Food Snobbery

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

I just hit my breaking point with food snobbery after reading this entry:

Kate just came back from a visit from Asheville, where the downtown area boasts that it only has one chain restaurant. For some reason, Kate thinks this is infinitely superior to the towns with a mix of chain restaurants and local flair:

A community gets the food culture it deserves, whether it’s one where Applebee’s and Albertson’s dominates, or one where local restaurateurs work with local farmers and consumers spend their money in a way that ensures that their dollars are re-invested in their community. Asheville has clearly chosen where it wants fits in this spectrum.

It just makes me shake my head. I want to pat Kate on the head and tell her, “It’s just food, honey. It all comes out smelling poorly in the end.”

We live in a society where food snobbery has become a method of proving that you’re better than someone else. Guess what. We’re not. Food is meant to keep me from passing out from hunger and low blood sugar. When I feel dizzy and hungry, Applebee’s works just as well as some snooty restaurant.

Try going hungry for a couple of days, Kate. Even “the food you deserve” will taste like a godsend after that.


11 Responses to “Food Snobbery”

  1. Ernie Says:

    “It’s just food, honey. It all comes out smelling poorly in the end.”

    I love it!

    I like my share of nifty out-of-the-way restaurants, but I agree with you on this one. I know people who can’t go out unless it’s to the latest spot. Sometimes, I just don’t want to cook and clean up after myself!

  2. Kate Hopkins Says:

    See my response to this here.

  3. Scott Says:

    I think that you missed her point in a grand fashion. Granted, food is not the end all, but if you can spend your food dollar on stuff made locally, by small business owners, not only is it likely to taste better it ultimately benefits your community more. Combine that with the fact that there’s so much more to food then simply helping to prevent you from passing out and all I can say is maybe your blood sugar being a little low made you cranky.

  4. Beck Says:

    Scott is absolutely correct. You missed the point of Kates article by miles. Supporting local independent restaurants and retailers is a fabulous way to ensure a towns success while also encouraging entrepreneurs.

  5. Brian Says:

    Why does a local restaurant have to be a “snooty restaurant”? What about all the taco shacks / street meat / cafes / coffee shops / diners / restaurants where I can put a few dollars in my neighbor’s pocket AND get a cheap non-snooty meal?

    I very much dislike chain restaurants, but it has nothing to do with the quality of the food. I just want to support the community in which I live, and resist the homogenization of its food and culture.

  6. Leisureguy Says:

    I agree: the post above misses the point and also seems meanspirited. I understand that some view food merely as fuel (“Food is meant to keep me from passing out from hunger and low blood sugar.”), but many view food in addition as a pleasure. When I visited my daughter in Austin TX, we skipped the chains—food the same the country across and, as Kate noted in her post, profits mostly going to corporate—in favor of local tacquerias and BBQ joints. These were not pretentious affairs, but had excellent local food and were (for us) MUCH more enjoyable than a chain meal—and also did more for the local economy. Reread Kate’s original post.

  7. Sheryl Says:

    “Food is meant to keep me from passing out from hunger and low blood sugar. When I feel dizzy and hungry, Applebee’s works just as well as some snooty restaurant.”

    How terribly, overwhelmingly sad this statement is.

    Perhaps in the context of exercise and diet, food is merely fuel, but that’s really one small aspect of it. Food is a connection to the world around you, including the earth it’s grown in, the community that grows it and the cooks who prepare it.

    It’s an opportunity to travel without leaving home, to learn about different cultures. It is, at its very best, a sensual experience that can elevate the act of eating to something emotional and poignant.

    Caring about where your food comes from is not snobbery. Nor is caring that small local farmers and restaurants can continue to exist beside corporate behemoths that would have us all eating the same few things day in and day out.

    Sure, Applebee’s will work to fill the hole in your gut. But it certainly won’t fill the void in your soul.

  8. Erika Says:

    “It’s just food…” ?? It’s just food? Without food you would cease to exist. Without food to nourish your body and refuel, your body would shrivel up and die. There’s no way around that. It’s not “just food”, and it’s certainly not food snobbery to care about what you nourish your body with. Perhaps if you paid more attention to the type of food you were nourishing your body with, you wouldn’t have such problems with blood sugar.

  9. raquel Says:

    i actually think you may be the one with a case of food snobbery…if you think “it’s just food” then you are sadly mistaken. what we eat (where it grows, who grows it, how it’s harvested, processed and distributed, etc, etc) has a direct effect on community. and you don’t need to patronize “some snooty restaurant…” a mom and pop kinda place will do just fine. the problem exists with people that have thinking similar to the kind you express in your post. food is food is food… and that hardly touches the surface. too many people fall victim to the false sense of supporting our economy by buying into such thinking. why not research more about applebee’s and the like before making a statement such as “it’s just food.” do you know exactly what it is you’re eating???

    as a consumer, i feel my hard earned money should go to the people working just as hard to earn my money. if you feel applebee’s and the like are worthy, then go for it. i’ll stick to my local joints and farmer’s markets. global consumerist havoc is the starting point of sensationalized franchises (ie mcdonalds and starbucks.) that’s why all you see on “every corner” is another one of these franchises. the money you spend, even on that daily latte at starbucks, is the ONLY power you have as a consumer. so…if you want yet another starbucks, order another latte. heck. order two! if you want to discuss this further, you can find me at my local coffeehouse. drinking a well crafted, fair trade, organic, and very fairly priced drink.

  10. Linda Says:

    Supporting local industries and farms is essential but the argument for local eating extends also to food safety. If I buy a pound of ground beef from my neighbor’s farm, it’s got one cow’s muscle in that ground beef. If I buy a frozen patty made in a factory in Omaha (merely an illustration, I have nothing against Omaha), that patty may have a hundred cows in it, which really increases my chances for getting a little E.coli with it. Or if you a vegetarian, think about bagged lettuce. One bag comes from many, many fields and so contamination in one field is not limited to one or two heads, it’s ‘wealth’ is spread among all the bags that field’s lettuce goes into (read: outbreak). If I buy a contaminated head from my neighbor’s farm, chances are it only infects me, not 100.

    Buy local. Your health and the health of your community depend upon it.

  11. Laura Moncur Says:

    See this folks? THIS is the kind of snobbery I’m sick of.

    Yes, it’s ONLY food.

    Quit getting your self esteem from the nutrients you put in your body, people.


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