Nov 9 2009

Food Snobs Are Not Foodies

November 9th, 2009 at 9:44 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

One of the common misnomers about folks who consider themselves foodies is that they are food snobs. Food snobs are people who turn their nose up at ordinary foods because, well, they are ordinary, common, or pedestrian – choose your description. Food snobs require expensive bottles of wine to show their food elitism. They order foie gras or dishes with truffles because they are considered to be delicacies, and not necessarily because they like those things. They turn their noses up at BBQ and home-style country cooking. Food snobs won’t try regional dishes like guinea pig, stinky tofu, or pig’s intestines.

And food snobs probably ask to have their meals modified when they ordered. A scene from the 2006 movie with Queen Latifah “Last Holiday” where a table full of diners orders various specialties and then asks to have them modified in ridiculous ways comes to mind as an excellent example of this type of food snobbery.

A true foodie delights in trying local cuisine wherever he or she happens to be. A true foodie will, barring allergies or significant dietary restrictions, also trust a chef to produce a dish properly, meaning with all the ingredients and accoutrements the chef designed the dish with. This applies as much to single courses as it does to so-called “chef’s tasting menus”. Back to “Last Holiday”, Queen Latifah’s character is a true foodie, taking her passion as far as to order multiple main courses just to try the various combinations of flavors and textures.

Diners who presume to tell a chef how to cook and what to serve or not are food snobs, not foodies.

And people who denigrate ordinary foods merely because they are not expensive or rare are not foodies either. An example of an ordinary food that comes to mind would be a side dish of fresh green beans boiled with bacon that we enjoyed at the homey Calico County Restaurant in Ft. Smith, Arkansas this past August. It was only a side dish, and simple home cooking, but it was heavenly, as were the cinnamon rolls served with the meal. And I’m pretty sure no food snob would even enter that wonderful place because of the simple exterior and kitschy interior.

In summary, a foodie is passionate about good food, regardless of its source. A food snob adds artificial criteria in his or her evaluation of food, many times including what other people think of the food instead of trusting their own senses.