Of food snobs, the apocalypse and people who just want some jelly

French PastriesMike was telling me a story the other day about his experience in a local restaurant. Oh, not restaurant: pâtisserie. Excuse me. That’s French for specializing in pastries, you ee-dee-ottt.

I’ve been in there exactly once, pastry not being my thing. I think someone called a meeting or something, which is how Mike ended up in this establishment the other day. Pastry isn’t his thing either. Not that there’s anything wrong with pastries, mind you. Pastry wasn’t the problem.

Mike was there for the meeting he didn’t call when some hapless guy asked the lady behind the counter for some jelly to go with his croissant.

In my mind the guy is holding his plate up, pointing at the flaky lump – his cress-ant – looking as doe-eyed and humble as Oliver Twist requesting another portion from the workhouse master.

The woman stares at him for a beat, crossing her arms in front of her flour-dusted apron. Raising one eyebrow, she sniffs in indignation.

“It doesn’t need it,” the woman says (probably also thinking… and it’s ‘quaaa-sah’ you hillbilly).

A total food-snob move. Or maybe she’s just a pastry snob. Whatever. While I can appreciate a level of culinary nit-pickiness, out-and-out food snobs put me over the edge.

Let me back up a little bit and admit I have a little bit of a split personality when it comes to food.

I love food. I get really excited about cooking shows, fresh ingredients I initially mispronounce, and experimenting with new dishes, sometimes to the chagrin of my poor family. I’ve been known to wake people up at 2 am to sample hummus I made for a party the next day.

I love eating out. But only at places where I know each dish isn’t replicated at hundreds of other franchise locations across the country, and where I can get a seat on a sunny patio if the weather permits. Where the menu changes according to the season, and there might be a type of cheese or sausage I have to look up because I’ve never heard of it before.

I think fast food is a shame. A sign of the deterioration of society. A pestilence. An omen of the apocalypse. … or at the very least, I’m pretty certain people who will willingly waste a good appetite on something that comes off an assembly line can’t be trusted.

I’m aware this all makes me somewhat (or very much) of a food snob. To some I’m probably in the same league as the pastry lady. What they don’t know is that I’ve been hungry enough for something junky to rifle through the freezer hoping the kids have talked Mike into those salty, little pizza rolls, or to tear through the entire fridge looking for the one last hot dog that was left in the package just last night… yelling.

FOR god’s sake, I need NITRATES, people. Come ON! … Some beef jerky? … Little smokies? … No? … Help a girl out

… Yes, there are moments I’d just as soon burn the damn house down as fix myself a salad.

Despite my own tendency toward food snobbery, evidence of the same in others inspires antisocial behavior. Nothing seriously destructive, mind you, but I did just now have the thought of how beautiful it would be if the pastry lady came to work one morning to find hundreds of those little jelly packets all lined up on the counter. As a bonus, maybe a couple of them could be sticky – having just been recycled from a previous customer’s plate of ham and eggs.

Because nothing says justice like jelly.

We have a theater company in town that produces plays on an outdoor stage in an amphitheater on the side of the river. We go every summer with the kids. People bring picnics. Some get considerably more into this picnic thing than others. Some of these picnics could be suitable for a photo spread in Cuisine.

Even though I love the thought of a painstakingly assembled antipasto platter for such an occasion, somehow the degree to which people overdo at these events makes me want to lug in a bucket of chicken and a Styrofoam cooler of PBR, just for show. Maybe I could be gnawing on a drumstick as I hand over my ticket and look for my seat, and then continue enjoying my greasy repast, plop in the middle of all those people with their gingham-checked napkins and pickle forks.

I mean, where do people get off acting as though they themselves sprouted, fully formed, from the freaking forehead of Julia Child? Like they never ever mistakenly referred to a certain high-protein grain as QUEE-noa, just like the rest of us?

But, even given the potential a good bucket of greasy chicken has for drawing stares of disdain, I can usually hold my angst over food snobbery in check. Mostly because the stakes are so high – I’m not a big fan of bucket chicken.

Just know, if you do happen to see me in the drive through at the Colonel’s, I’m just having a meltdown-type craving or else trying to make a statement. It’s not a real sign of the end of the world,

Unless I’m on a pale horse. You know, with my bucket and my jelly.


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Photo by: You as a Machine

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  1. So I guess the guy never got his jelly, huh? It\’s like kids, oh and my husband, and how they\’ll smother a perfectly good something or other in ketchup or some other lowly sauce/dressing. Ranch, anyone? 🙂 I suppose it all boils down to individual tastes/preferencesn