessert. My friends, in disbelief, called the waiter over, who then took it up with the pastry chef for verification. Sure enough, I was right about every dessert. I know my chocolate. I think that makes me a food snob. Don't you?

All I'm saying is, cut me some slack. Let me be a food snob simply by preferring the better versions of anything. But don't kick me out of the category because I often opt for the more affordable, more readily available, less tasty counterparts. I want to be part of the club!


City Elf said...

you are much better than a food snob. you are a food lover! you don't need to be part of some snobby club. ;)

Dvora Meyers said...

Great post. I enjoy your style as well.

I feel the same way about music. In high school and college, I used to believe that I was a music snob-I took pride in finding and listening to stuff that no one else had heard of and I frequently said stuff like- "Oh I never listen to stuff that's on the radio."

But then I discovered something- some of those mainstream songs are good. They've got melodies and hooks and riffs I can get into. And so what, if they're not innovative. I can still sing along at the top of my lungs with the windows rolled down as I drive down the freeway (or at least I used to when I lived in LA and owned a car).

Go ahead- enjoy your drugstore brand chocolate:)

Tiffany said...

Never go for the food snob aspect, be a Food Appreciator - you may *prefer* the finer foods, but you can *appreciate* the simpler foods as well (much better than being a snob!)


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