Sunday, January 12, 2003

Are you a food snob or slob?

Food snob or food slob? In truth, we all fall somewhere between the pretentious gourmand and low-brow feeder. But in case you're not sure where you (or your friends) stand, here are some sure signs.

For the food snob, a "casserole'' is an oven-proof dish. For the food slob, "casserole'' is dinner pretty much every other night.

A food snob prefers his pasta cooked to barely al dente. A food slob thinks "Al Dentay" is the Italian guy cooking it.

A food snob only cruises the drive-through late at night, when no one's looking, to buy Cincinnati chili. The food slob has a reserved table at his favorite parlor.

A food snob claims to

adore caviar. A food slob doesn't understand all the fuss about eating over-priced, stinky fish eggs.

A food snob's stove of choice costs $4,500 and is equipped with eight gas burners and rotisserie oven feature. A food slob's favorite cooking tool costs maybe $40 and is endorsed by a formerly famous heavyweight boxer.

A food snob's favorite cheeses include Roquefort, gruyere and manchego. A food slob's favorites: mild cheddar, Wisconsin Swiss and Velveeta (sliced).

The food snob calls it chevre. The food slob hears goat cheese and yells: I'm not getting close to that!

A food snob calls it entrecote. A food slob calls it steak.

The food snob calls it country pate. The food slob calls it cold meatloaf.

In restaurants, a food snob loudly orders the best vintage first-growth bordeaux. wine. (And makes sure everyone is watching when the bottle arrives.) A food slob loudly orders the biggest carafe available. "Any color will do."

A food snob laments the demise of corks and the increasing use of twist tops by wineries. A food slob asks: "What's new?''

A food snob keeps ketchup hidden in the fridge. A food slob always keeps it on the table, ready for serving.

Lunch at the desk for the food snob: Take-out sushi, chilled bottled water and perfectly ripe anjou pear. For the food slob: bologna and American cheese on white bread, Big K Cola in the can and Milky Way bar.

Food snobs furiously stamp their feet when the supermarket is out of fresh Italian parsley. Food slobs are still searching for those clever, reusable plastic sprigs of parsley that look like the real thing.

For a food snob, tuna is always fresh, sushi-grade and never cooked beyond medium-rare. For a food slob, tuna always comes out of can, cooked in a casserole, with noodles and crushed potato chip topping.

When making vinaigrette, a food snob insists on using the oldest, most expensive balsamic vinegar. If there's no bottled Italian dressing in the fridge, a food slob will use plain white vinegar. In a pinch, pickle juice will do.

A food snob considers extra-virgin olive oil to be a precious condiment. A food slob wonders if "virgin'' olive oil is just as good, but cheaper.

For the food snob, canned cream of mushroom soup is comfort food, eaten secretly on cold, rainy Saturdays. For the food slob, it's a must-have ingredient in most recipes.

A food slob orders her goetta cooked "crispy.'' A food snob orders the server to please keep that weird stuff away from the breakfast table.

When shopping at the grocery, price is no object for the food snob. For the food slob, price is the only object.

A food snob cares most about impressing others with what he cooks and eats. A food slob doesn't care about impressing anyone with his eating and cooking habits.

But probably should.


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