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Are you a gourmet snob?


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maggiethecat, you hate woks in Western kitchens?  Why?

Because a cast iron frying pan on a conventional gas stovetop works better. Woks need btus unknown to home kitchens.

Not to seem dense but, you mean, home stoves don't get hot enough? How hot does it have to get?

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Yay! I have been wondering where to post my confession and this thread seems to be that proper place. That foam stuff? I cannot help it, but when I see it all I can think is that it looks like cat yak. I'm sure that it is infused with incredible flavor. I know it is silly and juvenile of me, but that's what it looks like to me, especially if there is anything green visible.

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“If we don't watch out, the pleasure to be gained from the discriminating enjoyment of food will be lost. It may not be long before the art of fine cooking is viewed as the invention of a handful of snobs....A whole aspect of living well, of civilization itself, is threatened with extinction.”

Benoite Groult, 'La Mer a la Cuisine' in 'Loaves & Wishes'

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I'm not really sure who he's laughing at, or maybe it's just that dry British humor; but it seems as though he's saying we're (foodies, Americans) all pretentious a-holes.  Almost everything in this article is hyper-inflated for comedic purposes, which I don't have a problem with, except it's all been said before and it's not really funny anymore.  He's set up a straw man and knocked it down.  And we poor colonists must accept his better judgement.

1238s too067

I read it again, and in all but one of his points his British folk took a much bigger pasting than us Yanks. Tim lived in the States for ten years and is married to an American lady, so he's not an uniformed Brit.

In the end, it's just funny. I like that.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Factory farm chickens? Yeah. yeah, I know.   But it's tough for me to spend the much, much higher costs for a fancy free range organic bird.

If you buy whole carrots and turn them yourself, you'll save enough to buy a free range bird. :smile:

Heh.... But I don't have time to do that on a Wednesday night when I get home from work at 7:00 PM. My time is worth something! :) I'll have to check prices on those cut baby carrots. I don't think a pound of them costs a whole lot more than a pound of normal carrots.

You could confine yourself to buying free range when you can afford it, and the rest of the time get your protein through sources such as beans. This would entail giving up some chicken eating, but would make you a more ethical shopper, which seems like a reasonable trade off, doesn't it?

I dunno about that. I like to get my protein from animals. Chicken is reasonably priced source. But there can be a pretty remarkable difference between a 4 pound regular bird and a 4 pound organic free range bird. To me, it seems a bit silly for someone with my financial means to spend that much money on chicken for a typical, cooked at home, solo meal.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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If you insist on getting your protein from animals, then how about eating a single egg a day from cage free hens? (Eating eggs from caged hens is worse than eating factory-farmed chickens.) If you are worried about health, I can show you an article from the Harvard Health Publications entitled 'The dangers of eggs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be' which says that an egg a day is fine. Or maybe a combination of eggs and beans would do the trick. Or perhaps some milk or yogurt. There are many protein alternatives to chicken.

Yes, factory-farmed chicken is cheap, but it's only that cheap because the industry takes severe ethical shortcuts. I don't think it's silly to want to eat ethically. And as I said, you don't have to increase the amount you spend for chicken. Just eat less of it. It really just amounts to a small lifestyle change on your part. But think about the factory-farmed chicken. It's his life full time.

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I'm not really sure who he's laughing at, or maybe it's just that dry British humor; but it seems as though he's saying we're (foodies, Americans) all pretentious a-holes. 

Aren't we? :raz: Hell, I'll take the rap.

Miami Danny, I do believe he's being ironic - the British sense of irony is very well-honed and in common & constant usage (I always have to adjust to it when I'm over there. Otherwise I'd spend most of my time being appalled).

I've never heard anyone call a restaurant a resto before, though. This is an Americanism? Is it a regionalism?

I enjoyed the article very much, especially the bit about equipment & knives. I know some people for whom the owning of the very best of everything is an end in itself - they never actually use the stuff.

BondGirl and FFB, you need interventions. Manolo Blahnik is good for you.

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If you insist on getting your protein from animals, then how about eating a single egg a day from cage free hens?  (Eating eggs from caged hens is worse than eating factory-farmed chickens.)  If you are worried about health, I can show you an article from the Harvard Health Publications entitled 'The dangers of eggs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be' which says that an egg a day is fine.  Or maybe a combination of eggs and beans would do the trick.  Or perhaps some milk or yogurt.  There are many protein alternatives to chicken. 

Yes, factory-farmed chicken is cheap, but it's only that cheap because the industry takes severe ethical shortcuts.  I don't think it's silly to want to eat ethically.  And as I said, you don't have to increase the amount you spend for chicken.  Just eat less of it.  It really just amounts to a small lifestyle change on your part.  But think about the factory-farmed chicken.  It's his life full time.

The price of those free range eggs is pretty damn high, too. It can be a couple of bucks for a dozen. I'm not worried about the health aspects of eggs. In fact, I'm going to have 2 or 3 of them for breakfast tomorrow.

I would LIKE to eat organic chickens and eggs and dairy, fruits, vegetables, etc. all the time. Really, I would. If you are going to eat "ethically", you gotta go "all in", don't you?? . But I just flat out can't justify the costs. I already spend too much money as it is preparing foods at home. Going all organic would raise my food costs even more.

Maybe one day, the price difference will not be so great. Then, I'll be able to afford it all the time.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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If you insist on getting your protein from animals, then how about eating a single egg a day from cage free hens?  (Eating eggs from caged hens is worse than eating factory-farmed chickens.)  If you are worried about health, I can show you an article from the Harvard Health Publications entitled 'The dangers of eggs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be' which says that an egg a day is fine.  Or maybe a combination of eggs and beans would do the trick.  Or perhaps some milk or yogurt.  There are many protein alternatives to chicken. 

Yes, factory-farmed chicken is cheap, but it's only that cheap because the industry takes severe ethical shortcuts.  I don't think it's silly to want to eat ethically.  And as I said, you don't have to increase the amount you spend for chicken.  Just eat less of it.  It really just amounts to a small lifestyle change on your part.  But think about the factory-farmed chicken.  It's his life full time.

The price of those free range eggs is pretty damn high, too. It can be a couple of bucks for a dozen. I'm not worried about the health aspects of eggs. In fact, I'm going to have 2 or 3 of them for breakfast tomorrow.

I would LIKE to eat organic chickens and eggs and dairy, fruits, vegetables, etc. all the time. Really, I would. If you are going to eat "ethically", you gotta go "all in", don't you?? . But I just flat out can't justify the costs. I already spend too much money as it is preparing foods at home. Going all organic would raise my food costs even more.

Maybe one day, the price difference will not be so great. Then, I'll be able to afford it all the time.

I would say that you don't need to go all out. Even if you just occassionally bought ethically. I would recommend going for the cage free eggs. Above all else. When you can. (You don't necessarily need to go for the free range eggs. Just go for cage free.) Make sure the carton of eggs says Certified Humane, Free Farmed, Certified Organic, cage-free, or free-range. Otherwise, the eggs are almost certainly from hens confined in battery cages. The following is from an article by Michael Pollen called An Animal's Place.

From everything I've read, egg and hog operations are the worst. Beef cattle in America at least still live outdoors, albeit standing ankle deep in their own waste eating a diet that makes them sick. And broiler chickens, although they do get their beaks snipped off with a hot knife to keep them from cannibalizing one another under the stress of their confinement, at least don't spend their eight-week lives in cages too small to ever stretch a wing. That fate is reserved for the American laying hen, who passes her brief span piled together with a half-dozen other hens in a wire cage whose floor a single page of this magazine could carpet. Every natural instinct of this animal is thwarted, leading to a range of behavioral ''vices'' that can include cannibalizing her cagemates and rubbing her body against the wire mesh until it is featherless and bleeding. Pain? Suffering? Madness? The operative suspension of disbelief depends on more neutral descriptors, like ''vices'' and ''stress.'' Whatever you want to call what's going on in those cages, the 10 percent or so of hens that can't bear it and simply die is built into the cost of production. And when the output of the others begins to ebb, the hens will be ''force-molted'' -- starved of food and water and light for several days in order to stimulate a final bout of egg laying before their life's work is done.

Full article...

http://www.organicconsumers.org/organic/010403_organic.cfm

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maggiethecat, you hate woks in Western kitchens?  Why?

Because a cast iron frying pan on a conventional gas stovetop works better. Woks need btus unknown to home kitchens.

This is just plain incorrect. You don't have the volume for proper chan action in a cast iron pan.

If it's good enough for Chinese Americans and well, an awful lot of Chinese to use at home its good enough for me.

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I don't like the term snob. I think what some people are saying is they like food prepared with integery. If one cannot wallow in the pleasure of a perfect one dollar taco, as well as diving head first into a meal at the French Laundry, then they are a SNOB. It is so much better to love it all. Other than the stupid plastic food, and one could argue that there is a place for that. Is it not the ability to get maxium pleasure from what you have in front of you? Oops, that is NOT A SNOB.

I have three roux in my freezer. I have traveled 3000 miles for a meal. I chose my apt. for the kitchen. I cannot spend time with someone if they eat just for fuel. I notice if the salad plate is the wrong temp. But I love food, cocktails, and wine, and my life would me one long bitch session if I didn't take things in context. Life is too short to drink well liquor, and eat at fast food joints. But there is a time and a place for cold cheap beer and mac&sleaze. I feel sorry for the snobs, and revel in being an estatic epicurian.

Edit: Had to add a thing or two.

Edited by Alchemist (log)

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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I'll be an asshole until the day I die (and hopefully in the afterlife I can piss off a few people too).  Pretentious?  No f'ing way.

I'll cop to being pretentious, in a less severe definition of the word, although less when it comes to food than in other areas, but I still wouldn't consider myself a snob.

SB (for instance, I don't even speak French) :rolleyes:

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Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies. It has been for some time. When I go to someplace new, I go in the hope that my world of cooking will expand, usually, much to the chagrin of my favorite dining partner, Deb. Unless we are at a favorite spot that we have returned to for a favorite dish, I will order stuff that is new to me, in the hope that if it is great, I can strive to create it at home. That is one of my favorite tasks, plain and simple. In that light, I really can't imagine how my world would look if I did not like to cook. For that reason, I can't really relate to those that don't, except for Deb, but she knows that if she liked it, I'll try and make it for her.

As far as food snob goes, hey, I don't want special treatment, I just want to be treated well and don't think that is too much to ask. If you have gone into the business of selling food, you must think you can do it well and I hope you are right. If you are not, I will not come back. Call me a food snob if you wish, I don't care.

In case you wondered, the value of my knives or my car has absolutely no bearing on this issue to me.

Cheers,

HC

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Yay!  I have been wondering where to post my confession and this thread seems to be that proper place.  That foam stuff?  I cannot help it, but when I see it all I can think is that it looks like cat yak.  I'm sure that it is infused with incredible flavor.  I know it is silly and juvenile of me, but that's what it looks like to me, especially if there is anything green visible.

And I thought I was the only one who thought that foam looked like something a cat owner might find on the carpet.

There was a picture, right here on this site, with foam and strands of chive--and cat barf was the only thing I could think of.

Oh, well. I am not likely to ever eat in a foam-y restaurant, anyhow.

sparrowgrass
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Factory farm chickens? Yeah. yeah, I know.   But it's tough for me to spend the much, much higher costs for a fancy free range organic bird.

If you buy whole carrots and turn them yourself, you'll save enough to buy a free range bird. :smile:

Heh.... But I don't have time to do that on a Wednesday night when I get home from work at 7:00 PM. My time is worth something! :) I'll have to check prices on those cut baby carrots. I don't think a pound of them costs a whole lot more than a pound of normal carrots.

Silly goose! Those are baby carrots like you're a baby human. They're "adult" carrots cut and ground to little pieces. REAL baby carrots are sweeter, more intense, and--get this--SHAPED LIKE CARROTS.

Yeah, it's more expensive for any of us to buy a chicken that doesn't lead a life of torture, but that's a reason to eat less chicken, not to torture more chickens. Besides, romantic that I am, I want to believe chickens that aren't battery raised taste better, smell better, and have sweet dispositions. I'm thinking of getting one as a pet, if my wife will let me.

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Yeah, it's more expensive for any of us to buy a chicken that doesn't lead a life of torture, but that's a reason to eat less chicken, not to torture more chickens. Besides, romantic that I am, I want to believe chickens that aren't battery raised taste better, smell better, and have sweet dispositions. I'm thinking of getting one as a pet, if my wife will let me.

sparrowgrass
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Factory farm chickens? Yeah. yeah, I know.   But it's tough for me to spend the much, much higher costs for a fancy free range organic bird.

If you buy whole carrots and turn them yourself, you'll save enough to buy a free range bird. :smile:

Heh.... But I don't have time to do that on a Wednesday night when I get home from work at 7:00 PM. My time is worth something! :) I'll have to check prices on those cut baby carrots. I don't think a pound of them costs a whole lot more than a pound of normal carrots.

Silly goose! Those are baby carrots like you're a baby human. They're "adult" carrots cut and ground to little pieces. REAL baby carrots are sweeter, more intense, and--get this--SHAPED LIKE CARROTS.

Oh, I know how cut baby carrots are made. But someone had suggested (in a joking way of course) that I could turn normal carrots into the little ones by hand if I wanted carrots of that size. I COULD, if I had time. And if I actually knew HOW to do it (I really don't know how)

Edited by jsmeeker (log)

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Thank you for posting that information, Sparrowgrass. I only have one point to clarify. You wrote:

"Cage free eggs come from hens who are nearly as closely confined as battery hens--a huge shed stuffed full of thousands of birds."

While this may be true, there is a big difference between caged birds and cage free. Cage free birds "have the ability to engage in many of their natural behaviors such as walking, nesting, and spreading their wings." Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that cage free birds live great lives. (After all, the cage free label still permits debeaking and forced molting through starvation.) I'm just saying they live much better lives then caged birds.

But what you write, in the whole, is very valuable. It is extremely important to look behind the label -- to research what the label means. This may help as far as eggs are concerned...

A Brief Guide to Egg Carton Labels and Their Relevance to Animal Welfare

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That fate is reserved for the American laying hen, who passes her brief span piled together with a half-dozen other hens in a wire cage whose floor a single page of this magazine could carpet. Every natural instinct of this animal is thwarted, leading to a range of behavioral ''vices'' that can include cannibalizing her cagemates and rubbing her body against the wire mesh until it is featherless and bleeding. Pain? Suffering? Madness? The operative suspension of disbelief depends on more neutral descriptors, like ''vices'' and ''stress.'' Whatever you want to call what's going on in those cages, the 10 percent or so of hens that can't bear it and simply die is built into the cost of production. And when the output of the others begins to ebb, the hens will be ''force-molted'' -- starved of food and water and light for several days in order to stimulate a final bout of egg laying before their life's work is done. 

May I ask if the same people who are concerned with how chickens are treated are equally as upset about the origins of fois gras? I understand the argument that banning fois gras is one more sign of eroding personal liberties in this country, (another conversation entirely!) but it strikes me as a bit hypocrital to insist on buying only free range organic meat and eggs while enjoying fois gras. I don't see any outrage by 'foodies' where the treatment of ducks and geese is concerned in the threads I've read. Just curious.

Loved the article - I think the people he was describing were pretentious, not snobs, I don't consider "food snobs" a bad thing. I've been accused of being a 'food snob' because I won't touch Cool Whip with a barge pole..imagine.

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