xdcx

Is It Possible To Take Food Too Seriously?

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and I'm not talking about people who's lives revolve around it. anyone who's insane enough to own or work in a restuarant gets mad props, you're better people than I. I'm talking about people who's "hobby" it is eat and who feel personally connected to meals that they did nothing but consume. I guess the larger question is there a line between being a foodie (sweet jebus do I hate that term) and being a food snob?

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I think using terms like foodie or food snob would is a bit polarizing in terms of this issue (because nobody is going to identify themselves as a food snob), but yes, like anything else in life, it's possible to overinvest yourself in food.

On the other hand, just about everything great that's come out of the food world - be it restaurants, cookbooks, criticism, great meals, etc. - has come from people who have put an unreasonable amount of time, effort, and money into the field.

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I think the "hobby" aspect to food is kind of like a prism in that things look different depending on which facet you are looking through. For some people, the satisfaction comes from cooking a good meal and seeing others enjoy it. For others that did nothing but consume the meal, the safisfaction, or lack thereof, comes from the visual, olefactory and gustatorial experience. For many, and probably most food hobbyists, the truth lies somewhere in between the two ends of the spectrum (assuming I have correctly identified the two ends of the spectrum). I would put myself somewhere in the "in between" section. I like to cook it as much as I like to eat it, and I enjoy it when I'm complemented on something I have made myself.

Edited by Jacques Gastreaux

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Well, you have touched upon an issue with several sides. We all have to eat to live. Plus, one of the best parts of social interaction revolves around food (something another website seems to have dismissed--thus dr.com).

You can eat the most fabulous food in the world; but, if you are alone, a large part of the experience is missing.

On the other hand, you can just make yourself a box of Kraft "Macaroni and Cheese" and eat it in front of the TV. Something I would never recommend to anyone. The nice thing about knowing people who care about food and can cook is that you are free to make nice stuff for yourself and are encouraged to do so and then tell us about it.

The snobbism rears it's ugly head when the ego gets involved. Face it, nearly everybody on this site loves something other folk would consider crap, but you look at it as "comfort food." I'm not going to tell you that you're wrong and, most likely, no one else here will, either.

Then, there is the issue of cost. Have I ever had a taste of wine that costs $1,000 a bottle? No, nor do I expect to. Does that mean I will accept "wine in a box" as drinkable? No, not in this lifetime.

I don't think it is possible to be TOO serious about food. After all, your health and well-being are involved. Can you be too precious and critical?? Oh, my, YES.

Have I lifted a glass or a fork with anybody on this site and been made to feel bad about it? NEVER!!!!!!

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and I'm not talking about people who's lives revolve around it. anyone who's insane enough to own or work in a restuarant gets mad props, you're better people than I. I'm talking about people who's "hobby" it is eat and who feel personally connected to meals that they did nothing but consume. I guess the larger question is there a line between being a foodie (sweet jebus do I hate that term) and being a food snob?

What a great question! For me, the short answer is : YES.

The long answer you and the other posters will get tomorrow, because, yes, it is possible to take food too seriously. I will say this to Barbara: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is dynamite if you add: 1 lb. ground pork, browned and seasoned, 1 cup frozen peas and carrots, 1 large chopped Vidalia onion, 1 can Campbell's Cheddar Soup. Trust me!

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and I'm not talking about people who's lives revolve around it. anyone who's insane enough to own or work in a restuarant gets mad props, you're better people than I. I'm talking about people who's "hobby" it is eat and who feel personally connected to meals that they did nothing but consume. I guess the larger question is there a line between being a foodie (sweet jebus do I hate that term) and being a food snob?

As Mark said, YES.

There are indeed more important things in life. For example, Mrs JPW and Peanut (look to your left).

On the whole, I can be a rather dispassionate person, but food and drink are one of things that I get very emotional about. I think that we're all a little snobby about it on these boards. Do I look down on people feeding their kids at McD's? You betcha, but I like a sausage and egg biscuit as much as the next guy.

There's as much perfection in an heirloom tomato bought in season at the farmers' market as there is in Thomas Keller's Oysters and Pearls. Equal amounts of ecstasy to be found in that hidden gem of a divey neighborhood Thai joint as there is at Per Se.

What is a real food snob? To me, it is the person who looks only at the number of stars they eat at or the amount of money they spend on food and drink.

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What is a real food snob? To me, it is the person who looks only at the number of stars they eat at or the amount of money they spend on food and drink.
I'd like to add that, IMHO, it also includes those who judge a food by its ingredients rather than how it tastes. The "it contains foie gras [or any other high-end/hard to acquire/trendy ingredient], it must be good" way of thinking.

Which brings to mind a related question regarding perceptions & taste posed by the Venerable Viscount of Ventworm in a rather fleeting post here (but also posted more permanently elsewhere) about discovering that "a marvelous egg dish, something like a strada" contained Miracle Whip.

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Which brings to mind a related question regarding perceptions & taste posed by the Venerable Viscount of Ventworm in a rather fleeting post here (but also posted more permanently elsewhere) about discovering that "a marvelous egg dish, something like a strada" contained Miracle Whip.

One day an apparition appeared before me, and made the following offer: you can have the best sex you've ever had in your life, IRA sex, the kind of sex where you'd cash in your entire retirement account to experience just one time.

"Cool!"

But there's one hitch…

Nervously, I asked, "what's the hitch?"

It has to be in a dark room.

"Are you kidding? Bring it on!"

Are you sure?

"Am I sure? I'm a guy! Of course I'm sure. Bring it on!

And so I showed up at the appointed hour and location and waited in the dark. I heard a door open, and then shut.

For the next two hours I was in a state of euphoria. Afterwards, I was exhausted, content, uplifted beyond my wildest dreams, and everything seemed right with the world. Then the lights went on.

"nnnnoooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!"

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!"

I awoke with a start and sat up in my bed, panting, drenched with sweat, in a state of disorientation and total panic. It was 2 AM, and I had just had an unspeakable nightmare.

The next day I was shopping at Whole Foods, and I picked up a beautiful-looking watermelon marked "Conventional," and thought about my horrible dream the night before. I immediately put it down and went over to the boxful of more-expensive, slightly lesser-looking watermelons marked "Organic," picked one up and put it in my cart, and continued my shopping.

One day I stayed at a Bed and Breakfast in the rural mountains of Virginia. For breakfast, the hostess served up a marvelous egg dish, something like a strada but not quite the same. She had sat down at the table, we were all enjoying the conversation, and I was commenting on how much I liked this dish. A smile came across her face, a coquettish smile, the kind of smile a child would have when he wants to tell you a secret, but also wants to keep you in suspense. She said, proudly, "it has a secret ingredient that makes it so good." "Well I would love to know what it is," I said, picking up my fork. And just as I put the next bite into my mouth, she chirped: "It's Miracle Whip!" All of a sudden that ethereal, subtle flavor that had so intrigued me became painfully clear, and this dish that I was enjoying so much instantly because as pleasurable as downing a mouthful of castor oil. I then had to sit there and finish the entire breakfast with her in front of me, beaming, and talking about all the things she does and all the inexpensive ingredients she uses to cut corners, and that nobody can ever tell the difference.

I propose that "tastes good" is a necessary but insufficient requirement for greatness. How something tastes is not enough. There must be substantially more behind any great dish than the illusory fallacy of "if it tastes good, it is good." A flawed-but-honest dish is always superior to something cunningly manipulated to "fool the diner" into thinking that it's good. And with that, I invite your comments and disagreements.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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The line for me is when you start expecting everyone else to hold to your standards for taste, ingredients, etc. Do whatever you want in your own life but don't expect from others or judge them for doing differently. This includes knowing how to be a gracious guest (or host) when around those who don't share your inclinations. Taste is a subjective thing. Opinions are not facts.

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The line for me is when you start expecting everyone else to hold to your standards for taste, ingredients, etc.  Do whatever you want in your own life but don't expect from others or judge them for doing differently.  This includes knowing how to be a gracious guest (or host) when around those who don't share your inclinations.  Taste is a subjective thing.  Opinions are not facts.

It's this mindset that sparked this thread. I care far more about whether or not something tastes good to me than I do it's pedigree or whether or not I'm supposed to. I don't get wine. I don't drink alcohol. I never have and I never will. But what kills me is that to some it means that I simply will not be able to enjoy a meal to it's fullest extent, rather than understanding that some things are subjective.

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I wonder if risotto tastes better if you hand carry the special arborrio rice back from Italy. :lol:

Edited by Jacques Gastreaux

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I wonder if risotto tastes better if you hand carry the special arborrio rice back from Italy. :lol:

and now you know what started this....

Edited by xdcx

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My two cents...

I consider myself a food snob, but not an elitist. From the dictionary:

Elitist: someone who aligns themself with the upper classes or those in power

Snob: an offensive air of superiority in matters of knowledge and taste

Well, I'd take the offensive part out of that, but I certainly think that there are foods that are superior to others. But that doesn't mean upper class or expensive -- just higher quality. Sure I could use meat from Safeway to cook, but why when I can get an organic free range chicken from the market? And there are plenty of pricey and downright mediocre restaurants out there (Restaurant Kolumbia immediately comes to mind) that I would pass over gladly to chow down on Sodere's Doro Wat. And I'll fully admit that that is snobby of me. But is that wrong? Maybe the better word would be "picky" -- I'll eat anything, but I certainly prefer quality -- and price does not factor in there.

Oh, and JPW: Sausage biscuits are good, but nothing beets an egg mcmuffin to chase a hangover.

Hypocritical? Probably. But not elitist.

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I cook for a living, I talk about food around my friends and my family all the time, and I cook on my free time.

but I have to say, nothing kills a nice meal, out or in, with people you truly care about, than being over critical or over intellectual about the food.

i save those conversations for days after the meal, or keep them to myself.

Eating is something that incorporates all the senses, but we would be foolish to think it doesnt include expectations, environment, mood etc...maybe this is for another thread....but the people that annoy me the most are the ones that ruin a perfectly good meal with good people by picking apart the food, the wine, the decor, etc..."oh, i'd give this a 22 out of 30, the risotto was a bit dry...." just makes me want to respond, "i'd give my company a 15 out of 30, they're a little judgmental for my taste..."

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I cook for a living, I talk about food around my friends and my family all the time, and I cook on my free time.

but I have to say, nothing kills a nice meal, out or in, with people you truly care about, than being over critical or over intellectual about the food.

i save those conversations for days after the meal, or keep them to myself.

Eating is something that incorporates all the senses, but we would be foolish to think it doesnt include expectations, environment, mood etc...maybe this is for another thread....but the people that annoy me the most are the ones that ruin a perfectly good meal with good people by picking apart the food, the wine, the decor, etc..."oh, i'd give this a 22 out of 30, the risotto was a bit dry...." just makes me want to respond, "i'd give my company a 15 out of 30, they're a little judgmental for my taste..."

Oh, that's GOOOOD! :lol:;):P

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but I have to say, nothing kills a nice meal, out or in, with people you truly care about, than being over critical or over intellectual about the food.

This is why I'm often spotted dining alone, muttering things to myself.

Sneers,

Auntie Social.

P.S. Was once arrested for going down a ski slope simultaneously masturbating and eating a slice of pizza.

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Food can be enjoyed on many levels, from the basic pleasure of a ripe berry exploding in your mouth to the appreciation of the skill of a cook who can take inexpensive, basic ingredients and make them more than the sum of their parts, to gaining an appreciation of high-level, haute cuisine.

But in the end, it is all about good taste. When you can't find enjoyment in the simple or you focus on the analysis over the enjoyment, you've probably crossed that line.

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P.S. Was once arrested for going down a ski slope simultaneously masturbating and eating a slice of pizza.

Must have been some pretty good pizza. :lol:

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I like to use the suggestion box that most establishments have over by the toilets.

Who agrees, though?

Less outstanding food, served by a good soul, in a great room, under appropriate lighting, in a comfy chair, sitting amongst your most favorite people in the world...and drinking a great wine.

That's a great meal still.

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I like to use the suggestion box that most establishments have over by the toilets.

For what? :lol:

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my favorite meal EVER...

fettucinni alfredo.

enjoyed in the company of 6 other people, at 12000' elevation at about 35 degrees in the pitch dark in the sierra nevada. we had just hiked 16 miles with 70 lb. packs from 4:30 am till about 5 or 6 at night over the highest pass in the whole sierra nevada range.

the food was hot, full of fat, and tasted amazing. the company was good, the conversation perfect.

in another setting, another mood, it wouldnt have been the same. but it truly was the best meal of my life.

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A flawed-but-honest dish is always superior to something cunningly manipulated to "fool the diner" into thinking that it's good. And with that, I invite your comments and disagreements.

Cheers,

Rocks.

 

No disagreement here, in fact, perfectly said. Now, if we can expand this topic to "Is it possible to take a restaurant too seriously?" I think I know one restaurant that would definitely fit the bill...

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Sure, it's possible to take anything too seriously. Food is just easy to take 'too' seriously because there are so many aspects to focus on, and levels of eating to judge and compare. Other members of this club include car fanatics and 'audiophiles'.

There is nothing wrong with taking food 'too' seriously. The problem comes with the attitude with which you present it.

Oh, and Mark: Not bad, but I do mine with ground beef, half an onion, caremelized, and some garlic, then mix a little dijon mustard and a few tablespoons of salsa, into the 'sauce'. I use Annie's mac and cheese mix, though. There's nothing wrong with mac and cheese out of a box! :lol:

Edited by shogun

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my favorite meal EVER...

fettucinni alfredo.

enjoyed in the company of 6 other people, at 12000' elevation at about 35 degrees in the pitch dark in the sierra nevada. we had just hiked 16 miles with 70 lb. packs from 4:30 am till about 5 or 6 at night over the highest pass in the whole sierra nevada range.

the food was hot, full of fat, and tasted amazing. the company was good, the conversation perfect.

in another setting, another mood, it wouldnt have been the same. but it truly was the best meal of my life.

 
In my long and checkered wine career, I've had the good fortune to drink Ramonet Montrachet, Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne, Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Eiswein, Trimbach Clos Saint-Hune, Haut-Brion Blanc, Chave Hermitage Vin de Paille, Chateau d'Yquem, Krug Clos du Mesnil...

...but in my lifetime, I'm certain that the greatest white wine I've ever had was a carafe of Cinque Terre Bianco at an outdoor cafe in Spezia, served with a gnocchi al pesto, after a long day of hiking on goat trails by the sea.

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