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Food Snobbery


stellabella
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Gee what happened to the ignore the thread rule if you are not interested in the topic? There are obviously a few people who think the topic interesting. What about the thread just being there compels you to try and quash the discussion? And Tommy, can you not control yourself from posting innapropriate photos on the thread and making juvenile comments? You can just as easily not click onto the thread.

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For anyone still interested.

LML asked "What should one drink with steak frites"?

There IS only one answer that is not meaningless. That answer is:

"There is no answer to the question: "what should one drink with steak frites" ".

Or put another way : "Anything you wish"

The question: "What WINE should one drink with steak frites" is a totally and utterly different question and bears no relation whatsoever to the first question.

OK I'm done (I think).

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"There is no answer to the question: "what should one drink with steak frites"

Tony - Again, it's a function of drawing inferences. I don't see how on a food web site, one can draw an inference that takes exception to the commonly held standard. Unless of course one is making a valid argument about why the standard should be varied etc. But the question of what to eat with steak frittes is not all that much different than the question of what is the appropriate amount of salt for a chef to add to a dish. If a chef wants that dish to adhere to the commonly held standards of what gourmets annoint as good, the answer to the question can't be as much salt as he wants to add. Because while he has the freedom to use as much as he likes, too little or too much dost a sucky dish make. And while there is a range of what is acceptable, I think when comparing the acceptable range to the available range, what is considered an acceptable range is really quite small.

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LML asked "What should one drink with steak frites"?

I think you'll find that if you look closer at what he said, LML didn't actually ask that question... he said that it would be a good question to ask. :wink: My initial reaction to reading that post is that it was a clever trick question to ask of someone. If you ask someone what would be best to drink with steak frites and they bother to try to answer it then they've missed the point that if they were looking for an interesting dining experience then they shouldn't be ordering steak frites in the first place!

Although maybe I saw some secret underhand snobbery where there wasn't actually any intended. Of course, if you've already made up your mind to have steak frites and are looking to make that into as interesting a dining experience as possible given that starting point then the question still stands.

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Steve, I don't accept the analogy.

Here's another analogy: You and I are sitting there and I have some bread and cheese. I ask "what should I put on my cheese sandwich?"

You answer:"Tomato"

ME: "But I don't like tomato. In fact I HATE tomato.

YOU: "But you are WRONG"

ME:"Who says"

You: Well,me for a start. But not only me. Lots of people. Experts.

ME: Experts?

YOU: Yes. People who know. People who have written books about tomatoes. And how well it accompanies bread and cheese.

ME: Why should I give a flying fart about your "experts"? Who cares what they think. I'm not interested in tomatoes and I'm not interested in anything they say about tomatoes because tomatoes are not a part ogf my life and ever will be. Stuff your tomatoes.

Now pass me that onion.

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Gee what happened to the ignore the thread rule if you are not interested in the topic? There are obviously a few people who think the topic interesting. What about the thread just being there compels you to try and quash the discussion? And Tommy, can you not control yourself from posting innapropriate photos on the thread and making juvenile comments? You can just as easily not click onto the thread.

WHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

nothing personal, of course.

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Tony - Your entire response is completely about preference. It has nothing to do with making a good sandwich. As Wilfrid pointed out earlier, there is room for disagreement within a range of acceptable choices. I just have a more stringent approach to what is the "correct" thing to eat with steak frittes. But using your sandwich analogy, if you made a sandwich of the following ingredients;

Old overcooked and gray roast beef

Apple sauce

Jalapeno peppers

Limburger cheese that's been left out in the sun

Fresh mint

Matzoh

You would be entitled to think that tasted good. But that's about it. Because if you thought it tasted good you would know as Wilfrid says, fuckwit about food. But you can have as many of those sandwiches as your heart desired because it is legal to eat anything you want. And then you can come on eGullet and act like you know about food and proffer that sandwich as an example of your "fine sense of taste."

Again as Wilfrid points out, "taste" is a standard that is commonly held among people. And how food is produced, prepared, and eaten, all have standards attached to them. Fortunately for us, we live in a free world and we can choose whether to adhere to the standards or not. And fortunately for us the standards have give built into them, and they change through the discourse that goes on through the daily preparation and eating of food. And it is one thing to say I don't care about the standards. I like having a nice can of Coca Cola with my terrine of foie gras. God bless you because you can eat it anyway you want. But that has nothing to do with the standards of what is the "right" thing to drink when eating foie gras. That standard exists whether you want to recognize it or not.

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if you made a sandwich of the following ingredients;

Old overcooked and gray roast beef

Apple sauce

Jalapeno peppers

Limburger cheese that's been left out in the sun

Fresh mint

Matzoh

You would be entitled to think that tasted good.

Now you're being silly. I mean who puts matzoh in a sandwich?

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Nina, a butty is a sandwich. So saying a "butty sandwich" is like saying "mesclun mix". Not done.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I am interested in the topic (and I think Stellabella offered an interesting opening), but no justice will be done to the original question on food snobbery if those arguing along the lines of taste and palates overlook what snobbery means. The meanings of the term have been pointed out before. Here they are again:

Snob, "a person who sets too much value on social standing, wishing to to be associated with the upper classes and their mores, and treating those viewed as inferior with condescension and contempt; somone having similar pretentions as regards specified tastes, such as wine snob" Chambers, 2000, p. 1565.

So many posts are way off topic, but they have provided fine examples of snobbery. Not unsual here. I've lost count of the number of times my palate has been viewed with condescension on this board.

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The merguez and chips butty sounds nice.

I really think the current discussion - which is different from the one we started with several pages back - has a simple resolution. I think its misleading to take the sorts of standards Steve has been describing as implicit presciptions for individuals. In other words, while it may be fair to say that there is a pretty solid consensus among professional and knowledgeable amateur gastronomes (in the present day, our culture, etc) that red wine is about the best thing to drink with steak, I do not believe it follows as a consequence that red wine is the best thing for me, or Tony, or the little old lady next door to drink with steak. Individuals are infinitely varied. The consensus sets a very broad standard, that's all.

I am making a slightly different point - please note, everyone :laugh: - than the point that I, or Tony, or the old lady next door might prefer to drink Lucozade with steak. The point I am making now is that we might have good reasons for that preference. In other words, it is not necessarily a sign that we are palateless idiots. The general standard can't prescribe for every individual. But it's a good place to start.

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I trust you would John.  Your assessment, though, would be thrown out by some on the grounds that it was the result of reverse snobbery!

True, but only by those who view their opinions/standards as facts.

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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"I've lost count of the number of times my palate has been viewed with condescension on this board."

Well let me try and ask you this in a benign way. And I'm only giving you an example because this isn't my opinion of you. How would one go about telling you that you don't knew beans about food without you feeling that it is condescending? Where is the difference between criticism (of one's taste,) and condescension?

You see I think that raising the spector of snobbery is a coy way of diverting the conversation into one that is about people, and not about food. Wilfrid said it earlier when he said that this topic is interesting if we stick to the merits, i.e., how food tastes or even how food should taste. But that raises the sticky of question of how do you include people in a conversation that don't understand food without their feeling bad?

Aren't people who hold themselves to a higher standard allowed to say so? This is the Catch 22 I always complain about with food. If I announced that the only scallops I eat are Peconic Bay, and that those frozen scallops aren't good enough for me, someone here might call me a snob. But in reality I should be praised for having good taste and high standards. But then if Peconic Bay scallops all of a sudden became the standard for everyone to eat, I would then be considered smart for having figured it out first. And if I am a smart person for figuring it out, what shall we say about (the opinion) of the person who can't see it or who refuses to admit what everyone else knows?

Wilfrid - Well that was an even better dissertation of personal prefernce being different then commonly held standards. What the "right" thing to drink with steak frittes (right meaning commonly held) and what the "right" thing to drink with steak frittes (right meaning preferable for that person) are just two different definitions of the word right that are both applicable.

So the speaker of the question has to distinguish which right he is asking about.

.

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