Conversations with the invisible food and wine snob
Date: Jun 23rd, 2006 12:20:53 pm - Subscribe
*DISCLAIMER* I am not a food or wine snob!
And I dislike food and wine snobs because they act like they are so superior because of the food they eat. Some of the stuff in a gourmands diet makes me want to retch. Foie gras?? Yukkkkk......fatty duck livers, wow, i can't even believe that I don't LIKE that stuff!!! What is WRONG with me?!?!?! Morel mushrooms.....looks like shriveled brains and grows in the rot of the forest floor. I am not a fan of fungus, although cooked properly and mixed in with other things, I can enjoy mushrooms. I just won't pluck one off a plate and pop it in my mouth like a cheese curd. Pate (i guess i can't make the little accent above the 'e') looks like the cat food that makes my two irrepresible felines howl with delight each night. Tastes similar too! Hey!!! How do I know you didn't just open a can of Fancy Feast??!?! And wine.....well, it's fermented grape juice. It's not anything full of mystique and wonder, worthy of furtive glances and knowing nods, musty cellars and deep religious fawning. I love wine and love to try new wines and learn their individual nuances, flavor and taste profiles, but when it comes down to it, I can't tell you why a $50 bottle is any different than a $10 bottle. I'm sure you'll start in on the vintage of the vine, the terrior, the weather that year and whether or not the winemaker used new or old oak for seasoning and at what temperature the juice was fermented, but frankly I don't care. I like my wine red, dry and flavorful, and if I want to serve it with a fish dish and you don't like it, go home. It's called a contrasting wine match and it's perfectly fine.
Enough of that......food is food is food and it's all about your tastes. Wine is wine is wine, and if I want to drink a bottle of inexpensive Yellowtail Reserve Shiraz, I will. If I make you a dinner of my fabulous vegetable filled turkey burgers with blue cheese mashed potatoes and roasted yam sticks, and you make me a tuna steak with wasabi caviar, braised beet greens and carmelized new potatoes, I am sure we will each enjoy them and be satisfied when it's all over. No matter what we make and eat, no matter that you think your food is fit for a demi-god and mine would be fine in the dog dish, besides ALL of that and wherever your tastes may lie, in the end when it's all said and done, 24 hours later all the food we eat ends up the same place. It's just food, it's only fermented grape juice. A pricier label or name doesn't make it any better.
In my food world, the preparation is the key. A steak can be perfect with nothing but a crackling of sea salt on it and seared perfectly over a flame. Sure blue cheese crumbles are nice, and a cabernet compound butter adds a lot of flavor, but you put those on top of a poorly cooked steak, it's still a poorly cooked steak and nothing will make it taste any different. If you take impeccable field greens, the freshest vine ripe tomato and the crispest of red bell peppers to make a salad, you're going to ruin the flavor if you douse it with a cup of thick salad dressing. It's better if you squeeze some lime juice over it, grind some fresh black pepper on it, drizzle it with good quality olive oil and a dash of white wine vinegar and toss it all together. Now thats FLAVOR!!! A perfectly shaped and cooked hamburger outshines it's frozen pre-formed cousin by a million miles. Freshly grilled fish cooked to perfection with a sprinkle of dill and a quick squirt of lemon juice will simply melt in your mouth. There doesn't have to be all these bells and whistles, fancy names, wondrous techniques or beguiling ingredients. If it's prepared well it should speak for itself. There really isn't any more to it than that. I don't begrudge a foodie their inalienable rights to expound on the merits of their gourmet world, but it doesn't make for a better meal. It's just your own personal tastes. So don't let the food snobs and wine bores make you feel any less of a great cook. If you do it right and like it that way, then more power to you, and while you're at it, pick up a good inexpensive wine to go along with it.
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