Sunday, August 21, 2011

Stop Using the Term Gourmet!

This is a pet peeve of mine. I don't get why many restaurants and grocery stores feel the need to place "gourmet" in front of their items' and entrees' names. I'm writing this because I just had "gourmet" potato salad that tasted a lot like American classic. And I've had some good potato salad: Bavarian! But I can't be alone at cringing upon reading this phrase.

Who Uses the Word Gourmet Anymore?

The answer: mediocre restaurants and local grocery stores. That's right, I never see the word appear on a serious restaurant's menu. When I read it, I think: "This is going to suck." I can't be alone on this. And I doubt they are fooling anyone with the title. So, why did I buy that potato salad? It was because I wanted classic American. I even asked the deli woman for a quart of the only potato salad they had.

But she corrected me: "Do you mean the gourmet?"

I reply, "Yes, the gourmet." I shrug then die a little more on the inside.

Also, I see gourmet on more selective products: gourmet vegan cheese! Yeah, I've been vegan before, but that's besides the point. There weren't regular vs. gourmet versions; that was all they had. It's just a marketing gimmick but to who?

Gourmet was a term abused by 80s socialites. It was a time when the most disgusting concoctions were put on menus, and this is illustrated further in Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho. Which would you rather have, the squid ravioli in a lemon grass broth or peanut butter soup? I'm sure both are, totally, "gourmet."

See, I don't think gourmet ever rose to its dictionary definition. When you read gourmet, you probably don't think of it as better and more sophisticated. You probably think, "Great, another person found a new way to fuck up a classic dish." Usually, this is what crosses my mind. Trust me, if your food is really gourmet, you won't need to put it in its description. So, please stop doing this; let it go. It's not even era appropriate marketing, anymore — OK?

1 comment:

  1. I get annoyed when they start branding everything as 'classic,' as well. Or 'home style.'