When I wrote the line, "there are no coffee snobs that I know of," I expected them to come out of the woodwork. And they did.
The interesting thing is, snobs seem to fall into two categories. Yes, I am now to the point of categorizing snobs.
Has this columnist run out of things to write? Not in the least.
But snobs and snobbery are as much a part of food and wine as ants are part of picnics. Both are essentially harmless, but no one really wants them around, apart from their own kind.
You see, my wife, as of late, has begun describing herself as a food snob. That mildly troubles me, even though I know exactly what she means.
I'm troubled because if she is a food snob, then so am I. And if I'm a food snob, well - what of wine and all the rest? So I went to the experts to further explore this dilemma. What exactly is a snob by definition?
Webster says, "one who blatantly imitates, fawningly admires or vulgarly seeks association with those regarded as social superiors," or, "one who tends to rebuff, avoid or ignore those regarded as inferior: one who has an offensive air of superiority in matters of knowledge or taste."
Wow! Webster sure has a way with words, doesn't he?
I certainly don't want to be that, although there are those who revel in it. The wine world has its fill, and I have to believe that they have slowed the progress of wine consumership by treating it as an exclusive beverage, rather than a drink for everyday enjoyment.
Most other definitions of snobs are similarly negative. But listen to the Cambridge rendering: "A person who has extremely high standards, who is not satisfied by the things that ordinary people like."
That's not so bad, is it? In fact, my wife and many readers have embraced that exact idea when they refer to themselves good-naturedly as snobs.
Whether it's food, wine, coffee or anything else, there is nothing wrong with having high standards, and wanting better than ordinary. And if we (yes, I include myself in that category) can hold that standard without looking down our noses, we can encourage and bring others along to venture out into "better" culinary experiences.
So there it is, then. I am officially a snob.
A category two snob, that is.
I don't want to settle for swill when there is so much good wine to drink. I don't want processed "food" that lacks taste, quality and nutritional value.
But I also don't want to isolate those who simply haven't experienced and don't understand the difference. I don't want to start an exclusive group that gloats in imagined superiority over those who don't join in.
So which are you? One of Webster's snobs, or a Cambridge snob?
Or are you neither? If you are not yet a snob, may I encourage you to want better and not be satisfied with ordinary.
At the same time, the world can definitely do without any more "offensive airs of superiority."
To share your favorite pairings, ask questions, or just to talk wine, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, happy pours.