Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cafe Society: Randomness Part II

Continuing on with the random observations and inquiries generated by the java-injected brain ... for the low, low price of 2 bucks you too can become a coffee mischiever.

II. Languishing over language: Tasting quality versus quantity

Whenever my friend Terry, a chef and self-proclaimed foodie, is in the coffee house the conversation will inevitably turn toward culinary delights. As he and fellow free thinker Tom W compared notes on cooked books, I had to interject a bit of mischief — not wanting to be left out of the fun despite a lack of subjective interest and relevant intelligence. And so it was that I met their Gourmet with my Gourmand.

What you may ask is the difference? Gourmet describes a person who appreciates fine food and wine, with an emphasis on the quality of the meal consumed — a good variety of discrimination. A Gourmand is also a lover of good food, but the word has the implication of someone who is more concerned with consuming mass quantities — a gluttonous fondness when taken to the extreme. In many ways, I fall into the latter category due to certain penurious tendencies; preferring a filling meal to an expensive one. I can, however, display fits of snobbery about some food and drink — wanting my pasta served al dente and my ale good and hoppy.

Digging into the root of the two words, I found a dash of irony to add to the stew pot. Both words derive from Grom, a Middle English word for valet or servant, presumably the fellow in charge of procuring the wine. So it is that those who embrace the gourmet life of high-class habits, are carrying on the best traditions of indentured servitude — ever slaves to good taste.

For those in the neighborhood, an opportunity to sample some quality food in ample quantities will avail itself shortly as Terry showcases his skills in a jumbalaya cook-off to benefit charity on July 26th at the No Exit Café (6970 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago). I'll provide more details on that later.

My bean-soaked brain is quickly losing its edge, but I might just have one more post left in me before I crash into uncaffeinated sleep ... stay tuned.
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