A Dinner Parties and More Extra . . . A Characterization
His Raison D’être
While most eat to live, the gourmand lives to eat. He considers voracious gluttony his raison d’être. His appetites are legendary and the amounts of food he has consumed are well-known.
Seeking haute cuisine in the most respectable of places, his opinions and judgments are sought after from cafes to bistros, diners to tearooms, and hamburger stands to supper clubs. Although not officially a critic, he is known as the critic’s critic. If Michelin were to offer awards to diners, he would receive three stars.
With a practiced affect of smugness and privilege, he enters each dining domain fully enjoying the pomp of his circumstance. He is an epicure’s answer to Frasier Crane (overbearing, obnoxious, and pretentious), but he considers that to be someone else’s problem.
Getting Down to Business
A true gourmand always dines alone. Preferring no distractions, he demands to be seated apart from the less well-heeled clientele.
He sits down, picks up the menu, and scans its offerings. Listing salads, cheeses and charcuteries as a first course, it also offers hors d’oeuvres of pate de foie gras, caviar, and escargot. In his world geese are expected to give up their livers, sturgeons their roe, and nothing is left of the snail except its shell. He’s not adverse to sacrifice, as long as it’s theirs – not his.
For the main course he wants real food, so he avoids foams, fusions, or presentations with finicky fanfare. He also ignores the tasting menu; tiny overpriced portions served on odd-shaped plates made of lapis lazuli. Definitely not his thing.
Will he order the chateaubriand, the beef bourguignon, or a simple pot au feu? Or perhaps he will have the kitchen concoct a coq au vin. It may be a dish involving a lengthy list of ingredients, or he may order something as basic as fresh peas with butter and sea salt. Never in a hurry, he’s very aware that the preparation of great food takes time.
Hours later he will arrive at the dessert course. Launching into something sweet is his favorite part of the meal. Decisions. Decisions. Will it be baked, fried, frozen, or chilled? Compotes, crepes, layer cakes, cheesecakes, shortcakes, flans, flambés, sorbets, trifles, tarts, torts, puffs, pastries, puddings, profiteroles, or a mousse? He wants to consume them all.
Being A Gourmand, Well, Someone Has to Do it
His life is magnums of expensive champagne, cases of fine wine, and course after course after discourse. If there’s good food and drink, he won’t rest until it’s all consumed. He knows it’s self-indulgence to the max, but he does enjoy it so. Ah, so many restaurants. So much fine cuisine. And so little time.
By Bob Miller