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Dealing with food snobbery?

OK- my girlfriend and I adore doing the fine dining thing- we love things like foie gras, waygu beef, kobe beef, tartre, etc, but recently we are noticing a lot of people out at our favorite restaurants being what I'd call "food snobs". Really complaining about wet aged vs. dry aged (not just discussing, but complaining when they find out that something is wet aged rather than dry aged) and the such.

Two questions- with the rise in the awareness of food are you encountering more food snobbery?

Second, how do you deal with it when it presents itself at your table?

I'm also curious as to how you define food snobbery.

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  1. I have seen the same thing among friends concerning the preparation of certain beverages. Its like it can be so easy to become almost obsessive about the tiniest details rather than just enjoying things for what they are. I try to just let it roll around me and I certainly try not to deflect it onto a waiter or server unless something is truly amiss.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jimmy Buffet

      To me a food snob eats only "fancy" trendy food. They are not eating for enjoyment. They eat food that someone told them to or they have read about. Next month it will be some other food trend.

      When I run into food snobbery I handle it two ways. If I care about the people, I let them run on. I might put in my two cents about the worth of all types of food. If they are people I really don't give a hoot about, I become very Southern Belle and do some Bless your hearts. And then tell them about the incredible food we have had in some hole in the wall. I do love to shock them with food stories from the "bad" part of town.

    2. i've worked in fine dining a long time and most of my friends are in some facet of the industry. we're all well-schooled in food and wine.

      at work, i've had to deal with the people to whom you refer. usually they're trying to show off for the other people at the table. best thing i can do is humor them and best thing you can do is ignore them. needless whining and complaining ruins everybody else's meal. i'll bet you a nickel in a blind test 95% of those people couldn't tell a wet-aged steak from a dry-aged one.

      if they are acquaintances of yours, i'd skip dining out with them in the future. simple.

      1 Reply
      1. re: hotoynoodle

        I agree--a food snob is a show off for their own gratification. This is not to be confused with food enthusiam--when a person genuinely gets excited about food in spite of it's trendiness. A food snob will also proclaim that theirs is the definative opinion in the matters of taste and preference (which are subjective).

        Beware of jumping to the conclusion that someone is a food snob, though. A guy I knew once ended up with egg on his face when he started making fun of another guy who was explaining the Maillard reaction and why it makes steak taste so good. Later, the first guy started moaning about what a food snob the second guy was. Then I pointed out the second guy was Harold McGee. So who is the real snob?

      2. Agreed, I have seen this too. Here is my thinking: I love food. I love fresh food prepared simply with the best ingredients. I love creative dishes that infuse various flavors and textures. That being said, I believe all food has its place. Sometimes my dinner is a frozen Lean Cuisine pizza and I think that is fine. I get tired of food snobs insisting that a love for the finer tgings means you must shun all others. Nothing wrong with the occasional box of Kraft Mac and Cheese. I agree with hotoynoodle, these folks are just trying to impress people.

        1. I think there's a lot of food snobbery out there, and on these boards. When I dine out, I do so with a positive attitude. I rarely expect to be completely wowed, and am therefore pleasantly surprised when I am. If there's something wrong with my dish, I will say something to the server, and have never been rebuked. But I don't complain and make the other people around me feel uncomfortable.

          I think of it like going to the movies. I went with some friends not too long ago. All of us had read the book. I went to the movie expecting to be entertained. One of my friends apparently went expecting to be wowed. He was disappointed and complained all through our drinks afterwards. I found the movie to be fun and didn't stress.

          14 Replies
          1. re: mojoeater

            That's what I was going to say... how do you deal with food snobbery on Chowhound? To me, it's one in the same- whether you're at my table or on a thread with me! Ignore is the key word, in my opinion.

            1. re: Katie Nell

              Sometimes it's so hard to ignore it when people are snobby on CH! I have been stewing all week about this one super-snobby comment someone made about something I posted, but have managed to have enough self control not to write anything back. Argh!

              1. re: operagirl

                operagirl, I agree. Sometimes it is hard to ignore food snobbery on CH!
                Don't even get me started about the sushi snobs who believe you are an idiot if you even mention that you like sushi rolls.
                What is a food snob? Someone who looks down upon others because of their likes or dislikes. There's nothing wrong with having strong beliefs about food and what you like or don't like, but there's no need to push your beliefs onto others. Each person has a right to their own opinion, whether someone else thinks it is right or wrong. Life is way too short to get stressed out because someone is putting cheese on their seafood pasta, or likes packaged cake mixes, or things with HFCS, or sushi rolls, or (god forbid) a chain restaurant.
                I like what I like, and no one is going to push me around and force me to not eat something that I like. Yep, you're going to see me grate parmesan on my seafood linguine. Then I'm going to eat a California roll. And go to Red Lobster. Because it's what I like.
                Let 'em be snobby, I say. It's only stressing THEM out.

                1. re: QueenB

                  Just remember- what they eat doesn't fill your stomach :)

                  1. re: QueenB

                    My sentiments exactly. Eat and let eat!

                    1. re: QueenB

                      Loved your post. Sometimes it feels very lonely to take a stand against a strong wave of sentiment - in the case of CH, food-related sentiments. And I am so sick of hearing about the evils of HFCS I can't even begin to tell you. And when it seemed like the whole world was "low-carbing", I thought I was going to lose my mind the next time someone tried to talk to me earnestly about how bad carbohydrates are for you - but it was ok to eat pounds of bacon.

                      I guess this isn't really food "snobbery". It's more like food fascism.

                      1. re: QueenB

                        I'm with ya, QueenB. BBQ snobs, coffee snobs, they all make me nuts.

                        1. re: QueenB

                          Hi QueenB - LittleBee here :-)

                          just to say I like your name! ....and I agree.

                          1. re: QueenB

                            So True!!
                            I had a an annoying commenter on one of these forums because I made the mistake of admitting I like a chain restaurant. Honestly, I didn't even know it was a chain, I'd never seen one before. I mentioned I hadn't known but still enjoyed the place and then they kept re-posting that I was wrong and should never go there. But, I like it!

                            We are really into organic foods. We cannot always afford to buy organic so we just do our best. This is not something I say out-loud to food snobs anymore! Wow, people have no idea what it is to not be able to afford a green bell pepper at $9.99 per pound and have no idea why we would buy the conventional one instead. No, really, this happened tonight at our local co-op.

                            Yeah, we do what we like, we do what we can and we try not to judge others for doing things differently. ...I put grated parmesan on my seafood pasta too...

                            1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                              In the end, it is about what one enjoys!

                              Never loose sight of that.

                              Same for wines. If you like X, but the critics judge it down, do not worry. It is about what YOU like, and no one should try to tell you differently.

                              Over my vast lifespan, there have been a few "chains," that did it for me. One was a particular Pizza Hut, in Gulfport, MS, that made the ultimate pies. Now, the owner of that franchise was probably responsible, as I have tried many others, with poor results. Still, and even with Pizzaria Bianco just down the road, their's were the ultimate.

                              Another chain, that caught my palate was El Chico, out of Dallas. There was one location, in Metairie, LA, and their dishes were great Tex-Mex. I have dined at the original, and several others, and never had such good food.

                              One of my favorite steakhouses (not really a "steakhouse guy"), locally, is Capital Grille in Phoenix. I have dined at several of their restaurants, and each has been good, but the Phoenix store has always come through, against the top of the top here.

                              Going way, way back, another chain, Tiffin Inn, a pancake house, in Lafayette, LA was excellent. Their blintzes were wonderful, and they actually used Sherry on them. Other iterations of that chain - uh, not so good.

                              It depends, and in very general terms, I shy from "chains."

                              Do not let anyone "diss" what YOU like.


                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                Thanks, Bill.

                                I replied to that poster but just realized her post was from four years ago!

                                Still, it is nice to be reminded that we shouldn't worry if others don't like what we like.

                                Plus, you reminded me of El Cholo, a chain that I adore...mainly for their flan but also their food. What can I say, I'm from Los Angeles and I love that place.

                                Anyway, thanks.

                                1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                                  Old threads ("zombies") can still prove useful.

                                  Now, if the subject is "Please help me book a restaurant for my bridal shower next week," later replies might not be useful to the OP, but just might be to someone, finding the thread, years later.

                                  Some folk get very hung up, when a zombie arises, but if the discussion still has value, then what is the big deal?


                          2. re: operagirl

                            oh i hear that! The comebacks always sound better in your mind though. I do love this thread. I was feeling kinda down about food/foodies/know-it-alls this week and this thread has shown me that not everyone is like that. Unfortunatly those people are just louder!

                        2. Food snobs are people who tear apart and dismiss food that I enjoy. A connosieur is someone who inspects and declares delicious food that I like :)

                          To me, snob is just another way to refer to a person who know what they like, want what they like, and don't want to settle for less. This appeals to food, music, clothing, whatever. As a result, food snobbery is a relative term, really depending on what circle you travel in at the time. I have friends who are perfectly happy visiting the same inexpensive (but still tasty) places for lunch every week, ordering from a few select items. I have other friends who claim they can't stand to have food from the same country more than twice a week, even if it's as different as sushi is to ramen.

                          I'm seen as relatively snobbish to my less-discerning friends, but not discriminating enough to the second group. I have found I enjoy dining with both groups and in fact couldn't stand the idea of only having one group to eat with. I know who to call when I want to make a taco stand run and who to call when I feel like having wine and cheese.

                          I'm still very new to the chowhound world, having only recently followed my love of food to the realm of foodblogging and the like. I definitely think the net and digital photography have resulted in an increase in food awareness, and to a lesser degree, food snobbery.

                          20 Replies
                          1. re: MeAndroo

                            I don't agree with your definition of snobbery. There's nothing wrong with knowing what you like.

                            IMO, you only become a snob when: a) you see a product or food as a status symbol rather than a pleasure; b) you refuse to try certain things because they're not "chowish" enough; c) you start to look down on people who don't share your tastes.

                            1. re: piccola

                              I think the big one is "Looking down on people who don't share your tastes." There's a reason chain restaurants and prepackages foods are successful - Americans want them and like them. I may not, but how can I say that 90% of the population is stupid? It's their choice.

                              1. re: mojoeater

                                I can say it. I am, however, polite enough not to say it to their faces.

                                I have no problem with discernment and taste, what I do have problems with are people who 1) equate price and "classiness" with goodness, 2) feel the need to loudly show off their taste to others, or 3), and worst of all, feel the need to gripe and complain about everything, be impolite about the choices of others, and not just enjoy the company of friends or family. It's only one meal out of the many you'll eat in your life.

                              2. re: piccola

                                Perhaps I should have made it snob is just another DERROGATORY way to refer to a person who know what they like, want what they like, and don't want to settle for less.

                                I don't think snobbery has to necessarilly be condescending or even convey a sense of superiority in terms of other people. You can say "this food isn't good enough for me" without saying you're better than people who don't agree.

                                1. re: MeAndroo

                                  But if you simply said "this food isn't good enough for me" you wouldn't be a snob. You'd be the rest of us, who can look at something and realize the value it holds for someone else and just not enjoy it. The thing is there has to be a derragatory word for it--there' two sides to every coin. The point here is that a food snob is the derrogatory, not simply a foodie who doesn't like his charcuterie but a sour puss who will look down on you because you did.

                                  1. re: rachaels

                                    Snobbery is a matter of tone, attitude, and language. The moment you say "this food isn't good enough for me" to a dining companion who's enjoying his meal, you ARE saying your taste is superior. Compare to simply saying "I don't like this dish". The first statement condescends and judges not just the food, but those who enjoy it (it's a more polite way of saying "how can you eat this crap??"); the second statement simply expresses an opinion of the food without the extra baggage.

                                  2. re: MeAndroo

                                    There is nothing wrong with having preferences and standards. We all do. However the word ‘snob’ has is in of it’s self a negative one. Snobbery is a form of self-aggrandizing. To try and put a positive spin on it simply doesn’t work. It’s like saying (extreme example) a racist is really not a bad person but merely someone who enjoys the company of others.

                                2. re: MeAndroo

                                  I've noticed that anyone who drives faster than me on the interstate is a maniac and anyone who drives slower is a cretin. Same with food snobbery.

                                  But what about the equally yet more insidious snobby attitude of eating at divy places to get the "true" flavor of various foods: chinese, barbecue and central american spring to mind? This is typically accompanied by derision of people who head to a perhaps more mainstream or accessible location.

                                  1. re: thinks too much

                                    I have a friend who swears by 'authentic' places that invariably are dives. We ate at one where he was raving about the subtle flavors, unusual spices, etc. Meanwhile, I peeked in the kitchen and saw prepackaged jars of sauces and such that were obviously not authentic in any way. The food was OK, but not worth raving about. And I'd prefer a place where I'm not scared of the bathroom (which was right next to the kitchen - even had an adjoining door!).

                                    1. re: mojoeater

                                      LOL! Don't get me wrong. I love the fun of getting great food in cheap, dodgy places, but because it's a dive does not make the food great. And clean bathrooms don't mean that the food is lousy.

                                      1. re: thinks too much

                                        And, conversely, great decor and clean bathrooms don't mean it's a good restaurant. I'm amazed at how many folks still seem to miss this. Some physically beautiful restaurants serve very mediocre and overpriced food, and some are indeed excellent. Some dives are absolutely great, and others serve food that's lousy to downright inedible.

                                        1. re: thinks too much

                                          But a clean bathroom usually means a clean kitchen...
                                          If the workers don't have time enough to keep the bathroom clean, they are not very likely to wash their hands at appropriate times:)

                                          1. re: drmimi

                                            That's not true at all. It's a silly misconception. Think of it this way- you have limited time and limited resources- do you want the dude scrubbing down the toilet or back there making sure his workstation is clean in the middle of a rush so you can get good food?

                                            1. re: jpschust

                                              And is he washing his hands after scrubbing that toilet?
                                              Oh, I just grossed myself out.

                                              I avoid this problem by using restaurant bathrooms (and most other public bathrooms) in only emergency situations.

                                            2. re: drmimi

                                              the restaurant crew should NOT be scrubbing the bathroom, then going back to work in the kitchen--- that's why most restaurants hire outside cleaners to come in to do sweep floors, vacuum, scrub the john, etc. when the restaurant is closed. to a point, the employees should straighten things up, empty overflowing trash, pick up the paper towel on the floor, but scrubbing the toilets should be another person's job.

                                              1. re: soupkitten

                                                I think in most small restaurants, certainly here in NYC, the employees clean everything - bathrooms included. Hiring outside contractors is far too expensive for these sorts of businesses.

                                                1. re: Woodside Al

                                                  well for real small places, it isn't uncommon for the owner or mgr to clean the restroom, but the real "scrubbing" work is still done after hours. cooks generally don't clean restrooms--unless it's the last thing they do before going home.

                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                    Unless some schmuck manages to clog the toilet... then you have no choice but to stop what you're doing and fix it. Man, I HATE that, cause I'm usually the one that's gotta take care of it... even if I'm in the middle of prepping lunch or baking.

                                                    Not to threadjack, but I gotta think people don't use a 1/2 roll of TP at home, so why do it when you're out?

                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                      Usually it's the dishwasher or other worker low on the totem pole. Certainly not the chef.

                                                      1. re: mojoeater

                                                        i was going to say barback, but does not apply to all places. . .

                                      2. To me food snobbery is like any other form of snobbery. It is when the intrinsic value of the object (in this case food) is not of primary importance but is merely a vehicle to allow a person to express her/his superiority or knowledge in a certain area. Interestingly though some snobs aren't that knowledgable. As an example a few years ago I had a friend ask me to suggest a Champagne for her. Wanting to suggest something affordable I mentioned a $16 Cremant D'Alsace that I like. Surprisingly she said that it was too expensive (for champagne?!) I then recalled a $9 sparkling wine that I also liked call Pol Clemente. When told about this one she responded in a challenging tone "now, is this Champagne Method?"

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                          I love this topic. As someone who works in the food business I see this everyday. I'm always amazed by people and what they're willing to say to another human being. You'd be amazed at what people say to my waitstaff. I like chowhound, obviously I'm on it enough, but sometimes I feel these boards and sites like yelp and citysearch are just a way for people to bitch and complain. For people to exaggerate and write something funny. I try to never write a negative review or say something snobby. In Los Angeles, where I live, we definatly have our shobs ( I mean c'mon) but I'd say on the whole most people know how ridiculous the city can be and have a good sense of humor about themselves. I try to be that way when I catch myself being the least bit food snobby. I mean, why? It's just so silly. It's food. It's FUN! If you really know food and know yourself--you'll find something to eat anywhere you go.

                                          I love your definition of snobbery by the way Chinon00. Right on.

                                          1. re: rachaels

                                            I'm loving this thread, especially since I live in a high density food snob area, Sonoma County California. I lived the last 12 years in the Central Valley-- folks out in Sonoma are surprised that we wore shoes when we ate and had utensils. Funny as the Central Valley is incredibly diverse with many different cuisines represented. I came from Chicago (land of big shoulders and many ethnic enclaves) also lived in Manhattan, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Las Vegas NV. I must say that California (especially SF and the North Bay) can get a bit too precious at times.

                                            I came to the North Bay for more "culture". It is a gorgeous place but I am finding more snobbery than I care to deal with. So I seek out the "real people", without pretense, who enjoy life, laughter and food (not always in the same order).

                                            I also get a tad irritated with some "fusion" approaches. I think it is just a way to water down traditional cuisines to make serving sizes smaller and look "chic."

                                            Somedays I just need my Wolf coffee and pork bun from the Donut Den (in Petaluma off of Redwood Highway and No McDowell in the OSH strip mall with some screamin' Vietnamese and Chinese lunch plates) or some old fashioned diner food at Pete's (off Highway 101 at Petaluma Blvd North). I'm not ashamed that I have a 10 year old who has hankerings for fast food at times. There are other times that I just need a mess of mustard greens, chicken and dumplings and pound cake to know the world is okay.

                                            I think Julia Child had the best attitude about cooking and eating. To enjoy food but not be so fussy about it.

                                            Learning to ignore the pseudo analytical rabble.

                                            1. re: drmimi

                                              It is interesting to hear that you find Sonoma to be full of food snobs. I live in Napa Valley and sometimes head over to Sonoma to get out of the way of food (and other) snobs.

                                              1. re: Non Cognomina

                                                Yup, I guess it is all relative:)

                                                Petaluma where I lives tends to be more of a family place. But the downtown is undergoing a major reconstruction with all sorts of little shops, resturants and lofts for the "better people" to live in. Folks on the westside are all hot and bothered about the gall of three big boxes coming to town (target, borders, circuit city). Mind you us east siders have practically all the chains (no body seems to be up in arms on the east side). Funny how such a small place can be so polarized.

                                                Glad that the east side is starting to have more really nice resturants (Brandos, Lily Kai's, Gohan and several mom and pop Asian resturants of an astonishing variety). Keeps me out of "eggscentric" Petaluma.

                                        2. Uh...yeah, food snobs on CH...and in the Bay Area, lots of them and it almost becomes a parody. When I see or encounter a food snob I always figure it's not about the food but the person. Everyone has standards/preferences/opinions but only snobs are willing to be dicks about it, make an issue about it or play it as a hand..and to me that's the difference.

                                          As to what to do, I see three option depending on the degree of snobbery:

                                          1) ignore them
                                          2) make fun of them
                                          3) call them on it

                                          I tend to ignore them but sometimes you can't help yourself and someone needs to step in. No really likes to see anyone mocked or undressed but man, sometimes that's the only to make it stop.

                                          Note on that: I know snobs that know they're snobs and you can make fun of and that's fine because it's more odd behavior, not some control issue.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: ML8000

                                            I usually just ask them if they aren't going to finish it, can I have the rest '-) Seriously though, I normally just say it tastes fine to me and move the conversation elsewhere unless it is an obviously bad meal. They get the hint and let it drop because they know I don't want to hear it.

                                            1. re: ML8000

                                              It's funny that you mention the (San Francisco) Bay Area because I've noticed this for years. What's really annoying is when they come to a different city, do no research and start bashing the new city and then reminisce about how great it was in Frisco. The bay area has its strengths and weaknesses like any city but the denizens appear to have drunk the Kool-Aid and can't seem to refocus when they're elsewhere. it's quite an interesting phenomenon.

                                            2. I find I'm more on the other end, ie. how do I control my own food snobbery. Moving from NY to a small college town has been quite an adjustment in terms of dining out "standards." The only things objectively better in dining establishments here are North Indian food (at one location), fast food fried chicken, and biscuits. Mind you, this town was also named a "foodie" town or something by Food and Wine.
                                              Also, I am Italian-American, to add insult to injury, and NO ONE seems to know what pizza should taste like (never mind how to store/slice prosciutto).
                                              At first my reaction to local places was to compare to what I had in the city, but after awhile you realize that is obnoxious :) I have come to really enjoy our local Malaysian place even though it tasted terribly bland at first.
                                              So my opinion is that food snobs are not bad people at all, they are in a privileged environment and have certain standards. People can come across as very food-snobby just expressing their preferences. And I don't think it's necessary to have tried every type of Hamburger Helper to know that you won't like it.
                                              Now, people that won't try ethnic or american-regional for whatever reason are unknown to me, I don't think that's food-snobbery per se but actually someone that doesn't know enough about food.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: fara

                                                I can identify with moving from one place to another where food is culturally less appreciated or less diverse. It certainly does make one feel like a food snob. But I don't think that's necessarily the case. In my case, I just l like good food, and it's not easy to find here unless I'm prepared to pay a lot more than it would cost elsewhere, and even then... My solution has just been to suck it up and only eat locally. There must be some great regional foods. I try to stick with only them for now.

                                                I identify food snobbery with people who follow trends and make it very well known to others, but don't actually love the food in and of itself (i.e. without the trend).

                                                And fara, I totally agree about people who refuse to try foods outside of their comfort zone. Not food snobbery, but just as annoying. You don't have to like something, just be willing to try it so people don't have to cater specifically to you!

                                                1. re: fara

                                                  I wouldn't call this food snobbery, I'd call it missing the good stuff! I've been there before and there are some nice finds in small places but sometimes it is just plain old annoying when there isn't anything Really Good to eat or the ethnic restaurant makes you wince because it isn't really food from (insert country/culture name here).

                                                  When I left SF Bay, I not only missed having every ethnic food within walking distance, I missed having so many varieties of the same kind of food and, at any hour of the day, too!

                                                  I feel your pain. Maybe you could start or join a cooking group?

                                                2. I have some ‘friends’ who epitomize the food snob concept. But much to our enjoyment they’re a little too cheep to take seriously.

                                                  Few years ago I started eating in a newly opened restaurant. I really liked it. As it was in their neighborhood I told them about it. They didn’t hadn’t been and didn’t want to. Said it was over priced, not worth the money. Had absolutely no interest in ever going there. Then the chef started getting some notoriety and the place became a bit of a scene. Suddenly these friends were regulars who had been going from ‘day one.’ The best part is they only ever ate at the bar never in the restaurant. They ‘knew’ everyone in the place but some how never got a reservation.

                                                  Meals at their house were scant portion wise. They talked a big game but only delivered badly cooked meals. Yet each meal a bottle of truffle oil was produced. With ceremony and showmanship that would rival a Broadway or movie opening would douse every edible surface. This is accompanied by their self-congratulations on their good and luxurious taste. Their lavish ‘all you can eat’ buffet parties are a collection of Cosco items. These parties end with me stopping on the way home to get a burger.

                                                  The only time when I did get annoyed was one holiday season when after discussing what holiday dishes we making for our respective families. We were told that ours were ‘too white trashy’. They would never make such a thing.

                                                  These are the only food snobs I know and have continual source of entertainment.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                    Oh my goodness, hilarious. Thanks for the funny story.

                                                  2. SNOB from www.dictionary.com
                                                    “1. a person who imitates, cultivates, or slavishly admires social superiors and is condescending or overbearing to others.”
                                                    “2. a person who believes himself or herself an expert or connoisseur in a given field and is condescending toward or disdainful of those who hold other opinions or have different tastes regarding this field: a musical snob.”

                                                    It’s unfortunate but I see a lot of this in the tea business, patronizing people who act like they know it all. I can put up with it from someone you really know his stuff and can pass on useful knowledge. Mind you if it’s someone who’s just talking gibberish for the sake of puffing up his feathers, a few well place questions will expose him for what he is.


                                                    1. I think this is a very good question. I do think food snoberry can be found on this board. I think the anti-chain sentiment and the fact that chains are their own category, for example, is part of food snobbery.

                                                      How do I deal with food snoberry? One, it seems to me that most people who are food snobs don't really like to eat food. Rather, they enjoy talking about it, and talking about it only.

                                                      Two, I tend to eat alone or with my family. At least I know we can enjoy some of the same foods.

                                                      Three, I have two friends who I like to eat with. We love eating with each other because we are open to trying new places and tasting things that other people might find disgusting.

                                                      Four, I tend to enjoy eating at places that range in price from $5-$20 per person for a meal. I actually think spending a lot of money on a meal is bordering on immoral. I know most people would disagree with this. I am willing to spend five bucks on a good cup of coffee, but $100 per person on a crappy meal-- no thanks.

                                                      All that said, I do appreciate fresh food, made with real ingredients (.e.g., real fruits and vegetables, real cheese, real butter, real sugar, and so on). I also appreciate a clean and spacious restaurant and friendly service. Finding all of these elements in one place for a low price is a challlenge.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: katkoupai

                                                        I don't think having a separate boards for chains was due to food snobbery on the part of the folks that run CH. I believe the reason Chains have their own boards was because the discussion of chains would be relevant across geographical locales, and therefore not as suited for geography-specific boards. I remember that chains used to be discussed on the General Topics boards in the past (giving them more visibility to hounds in general), until we got a chains board post-CNET, which took the load off the rather heavily trafficked General Topics.

                                                        1. re: katkoupai

                                                          There is always a fair amount of snobbery on any board where personal tastes are discussed. There are a fair number of people who are in the extreme categories - either the hole in the wall or the $100 dinner - who also have very strong opinions. People eat for many reasons (I would love to have enough $$$ to spend $100 on dinner!) and the market reflects that.

                                                          <rant> There is the core category that I find very tough when dealing with food snobs: a clean, pleasant restaurant close to work/school/home, dinner about $20-30 pp, with fresh and interesting meal choices. Or a quick place to grab a bite to eat near the highway on a road trip with clean restrooms. It's either the taco stand in the poor part of town, or the uber-fancy take-out-a-mortgage bistro in the rich part of town. A Chowhound appreciates good food and should respect those that do not agree with his or her own personal tastes. </rant>

                                                          1. re: katkoupai

                                                            You're willing to spend $5 on a cup of coffee but don't want to spend more than $20 per person for a meal? I think it's ridiculous to spend even $3.00 for a cup of coffee on a regular basis (although I do treat myself occasionally).

                                                            1. re: flourgirl

                                                              You make your own coffee, right flourgirl? I ask because a good friend of mine is of the same opinion as you, and insists that I should brew my own coffee at home. I almost bought a coffee grinder this week.

                                                              I haven't bought a cup of coffee since last week, but when I was commuting three hours a day in LA rush-hour, yes that $5 latte ($3-4 plus tip) was an appropriate start to my day, and I would certainly continue with it. :)

                                                              1. re: katkoupai

                                                                Yes, I do brew my own coffee - beans, the french press, the whole ritual. But sometimes I'm running late and I stop at a little local deli and buy coffee - it's great coffee and a large is still only $1.30. I just won't pay $3-$4 for coffee on a daily basis. It's too much money for coffee. I have other things I prefer to spend that kind of money on (like books and baking/cooking equipment.) But I do treat myself to a latte now and then. (Love those lattes. Sigh.)

                                                                But I can truly understand why someone commuting 3 hours a day in LA would need that. I lived in LA for 2 years - and this was about 18 years ago, and the traffic was pretty horrendous then. I can only imagine what it's like now!

                                                                1. re: flourgirl

                                                                  Thanks for understanding, flourgirl. :) Actually, now my commute is more managable (only 1-2 hours a day)-- needless to say, I have stopped buying as much coffee for the road. And since posting, I have actually brewed my own. It still doesn't taste as good as a latte, though.

                                                                  P.S. As an LA native, I can only say, "The traffic is worse than ever." I still love it here, though. :)

                                                                  1. re: katkoupai

                                                                    Nothing tastes as good as a latte! :-)

                                                          2. I have seen both sides of this: more food snobbery, since there's so much more trendy food available in every part of the country and people are aware of it, and also anti-food snobbery by people who say that such-and-such is "just as good." I have an vehement anti-food-snob in my family, so I deal with this all the time.

                                                            I generally just let folks do their little rants and then get on with life's most important task: eating good food.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. My husband used to call me a food snob, now he's decided I'm just picky. I don't agree with either. I just like fresh ingredients that aren't doused in extra goop (technical term for unnecessary fatty components that detract from the flavor!) I'll willingly go to chains, local places, whatever if they deliver fresh food. Thanks to my mother and a childhood of home-grown vegetables, freshly butchered elk, and fresh baked bread I love and savor good food. I can also pretty accurately point out manufactured items. I don't think that makes me a food snob, nor picky. The other stuff simply isn't worth the calories in my mind :D

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: odkaty

                                                                I'm with you. It's all about the quality and the freshness. I too grew up on fresh baked bread and the like. The preponderance of processed foods in so many people's diets amazes me.

                                                              2. I'm surprised that nobody mentioned the insecure food snobs -- you know, the people who feel like they have an urgent need to seem "better" or different than other people -- whether the people feel like they have "high-brow" tastes to the people who feel like they have to be unique and different from the "mainstream" population . In my opinion, most snobbery usually stems from some sort of insecurity, and that's what I seem to encounter when I meet snobs of any kind. (There is a difference, however, between a food snob and somebody who is enthusiastic about food). They are not just comfortable with themselves.

                                                                I used to date a food snob for several years. It was a strange situation with him -- he would get paranoid about spending more than spending $25 on a meal for two, yet have no problem spending several hundred dollars at a "fancy" restaurant. However, he would nitpick the "fancy" restaurant to death, complaining about the dismissive service, how the scallops lack the proper sear, etc. He would then proclaim about how he is a type of person who can appreciate all the "high" things in like like foie gras, wine but still appreciate the peasant-like things like good old rustic bread and simple raw-milk cheese. Believe me -- his whole behavior stemmed from insecurities he had. Basically what I did is just grit my teeth and bear it. Unless somebody personally attacked me, I feel there is no reason to call out food snobs. Ignore it and just give them their space to act out on their insecurities.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                  It's a very important point you make. I've been with folks who do that. The simple answer is this- take them to do dim sum at a place that isn't the cleanest (usually the dumplings at these places are incredible) and see how they fare :)

                                                                  1. re: jpschust

                                                                    Ha! It's funny that you mention that because my ex and I were once walking by a hole-in-the-wall Malaysian restaurant where he said, "I can't believe people have enough respect for themselves to eat in a place like this." But I eventually did manage to drag him in there and told him off about how insensitive his comments were (I do have my limits of what I can take), and it became his favorite Malaysian restaurant in New York.

                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                      i dated someone with a similar attitude, except with him it was ok to spend $80 on very mediocre food every night of the week. he was always annoyed that i would go out of my way to get lunch from a place i liked. he was however the quintessential food snob who had to try all of the "TONY 100" restaurants in NY. He really thought a restaurant could not be good unless it made it to the Time Out 100. Which is absolutely contrary to everything "chowhound" stands for.

                                                                    2. I think sometimes the line between food snobbery and likes/dislikes get blurred. Just because someone does not like something or will not go to a resto, does not make them a snob. It's the next step that turns the tide. For example, I will not eat in many major chains unless i am absolutely forced to. Why? I just do not like them. But, put a double cheese whopper, no onions in front of me and listen to the giant sucking sound. Likewise with White Castle. But Jfood's car is a magent with similar polarity to the Red Lobster, Carraba, etc. of the world. But I do NOT look down on people who like these places. If they like them, it satisfies their food cravings, go and enjoy. I do not understand how people like this stuff, but for the record, Jfood does not understand the people who rave and rave about wines. Just don;t get it, but if you want to buy and enjoy, I feel the same way, go buy and enjoy. No biggie in my book.

                                                                      But I think that many people have heightened sensitivities on this site (and the hair on my back has gone up a few times, truth be told) about things. But posting a disagreement is not necessarily a "snob" comment, leaving what you believe is a reasonable tip is not necessarily "cheap", saying something to the waiter is not necessarily "rude" and I think these three words are the most error-proned words on chowhound. It's just part of the equation. The devil's in the details.

                                                                      People laugh all the time at my like of cool whip, yet trust the Jfood scale on restos in FFD county CT. It's who I am. If I only ate the chic-chic foods i'd be boring. So I take my lumps for the cool whip, enjoy my 10-pack of white castle, then order some great foie gras and a beutifully prepared fish.

                                                                      That's Jfood, that's the menu and if people want to be snobby about it, that's cool, i am very comfortable in my own eating skin.

                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                        Disagreeing with someone else about a chain resto or something they like to eat is not "snobbery". Everyone has their own opinion about food.
                                                                        It's the way that some folks come across when they post. The "I can't believe you'd want to eat that." or when someone asks what is good at a chain they are going to (whether forced or not) and the reply is "nothing, save your money", those are very unhelpful comments that get thrown around and show nothing but derision for the original poster. Same with comments such as "I hate people who put pineapple on pizza." There are just nicer ways of saying things without putting someone's tastes down.
                                                                        This is the food snobbery I'm talking about here on CH.

                                                                        1. re: QueenB

                                                                          Amen, Queen B!!! It's not snobbery, it's plain rude!

                                                                          I'd hate to live my life unable to enjoy a meal in a restaurant simply because there are others like it in the same city, state, town, or country. And I get sick of being flamed for recommending a place where I enjoyed good meals and good service; simply because it's not trendy or the it place to be.

                                                                          1. re: jessicheese

                                                                            I think in some ways I could be considered a "reverse food snob." I generally don't go to the trendy places (especially when they're new), mainly because they seem to attract the folks who just want to be seen there. I also agree with katkoupai that paying the proverbial arm and leg for a meal--"arm and leg" amount varying according to one's financial position and/or principles--is rather absurd. But that's just my opinion. Some people need to pay a lot to feel that they've had a great meal. Too bad for them; I'll continue to seek out the lesser-known, every-bit-as-good-if-not-better places.

                                                                          2. re: QueenB


                                                                            Did I say those things or did you hit the reply link at the end of the thread and i was the lucky winner? :-))

                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                              Um, I'm blushing. You were the lucky recipient of my laziness. As far as I'm concerned, you've always been a gentleman with your likes/dislikes.

                                                                            2. re: QueenB

                                                                              hahaha i love this thread!!!! this has been on my mind since i've started posting here recently! i got called out on for a posting that i liked a place that apparently wasn't popular with other chowhounds... so since it was one of my first posts, i was a bit discouraged from posting.... but then someone told me to just post without paying attention to other people... i think it's perfectly acceptable to disagree and it's expected, but i'm a firm believer of tact. there's a way to disagree without being passive aggressive towards the poster... haha i don't understand... the other thing i don't understand are the phrases that you mentioned. i agree with you! i mean, nobody is forcing a person to eat at the places they people post... and ultimately where a person decides to eat is precisely their own decision! i would hope that people who are volunteering to take the time to post on this board would also take the time to weigh out their choices and come up with a decision that fits their own individuality...

                                                                              with that said, i enjoy 5 star gourmet dining, chain restaurants (i like cheesecake, kfc hahah), and even mcdonalds!!!! =) hahahaha i don't like to completely rule a place out unless i personally have a bad experience... =)

                                                                              i'm glad other people thought this way too.. i was beginning to think that since i was a new poster that my opinions weren't "real" chowhound opinions... =)

                                                                              happy eating! =)

                                                                              1. re: kinipela

                                                                                Glad you're here!!!! You are among friends!
                                                                                Christopher Kimball of CI calls Michel Richard the best chef in America and his favorite fried chicken is KFC. So there!

                                                                            3. re: jfood

                                                                              Agree with jfood...My family is constantly calling me a "food snob", just because when I go out to a restaurant for a particular type of food, I try to find a place that does that particular type of food the best...Sorry, but I don't like Red Lobster for seafood...These things do not make me a food snob, it's just that if I am going to eat, I prefer eating something that I consider high quality...Often these places are not expensive, they just have better food...If I am going to order a cake, I am not going to get it at Tom Thumb, because it just is not as good....A food snob, I agree, is one that puts everyone down for what they enjoy, NOT someone who looks for what they consider to be the best food made with the best quality ingredients....

                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                Didn't realize you were from Fairfield area... will need to connect next time I'm out visiting family.

                                                                                There are two things I get snobby about: pizza (grew up Colony and Wooster St.) and coffee - of which there is virtually none of any quality in Fairfield County (although I've heard a rumor that Tango Cafe in Stamford now serves Intelligentsia). I can bore anyone to tears on the subject of coffee...

                                                                                But you just reminded me that I have a $50 Cheesecake Factory gift card that I need to unload on somebody who's willing to go there.

                                                                                1. re: Panini Guy


                                                                                  Ebay the CF coupon.

                                                                                  then go to sally's for a bacon pizza, pepes for a clam and colony for some hot oil. you will definitely win with that trade.

                                                                              2. Oh, there are so many forms of food snobbery, you can get through the worst examples by focusing on categorizing the behavior. It will distract you from your irritation until the episode has passed.

                                                                                1) The Four-Star Snob (Or Classical Form)
                                                                                No meal which costs less than $50 is worthwhile. They like to drop the names of fabulous places they've eaten. They have no idea where to get decent pizza. And don't get started with the wine.

                                                                                2) The Exotic Food Snob
                                                                                More commonly male than female, the exotic food snob will be sure to mention frequently how good the street food is in Thailand or Malaysian, but will snub mac and cheese, classical French cuisine or a good roast. The fewer Americans who have tasted a particular cuisine, the more status it holds. Scorns home-cooked food. Closely related to, and overlapping with the

                                                                                3) Spicy Food Snob
                                                                                Exotic is better, but chili and barbecue are okay, too, as long as the food is HOT!HOT!HOT! Heat is directly related to "authenticity," so the spicier the food, the more authentic (even if the dish is traditionally not that spicy), and people who have a problem with heat are to be scorned.
                                                                                And speaking of authenticity...

                                                                                4) The Authentic Food Snob
                                                                                No substitutions accepted! The authentic food snob doesn't care what s/he eats, as long as it represents in the purest form a dish once eaten by a peasant somewhere. If the authentic food snob cooks as well as eats, will worship Paula Wolfert.

                                                                                5) The Reverse Food Snob
                                                                                Believes that anyone who prefers "fancy" food is just putting on airs and needs to be put in place. Gets pissed off by unfamiliar foods.

                                                                                6) The Fresh And Local Snob
                                                                                "I only eat food grown within 100 miles of home, except for spices and olive oil." "Oh, I do only 50 miles and I've given up olive oil - I only cook in local lard now." "I only eat food grown within one mile of my front yard. I've lost eighty-five pounds."

                                                                                7) The Healthy Food Snob
                                                                                "No meat, and you know what, I don't even miss it. No rich sauces for me - I really like things light. Only fruit for dessert. Maybe a single square of dark chocolate once a week or so, but generally, I don't have much taste for sugar any more. No, not fat either. You know, once you break your addiction to unhealthy food, you just don't want that stuff any more. You should try it."

                                                                                8) The Trendy Food Snob
                                                                                Genuinely thinks that someone's knowledge or interest in food can be gauged by their level of devotion to the NYTimes food section. Often cooks as well as eats; if so, owns very expensive kitchenware.

                                                                                Food serves as such a potent symbol; it's no wonder people get their food and their identities confused, particularly people who really love food. I've probably been guilty of several of the above at various points.

                                                                                35 Replies
                                                                                1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                  This is genius! Totally sums up all the sub-categories of this species! #5 is the one that gets on my nerves, closely followed by #2. I think I fall into category #3, with a soupcon of #1.

                                                                                  1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                    Your numbers 2 and 7 really resonate with me. I overheard once someone at King Fung's Chinese restaurant in Boston tell the proprieter there loudly "when we're in China we eat the entire head" (not sure which animal he was talking about). Also, I have a friend who has stated that even if tofu were twice the calories of say butter, cream, pork, red meat, pasta, French Cuisine, etc, she'd still eat it and just have to control herself around it, it taste's so good to her.

                                                                                    1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                      Haha..that wouldn't be so funny if it wasn't true. I was going to write something about the classic and trendy snob (1 & 8) and the contrarian or "stunt" snob (2,3,4 & 5).

                                                                                      Any way, I have no problem with anyone who likes these places, foods or has a preference (who doesn't) but I do have a little trouble if people use them for symbols as you mention, i.e., I've traveled there, my chef friend from France would never do that, I can eat a whole can of chiles and laugh at you. Even with these you can communicate these without being a butthead.

                                                                                      To me it's not the food or preference - it's the attitude and how it's presented. As someone already mentioned, sometimes it's really just being rude. In fact I don't even mind a little minor snobbishness as long as it's not an ordeal. I do however really dislike snobbishness if they don't know what they're talking about.

                                                                                        1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                          Excellent post. It was so great I turned the TV to mute and read to Mrs Jfood. We both got quite a hoot. TY so much.

                                                                                          1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                            Great post. I think this shows that food snobbery might be summed up as a feeling of moral superiority, in whatever context.

                                                                                            1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                              Hurrah! What a well-epressed point of view, that I tried and failed miserably to express only a portion thereof earlier. I think it was Jeremy Iggers (Garden of Eating) that our experience of eating is a balance of the experience of eating (smell, taste, sight, texture) and the mental image of what we are eating. (An example of the latter is thinking of the picture and title on the lean cuisine box, when we know that it looks and tastes nothing like what we will be eating. Sechwuan chicken anyone?) Is the main argument here that we are objecting to food snobbery in any form when we think people are focusing on the image, while we feel that they do not notice the reality of the food?

                                                                                              1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                                cb, your classificatory scheme is so richly funny that I want to plead guilty to all of them just so I could tell others about myself in your words! Unfortunately, some of the categories are mutually exclusive! Hilarious.

                                                                                                1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                                  Classic! Especially #7 (not me! though you got me on some others...)

                                                                                                  1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                                    You forgot another:

                                                                                                    The Reverse Healthy Food Snob
                                                                                                    Healthy food (or anything made lighter/vegan/gluten-free/etc) can't possibly taste good. Adds butter, cream or oil to every dish, and only orders the richest dessert - no sorbet for this one. Known to poke fun at "sissies" for eating salad or skipping the bread. Also makes the Rachel Ray "mmmmmm" face/sound at least once per meal.

                                                                                                    1. re: piccola

                                                                                                      I probably missed that one because it hits too close to home!!! I love, love, love butter and cream. My grandparents used light cream on their cereal, and I would still do that if I wouldn't weigh four hundred pounds as a result. I really do have a hard time accepting that people PREFER skim milk to whole milk, or tofu to a good steak. However, I am well aware that they do, they really do, and I keep my confusion to myself, so I don't think I'm guilty of true snobbery here. And I love salad. (And I've never even seen Rachel Ray, so I can't be accused of making her faces.)

                                                                                                      1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                                        Y'know, it's funny, but having lived in East Asia I really don't think of tofu as a substitute for anything. And I never use it as such. It's a fine foodstuff all on its own, if you get the well-made stuff. The problem with a lot of tofu made and consumed in the U.S. is that it's just plain awful -- tastelss, grainy, unpredictable in consistency, and generally ill-made. But really nice freshly-made tofu is fine. My local Korean store makes their own and, said as a dedicated meat-eater, I love it. Not as much as really good steak perhaps, but then it's really a whole different thing.

                                                                                                        On the other hand, skim milk is just plain nasty... If it's not at least 2% then I may as well drink water. It'll certainly taste better.

                                                                                                        1. re: Woodside Al

                                                                                                          On Good Eats recently Alton Brown did refer to skim milk as "white water".

                                                                                                          1. re: HDinCentralME

                                                                                                            I love these categories too, and know people who fall into one or more of these categories. That said, here are my two cents.

                                                                                                            I think the food snobbery thing is relative. I know I have immediate family members who consider me a food snob because when I come to visit, I'd rather cook for the family or try out a local place, even if it might turn out not be good, than go to a predictable chain. And even though I do cook for my extended family when I go home, I get exasperated by my mother, who used to be a scratch cook, who now insists on serving frozen meatballs from Sam's warmed up in Prego for meatball heroes when I would gladly make homemade. I really don't say anything though to make anyone feel bad. To me that would truly be snobby.

                                                                                                            I think being a 'hound is about seeking the best in category and seeking what you find to be delicious. If Chili's floats your boat, more power to you. It doesn't do it for me, but that's just me. And I wouldn't call myself a "foodie," which some people have defined as someone who merely follows trends as a sort of food-fashion statement. But I would call myself a foodie, which I would describe as someone who wants to find the best hot dog in town (my favorite is at a hole in the wall where they fry up your all-beef dog, toast your bun, and offer a range of fresh toppings for it for two to three dollars), the best char-grilled burger, the best steak, the best so-called ethnic food, as well as the best high-end. Not all things should be drizzled with truffle oil; in fact, not many things should be. Popularity and trendiness don't correlate with my idea of deliciousness. And I love to cook and be imaginative about cooking; more often than not, you can find me on the home cooking board, so it's not all about eating out to me. So some people might think I'm a snob, but I don't impose my opinions on others if I know they're not welcome.

                                                                                                            1. re: HDinCentralME

                                                                                                              My mother/grandmother called skim milk "blue john": a term of contempt for milk dairymen had skimmed too much of the cream from. (I never saw homogenized milk until I was in my teens.) Milk was delivered in bottles with a top layer of cream the buyer could either pour off or shake up into the milk (some good small Maine dairies still sell it this way), and "good" milk was judged by the thickness of that cream layer.

                                                                                                              This is maybe the best thread I've seen yet on CH. I'm in awe of curiousbaker for that elegant list. The politicized "Food Police" (Food Nazis, I call them) Vexorg mentions are thick on the ground up here in Maine and apparently live to make food--one of life's greatest pleasures--a source of constant guilt & anxiety. (What REALLY makes you want to do them GBH is that sooner or later their diktats are almost invariably proven wrong.)

                                                                                                              Though he doesn't get into food, this "Politicize every facet of life"/"Deride anything the average man loves" mentality is brilliantly dissected in Tom Wolfe's "From Bauhaus to Our House". Tiny book, best thing he's ever written, IMO.

                                                                                                              1. re: PhoebeB

                                                                                                                Late to the game, but my dad also called skim milk "bluejohn." When he was growing up on a farm where store-bought food was a luxury, it was not considered fit for human consumption. They skimmed the cream for butter, mixed the bluejohn with other slop, and fed it to the hogs.

                                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                  i would have to agree that non-fat milk is not fit for human consumption.

                                                                                                                  1. re: fara

                                                                                                                    lol, tell that to Starbucks. I think there would be riots at their Southern California locations if they didn't have NF milk!

                                                                                                                    1. re: fara

                                                                                                                      and yet loads of people (myself included) like it. go figure.

                                                                                                            2. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                                              Well, we all agreed that the key part of snobbery is disdain for others' choices, which you clearly don't feel or express. So I don't think you're guilty.

                                                                                                              (And as one of those people who prefers skim/soy milk, I felt your Health Snob had some familiar traits...)

                                                                                                          2. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                                            Another category I could put in here:

                                                                                                            The Food Police: Obsessed with what other people eat, and denounces anyone who doesn't follow whatever narrow set of guidelines they deem appropriate. Often this is based more on some political agenda than any preference of the individual. Examples of this category include PETA and the CSPI.

                                                                                                            1. re: Vexorg

                                                                                                              Oh, lordie. That's the one that drives me up the wall. The other, I'll just roll my eyes and then ignore, but the food police... I once had a friend of a friend start mooing at me when I ordered a beef dish. I'd just met the guy and he was lecturing me on "the poor cow" who died for my meal. Never have I wanted to pour my drink in someone's lap that much.

                                                                                                            2. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                                              Brillig! Well done, curiousbaker. I actually know food snobs in all of the categories you've listed. Any of these in caricature would make an amusing character in a book, play or tv show.

                                                                                                              1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                                                oh lordie, brilliant!!!! and so true. just genius!

                                                                                                                I confess to a bit of #4&5, not the unfamiliar food bits, but the I do love peasant food and am more and more, turning to the under $20 a person meal for food-joy. Maybe I am a burnt out #1 eeks.

                                                                                                                1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                                                  Brilliant!! I can't stand food snobs. I believe that if you like something, then it's good for you. I actually don't mind if there is food that I don't like that others like, then at least they are enjoying themselves. I won't go out of my way to tell other what I don't like about a dish unless they ask or unless there is consensus that a dish is bad, then I may dissect the reasons why it's bad. But if they are enjoying it, more power to them (and maybe I'm the one missing out).

                                                                                                                  When I go out with my wife, I get more upset if there is food I like that she doesn't like. Then I feel like she's missing out on something tasty. The only pet peeve of mine is if someone will say they don't like something without even trying it (unless they are allergic, then it's understandable). I was at a company meeting last week where they brought in catered Thai food. They had a duck dish that was outstanding and I noticed many people didn't try it. They guy next to me asked me what it was and I said duck and he decided to pass once he realized it was duck. Man, they were missing out. Does this attitude make a snob?

                                                                                                                  So back to the list above, I may be a bit of a #3. I have been known to good natured poke fun at some of my friend who can't take the heat :)

                                                                                                                  1. re: rcheng

                                                                                                                    "When I go out with my wife, I get more upset if there is food I like that she doesn't like. Then I feel like she's missing out on something tasty."
                                                                                                                    Yes, but what's tasty to YOU isn't to her - so why would you get upset? I detest liver with every fiber of my being...perhaps it's because my father massacred it the one time he chose to cook it in the house, but more likely because I can't stand the smell. Yet there are many Hounds who love offal. I don't feel like I'm "missing out on something tasty" - because it's *not* tasty to me.

                                                                                                                    I do agree, however, on your pet peeve of people who won't try something and automatically say they don't like it. That was a rule of my parents' - we had to at least try it. (Hence having to eat the massacred liver & onions! LOL)

                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      Amen LW. The Jfoods have very distinct tastes. Jfood loves rabbit, Mrs Jfood can't stand it. Reverse with Salmon. I need to whisper my rabbit order into the server's ear when i want it so as not to upset her. Then I get the quick little look from her when the server places it in front of me. Then we smile at each other (that all knowing smile we all know about) and we move onto eating. It's dining poetry in motion.

                                                                                                                      BTW - she does not miss the rabbit and i do not miss the salmon. It's a wonderful world.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                        LOL! And if either you or the Mrs. would let me, I'd sample BOTH of your rabbit and salmon dinners, as I enjoy both. :-)

                                                                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                        Upset is probably too strong a word and so is disappointed. It's more like I wish she were enjoying this because IMO it's very tasty.

                                                                                                                        The wife and I share our food at restaurants, but I know there is stuff that she just doesn't like which I enjoy. This is a bit disappointing in that we either won't order it (which means I miss out) or we'll get it, but she won't like it. But in the overall picture, it's not a huge deal, it always works out ... except for runny eggs. She can't stand the sight of runny yolks and it will make get gag. This sucks for me since I love eggs over easy and there are several dishes that I love which involve a raw egg yolk on top of the dish. Needless to say these are not ordered when she is around.

                                                                                                                        1. re: rcheng

                                                                                                                          OK, got it. And I feel for you on not being able to enjoy runny eggs in her presence. Runny yolks (NOT whites, thank you!) are absolute heaven for me. :-)

                                                                                                                          1. re: rcheng

                                                                                                                            I can't stand runny eggs either, but my husband likes them. He orders them, and I order mine scrambled and keep my mouth shut. And I do occasionally make him a runny fried or poached egg at home.

                                                                                                                            There are other places I have to draw the line, though. I don't do liver, and don't want to be in the house when it's cooking. But we try to have fun with that: this past spring I had to be out of town on our anniversary (family funeral; Mike couldn't get off work). Before I left I bought a thing of liver, put it in a gift bag, and left it in the refrigerator with instructions for him that it was for his anniversary dinner.

                                                                                                                      3. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                                                        Amazing post and i think many if not all of us are guilty of said snobbery. I mean the very fact that we disect food, and analyze it puts us in a category of our own. But that being said, i think there's some credence in maintaining a degree of snobery. For instance, my family is Jamaican and there is a traditional way of cooking certain dishes one of them being Rice and Peas. Now you can veer from the authentic way of cooking Rice and Peas but i guarantee you its not going to taste nearly as good if you stuck to the tried and true method.

                                                                                                                        But i think this is what food criticism should boil down to: does it taste good? who cares if the rice was organic, if the peas were parboiled or canned or if it was an actual jamaican cooking the dish. as long as it tastes good, thats all that i care about.

                                                                                                                        1. re: goodcookiedrift

                                                                                                                          When my children attended elementary school in East Harlem (NYC), we always looked forward to the pot-luck dinners at special events (chorus nights, etc.). Many of their classmates were Puerto Rican, and there would be at least a dozen types of arroz con pollo and another dozen offerings of rice & beans and several variations on our favorite, pernil (oh, and rice & peas - usually pigeon peas). They were all different and they were all "authentic". Go figure. :-)

                                                                                                                        2. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                                                          I'm way late to this party but your post is just so OMG cogent and screamingly funny that I felt I had to sign the guest book for posterity :-))

                                                                                                                          1. re: curiousbaker

                                                                                                                            I was going to post for the first time but you said it all.

                                                                                                                          2. Oh oh...I think people could be talking about me here. I've come across as snobby...and not just with food! But it's more of a communication style than attitude. As a young, petite woman way back when, I had to communicate in a certain way (talking often & loud about what I know) to be taken credibly. I've softened up in my middle age (mostly physically), so I'm not perceived as snobby anymore (speaking softly and asking lots of questions help).

                                                                                                                            Also, when I share my $0.02 about eating in Paris or Tokyo, I think it turns people off. Why do I mention it? B/c it was such a unique and memorable experience. It's these distinct experiences that have shaped my preferences and palate.

                                                                                                                            I don't try to be different, but I don't fall into the mainstream either. I think people who think that I TRY to be unique for attention or lack of confidence couldn't be further from the truth. There might be people like that; but at the same token, there are those for whom being different comes without trying.

                                                                                                                            I don't mean to defend those who might actually be snobby; but know that there are some of us who just come across that way.

                                                                                                                            How do I deal w/it when snobbery happens in my presence? I usually ask questions and dig deeper. You never know what tastey tidbit you might uncover....

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                                                              I love your attitude. I don't think the world is divided between those who adore chain restaurants and those who are snobs. There's a lot of folk who are in between. I happen to like it when people voice their well-informed opinions forthrightly, without condescension, but without shame, either. There's nothing wrong with knowing what you're talking about, and with having had a real education in something, having really challenged oneself to stretch beyond prior experiences.

                                                                                                                              And I never assume that someone doesn't have something to teach me until they prove otherwise. I always say: what a person likes and dislikes usually says more about themselves than it does about the things they like or dislike.

                                                                                                                              1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                                                                Whoops, I'm also way late to this post, but I also loved the "types of snobs" post. Liking food in every one of those categories must just make me a pig not a snob. I try not to look down at others who have different tastes in food, and I agree that tastes are relative & snobbery hinges on not making others feel inferior for not sharing your food attitudes.

                                                                                                                                But re OCAnn's attitude & experience, I think about this sometimes. I don't know that I've ever been considered a food snob, but I wonder if my enthusiasm for wanting to try a restuarant that may be trendy, or the lengths I may go to eat at a certain place under time constraints, when it's the food that I really want to eat, gets taken as snobbery by others. I also talk a lot with friends about food or meals I've had when traveling abroad - I do it to reminisce about great food (and memories) - not to be snobby but to share a true love of food. This excitement comes across a lot stronger than, say, a daily meal when I can enjoy something simple, local, or even from a chain or a box.

                                                                                                                                I think I read an article in the paper about food being a status thing in NY - a competition to have the "right" cheese from the "right" region (same with wine), or being appalled that someone dared to serve pita from a bag and not make their own sausage. Annoying. Not my friends.

                                                                                                                                1. re: bbc

                                                                                                                                  >"......appalled that someone dared to serve pita from a bag and not make their own sausage."<

                                                                                                                                  I guess it's the closest thing they have to a life.

                                                                                                                              2. My housemate is a very special kind of food snob -- her snobbery extends not only to the quality of the cookware, but the correct way to use each thing, and she's constantly berating my technique, be it for scrambling eggs, sharpening a knife, chopping onions . . . I hate cooking when she's around because of the way she smirks about everything I do! And mind you I'm very comfortable in the kitchen the rest of the time, and my friends all love the dinners I make for them.

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                  Why don't you tell her how great her cooking is and could she whip you up the meals going forward. Then grab a good book, an ottoman and a comfy chair and sit back and relax. :-))

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                    The irony of this situation is, more often than not, she can be found inhaling a box of Pasta Roni on the couch. Am I a snob for mentioning that?

                                                                                                                                    I'll stick to my own ineptly prepared farmers' market dinners, lol.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: operagirl

                                                                                                                                    Oooof. Tell her to shut her trap, or do it herself.

                                                                                                                                  3. mushrooms do however each have it's own level of earthiness to them...
                                                                                                                                    They are a love 'em or hate 'em type of food...
                                                                                                                                    They are a fungus, which grows in the dirt, and no matter the best washing in the best kitchens, they will retain a good amount of soil particles, rendering them even more earthy...remove the fins, and you get a 'cleaner taste', but still with distinct 'earthiness'...

                                                                                                                                    Take Truffles for instance, they are a love 'em or leave 'em food...
                                                                                                                                    I used to dislike truffles, for many reasons, now, i enjoy them frequently, and sometimes make myself a simple pasta with just butter, and shaved truffles... This very dish would make some people quite revolted...great for me, cause i get more truffles for next time!!!
                                                                                                                                    Go to Tokyo, Japan, and eat in the fish market...you will be quite humbled when you see what their regular diet is there, and they will look at you with a strange glimmer in their eyes as you try to wolf down the simmered hearts, livers, brains, eyes of the local catch of the day... Different Strokes for Different Folkes...

                                                                                                                                    1. I want to add that unfortunately money is a big issue when it comes to American tastes. It is hard to even pass as a "food snob" if you are struggling. And many Americans are. I have to wonder if fresh bakeries, Whole Foods and restaurants using organic ingredients would be more prevalent if more Americans could afford them.
                                                                                                                                      Secondly, I concur with some people on this board who do not like the moniker of "food snob" just because they do not like commercialized, processed food. I was driving on I95 with a friend last year and had to stop in many Waffle Houses and Denny type places. He will eat anything if it's edible and thus enjoyed grits, sausage, insipid looking waffles and the like. He seemed irritated that it took forever for me to find something I wanted (or rather settled) on eating. (I was on this trip because I love to travel and have a blast with my friend- I was not going for the food!) I have no problem eating red meat, burgers and fries on occasion- but after days of similar greasy food it becomes overkill. Also, one night the "salad" from Waffle House arrived with a few iceburg lettuce leaves and a tiny package of Russian dressing (with artificial color and corn syrup listed as ingredients) I believe I was in the right to not be satisfied with the meal- I did not complain but I didn't feel I had to fake satiation- and thus he called me picky. :}

                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                                                                        Um. I would never order a salad at a Waffle House. There's no telling how old that lettuce is.

                                                                                                                                        I think the overwhelming opinion on this topic is not that snobs are people who don't like commercialized. processed food. It seems that most people are saying it's the attitude that some people put forth when voicing their preference. Kudos to you for traveling with your chain-food-loving friend. A 'food snob' might have derided him for his tastes and made the trip a nightmare.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                                                                          " I have to wonder if fresh bakeries, Whole Foods and restaurants using organic ingredients would be more prevalent if more Americans could afford them."

                                                                                                                                          1) Americans have lost the art of cooking legumes, beans, cheaper vegetables, etc. and therefore cannot eat very well.
                                                                                                                                          2) In Europe food is more expensive, but people make it a bigger part of their household budget. There is not excuse for eating badly in this country IF you are within a reasonable distance to a store with fresh fruits and vegetables.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: fara

                                                                                                                                            oh come now--first "americans have lost the art of cooking legumes, etc." -- never learned to cook them?
                                                                                                                                            and then you say "no excuse for eating badly in this country"? you just illustrated the "excuse"-- people don't know how to cook many/most foods eaten in the rest of the world!

                                                                                                                                            lots of s.a.d. eaters eat what they do because it is how they were raised. then they focused their efforts on whatever: their kids, their job, neurobiology, civil rights, making sure the doilies are arranged just so on the unused dining room table-- and they left cooking lentils and thinking about it too much to US. although what people choose to eat is linked to individual factors such as background, education, "enlightenment", what have you, eating habits don't necessarily correlate. people aren't better or worse people because of what they eat. no matter how "well" an individual eats someone can always outdo them on their lifestyle. one of the most brilliant minds i know pretty much subsists on pourable eggs from a carton. sure there are problems with how americans eat-- it's why we have to be careful how we feed others-- but this whole thread is all about each of us being aware of our own hangups, soapboxes, & high horses.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                                                                            Dude, I hate to sound like a jack***, but "organic" isn't synonymous with "better". I hate that moniker. You can now buy Organic frozen dinners. They don't taste good. They aren't healthy. Yet people buy them, because they say "made with organic* ingredients". I would prefer homemade with conventional ingredients any day. And second, Whole Foods is a sham. They don't care one bit about the food. Its money. I make a modest amount a year (about 60,000) and wouldn't dream of shopping there. Wayyyyy too expensive. Farmer's Market near us is MUCH cheaper.

                                                                                                                                          3. Ahem...EVERYONE is a critic...and everyone is an expert with regard to what they like...it is when some people gain a little bit of information about food, usually the foods that have a very high cost associated with them, that they become the foremost expert...and not suprisingly even surpassing the claimed knowledge of the Chef...or creator of the very dish they are eating!!!

                                                                                                                                            Strangely, when some of these "Expert Critics" are confronted with some of their mistakes, it only drives them into a further vortex of unhappiness, of which they take out on another waiter, chef, or manager in a great restaurant.
                                                                                                                                            My experiences have shown me that usually the more one comes to know about food, and the intricacies that go with it's unique "way", then people seem to become humbled, and quiet down with the realization that while they might be even an expert, in the vast world of Global Cooking today, no one is an expert... Take even the best chef alive today...Bocuse, Bolud, Vongerichten, Trotter, Puck, Splichal, Richard, Verge, Keller, Waters, Matsuhisa, Serge, Piero, Nadia, on and on, each of them would admit that they did not know everything... Well, let's hope so anyway, because they all are the Celebrated Chefs of Today, and they are no way better than lets say the 4th generation chef for the restaurant in downtown Delhi, India...
                                                                                                                                            So if these guys are humble and pure, how then can someone who just eats the food become the expert and surpass the people making the foods??? Nuts...

                                                                                                                                            1. I think there are some great arguements here, and everyone seems to agree that there are Food Snobs everywhere....

                                                                                                                                              I would argue however, that Food Snobbery is not solely associated with things that are expensive, and costly...like Caviar, Truffles, "popular fish", 14 day wet aged and 21 day dry aged beef...(you would be amazed at how obsessive celebrity chefs are with their demands on beef suppliers with the "exactness" of thier needed aging)...

                                                                                                                                              Food snobbery is found in each class of society, found in each neighborhood, found in each ethnicity.... I have been in great lengthy beer filled discussions with people regarding who has the best BBQ, and who is the best at grilling....
                                                                                                                                              Similarly, i overhear pot luck parties, where each "clique" renders thier thought on the next's dish they have brought...

                                                                                                                                              People need to relax a little, slow down, enjoy what they know they like, and if they become somewhat adventursome, go for it...if they don't like it, well, don't order it again!!!
                                                                                                                                              Travel the Globe, there are so many wonderful foods, ingredients, methods and techniques out there that different cultures have adapted to it's amazing...my biggest dissappointment is that i will only get to experience just a fraction of what there is in my lifetime....Se la Vie...

                                                                                                                                              1. For me though to say that we all have different tastes in too simplistic. I think that we all have different levels of curiosity which then affects our “tastes”. As I see it, there are basically 3 types of eaters, each differing in degree of curiosity:

                                                                                                                                                1) Axiomatic eater (curiosity: level 0) – For a variety of reasons this person can only enjoy a limited number of foods and eats them all of the time. And if he/she is in a situation where one of the foods that he/she likes isn’t available he/she will either:
                                                                                                                                                a. Not eat
                                                                                                                                                b. Or will eat but will clearly not enjoy what he/she is eating

                                                                                                                                                2) Slightly curious eater (curiosity: level 1) – This person peeps over your cubicle wall to see what you as a “Chow” is eating for lunch. However, this person never say things like “yuck, what’s that?!” or “how can you eat that?!” (This is the exclusive domain of the axiomatic eater). This person is genuinely fascinated by what you may be eating and may even ask for a taste. But if they don’t like it the first time that they try it, they will most likely never give it or any version of it another try in the future.
                                                                                                                                                So where they are willing to try new things they don’t want to spend their own money on it and aren’t curious enough to try something a second (or third time). Through this dynamic though, they’ve grown to appreciate more foods than the axiomatic eater (but not too many more).

                                                                                                                                                3) Curious eater (curiosity: level ∞) It is their goal to try and understand or to appreciate food on its own terms. These people tend to become your food critics, sommeliers and connoisseurs in general. They are not just interested in food and wines “that they like”, but simply in “food and wine” [and what makes each one special or significant (or not)].

                                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                  One flaw with your types. You say that things like "yuck" and "how can you eat that" are exclusive domain of the axiomatic eater (curiosity 0), and yet, I hear people here, who clearly have a curiosity about food, say that all the time about certain things (usually chain resto food). They may be very curious about many foods, but refuse to accept the fact that there could be the possibility of something tasty at a chain place.
                                                                                                                                                  Other than that, I think you've pegged some things well.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: QueenB

                                                                                                                                                    You know, I was thinking this at first, but I realized that by making these generic, you can apply "Axiomatic eater" also to the people who automatically say "yuck" about chain restaurants, etc. It's just a different axiom. And in "Slightly curious" the chain-averse might actually peep over your cube wall at the food and be surprised that it came from a chain, and might taste it if someone else bought it. Sure, that works.

                                                                                                                                                    I also think if you're going to describe "Curious eater" as the people who become food critics, sommeliers and connoisseurs, then you have to have a level in between 2 & 3. The "Slightly curious" description is far too restrictive, perhaps even snobbish ;-) for some who are at a higher level than that but have not become food critics and such except perhaps in their own amateur ways. Something needs to encompass the people who do try things on their own dime and second or third times and appreciate much more than the axiomatic eater while falling short of the infinite curiosity. I mean, could a vegetarian truly be in the third category as it is defined? Could someone who eschews all chains be in the third category?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: CrazyOne

                                                                                                                                                      I'm convinced that one can find good food anywhere so yes in a way the person who will not go to a chain is axiomatic but more so because of how they think that they will be perceived or how they will perceive themselves if they go to a chain. So it's more of an ego driven thing. But being driven by ego should surely expose one to more foods than what a purely axiomatic eater would be exposed to.
                                                                                                                                                      And yes as soon as I posted I realized that there was a gap between 2 and 3 that needs to be recognized.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                        I see what you are saying about some people's axiomatic reactions to chains, and this principle may well apply to them, but I'd just like to point out that my aversion to food at chains is not axiomatic at all (it's not a reaction based on the fact that because X is a chain, I therefore won't like X's food). The reason I prefer not to eat at chains is based on induction, not deduction. It is based on the fact that on all other past visits to chains, I have found the food to be not delicious. While sometimes the food wasn't bad, I try to seek food that is really, really good, not merely edible. When someone experiences the same undesirable outcome time and time again, eventually she will probably try something else. And I don't mean this to criticize anyone else who really likes the food at his or her favorite chain, like I said above, whatever floats your boat. And the next time I eat at a chain for whatever reason, I will certainly not whine and make dining companions miserable. That would be rude.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: CrazyOne

                                                                                                                                                        And one further point about the axiomatic eater. He is one that I believe was never required to get out of his food comfort zone as a child. He is the one that I see at lunch break who everyday gets a hot dog and a chocolate milk. This is how you end up if life (i.e. family, friends, circumstances) doesn't challenge you or if you are not curious about food.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                          My own experience doesn't match up to this notion. I had very little exposure to interesting food as a child, a result of an unadventurous home cook of a mother who had a limited budget to feed a large family, and few resources to cook interesting meals had she been of the inclination (supermarkets weren't what they are now). For a while, I was a pretty timid eater.

                                                                                                                                                          I think these reduced circumstances made me more ravenous and obsessed with trying new things once I got out on my own and moved to a city where I was finally exposed to a variety of cuisines and cooking styles. This only snowballed as my exposure to other foods widened through college and business travel. I think never being forced out of a narrow comfort zone as a child made me the opposite of an axiomatic eater as an adult.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                            I'd just conclude that you are naturally curious and that you would have developed tastes under any conditions. It was your destiny.
                                                                                                                                                            I have a buddy who’s from Italy. We were eating dinner at a restaurant and I asked him what he had gotten. He told me and then precisely described the location of the cut of meat using his body as a guide.
                                                                                                                                                            He cooks and enjoys food but I wouldn’t really call him a “foodie” though. He simply was raised in a home/culture where food is important and he therefore is naturally aware of food more so than your typical American would be. His wife though, (an American) I would describe as a “foodie” and they pair up well when it comes to dining. .

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                              I am a twin. We grew up in a house where Mom cooked the same thing each week night - I remember my least favorite week night was when we had scrambled eggs with some type of meat diced into it, that was on Wednesdays. My Mom wasn't one to try anything new. I remember being about the age of 10 or 11 and being at a family friends house. The mother was making ratatouille. I had never seen or smelled or eaten anything like it at my home. It truly was my epiphany. Now everytime I make ratatouille I am immediately taken back to that time. I think it was that particular event that gave me the desire to try new cuisines. I love cooking different foods and luckily I married a guy who'll try anything I cook. My sister on the other hand doesn't make it or eat it if it isn't beef . She, and my brother absolutely won't try anything new - and have no interest to. I think they're missing a lot, but they're happy and that's all that matters.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Since my earlier "mushroom" post was excised by the CT nannies, I would like to clarify my position about food snobbery. I was born in Japan and ate sushi at age six. I grew up in Bangkok and ate bah mee nam off the street and had dinner at Le Normandie by age twelve. I lived in Manhattan for twenty years and enjoyed everything from falafels to Bouley. I now live in New Hampshire, which isn't so bad, and work with people who live an hour away from Boston, but have never been there. They refuse to eat mushrooms or asparagus, and put their jarred spaghetti sauce through a strainer because they don't like chunks. We have a monthly company luncheon, and everybody hated the Thai food, but loved the crock pot kielbasa and beans. They think I'm weird because I eat dinner at 9 pm. Am I a food snob? I don't think so, but clearly everybody else does.

                                                                                                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: whs

                                                                                                                                                        Nice point, well made. Think I read the 'mushroom' post did seem so bad.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: whs

                                                                                                                                                          The mushroom post was harsh because you seemed categorically dismissive of anyone who dislikes mushrooms.

                                                                                                                                                          There seems to be a general consensus here that two things (among others) make people food snobs. One is being dismissive or condescending to others about their preferences. The other is being somewhat too interested in trying to impress others with one's own food preferences.

                                                                                                                                                          You said you wanted to clarify your position about food snobbery, but aside from your opinion that you're not a food snob, you haven't really done that. Given what you've written, I would actually be interested to know what you would consider food-snobbish.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: whs

                                                                                                                                                            I'm with Kagey on what you consider being a food snob and why others might consider you one. The post gives a nice itinerary of you food-life and it merely states your heritage versus your acceptance of how others eat. Then it appears you look down on your fellow workers that (a) did not like Thai food and (b) ate kielbasi and beans. Then you are sensitive to them thinking you weird because you eat at 9PM. Sorry but the post truly gives the impression that I am accepting of all foods because you have eaten a wide breadth of food, but you lost it with the kielbasi statement.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                              I have nothing against kielbasa and beans--in fact, I own a crock pot! OK, I confess, I'm a food snob--when I make beans in the crock pot, I call them "cassoulet".

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: whs

                                                                                                                                                                And I have a friend whom I love dearly who refuses to call her crock pot a crock pot. (she calls it a "slow cooker.")

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                You've had a very fortunate life but you've made some broad assumptions. The people you shared sushi with when you were small might have turned up their noses at the bah mee nam and been unwilling to try things at Le Normandie because they weren't a bit more adventurous than your colleagues in NH. You might also love the beans and kielbasa were it served from a copper pot in Alsace with a French name. Sometimes it's all about context.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                  Actually, when I was a kid in Bangkok, we craved the hamburgers and milkshakes that you could only get at the snack bar at the American Embassy. I guess it's also about the allure of the unavailable.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: whs

                                                                                                                                                                    Again, we still have to be careful assuming that everyone would want what we want if only they knew what we know.
                                                                                                                                                                    I still remember the effort keeping my mouth shut as the foreign service families we knew in Latin America used frozen juice concentrates from the US, bought at the commissary, when we had terrific fresh fruit juice every day, different with the seasons. I didn't have to drink the boring crap except when I was invited to their houses. Then I was polite.
                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe it provided some consistency in their lives since they moved every two years and that was more important to them than being adventurous in food choices. Food doesn't mean the same thing to all of us.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                      I remember my mother buying imported apples, while the mango trees in our garden were bent over with fruit. Her biggest coup was hiring a cook who had worked for the German ambassador and knew how to make sauerbraten.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: whs

                                                                                                                                                                        OK. That's the point. Imported apples. Out of place. Maybe the sauerbraten was too - except as a "taste of home" to the German Ambassador or his way of occasionally flying the flag at a representational event that all diplomats are required to do sometimes, like on a National Day.
                                                                                                                                                                        The mangos were right at home in the climate and with the other local food.
                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe in New Hampshire on a cold snowy day, your colleagues' beans and kielbasa were as "at home" as those mangos had been, and your Thai food was pretty out of place.
                                                                                                                                                                        On a hot summer day, you might try again bringing it to a lunch as something that you had when you were a kid living in Bangkok. They might look at it in a totally different way.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: whs

                                                                                                                                                                  I guess I'm in your boat, but on the flip side, I can see what the others are saying. Your experiences have given you the opportunity to try many things, so when others aren't as open-minded or lack that experience, you're a bit incredulous. Others perceive that as being intolerant of those who have narrow or limited palates/experiences.

                                                                                                                                                                  Does that make for a snob? Hmmm...I guess in this case, surprise (of something different to what you know) is perceived as intolerance and therefore a snob.

                                                                                                                                                                3. I think it's fine to complain about food when you know what your talking about. I get a kick out of the people that complain and claim to be a Chef because they watch Emeril or that they've "been in the business" although it's been 20 years and it was a local diner. Let the pros do their job. If you don't like what they do then go somewhere else! You know...this is why there is a Burger King and a McDonalds. It doesn't mean that one of them is wrong, it means that people have different taste.

                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Just Me

                                                                                                                                                                    Strange people are strange people. Maybe next week they'll be complaining about something else that has come into vogue. Its like putting up with Yankee fans. We tolerate them because at least they're into baseball. Perhaps we can employ that philosophy of tolerance with the food snobs.

                                                                                                                                                                    If that doesn't work then just throw crusty dinner rolls at them. Its funny to read the post by WHS about Bouley in New York. You want to talk about a food snob perhaps they should meet David Bouley. I worked for that man for a year and was I swear I could have used therapy for years afterwards.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chef poncho

                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, the rep on David Bouley was that the French accent was an affectation and he was actually from someplace upstate, or even worse, Canada!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. I absolutely love that 8 (or so) Types of Food Snob post. I'm afraid I've been more than one of those at different times of my life -- all of them, in fact, except maybe Healthy-Food Guy. But I like to think I'm now in recovery.

                                                                                                                                                                    Food snobs are funny, and mostly easy to puncture, I think, but like snobs of any stripe, they're better just avoided.

                                                                                                                                                                    What I worry about myself is not being perceived as a food snob any more, but as a Food Bore, someone whose obsession with enjoying good food of all types (high and low, from all over, out and at home) limits their conversational interest. I have lots of other interests, and many of my friends don't share my good-food jones. I'm working at not being Never Talks About Anything But Food Guy.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. I generally ignore 'food snobbery' when it occurs around me but not at my table. At my table, however, is a different story. Then, I'll listen politely for a bit, then simply say, "Enough of the pretentious crap...shut up and eat!" Of course, I pretty much only share my table with really good friends, and we're constantly yanking each others' chains, so it is always taken in the good-hearted spirit in which it was intended. And yes, I've had it said to me, too!

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                                                                                                                                                                      1. Any comic strip fans out there - today's "Frazz" strip, by Jeff Mallett is a commentary on food snobs. Pretty funny. It's basically a discussion of whether or not "raviola" served in a school cafeteria can even be *called* raviola. The last frame says "We're in Bryson Elementary Cafeteria, not Italy. Don't be a snob."

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I am really late chiming in, but one form of food snobbery that I often experience is a variation on the 'trendy eater' scenario wherein the midtown/dowtown areas of many cities are considered the culinary epicenters and the burbs are culinary wastelands. I get steamed when I read on my region's board that my neighborhood has ALL chains or read/hear dispariging comments regarding the prefences of suburbanites. My friends do this to an extent; however, I can pretty much set them straight by inviting them to dinner at a favorite local mom-pop run hangout. On my region's board I also make suggestions for tourists staying in my area. Fortunately, there are other people who put in their two cents on whats good in the outlying areas so I know I am not alone. I truly feel that living well is the best revenge. If you disparage my neighborhood then you are the one who is missing out, not me.

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                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                                                                                                                            The suburban v. urban dining experience is just one factor on Ye Olde Food Snobbery Arguement. I raise the same argument with these snobs all the tine - real estate on Michigan Ave is not the "local, neighborhood" experiece. You have to go wear people LIVE to experience the food - and if it's the burbs, so be it.

                                                                                                                                                                            Even the funky neighborhoods of CHicago are getting VERY $$, and less of an opportunity for small cafes/restaurants to stay open or ever open at all.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. This thread is just so good. As a former small restaurant owner/operator I have encountered just about every type of food snob described here. Most times it truly was amusing. Sometimes irritating. Occasionally offensive. My usual response was to grin and bear it. However in couple of instances that devolved into insulting my wife (the cook), I removed the dishes from the offenders table, tore the ticket up, and stated that "since we obviously can not satisfy you, please feel free to leave and not return."

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                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hannaone

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for your input on this thread- it's always good to get an insiders view on this. One of the reasons I started this thread is just for the reasons you state. I firmly believe this to be the most important thread on Chowhound at the moment.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jpschust

                                                                                                                                                                                this thread is great, can't resist putting my two cents in!! I find myself agreeing with all the opinions on this board.......even the conflicting ones!

                                                                                                                                                                                my problem is my father. his idea of cooking me dinner as a child was mixing two varieties of chef boyardee together.
                                                                                                                                                                                .......but thanks to Emeril, he is now a combination of the spicy food snob(to the point that his cooking is not edible), the reverse healthy food snob (mass quantities of butter, pork fat, salt and cream) and the fresh and local snob (he berated me for feeding my kids hot dogs the other day and said he only gets sausage from the local butcher). i appreciate his intentions, but it drives me nuts!!

                                                                                                                                                                                btw.........could there be room for a bbq snob? you know what kind of person i'm talking about right?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jessi20

                                                                                                                                                                                  re: BBQ snob...not only do I know the kind of person you're talking about, I AM the person you're talking about! I can get positively insufferable about real bbq!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jessi20

                                                                                                                                                                                    **you know when there's nobody around you, but you're blushing anyway???***
                                                                                                                                                                                    q snob guilty as charged.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jessi20

                                                                                                                                                                                      Plenty of room for barbecue snobs. However, just pointing out that grilling, parboiling, or baking ribs, shoulder, brisket, etc. (ie, not slow smoking) does not make the meat magicall become barbecue is the God's honest truth, not snobbery.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: jpschust

                                                                                                                                                                                      I've been lurking on this site for a while now. I really enjoy seeing the comments, ideas, and opinions of people who love food. Threads like this bring back some good and bad experiences as an owner/operator.
                                                                                                                                                                                      I think my favorite food snob was the "I know everything" type. My restaurant was what most people classify as "mom & pop" or "hole in the wall" (mildly offensive term) Korean. We served traditional Korean home style meals, complete with a large variety of banchan and namul side dishes.
                                                                                                                                                                                      The "I know everything" individual would attempt to "educate" his/her fellow diners on the different dishes, correctly identifying maybe one or two of the banchan dishes, and completely missing the mark on the six or seven others. I would politely correct the person by saying something along the lines of "this house variety is xxxx". At the end of the meal this same "type" would often leave his/her chopsticks standing up in the rice bowl. This is a huge no-no in many Asian cultures as it signifies either a recent death or a wish for harm.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hannaone

                                                                                                                                                                                        This is funny, hannaone. I love the part about the know-it-all incorrectly identifying the panchan (banchan). I love Korean food, and the only things I know are: kimchi, japchae, panchan, bulgogi, sangyeopsal, boricha. And I might have those wrong too. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: katkoupai

                                                                                                                                                                                          The side dish that was most often mistaken was a lightly sweetened stir fried fishcake called odang. We served the flattened cake (light brown strips about 1/4 inch by 1 inch) instead of the round one, and most people thought it was a form of tofu. I often got calls from other Asian restaurants in the area asking what kind of "tofu" we were using because customers were never satisfied with their "tofu".

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hannaone

                                                                                                                                                                                            I think I know what you are talking about. I have had it before, but I never knew what it was either. In general, I like most of the panchan offered, wherever I have had Korean food. It's interesting that most people thought the stirfried fishcake was tofu. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I confess that during trash day I always place the more celebrated empty wine bottles on top of the recycle bin (while keeping the 1.5 liter bottles of Citra hidden at the bottom).

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                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                                                                                      And the New Yorkers on top of US Weekly? Heehee...

                                                                                                                                                                                      I dont' know if this has been mentioned upthread (this one is getting bloated), but another annoying subspecies is the sushi snob who turns up his/her nose at sea urchin in the box and will only eat them live, out of the shell.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I think snobbery is based on one's attitude. I don't eat beef for purely political reasons which are very important to me. If you ask me what they are, I will tell you. However, I would never tell someone else they shouldn't eat beef. Because I don't foist my opinion on others, I should not be considered a snob-we all get to make our own choices.

                                                                                                                                                                                      There have been times I have almost given up on Chowhound because of the snobbery I've see posted. I feel I'm not enough of a foodie to be here or some people are just so obnoxious in expressing their opinions. Fortunately, others have jumped in and proven that this is not a "food snob" board.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Everyone has a right to their opinions. Everyone has a right to their choices. We all need to learn to express those opinions without implying someone else is "less-than". As Kagey said, "Eat and Let Eat!"

                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NewSushiFiend

                                                                                                                                                                                        Is wanting to eat at unique and individual establishments or at least local chains rather than national or regional chains considered snobbery? I look at it as I want to try something new or different that I won't be able to get unless I'm specifically right back where I am as opposed to anywhere in the country.

                                                                                                                                                                                        This doesn't mean if someone asks me to go to say olive garden that I'll refuse to go, sometimes I'll ask if they like another local restaurant that is similar to see what they say otherwise I'll just go along with it, but is this being a snob?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pneubecker

                                                                                                                                                                                          Expressing a preference or an opinion is not snobbery. Saying something like, "Olive Garden? Why would you eat there?" or "I refuse to eat at a pseudo-italian restaurant" would be impolite (at best for the first senario) and snobbish (the second one). I see no reason one can't say, "I'd rather not go to Olive Garden. I've never had a good experience there." That way, you are owning the opinion completely and not putting down someone for their choice. I've been in this situation. We both thought is was funny that one loved the resto and the other only had bad food or service there.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pneubecker

                                                                                                                                                                                            No. But what is snobbery is the attitude of "Oh, please, Applebees? How low life of you". Sure, the food may suck. But isn't having that attitude towards chains just as bad as loving a chain?

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I used to wait tables in what was, at the time, Baltimore's only four star restaurant. When someone ordered a dry martini the bartender put no vermouth in. Didn't whisper "vermouth" at the glass, didn't wave the bottle at it -- just no vermouth. We still had peope return it
                                                                                                                                                                                          as not dry enough!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I will try anything once. Olive Garden, Applebees, that Chinese chain whose name is escaping me at the moment. I don't have to go back if I find it subpar. Last summer I was recovering from some surgery and a few friends wanted to get me out of the house for lunch. One asked where I would like to go. Chipotle had recently opened in our town and I suggested it. I e-mailed my response back to her. She shares an account with her husband. Seems like he got a big laugh out of my suggestion. He told his wife "i can't believe Candy wants to go to a chain!" The carnitas taco was really really good. Perfection. I could also have gone to my neighborhood place and ordered carnitas but i was curious and am glad I was. I now know when the pickings are slim that Chipotle can be a good choice. Food Snob? I don't think so. Yes I will admit to having some high standards and sometimes we make mistakes and hopefully learn from them. This town being a University town is loaded with the chains trying to get the student $$. Luckily we have some excellent independent restuaurants to choose from. There is one I would put in the world class division and 1 new one just opened that is most excellent and we are very luck to have a top chef from NYC move back here to help care for an ailing parent and is opening a new place we are looking forward to. Given my choice I am going to opt for the local independent restaurant whether it is a little hole ini the wall Asian or Mexican place or one of our top flight places. i guess I am rambling a bit. I guess it just comes down to life is to short to eat mediocre food.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jpschust

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah that is it. Never again. There too many really good places to go to, though I will admit that the worst Chinese we have ever encountered was in Nashville in a mom and pop hole in the wall. I probably would have wishd for a PF Changs at that time. Tired, hungry and traveling and it was late.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                                                                  But PF Chang's isn't Chinese! It's thoroughly American. and it's awful in comparison to "real" Chinese or other Asian. As Americanized Asian fare, it's still only "eh" but...not as bad as bad Chinese! And you've not lived until you've had trully dreadful Vietnamese...and yes, there are actually places with real Vietnamese people in the kitchen who cannot cook!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Alice Letseat

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I never said it was. And I'll probably never darken their doors again. Wasn't my choice to begin with. If I'd had my way there was a terrific noodle shop a few minutes drive away. I am sure that all cuisines have truly have "real people" in the kitchen who cannot cook and don't care either. Doesn't mstter what they are preparing

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. In LA, we also have the curious phenomenon of vehement anti-elitism, which is a sort of elitism itself.

                                                                                                                                                                                              In the end, I view a snob as someone who is trying to pass their judgment as being superior to yours. And so, being informed doesn't make you a snob. Being obsessive or attentive to detail doesn't make you a snob.

                                                                                                                                                                                              But being condescending toward someone whom you think is less informed or less detail-oriented is what makes you a snob.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Hypothetical question.

                                                                                                                                                                                                If I decide to go to a world-class restaurant, famous for their tasting menu, then I decide to limit the chef because I'm a picky eater, am I a food snob?

                                                                                                                                                                                                Is going to a famous restaurant but while not being willing to fully experience what the resto has to offer snobbery? I think so because it implies to me that the person is going there just to brag about it.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not necessarily. Some people are timid about food but they still may want to go out to a fine dining establishment for the "total" experience (vibe, service, excitement [and yes maybe to brag that they've been there as well]). It gets snobby for example like when a friend of mine was very excited about going to Le Bec Fin in Philadelphia. She told her GFs and one responded "been there done that" in a dismissive tone. Not only is that snobbery (the GF who'd been there didn't bother to mention if she even liked Le Bec Fin or not) but obviously it can steal a person's joy too.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Another good example is my sister who has been fortunate enough to travel a bit for her work. She wants to make a grand impression on others and once said to me "you know I'm in London all the time now and whenever I'm in London there is this one restaurant that I love and always visit". So as a foodie I ask the obvious: "oh what's it called?" She said that she didn't know. Obviously what is important then to her isn't the food or the resto it is merely letting you know "how she's living"; to paint a glamorous and refined picture of herself and/ or her life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would call that finicky, not food snobby.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gosh

                                                                                                                                                                                                      jfood will normally try anything once, but mrs jfood won't. She's not a snob by any stretch and would be described a picky. She will experience exactly what see wants out of the resto but if it's fish-heads or buffalo hoofs, it ain't happenin'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      With respect to your last clause, "just going there" jfood once again brings mrs jfood into the equation. she couldn't care less about bragging about a resto. she would describe it as some place jfood wanted to try. she would order as she sees fit, love the food if she should and would critique it better than most.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. i'm ok with food snobs as long as they are entertaining (rw apple, jeffrey steingarten, Jeremiah Tower come readily to mind). food snobs who are boring should be forced to eat at the same table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Fortunately, I have not encountered it, and hope that I have not participated in it, though might have missed it, should I have.


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                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                          My friend Frank is 55 and lives with MS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          He can't drive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Last week he hitched down to our little ferry, then hitched to big ferry, then caught a city bus..all to have lunch at the 4 Season's Vancouver.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          To Frank, it was the height of indulgence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          He had the lobster mac and cheese. With a fine glass of riesling. Then creme brule with 150 cognac.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          No food was more enjoyed, no service more lovely. It was his shiny food moment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          My husband and I were lucky enough to pick him up on his hitch back to our end of the island.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Frank is perfectly capable of tossing some fresh crab or local prawns in his KD.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          It was about the whole expeirence of living the dream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          That is a food enthusiast

                                                                                                                                                                                                          That is a food enthusist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Luna2372

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I *loved* reading this, Luna. This IS the experience of living a food dream. I liked that you called this Frank's "shiny food moment." :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank-you. I loved being able to write it. And it was a great reminder to appreciate all the great meals I have been lucky to have.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Snobbery is a hard trait to pin down. I believe it can stem from youth and inexperience, and a desire to seem knowledgeable while you try to find your voice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Or a somewhat less forgivable place...some one with lots of knowledge, who has forgotten how they came to get that knowledge in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for being nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Luna2372

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That really says it. I have been guilty of the youth and inexperience type of snobbery. But no more. Who's to say what the right way to eat something is?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: qandieladie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I like "food geek/ enthusiast". There is nothing wrong with approaching food as a curious, humble student and sharing what you've learned along the way but when one starts judging others and thinks they have mastered the unmasterable (because it is subjective and relative), then they have crossed the line into snobbery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Luna2372

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree completely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do not consider this "snobbery," at any level. Frank knows what he likes, and enjoys it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have a suspicion that Frank would never hold anyone's culinary choices against them. He likes, what he likes, and accommodates those choices, and would respect you, or me, for ours. Now, I do not know Frank, so I am just guessing here.


                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Frank loves any one who has a great story to tell about food, or travel or life. He loves food, and wine, and comics, and re-cycling, and well he's just that guy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have rarely met some one with so much pain, be so positive, I think he just has to time for negativity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                He rocks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                This week we shared a ling cod caught by a friend. I did pan fry. Frank did poached with fennel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Luna2372

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think that I would like Frank, but things might not be reciprocal. Still, sounds like a neat dude, and there are not many of them left.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Enjoy, and rejoice,


                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I've noticed it especially when out for sushi. most of the time, they don't know what they are talking about. "Dip the whole nigiri in the soy sauce", or to an extent "use soy sauce and wasabi". Also, when I eat sushi without chopsticks (I usually do), those same people look at me as if I am an animal.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think part of the problem is that we want to know more than we do. I mean, sure, a bit of shoyu can do in a pinch, but if the fish is very tasty, why mask it with soy? It boggles me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Also, the whole "organic" movement. Please, Alice Waters, cry me a river. But only a sustainable river with aqua-culture well managed while the Carp are eating 100% organic locally-sourced quinoa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: wordong

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not sure what this shot at the organic food movement and Alice Waters is about. Sounds a bit, "Gosh darn those filthy hippies", a bit broad brush.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I understand how folks can find Waters's public persona a bit much, but I wouldn't take that so far as to be utterly dismissive of the organic food movement in particular and her ideas in general. That's an odd kind of reverse snobbery in its own right. "Yeah, let's hear it for overuse of industrial pesticides and fertilizers!" "Eatin' strawberries flown in from another continent, and proud of it!" "Only weenies support local farmers!" Really?


                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well that's just wrong. I do think that some times the mighty dollar does dictate what goes into the cart tho.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I also find that it's easy to judge food...but who is trading in their Esaclade for a Metro?