Monday, 15 March 2010
The Pretentious Foodie
You know the type... the one who urges you to book into El Bulli before it closes "I can put in a good word for you, and tell Ferran to give you the chicken skins as an ante-starter, they're absolutely divine..." He's been to more Michelin starred restaurants than you've had cheeseburgers and can tell you the difference between a Hollandaise and a Bearnaise with a slight sneer at your ignorance.
I would classify myself as VERY interested in food/cooking/nutrition etc. but I feel dreadfully put off by all those bores who want to tell you what's what. The best bagel in New York? Salt beef in East London? Borschtsch in Moscow? Yeah, please just go away, I prefer to find out for myself. Another most irritating characteristic of the Pretentious Foodie (PF) is his (they are mostly male, funnily enough) prediliction to call perfectly ordinary ingredients or dishes by their foreign names.
I'm not of the "Call a spade a spade"-brigade, but I bristle at people who - with a thick English accent - happily talk about "prosciutto", "petit pois", or "moules". The Pretentious Foodie does not realise he just sounds like a provincial sea-side hotel in the Fifties. I recently read about a trade union leader who rather than having sandwiches, asked for "goujons de sole" -so very genteel. But my personal favourite in the PF stakes is calling "steak and chips" steak frites - how very sophisticated. Not.
What next? Call a baked potato un pomme de terre au four? I've often wondered why food of all things attracts such a lot of pretentious types. I mean, okay - music, or literature... but food??