Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Let's Clarify "Gourmet", Shall We?

According to Wikipedia: "The term gourmet may refer to a person with refined or discriminating taste or to one that is knowledgeable in the art of food and food preparation. Gourmand carries additional connotations of one who simply enjoys food in great quantities. An epicure is similar to a gourmet, but the word may sometimes carry overtones of excessive refinement."

According to Meriam-Webster: gourmet is "a connoisseur of food and drink"."Connoisseur" meaning "an expert; especially : one who understands the details, technique, or principles of an art and is competent to act as a critical judge"

I don't want to mislead anyone. As it applies to me, the common traits I share with these definitions are "knowledgeable in the art of food and food preparation","one who understands the details, technique, or principles" of cooking, and on occassion, I confess to being "one who simply enjoys food in great quantities".

I would not use the word "refined" or "discriminating" - then I'd be a hypocrite to admit I love a good Steak n Shake double steakburger platter, or fried onion rings just about anyplace that has them on the menu, including Lou's Drive-in in Peoria.
As for "competent to act as a critical judge", I've learned everything is a matter of personal taste. What you or I might find bland, too salty, too spicy, over-cooked, etc - believe me there are people who like their food this way and wouldn't have it any other way and who are we to judge the way other people cook or eat! Each to his own, I say! Garlic scapes charred beyond recognition could easily invite criticism, but let me tell you - they were suprisingly sweet and (of course) tender and smoky. My mother-in-law, and now my daughter, love their toast burnt. Just because that doesn't appeal to me, doesn't give me a right to be a "critical judge".
And bland cooking - well, I guess all these folks will live a lot longer without the devastating effects of a high-sodium diet, but of course, if they wanted more flavorful food, in a healthy way, perhaps they haven't discovered the virtues of herbilicious cooking -the magic that heavenly, heroic herbs can transform ordinary, bland dishes into memorable meals. But I'm getting ahead of my next blog...

I just wanted to come clean about this "gourmet" thing.

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