Of Cheese and Food Snobbery

How delicious must a stinky cheese be for the putrid smell to be “worth it”? For ladygoat of the blog Foodgoat, more delicious than Morbier. She finds that the fromage’s foul scent becomes worse after handling and is decidedly unlovely on the palate to boot. “If, one day, you should actually see this cheese from afar, RUN,” she writes.

Half of the commenters disagree with her assessment, and one insinuates that her summary dismissal of the pungent dairy product calls her true chowhound status into question:

woah! did a supposed food lover honestly just tell people to ‘run’ away from Morbier? Maybe you should try it again, this time without a french-bashing agenda or whiny nostrils. The morbier I know is a gloriously creamy and stringent cheese, with a direct acidic flavor that is ridiculously good. Before you call a cheese foul, why don’t you try it more than once?

I’ve heard the same argument tossed about occasionally among foodophiles; if someone is less than psyched about all the bones in the rabbit at a Sichuan resto or unmoved by a Sicilian spleen sandwich, they’re accused of being insufficiently adventuresome/curious/chowhoundy. There’s definitely a certain machismo and foodier-than-thou attitude among some gastronomes, and it can take many forms—from wine snobbery to offal one-upmanship. This push to be more curious was probably helpful to me when I was first getting really into food, but it can also be off-putting. And when one’s tastes are already pretty eclectic, it can be even more infuriating to hear those tastes questioned.