I’ve been wanting to write this since after Thanksgiving, but I didn’t want to sound ungrateful when writing it nor did I want to offend anyone. However, it’s been burdening my mind for more than a minute. So, at the risk of stepping on some toes, I write this entry.
This Thanksgiving, I was grateful for a lot of things. I was grateful not to be working in retail. For me, this means that I don’t have the dread of Black Friday looming in the back of my mind, nor did I have to wake myself from a turkey induced coma to get to work.
I definitely had some things to be thankful for; however, I was not thankful to be having the same thing for Thanksgiving that I had last year.
I know some people live for Thanksgiving for that reason, and I used to be like that. Especially when I was in college, I lived for Thanksgiving; it was the one bright spot during the year where I was guaranteed to have good food. If it was something that went to my stomach and stayed there without making a round trip, I was grateful for it… most of the time.
However, since I’ve gone to cooking school, I’ve become an more discerning eater than I was in the past. I was always an picky eater, but in a much different way than most people think. I would eat certain things, and that was about the scope of what I would eat. Though I may have been more adventurous than the rest of my family, I was merely somewhat adventurous when trying new things.
Now that I’ve experienced cooking school, there have been a few changes. Some things have stayed the same, but the things that stayed the same were somehow amplified. For example:
I’m a more adventurous eater. Thank the Lord for Chef Trev. There was a rule in his kitchen that we all had to follow: you must try everything. The words “I will not try this” were not acceptable in his kitchen. You might as well use foul language and accept a zero for the day. I became willing to try everything. I began really enjoying foods that I couldn’t stand when I was younger. As a result, though…
I became an even pickier eater.
WHAT?! Yes, that’s right.
I am a more critical eater because I try new things all the time, and I like creating variations on old favourites. I learned that most of the things that I hated when I was younger weren’t seasoned, thus the reason I hated them. I started perfecting things to my taste, and this can be as bad as it is a good thing. You start to enjoy old favourites more, but you might be more critical of other people’s food. It makes people afraid to cook for you. Trust me, I know. If people detect this, they serve you a plate with fear and trembling.
I dislike leftovers even more than I used to previously. I was never one for leftovers, but I’m even more anti-leftovers than before because I hate eating the same thing twice in a row. I used to hate the following hypothetical question: If you could eat one thing every day, what would it be? I couldn’t stand that question because I could never answer it! I could NEVER eat the same thing all the time; I would go mad! Well, until I discovered chili, that is. That’s the one thing that I swear tastes different the more it sits! It’s like its awesomeness concentrates with time! It took YEARS for me to finally have an answer to that question! Other than that, leftovers are a no go for me. I can be in love with it the day I had it, but the thought of having it the next day does not bode well with me.
My food swings run deep; in other words, I definitely eat what I eat based on my mood. I can have Mediterranean food one day, and want Thai food the next. I might want duck à l’orange one day, and just plain rice with olive oil and a pinch of salt the next. Yes. My food swings are that serious. Because I have such major food swings, this is the majority of the reason I don’t like leftovers.
Here’s another sign that maybe you’ve become a bit of a food snob: you can’t eat foods that you used to consume with gusto. There is one restaurant in particular that comes to mind when I say this. After a while of not having been at said restaurant, I ordered my usual. This was one of the rare occasions where I have a usual at a restaurant. It was so salty and greasy that I didn’t enjoy it at all! My stomach actually turned, and I had to stop eating it! I have ordered other things at this same restaurant that I also found to be too salty or not cooked to my liking… and they left my tongue feeling strangely coated. Needless to say, I don’t eat anything from that restaurant anymore.
I’ve hated the idea of calling myself a food snob, but it’s nothing but the truth! It can take a couple of forms. It can be as simple as not eating something simply because it’s not what you want… and I did that, too. There were times where I just didn’t eat because it wasn’t what I wanted. I think that’s a lot of the reason I lost the weight that I did last year. Whether I “needed” to lose it or not was debatable. I definitely wasn’t trying to lose weight, but I think the food snobbery had a lot to do with why I did.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there are things that I love about cooking school that I also hate about cooking school. The main thing that I love/hate about cooking school is this: it expands your palate. For those of you that have been to cooking school or have been in some kind of culinary program, you’ll fully understand this concept.
I was a person that did not learn to cook organically, and what I did know of eating didn’t stray far from the same few things we always ate in the same fashion. After having come from France, a country known for haute cuisine and amazing food, the love for food was brewing. Before that, I didn’t realize how amazing some things could taste! My first cooking class was actually in 12th grade, and I just took it to fill a gap in my schedule. That’s when food became something more to me than simply filling the need to eat. It brought me joy, and moreover, my teacher loved what I was turning out. This sparked my curiosity, and I wanted to learn more.
All of this in addition to actually going to cooking school exposed me to different ingredients, flavors, and the best ingredients that we can get a hold of. I still remember seeing a ball of saffron threads the size of a ball of yarn sitting on one of the tables. It didn’t mean anything to me at the time because this was something I was used to seeing. Now that I realize how saffron is grown and harvested, which leads to how much it costs… I get why I have the tastes that I have now. Having farm fresh eggs, a whole salmon, and an entire lamb to butcher was just a regular day in class! When you come from that, then go back to how you used to eat and the ingredients you used to use, it simply doesn’t make the cut anymore! I think the first time I made my family switch to butter from margarine, I know that my family was thinking this:
Yep, I know it. I might be a snob and a half. At the end of the day, though, I know good when I taste it and when I make it, and people around me can’t deny it.
I’m thoroughly convinced that you need good ingredients to make good food, and that variety is the spice of life. Embrace your inner food snob, and be the better for it! Even though I was being a total food snob this Thanksgiving and last, I honestly would’ve been happy with pizza for Thanksgiving.
well, there’s always next year…