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Palate over pocketbook defines gourmet


Simple bruschetta can be made gourmet.

Just because a restaurant is expensive doesn't mean it actually serves gourmet food. 

Somewhere between our wits and our wallets, the American public has been programmed to believe that a higher-priced menu must mean that the food is gourmet. Clever marketing techniques aside, gourmet food, by definition is food that is of the highest quality, flavor, and is presented with the greatest care.

The word itself dates back to France in the 9th century. A gromet or groumet was a servant boy or a boy in charge of serving wine. Gourmet continues to be a formal term that not only defines food, but the person who holds specific knowledge of and discriminating taste for food and wine. 

Gourmand means virtually the same thing. However,  a gourmand is one who not only loves good food and wine, but enjoys it in large quantities. So, gourmand is also synonymous with gluttony;  and we all know that  eating good food in large quantities doesn't necessarily make one a gourmet.Plus, the best food doesn't always come in great quantity, and is often difficult to find in more rural areas of Missouri.  Foods that are global in nature are referred to as gourmet for their difficulty to obtain.  These foods may be higher in cost, but not necessarily greater in flavor.

True gourmet market food is prepared and served with care so that it is first appealing to the eye.

 But fortunately, words do not have taste. And nowhere in the definition of gourmet will you find the mention of actual price. The mere act of eating food is a sensual experience that requires all the senses and therefore, should not be defined in terms of semantics. We eat with our eyes and our sense of smell before even one bite touches the tongue.  Whether in a restaurant or at home, high-priced food that does not delight the tastebuds, is not prepared with great care or beautifully presented, should never be considered gourmet.

Simply put, paying attention to the palate over the pocketbook is ultimately the best  way to figure out if something is truly good enough to be called gourmet.




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