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How would you define gourmet and....

Lemoncaper Jan 1, 2009 07:00 PM

Hello everyone,

I have a question and some comments. I would just like to see what people consider gourmet food. I have a friend who considers himself somewhat of a gourmand/ gouremt cook and claims to know good food but.... he does not eat onions, celery, peppers, doesn't like this or that, uses can soup to make a meal (ie: can soup, cheese and potatoes) and puts ketchup on pasta and pizza, jar cheese over baked poatatoes, etc etc. Also, I see on food websites (considered gourmet, fine food) where people have submitted their own recipes and I see things like chicken fried steak, pasta & ground beef casserole...which I don't consider "gourmet". My question is, how do you define "gourmet", not from a dictionary but in your own words. Thanks

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  1. g
    gordeaux RE: Lemoncaper Jan 1, 2009 07:20 PM

    I'd say it's all relative. I visit friends who live in the U.P. of michigan, and make a dinner of grilled steaks, mashed potatoes with roasted garlic, and ears of corn roasted on the grill in their husks. THEY call it gourmet. I just call it dinner. I make tamales and show them how to do it. They call it gourmet, I just call it making tamales. I stuff hand formed burgers with bleu cheese. They call it gourmet, I just call them burgers. Same thing at home. My parents make a roast, and ask if I'll make gravy. They point me to some powdered gravy packet. I use the drippings, red wine, butter, and shallots. They call it gourmet. I call it "gravy." I would let others label what I do as gourmet. I just call it food. Don't care if it's gourmet or not, just care if it's good. Call it what you want. I also don't ever call any other foods "gourmet." It's just food. I don't care what the ingredients are, where they came from, or how much they cost. If it tastes like something I can re-create at home, and it costs a zillion bux, you can bet that I'll be laughing at the chef. I generally can't be pleased at high end restaurants, because for the most part, I can do better in my own kitchen. Gourmet? I say it's an overused word that has lost much of its meaning, so I don't use it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux
      Caralien RE: gordeaux Jan 2, 2009 08:34 AM

      I agree with gordeaux.

      A self-proclaimed gourmet is like a self-proclaimed foodie or food snob; they're generally buffoons who find their own words and pseudo-knowledge to be something to bore the rest of us with.

      (Gourmet stores or items with gourmet in the title are similar: overpriced hype; we generally avoid any place/item that has "gourmet" in the name.)

      I'll try almost anything, street food, BBQ in styrofoam, a 6+ course meal which takes hours.

      I generally make what I consider provincial or peasant food--fresh ingredients cooked simply. Some people consider it fancy (another useless marketing term) because it's made from scratch, although I can't think of many items which take less time pre-packaged than from scratch.

      1. re: gordeaux
        goodhealthgourmet RE: gordeaux Jan 2, 2009 07:05 PM

        "I generally can't be pleased at high end restaurants, because for the most part, I can do better in my own kitchen. "
        ~~~~~
        gordeaux, i'm with you on this one...as i think many CHers are. it's somewhat frustrating, because i obviously *want* to really enjoy my meal when i decide to dine out, especially at a "good" restaurant. but it's certainly a delight to my friends & family who have discovered that they can save a lot of money and eat just as well (or better!) at my house ;)

        1. re: gordeaux
          m
          Mother of four RE: gordeaux Aug 31, 2011 06:03 PM

          Totally agree with you. When people call me a gourmet cook I have to laugh!

        2. c oliver RE: Lemoncaper Jan 1, 2009 07:50 PM

          How about "perfect"? Like a perfect BLT, a perfect bowl of mashed potatoes, a perfectly cooked piece of fish. And I wouldn't ever USE the word - "gourmet" would be an internal word, I think.

          1 Reply
          1. re: c oliver
            maplesugar RE: c oliver Jan 1, 2009 08:18 PM

            I think absolutes like "perfect" are problematic too. "Perfect" isn't the same for everyone. My definition of perfect pasta is al dente, for others that would be undercooked therefore in their minds, imperfect.

          2. s
            Steady Habits RE: Lemoncaper Jan 1, 2009 11:50 PM

            That's a *really* tough question, Lemoncaper. I keep wanting to run to the dictionary, but...you asked us not to, so I'll just mention some of the connations I associate with "gourmet", "gourmand" and, while we're at it, "epicure".

            For whatever reason, I guess just because of how the word was used while I was growing up--when I think its use was more pure--I always relate "gourmet" to haute cuisine--classical French as one example, though not only French. These days, I think the word is over-used, and mis-used, too. Like...every cookware marketer who seems to want to overcharge for its product calls its product "gourmet" cookware, to give it some cache, I guess, but in fact, when we get it home, we might be using it to prepare Caneton en Croute, or Tournedos Rossini, or we might be making corned beef hash or sloppy joes in it. So, I think in the last two or three decades, as American cuisine has reached a certain stature it never had before, the word "gourmet" has lost some of its meaning through manipulation for profit's sake.

            I could be wrong about this, but I thought "gourmand" was as much about how much one eats as it is about what one eats. I thought "gourmand" has a connotation of "gluttony" about it.

            Then there's epicure, and I really don't know what sets that apart from "gourmet", except I think of an epicure as booking flights five years ahead to be sure he's in Japan for the peak of blowfish season (if blowfish has a season--obviously, I'm not an epicure, although I have enjoyed a few "gourmet" meals in my life and have risked coming perilously close to "gourmandise" on a few occasions when especially fine chocolate was involved. ;-)

            As an overall comment, I'd like to say that I have the impression that most of the people I've encountered in my life who actually might be gourmets would say ix-nay on the canned soups and jar cheese. I'm embarrassed myself to have used canned blackberries on a tart tonight, but, then, it is January in New England, so I hope I'll be cut some slack. ;-)

            9 Replies
            1. re: Steady Habits
              j
              julesrules RE: Steady Habits Jan 2, 2009 10:15 AM

              Unless they were local, home-canned or "artisanal" blackberries?
              Interesting how 10 years ago I would have thought imported "fresh" berries a very "gourmet" treat in January. Not so much these days!

              1. re: Steady Habits
                maria lorraine RE: Steady Habits Jan 6, 2009 09:34 PM

                Re: definition of gourmand:

                Gourmand does not always connote one who consumes large quantities of food or a gluttonous person. It CAN mean that, but does not imply that. Here's what the American Heritage Dictionary says about the usage of the words gourmet, gourmand and epicure:

                "A gourmet is a person with discriminating taste in food and wine, as is a gourmand. Because gourmand can also mean “one who enjoys food in great quantities” or even “a gluttonous eater,” care should be taken to make clear its intended sense. An epicure is much the same as a gourmet, but the word may sometimes carry overtones of excessive refinement. This use of epicure is a misrepresentation of Epicurean philosophy, which, while it professed that pleasure was the highest good, was hardly given to excessive concern with food and drink. "

                Info source:
                http://www.bartleby.com/61/80/G020800...

                1. re: maria lorraine
                  s
                  Steady Habits RE: maria lorraine Jan 6, 2009 10:54 PM

                  Thank you so much for clarifying that, maria.

                  I guess the reason there is so much ambiguity about how the word is used is because it is ambiguous. ;-)

                  1. re: maria lorraine
                    johnb RE: maria lorraine Jan 8, 2009 11:50 AM

                    Not so fast there, Maria Lorraine. Since you have now catapulted us firmly into the orbit of dictionaries, here is what my 1971 edition of American Hertitage says:

                    Gourmand: A person who delights in eating well AND HEARTILY (emphasis mine). No other definition given. From the Middle English "gourmaunt;" glutton. And there was no redoubt to the Usage Panel in 1971--that was the meaning, no shading.

                    I think what happened in the 29 years after that was that so many folks started using gourmand when they meant gourmet that gourmand crept into acceptability as meaning the same (tho honestly it started well before 1971). We don't live in a normative world any more. Even the OED accepts that meaning now. But the usage note you cite even says that, if using gourmand, care should be taken to make clear its intended sense. I would argue this is their backhanded way of saying that if one insists on using gourmand to simply mean gourmet, then it is incumbent on one to clarify that gluttony is not intended--in that sense, gourmand on its own does indeed imply gluttony, and the implication is removed only by further qualification.

                    1. re: johnb
                      maria lorraine RE: johnb Jan 8, 2009 12:27 PM

                      I've never encountered any automatic association of gluttony with the word "gourmand" in all my gastronomy reading for 30+ years. That could be because that the connotation has been lost on me, or that the gluttonous connotation is not part of the actual definition.

                      Escoffier used the word often in his writings in the early 20th century and gluttony was never associated with his usage.

                      My working knowledge of the word is that gourmand is simply a person with educated tastes and a developed palate, similar to gourmet. If I'm able to dive in and unearth a bit more research -- on a time crunch now -- I will do so.

                      Gourmand at some point became misdefined, misaligned, with gluttony. This may have been because the French word for the appreciation of gourmet cuisine is “gourmandise,” with no connotation of gluttony, and when the French Catholics assembled a list of the Seven Deadly Sins, they mistakenly used gourmandise, which is simply appreciation, rather than the word the Church meant to use, the more precise "gloutonnerie." But that was an error that caused the word to be associated with gluttony, and perhaps the “error” took and became popularized. Misappropriation of words is quite common.

                      Unfortunately, the source for that information is Wikipedia.

                      If what Wikipedia says is true, the timing of what you suggest -- that the word first meant gluttony, and later was confused with gourmet -- would be reversed. Meaning, gourmand meant, and has always meant, one who appreciates food, and only later was the word inaccurately conflated with gluttony.

                      1. re: maria lorraine
                        johnb RE: maria lorraine Jan 9, 2009 04:33 AM

                        Well, I don't know about you, but I've certainly encountered the gluttonous shade of meaning in my culinary reading.

                        It is hard to see how the glutton meaning of gourmand could be a recent conflation given that its root in Middle English, as pointed out by American Heritage, is gourmaunt, meaning glutton. That puts it back somewhere around year 1200 or so. To be fair, OED, while finding a Middle English root, says that root is of "unkn. origin."

                        The OED, in its definition of gormandize (of which gourmandise is only a spelling variant, again according to OED) three definitions are given, and the first and third explicitly comprehend excessive or at least exuberant eating ("Eat greedily; indulge in good eating).

                        Brillat-Savarin, in section 57 of "The Physiology of Taste," seems to make clear that gourmandise involves, shall we say, an exuberant mode and degree of food consumption (the passage relates how the French got back their Napoleanic War reparations payments by feeding the Brits, Germans and others "who brought with them a rare voracity and stomachs of no common capacity.")

                        Alan Davidson, in his Oxford Companion to Food, which AFAIK is generally considered to be authoritive, states that "gourmand" indicates a person who is "overfond of eating, greedy, a glutton;" he goes on to note that it also has, especially in France, the milder meaning of someone who loves food, like gourmet.

                        1. re: johnb
                          maria lorraine RE: johnb Jan 9, 2009 04:53 AM

                          Good research.

                          The website of the Gourmand World Cookbook Award states that

                          "The origin of gourmand is celtic. In the 13th century Gioraman in Irish meant 'who has good appetite'. Gourmand has a noble meaning, and it is a compliment to be a gourmand. Gourmet is more recent, it comes from the Dutch Grom, meaning young man."

                          According to the same source "In academic French, Gourmet should be used only for wine" since in the 15th century Groom designated the servant who transported the wines. Groom later became Groomet, and from there Gourmet, to indicate a Sommelier.

                          The Celtic origin of gourmand is also confirmed in Origine et Formation de la Langue Française by A. de Chevallet (Paris, 1853): "Gourmand. — Irland. gioraman , gourmand , goulu , glouton, écoss. gioraman, item, employé comme substantif; gioramhach, item, adjectif; de giorr, se rassasier, se gorger. Gall. gormodi, être rempli, être gorgé, être rassasié."

                          Gourmet and Gourmand in English Language Dictionaries
                          The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines gourmet as "A person who knows a lot about food and drink and is good at choosing what should be combined together" and a gourmand as "a person who eats too much, esp. one who is more interested in the quantity of food than its quality".

                          The Concise Oxford Dictionary explains gourmand as "greedy feeder, glutton; gourmet" and gourmet as "connoisseur of table delicacies; judge of good food."

                          The three-volume Webster's Third New International Dictionary goes more in depth and defines gourmand as 1. "a greedy and ravenous eater" (synonym with glutton) and as 2. "a luxurious eater" (synonym with epicure or gourmet). Webster also confirms the "boy servant/wine merchant's assistant” etymology for a gourmet, defined as "a connoisseur in eating and drinking."

                          Regrettably, the Wordsworth Dictionary of Culinary and Menu Terms skips the terms altogether.

                          Gourmet and Gourmand in English Usage Guides
                          Fowler's Modern English Usage has a specific entry comparing the use of gourmand and gourmet: "The first ranges in sense from greedy feeder to lover and judge of good fare; the second from judge of wine to connoisseur of delicacies. The first usually implies some contempt, the other not."

                          In the Columbia Guide to Standard American English, Kenneth G. Wilson explains that gourmet is "a French borrowing meaning a connoisseur of food and drink, a person of discriminating palate," and that this is "much more in use in English today than its compatriot, gourmand, which sometimes means a big eater and drinker, or even a glutton, and sometimes simply a heartier sort of gourmet." He finally goes on to proclaim: "gourmand is fading; gourmet is overused."

                          Gourmet vs Gourmand according to Hervé This
                          Enter Hervé This, the founder of Molecular Gastronomy (and of course a Frenchman). In a footnote to the first chapter (Cooking and Science) of his new book Kitchen Mysteries, he writes: "A hierarchy is often established between gourmands and gourmets, the latter ranked higher, in an echelon that values quality over quantity. This is a mistake. A gourmand is one who likes good food, and a gourmet is one who takes delight in wines."

                          Escoffier's Ligue des Gourmands
                          Should the English language rehabilitate its use of the word gourmand? After all, if Georges Auguste Escoffier -— one of the prophets of the Culinary Arts — called his dining club La Ligue des Gourmands, the term cannot possibly have the derogatory meaning it is sometimes associated with. For more information, see La Ligue des Gourmands, founded by Escoffier in 1913, and the book Le Maître des Saveurs, by Michel Gall.

                          Gourmand is broader, and more positive. In English, Gourmet is used more, in the broad meaning.

                          In the 18th Century, French writer Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote "None is happier than the Gourmand" Nul n'est plus heureux que le gourmand."

                          So, context supplies us with the information whether or not the word is synonymous with gourmet or indicates excess. At least, that's my best guess.

                          1. re: maria lorraine
                            johnb RE: maria lorraine Jan 9, 2009 09:27 AM

                            Well, your research energy and accomplishment clearly surpass mine, but I think, putting it all together, we are pretty much on the same page. BTW, I decided to skip getting into the "wine" meaning of gourmet, even tho that is clearly its root, since the use of the word broke out of that box a long time ago.

                            As an aside, even tho the Longman's definitions are more in line with my original view than just about any other, if they really do use the term "combine together" I would write them off--IMHO pleonasms like that should not appear in that which purports to be a dictionary. Think of surge ahead, past experience, software programs (one of my favorites), and hundreds of others. Sorry for the rant, but it grates on me.

                            1. re: johnb
                              maria lorraine RE: johnb Jan 9, 2009 11:03 AM

                              Ooooh...pleonasms is its own good word! Agree with you about those!

                2. pepper_mil RE: Lemoncaper Jan 2, 2009 04:10 AM

                  Can I use a picture? Picasso's Le Gourmet - a young child standing with a spoon in a nearly empty bowl of something by the table. Not rich, or sophisticated, or privileged, but for the moment wholly focused on and appreciating whatever she's eating.

                  1. j
                    janniecooks RE: Lemoncaper Jan 2, 2009 04:23 AM

                    I'm with Steady Habits: "gourmand" is implies contempt for the person it describes, someone who is a glutton. Gourmet implies connossieurship. Epicure is someone who enjoys good good ( but not to point of gluttony, lest s/he be a gourmand!)

                    1. Kajikit RE: Lemoncaper Jan 2, 2009 04:39 AM

                      It can be good food without being 'gourmet'... gourmet equals the finest quality ingredients (therefore usually, but not always, expensive!) No shortcuts. And presented simply and elegantly to appeal to the eyes as well as the palatte (sp?). Macaroni cheese made with velveeta or out of a box = NOT gourmet. Macaroni cheese made with hand-grated pecorino cheese (the kind where they can give you the individual pedigree of the sheep!) presented in individually bubbling ramekins with the perfect crispy finish and ooey-gooey sauce = totally gourmet. Regular made-from-scratch macaroni cheese = not gourmet but still delicious.

                      1. Caroline1 RE: Lemoncaper Jan 2, 2009 05:18 AM

                        For me, "Gourmet" is the name of a magazine that isn't always.

                        But for people who claim the title, I take it with a grain of salt and shrug it off until confirming evidence comes along. Even then, I don't think anyone is "gourmet" all of the time.

                        But there is also a special niche for the word in which it can be true of a very mundane dish. And for me,this sense is possibly "gourmet' in the truest sense. It happens when "ordinary" dishes are so fresh, so flavorful, so perfectly prepared and presented that they rise to a whole new level. This is very rare.

                        Someone else has mentioned "connoisseur." To me that term indicates someone with a refined sense of taste and appreciation, but I don't assume any actual ability to cook in connection with either "gourmet' or "connouisseur." "Chef" implies the ability to cook at the "gourmet" level, but no guarantee that's their only style.

                        And "gourmand" is absolutely a glutton. When seated at a table with a gourmand, you want to be seated "up-food chain" from them! Unless you're on a diet. '-)

                        1. thew RE: Lemoncaper Jan 2, 2009 05:34 AM

                          a gourmet is a foodie/chowhound with pretentions

                          a gourmand is a gourmet with a big budget

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: thew
                            n
                            neverlate RE: thew Jan 2, 2009 02:51 PM

                            Yes, I have to make those quotation marks with my fingers if I say the word "gourmet". On the other hand, people try to compliment me on my cooking by using that very word!

                            1. re: thew
                              Scargod RE: thew Jan 8, 2009 07:56 AM

                              Nice thew.
                              Without using the dictionary, which the OP said was against the rules, I would say a gourmet is someone who can do the perfect dishes, whether simple or complex. They also know when another gourmet has prepared an amazing dish when they eat it, because they can appreciate it as above average. They usually can dissect the dish, know what's in it, and have an idea (and appreciation), of what it took to prepare it.

                            2. Sam Fujisaka RE: Lemoncaper Jan 2, 2009 06:06 AM

                              If its better than or equal to what I can make, it must be "gourmet". Kind of like when I go running, anyone going the same speed or faster is running, anyone slower is jogging. No matter what speed I'm going. How's THAT for a nicely ego-centric view of the world?

                              Actually, its like "pornography". I'm sure it exists, but I wouldn't be the one deciding what was and what wasn't.

                              1. johnb RE: Lemoncaper Jan 2, 2009 06:32 AM

                                IMO, both gourmet and gourmand are misunderstood terms and much misused/abused. This is especially true of gourmand; as others have noted upthread, gourmand means a glutton, an overeater, albeit one who eats good food. Unfortunately, most often these days it is seen being used by someone, including journalists who should know better, as a way to show they are really cool by using a more obscure word than gourmet but to mean the same thing.

                                As to gourmet, as a noun applied to people it used to mean pretty much the same thing as epicurean, and as an adjective it used to specify the type of refined food that an epicurean would eat. By in modern parlance it has become so devoid of meaning and bastardized that I, like others upthread, mostly avoid it. It ought to at a minimum encompass some hint of refinement in food, but as the OP noted, today it is used to describe just about anything, and has lost any real meaning.

                                1. c
                                  chilihead RE: Lemoncaper Jan 2, 2009 06:45 AM

                                  After eating, an epicure gives a thin smile of satisfaction; a gastronome, burping into his napkin, praises the food in a magazine; a gourmet, repressing his burp, criticizes the food in the same magazine; a gourmand belches happily and tells everybody where he ate; a glutton embraces the white porcelain altar, or, more plainly, he barfs.
                                  -from William Safire in the NY Times

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: chilihead
                                    Will Owen RE: chilihead Jan 2, 2009 04:15 PM

                                    So if I just grin and say "DAMN, that was good - I am a happy boy!", where does that leave me, Mr. Safire? Ignoring the question completely, that's where. I've been introduced by some well-meaning person or another as a "gourmet cook" on a few occasions, and always correct them by saying, "No, I'm just a pretty good cook," which is true. I do try to get whatever I'm cooking right, but I'm no more allergic to canned soups than I am to iceberg lettuce - all good in their place, starting with tuna casserole. Mostly I think of "gourmet" cooks as being unduly concerned about some very persnickety concept of perfection, and if they're also good cooks (as happens frequently) I'll admire them for it, I just don't want to do that.

                                    1. re: Will Owen
                                      johnb RE: Will Owen Jan 2, 2009 06:08 PM

                                      I'm pretty much down with that. I too feel the need to say something when someone introduces me as a "gourmet" cook. Truth is, I'm probably more of a gourmand cook, but let's not go there.

                                  2. goodhealthgourmet RE: Lemoncaper Jan 2, 2009 07:00 PM

                                    for some *strange* reason i felt compelled to add my two cents to this particular discussion ;)

                                    as many hounds already know, my handle is actually the name of a food company i created (but have yet to officially launch). i struggled for a long time to find a name that i felt would at once convey the nature of the foods i offer, and capture the attention of consumers across a varied range of culinary preferences and experiences. i chose the term "gourmet" because my definition of it - food that is made with ingredients of the highest quality, crafted with skill and care, appealing to look at, and a pleasure to eat - is the way i see my products and the way i hope others will...and i think it's pretty much the universal "default" as far as what most people first think when they hear the word.

                                    so in case any of you have seen my name and thought it silly or snobbish, it's not the way i really describe *myself*...though fortunately the "good health" part applies :)

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                      maplesugar RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 2, 2009 07:06 PM

                                      There is nothing about you that says "silly" or "snob" sweetee!

                                      1. re: maplesugar
                                        goodhealthgourmet RE: maplesugar Jan 2, 2009 07:13 PM

                                        aww, shucks :) thanks, that's really sweet...though based on some of the comments directed at me by other CHers on occasion, clearly not everyone on Chowhound feels that way!

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                          maplesugar RE: goodhealthgourmet Jan 2, 2009 07:27 PM

                                          Some people never learned how to play nice with others ;)

                                          I for one appreciate your posts. eg: I have a friend who's started cooking gf for her twin girls (1 yo, possible allergies...long story) if I need advice I know just who to ask.

                                          1. re: maplesugar
                                            goodhealthgourmet RE: maplesugar Jan 3, 2009 07:47 AM

                                            i'm absolutely happy to help your friend any way i can...feel free to send me an e-mail any time!

                                    2. l
                                      ladybugthepug RE: Lemoncaper Jan 3, 2009 08:29 AM

                                      Gourmet? I put it in the same category as "Green", "Sustainable", "Better than sex", "Main Street", "Wall Street"and rest of the lot. It's a truly meaningless word, that is relative to the person using it.

                                      A business associate will often comment that I'm a "gourmet cook". (Usually said at a nice restaurant, in front of a chef). I don't know what that means. Is it spaghetti sauce from scratch rather than out of the jar? Is it really good sauce from scratch versus just so-so? Is it Prego $3 vs. RAO's $8 out of the jar. I think it's an old worn out word from the '70's or beyond.

                                      It's like anything, if someone needs to tell you how smart, or rich they are; they probably aren't. Gourmet is a word that might just mean "use caution, a food fraud may be in progress".

                                      By the way, I have yet to have a cake, cookie, etc. that is better than sex.

                                      1. c
                                        chilihead RE: Lemoncaper Jan 3, 2009 03:20 PM

                                        Most of what is being brought up here circles around issues of scarcity and excess. If a foodstuff is hard to find (or hard to make) it qualifies as gourmet, gourmand or epicure. This becomes about how hard a dish is to come by. Fried eggs are an everyday experience; now gourmet eggs would imply a higher level of effort than melted butter and a few cracked shells, while I’ve never experienced them, I have had perfect eggs. This is part of what makes gourmet mac and cheese a bit of a conundrum, it exists, but it exceeds nostalgia. Perhaps here the term could be "home-style fusion."

                                        Yesterday I saw frozen turducken at the local mega mart, this could not compare with the same dish I had at so and so’s home at thanksgiving. One was prepared with an excess of love and effort; the other came out of the freezer section. What was “gourmet” yesterday is now, well common. Pork rinds are common, but hey, fresh chicarones are a rarity…especially since I live in Vermont.

                                        I’ll leave out my opinions on gluttony and foodie-ism, as it will just piss people off.

                                        Also I see the "care" in which food is prepared being a huge issue. I've had the same dish served with loving care or slopped out on steamer trays, the difference lies in the pride, the care, and (yes) the love that a dish recieves.

                                        Is there a word for food that is prepared well, really well, grandma's best well?

                                        1. Firegoat RE: Lemoncaper Jan 8, 2009 08:06 AM

                                          A self-proclaimed gourmet is not a gourmet.
                                          A gourmet recipe is a recipe which one wants to aspire to cook despite diffiiculties ranging form lack of training, technique, time or access to items.
                                          A gourmet is someone who enjoys food, and seeks out well made food wherever it may be found.

                                          1. Lemoncaper RE: Lemoncaper May 27, 2010 02:29 AM

                                            just wanted to say thanks for all the posts.. all interesting and enjoyed your responses.

                                            1. Chinon00 RE: Lemoncaper Aug 30, 2011 06:22 AM

                                              This is an old thread however I've discovered a couple things about the word "gourmet" from another recent thread. One is that for many stating that something that they enjoy is not gourmet is a put-down. For them gourmet equals "good food" no matter what it is, where it's from, how it presented, etc, it's solely a matter of it "tasting good". I didn't agree with that but to be honest I didn't have a definition of gourmet versus non-gourmet. After some thought to me what distinguishes my idea of gourmet from non-gourmet is decadence, expensive rare ingredients and artful presentation. These criteria do not make gourmet cooking better than other kinds of cooking just different. You can surely have bad gourmet food if for instance the rare and expensive items are misused or the presentation is impractical. 

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Chinon00
                                                johnb RE: Chinon00 Aug 30, 2011 05:35 PM

                                                I agree with you, but would humbly suggest that a better way to distinguish "gourmet" from non-gourmet is simply to say that it is refined. I think for most people that captures it. A Ruben is a great sandwich and certainly tastes good, but (except for the occasional high-end restaurant riff) is not "gourmet." Even throwing on a slab of foie gras won't make it gourmet. There needs to be something refined in the preparation to do that. What that might be, ju ne sais qua.

                                                1. re: johnb
                                                  l
                                                  Leonardo RE: johnb Aug 30, 2011 08:57 PM

                                                  Maybe it meant something in the 1950's, but to me today it is a pretentious meaningless term.

                                              2. d
                                                DPGood RE: Lemoncaper Aug 30, 2011 09:34 PM

                                                OP. Obviously you don't define gourmet the same way your friend does, so what's your point?

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: DPGood
                                                  inaplasticcup RE: DPGood Aug 30, 2011 09:37 PM

                                                  I think you answered your own question. :)

                                                  1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                    i
                                                    INDIANRIVERFL RE: inaplasticcup Aug 31, 2011 01:50 PM

                                                    When I go to any of 4 Chinese buffets for $6.00, I am a gourmand. If I am sitting in a restaurant with linen and crystal and 3 perfectly cooked shrimp for $30.00 I may not be a gourmet, but I am having a gourmet experience. And if I can taste the difference that one of the shrimp is a Key West pink, another a Gulf gold, and an Atlantic brown, I am an epicure.

                                                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                                      Chinon00 RE: INDIANRIVERFL Aug 31, 2011 02:41 PM

                                                      "If I am sitting in a restaurant with linen and crystal and 3 perfectly cooked shrimp for $30.00 . . I am having a gourmet experience."

                                                      To me sure you are not gonna get crystal and linen at many places but "perfectly cooked shrimp" is not indicative of a "gourmet" meal is it? I mean that can be had at MANY solid seafood restaurants can't it? They're all doing gourmet level cooking?

                                                      1. re: Chinon00
                                                        i
                                                        INDIANRIVERFL RE: Chinon00 Aug 31, 2011 03:56 PM

                                                        Done here in Florida, the art of cooking shrimp is pretty well as extinct as our fisheries.

                                                        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
                                                          Chinon00 RE: INDIANRIVERFL Aug 31, 2011 05:26 PM

                                                          And in Philly the same has been said about the Italian hoagie.

                                                  2. re: DPGood
                                                    Lemoncaper RE: DPGood Aug 31, 2011 05:48 PM

                                                    MEOW !!!!!!!! As I stated in the first line "..... I would just like to see what people consider gourmet food" That's my point... I wanted see other people's thoughts/ideas.

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