Okay let's do this.
What do you think of when I say "Food Snob"? Some uppity rich guy at a wine tasting, talking down his nose about cedar and notes of cherry and vanilla in this $400 bottle? Or a food blogger who visits area restaurants, taking photos of the food, doing reviews and nattering on like "the foie gras was mediocre and I cared very little for the watercress salad, but the lamb was perfectly seared and was packed with flavor." Either way, people like this usually spend a lot of money on their food, and they want you to know it, right? And, just as the negative connotation of the word "snob" goes, these people are viewed negatively because they give the air that they are better than you. Well, according to some, there's another kind of Food Snob out there.
Frankly, I am sick and tired of people getting mad at each other for what they call food snobbery, and today I am setting the record straight. By the way, I am not paid by any organization to express my opinions today, nor is my yearly household income more than $100,000 (not even close), so I feel I am adequately qualified to bear some light on the matter. It may lose me a few Facebook fans, but the truth should finally come out.
What Are People Saying?
To start, I went to my Kitchen Psycho Facebook Fan Page and asked the fans, what do you think of when I say "Food Snob"? The answers were mixed. A majority (by an albeit small margin) felt the phrase was negative in nature and gave the impression of "I'm better than you because I eat cooler stuff". The minority, I suppose because they are aware of my clean eating mission, said they were proud to be food snobs, since, as April Norman put it, "As a self proclaimed food snob and parent, I buy the best I can afford, and prepare it in the healthiest, most creative ways. For me it is not a bad thing."
Good for you, April! But, in my humble opinion, that's just responsible parenting.
Next, I interviewed four fellow food bloggers for their opinion on the matter. I asked two questions: how do you feel about the title "food snob", and do you think that chefs, cooks, caterers or food bloggers are responsible for what they present or promote to the public?
Mia from Mia's Domain feels that a food snob is "someone who offensively acts superior in their food knowledge or food tastes." But she also feels that being more knowledgeable about food does not make one a food snob and that knowledge can be measured subjectively.
Jay from Foodies Are Us says food snobs "are attached to chefs, places and an perceived 'social status' about eating at restaurants. They are the people who only frequent expensive restaurants because they are just that, expensive. They attach food experiences to who they met, how much they spent and who was wearing what." Being a foodie, on the other hand, is someone for whom food is the center of the social activity.
Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls says, "I call myself a chocolate snob because I will not settle for poor quality/mass market chocolate, but does that make me a food snob? I don't know. I think quality IS important and if you get the best ingredients, you will have the best food."
And Melissa from ChinDeep says food snobbery is "not necessarily negative. People who care about what they eat, and people who want to only cook with quality ingredients may be considered food snobs in some circles. Then there are those who only cook with expensive ingredients and brand name products and talk about it incessantly... "I purchased such and such at Williams Sonoma..." I think this is where food snobbery really gets a bad name. Don't get me wrong, I love Williams Sonoma. I just don't think we have to always buy designer condiments and embellishments to end up with a beautiful dish in the end.
I agree, to some extent, with all of these folks. But do these things make me a food snob?
WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
A snob is a snob is a SNOB. Merriam Webster defines a snob as "one who has an offensive air of superiority in matters of knowledge or taste." If you look down on someone for their choices, you are a snob.
But is it really that simple? Actually, yes. But let's make sure we all understand what this entails.
I recently saw the Facebook post of a fellow food blogger expressing her frustration with a fan who commented on her use of processed food. Apparently, the fan was disappointed that this blogger had chosen not to use her own ingredients, and rather, used a product with preservatives and chemicals. The blogger was irate, to say the least, and in her post, lambasted the fan by remarking that she has the prerogative to do whatever she wants with her own food and her own blog. Then she called this fan a food snob. (This is how I was inspired to write this post.)
Look, I totally support this blogger's right to do what she wants. It's her blog and her food and her business. Her blog doesn't contain any mission statement about "clean eating" or "no processed food eating." And like Jay from Foodies Like Us says, "We are all grown-ups with the ability to control what goes in our mouths." Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls adds, "If there is something that people don't like, they can simply not visit/follow that blog." That said, it is my humble opinion that the before-mentioned blogger was dead wrong on the food snob comment.
Now, anyone who has been following Kitchen Psycho for any length of time knows that I am crazy conscious about clean eating and cutting out processed foods. (Oh, and FYI: the fan who made the comments to that blogger was not me, I swear!) Because I KNOW BETTER, I feel a responsibility to tell others what I know. Put it this way: If I passed someone drowning in a pool and there was a life-saving device nearby, I would be negligent - and possibly bloodguilty - if I did not offer help to that person. This is the obligation I feel toward my readers when I find information that proves our food supply is compromised. I feel that in this role, I am educating my fans, not pushing my superiority on them. And I would also feel like a colossal hypocrite for preaching these things and then not doing my best to show the public that I'm living by them.
I'm Not The Only One...
People these days are waking up. They are SCREAMING for guidance in a world where doctors and other authorities lie, deny, or pass the buck. Everyone is scrambling for a shred of truth and when they see what looks like good food, they want it to be real. Anything else is highly frustrating. We want our health back!
That blogger was within her rights to be irritated. But her "fan" was not a snob. She was an AWESOME FOOD ADVOCATE. (Thanks, Pastry Chef Online! I was already thinking about using "advocate"!) An advocate is a person that defends a cause. And when we shell out the big bucks - because that's what it is nowadays - we are advocating the food we buy. Whether it's Twinkies and Pepsi or hummus and green tea, we are promoting either corporations or ourselves.
Food blogger Mia from Mia's Domain says, "As a food blogger I feel that we have been given a global stage, we have a responsibility to our followers by posting a well balanced array of recipes and treats. At the end of the day, people should also be responsible for their own actions and nutritional habits." And Melissa from ChinDeep feels an obligation "to help people create healthy, wonderful, delicious dishes no matter their budget."
Am I A Food Snob?
I hope not. I don't ever want to come across that way. But I will do my best to educate my fans about clean eating and clean living. Don't you all deserve that? Let's get healthy, people! And share the wealth of knowledge we can all learn from each other. And be an AWESOME FOOD ADVOCATE!
(Thanks to all contributors to this post. You were not paid for your opinions, and your time was much appreciated! For everyone else, if you would like to check out the blogs mentioned, the links are listed below.)
Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle. --Phillips Brooks