Thursday, November 13, 2014

Marriage to a Food Snob

Marriage to a Food Snob -- There are two kinds of people in this world: those who are food snobs, and those who aren't. Here's what you can expect if you find yourself accidentally married to one.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
photo by Zsuzsanna Kilian

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who are food snobs, and those who aren't.

I didn't really know Phillip was a food snob when we got married, and to tell you the truth I think he's gotten worse over the years. He recently told me "The older I get, the more I realize there are only a finite number of meals I get to eat in my life, and I don't want to waste them on mediocre food."

There are many perks to making a food snob your life partner. There are also many annoyances. If any of you should ever marry a food snob, let me give you a little tour of the life you can expect.



  • You'll get over being offended when he automatically brings his sea salt grinder to the table with him — without even tasting dinner first.
  • You'll have all the Laffy Taffy and other cheap, sugary candies to yourself because he's "just not impressed" by two-dimensional tastes.
  • You'll never eat at Applebee's again. Dinner dates will now mean hopping from one ethnic restaurant to another, looking for a hidden gem with a native chef who cooks authentically. (If you also happen to have a lot of money, you'll frequent expensive restaurants that serve very tiny, very beautifully plated dishes of roasted quail.)


Marriage to a food snob also means you're off the hook for Thanksgiving dinner for the rest of your life. Yet everything will be made from scratch and will taste divine.

Marriage to a Food Snob -- There are two kinds of people in this world: those who are food snobs, and those who aren't. Here's what you can expect if you find yourself accidentally married to one.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Thanksgiving 2008. Pretty sure we were the only poor grad students having a dinner like this.

For illustrative purposes, I'll tell you how Phillip makes our Thanksgiving stuffing. The man starts by baking bread from scratch and cutting it into cubes. Contrast that with how I make stuffing, which is pushing my cart to the Stove Top aisle and letting my kids choose between "Savory Herb" and "Mushroom Sage."

Over the years, Phillip and I realized our true incompatibility when it comes to fancy cooking and now I'm only given very specific Thanksgiving tasks such as "take the pan out of the oven at 2:30."

Oh, and I wash dishes.

But don't be fooled, cleaning up behind a food snob as they make a 5-course meal is no small feat. These people use four different bowls and five utensils to mix anything. By the time we're done with Thanksgiving, I've washed everything in the kitchen at least three times.

To the food snob, cooking is part art, part science. They use all those bowls and utensils for a very good, very boring scientific reason about not wanting to overmix the flour. I get it, I just don't care.

I was once cooking with my daughter and asked her to read me the recipe. When she got to "In a separate bowl, mix the"

I held up a hand, interrupted her and said, "We're not doing that. Let's just put everything in one bowl."

Marriage to a Food Snob -- There are two kinds of people in this world: those who are food snobs, and those who aren't. Here's what you can expect if you find yourself accidentally married to one.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
"But that's what the recipe says," she protested.

"I know. Some cooks do it that way, like Dad. And some don't, like me."

She considered that for a minute. "Is that why Dad's food is better?"

And bless her heart, she's right. Dad's food is better, and any chef worth his salt (haha, see what I did there?) will agree you should keep the dry and wet ingredients separate until a precise moment in the cooking process.

Nevertheless, I still see it as an optional extra step for people who just really like to wash dishes.

I'm not even going to go into how I feel about marinating.

I will talk about stovetops, though, which I think are entirely too complicated. Our burners have 20 heat settings. Twenty. Do you know how many I need? Two: "on," and "off."

I'm often accused of overcooking our food, but I just don't have the time to mess around in the kitchen with this "low heat" nonsense.

I'm a utilitarian cook. I cook to keep everyone alive, and if I'm never mistaken for a gourmet chef then, well, there are worse things in life. As long as the food is tasty enough, I have no problem skipping steps that will take more of my time and only make subtle differences in the flavor.

I'm not lazy, I'm just really good at cost-benefit analysis.

Last night we were having what we call "loaded baked potatoes," where there are a zillion tasty toppings and the baked potato is really just a vehicle to get them all into your mouth. Translation: the taste of the potato is not that important.

Perfect! I'll just stab some potatoes a few times with a fork and throw them in the oven. But Phillip was in charge of the potatoes last night. He had to drizzle them with olive oil and season the ever-loving daylights out of them first. As a result they were so delicious I could have eaten them all by themselves.

The moral of the story is: let a food snob loose in the kitchen and some seriously beautiful things will happen. Phillip creates his own recipes, doesn't use measurements, and cooks by seasoning and tasting. He loves to experiment in the kitchen. He's always soaking or carmelizing something.

Because of his appreciation for fine cooking, it's delightfully easy to buy Phillip gifts. I think for the last five years' worth of birthdays, Christmases, and Father's Days I've gotten him some kind of kitchen gadget. You want a flour sifter? A set of nice pastry brushes? Ceramic pie weights? A stainless steel pastry blender? Okay!

Another thing food snobs love? Eating healthy. I agree with minimizing the number of foods I buy that come in a package or bag, but food snobs often take it to the next level. If you don't know what I'm talking about, maybe this video will help:


When I first saw this I found it hilarious, because I am (almost) married to that guy. But the words "Phillip, come watch this" died in my mouth as I turned around and realized he was taking a pan of kale chips out of the oven. True story.

The long and short of it is, I love my food snob and wouldn't have him any other way. It's part of what makes him Phillip.

Just don't ask me to mix the wet and dry ingredients separately when I cook. It's not gonna happen.

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4 comments:

  1. You are the only other person that I've ever heard refer to herself as a utilitarian cook. I had to laugh at that one because I thought I was the only one!

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    1. Yes, as far as cooks go, I'm pretty far toward the "prison cafeteria lady" end of the spectrum. Glad I'm not alone.

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  2. So.very.funny! "prison cafeteria lady""!!! Hilarious! Thank God, y'all found each other! Perfectly balance each other out!

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    1. We do, in more ways than one! God really had it all planned out when He threw us together.

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