What is a Gourmet?

In the words of Monty Python “And now for something completely different!”

I am interested in more than just writing.  It is my other interests that round out my creative efforts.  Food and drink.  Cooking.  The culinary arts.  These are a big part of my life.  Beside the comfort and inspiration of a good meal, cooking has played a prominent part in some of my writing.  The narrator of Weekend Getaways revels in his appetites for food and drink. 

With the exception of my birthday and Valentine’s Day, I do all the cooking in my household.  My wife does me the honor on the aforementioned days.  I plan a menu and do the grocery shopping (a task I gleefully enjoy to the amazement of the aforementioned spouse who thinks I’m a lunatic but enjoys my preparations nevertheless).

I have been amazed, however, at the comments that I am a ‘gourmet’.  I am not Emeril, Giada, Bobby Flay, or any of the other luminaries on Food Network.  Perhaps it is the fact that i have utensils in my kitchen that others do not consider useful or necessary.  Perhaps it is the joy with which I enjoy preparing a meal.

Webster defines gourmet as a “connoisseur of fine food and drink”.  Perhaps my interests in this regard make me so.  However, I believe that when people use that designation (and here again we are referring to the extraordinary meanings of words) they are implying some deeper sensibility.

To me, a gourmet is nothing more than the above defintion.  I don’t zip into a fast food restaurant for lunch or dinner, although dining out is an occasional option.  I think of the elegance of the words associated with cooking.  “Deglaze” and “reduce” come to mind.  Fancy expressions, but let’s define them for the sake of reality.

If you brown a couple of chicken breasts in olive oil, let’s say, and then wish to make a sauce, you would add in a liquid, let’s say, white wine.  By turning up the heat and scraping up the tiny brown bits, you are deglazing.  Then to thicken it, you add, oh, for argument’s sake, some heavy cream and continue boiling until the liquid portion is thickened to half the amount.  That is reducing.

Heck, anyone can scrape up the brown bits and boil until you’ve got half.  I guess we can all be gourmets

1 Comment

  1. Su said,

    June 11, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Gourmet is “connoisseur of fine food and drink”. Your blog seems to be mouth watering you have presented your experience in a beautiful way “If you brown a couple of chicken breasts in olive oil, let’s say, and then wish to make a sauce, you would add in a liquid, let’s say, white wine. ” happy BloGGing…!


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