Or as I told my snarky sister-in-law recently when she saw I brought my own margarita mix, tequila and limes to a Mexican-themed party instead of partaking in her sticky-sweet pre-mixed strawberry margarita mix (I like a classic on-the-rocks, okay?) and called me a food snob (not for the first time—that was when she asked for ketchup for a heavily laden goat-cheese and prosciutto brunch dish I made and said I probably considered her request gauche, which I adamantly did not deny, and thank God for Joe’s smooth negotiating tactics or the brunch may have deteriorated into fisticuffs) ”I’m just generally a snob about everything.” I wonder if she caught the “when it has anything to do with you” in my salt-rimmed smile?
Joe and I are Foodies, we don’t deny it. Some might call it being a food snob, but a Foodie sounds so much cuter, and less harsh; rounder, you might say. We enjoy eating at what might be considered trendy restaurants, always buy fresh, good quality ingredients, (no matter what the price; if it’s what I want and/or need I’ll get it) and I have a bit of a reputation for not holding back when I cook. We belong to a dinner club, I subscribe to three different cooking magazines, own around a hundred cook books, and love, love, love my shiny red food processor and matching standing mixer that glow with pride on the kitchen countertop right next to the glossy red knife-holder-man stabbed by my professional chef’s knives. Feeding friends and family food that makes their eyes roll back and a little happy drool slide out of the corner of their mouths makes me beam. It’s my passion and one way I can really let them know I love them.
The other day though, we may have gone too far. A couple years ago we went to Germany for Christmas and took a little unplanned side-trip into Switzerland where we ended up dragging our frozen, tired bodies into the warmest, friendliest Italian-Swiss hotel. We ended up having the best meal of our two-week vacation there that night, quite possibly the best meal of our entire year, served by dreamy looking Italians. They made their own balsamic vinegar at the restaurant—a viscous, almost raisin-like, yet not-too-sweet concoction that didn’t even compare to even the nicest bottle we’d ever had back home. After dinner we saw they sold bottles of this magical elixir, so we splurged (the equivalent of maybe $25) and bought one. We made it last almost a year and a half, and have since been trying to find something similar here. We even tried contacting the hotel via email to buy more, but never received a response. Every time I come across a balsamic I haven’t seen before I’ll slowly tip the bottle to see or feel its viscosity, only to be woefully disappointed every time. Then Saturday we discovered an Oil & Vinegar store.
After waddling (being a Foodie has sadly taken its toll) our way around dipping little croutons in sample dishes of herbed vinegars, and flavored olive oils, Joe found himself sampling a 12-year old balsamic. Tasty, but not quite there. One of the (many) helpful sales people noticed our interest and lured us into trying a 30-year aged bottle. She carefully doled it out like cough-syrup into tiny plastic spoons and watched our eyelids flutter as little dollar signs lit up her own eyes. Yes! Our quest was over! Naturally we had to buy the little guy (3.86 ounces) and take him home to live in the highly revered vinegar and oil cupboard. The attendant went into the back and brought out a bottle and told us the price. We’ve never even bought an expensive bottle of wine that costs this much! But after a little far-flung justification (it’s my Mother’s Day gift… we’re Foodies, by God!…can you just imagine snarky sister-in-law’s face?—which is what really pushed me over), we proudly plunked down our debit card and claimed ownership of our Il Balsamico, while the entire store cheered and raised their little sample cups; Salud!
The only regret we have is that continuing our shopping expedition everything that would have seemed expensive before was suddenly quite reasonably priced. Joe, this hand-tooled red leather purse is only a little more than a bottle of vinegar! Go ahead and buy that cool shirt, it’s not even half the price of a bottle of vinegar! Call us food snobs if you will, but we enjoy life and know how to laugh at ourselves.