On Being a Food Snob

Recently somebody accused me of being a food snob. This was the first time in my life this ever happened and frankly, caught me by surprise. Being called a food snob isn't a title that most people want. Being a called a snob of any kind isn't a title that most people want. When it comes to food though, this is completely backwards - people should strive to be food snobs.

(from Alph on Flickr)

What does that mean exactly? It doesn't mean that you go to fancy restaurants owned by iron chefs. Hell, it doesn't mean that you ever even go out to restaurants. Being a food snob means caring about your food, its freshness, how it's prepared and cooked, and what impact it has on your health.

A person who eats at McDonalds, buys boxed Kraft macaroni and cheese and makes sandwiches with white bread and American cheese wouldn't be considered a food snob.

A person who shops at farmers markets, buys fresh fruits and vegetables, and makes garden salads at home with feta cheese and homemade vinaigrette, paired with pan seared yellow tail tuna might quality as a food snob.

This is a shame, because American society sees the first person as a regular, average Joe. Society sees the second person as some kind of out-of-touch elitist. The second person, nonetheless, is probably also lot healthier and gets to enjoy more interesting and flavorful food.

I think the number of cooking and food-related shows on TV these days is a great thing. I think the fact that there are now two cable channels dedicated to food and cooking is great. Some people believe these shows are the driving force behind the "foodie" movement, and that's a plausible belief. But it's not mainstream - not yet anyway. It won't be mainstream until people who care about food are no longer considered to be "snobs".