Aficionado vs. Snob
Taking a side trip from Sandyic's thread about not being a snob <http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/922300>, there is a big difference between an aficionado and a snob. Below, after the definitions, are a couple of old threads to remind us that most of us are indeed the former, not the later.
a·fi·cio·na·do [uh-fish-yuh-nah-doh; Spanish ah-fee-thyaw-nah-thaw, ah-fee-syaw-] Show IPA
noun, plural a·fi·cio·na·dos [uh-fish-yuh-nah-dohz; Spanish ah-fee-thyaw-nah-thaws] Show IPA .
an ardent devotee; fan, enthusiast.
snob [snob] Show IPA
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.
1775–85; orig. uncert; first used as a nickname for a cobbler or cobbler's apprentice, hence a townsman, someone of low class or lacking good breeding, commoner, hence someone who imitates persons of higher rank
From what I have seen over the years people on Chow and Chowhound are definitely enthusiasts; and (with a few notable exceptions) are not condescending or overbearing to others. Although, speaking at least for myself, we all have our moments. Hence we are by and in large aficionados, not snobs.
H A P P Y H O L I D A Y S C H O W F R I E N D S !!
The biggest difference definitely has to do with attitude. But I'm wondering if there is a third category, a sort of food evangelist. Different from a snob (no condescending attitude) and from an aficionado (who enthuses about something but doesn't necessarily want to influence the behavior or beliefs of others), the evangelist wants others to share their enthusiasm and appreciate their ideas. And like those who evangelize over religious beliefs, they can be very annoying because they are touching on behaviors that are personal and deeply ingrained (unlike, say, an aficionado of Porsches, who can wax rhapsodically without annoying people because most people can't reasonably contemplate trading in their 2004 Toyota Corolla to buy one).
I have a close relative who is a food evangelist. It's really annoying.
I suppose you could come up with a lot of definitions for snob. The only idea that counts, though, is your attitude to someone who doesn't share your tastes.
It's perfectly fine (and normal) to feel your opinion of something (food, literature, current events) is better than someone else's opinion. You can only crossover to being a snob if you feel that makes you a better person.
All those other definitions are fairly meaningless.
I'll happily confess to being a snob on those definitions. Not a food snob but certainly a "current events" snob. There are matters where I do, indeed, feel my opinion is better than some other opinions about which I have nothing but contempt. And, yes, absolutely it makes me feel I'm a better person than they are.
Come to think of it, I may well be a snob in other fields as well.