November 07, 2010

Snooty Foodie Boycott

Broiled Pear and Prosciutto Toasts.


We all have pet-peeves, right? Well, I have a real problem with elitist know-it-all attitudes.

Of course, I used to think I could manage the whole world with one hand tied behind my back. But now? Marriage, parenthood...life, have humbled me. (Thankfully.) There's a fine line between having confidence and "putting on airs". Why do we so often feel we need to prove to others that we have all the answers?

You find it in every genre of life, but food-lovers are particularly prone to this. Sprinkling frenchy lingo, hard-to-find ingredients, and foodie hot-spots in every conversation, as if to say, "Please notice that I know what I'm talking about!!!" These individuals are puffed up on culinary terms and a misled sense that they are part of some secret society. I  just smile and nod...

I have come to believe we are all foodies, on some level. We all have to eat don't we? Maybe some of us pay a little more attention to what we put in our bodies and how we prepare it, but that's not a right to elevate ourselves above "the lowly pitiful masses that eat at chain restaurants and buy pre-made grocery items!"

If there is anything the cooking class girls have shown me, it's that becoming a good cook is more about will-power than about talent. Talent can only take a person so far. Think of all the talented people you know who sit around whining about how life has stifled their dream. While other, presumably less talented people, run the show!

Many food cultures world-wide believe that good SIMPLE ingredients create the best dishes. It's not that elaborate dishes aren't tasty; of course they are. They are just so often unnecessary!


If you have access to fresh local cheeses, meats, and produce that taste unfathomably delicious on their own, why would you need to doctor them? Remember, you don't have anything to prove! Sometimes the simplest combination of flavors can be the most enjoyable...and elegant!

Here is a wonderful little snack, or brunch item, that is a testament to it's ingredients--not the maker. A broiled pear slice draped across hot molten cheese toast, then topped with crispy prosciutto. So satisfying, yet so easy to prepare. It is a perfect stand-alone, or accompaniment to creamy soups!

Sommer

Humility, that low, sweet root, From which all heavenly virtues shoot. ~Sir Thomas More
 

Broiled Pear and Prosciutto Toasts

2 English muffins, halved
1 pear sliced in 1/8 inch thick whole slices, core removed
4 Tb. brie, or soft creamy goat cheese
4 slices of prosciutto
Oil and salt

Preheat the broiler on high and set the oven rack to a high position. Lay the pear slices on a baking sheet. Brush them with oil on both sides and sprinkle them with salt. Broil the pears for 2-4 minutes--until the edges are crisp and the flesh is tender.


Smear a tablespoon of soft creamy cheese across each English muffin half. Once the pears are tender, lay one on each toast.


Place the toasts on the baking sheet and top each with a slice of prosciutto. Broil again for 2-4 minutes, until the prosciutto and muffin edges are crispy. Serve warm! Makes 4 toasts.


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Broiled Pear and Prosciutto Toasts on Foodista

71 comments:

  1. Awesome post, and I totally agree with every word. Your toasts look amazing, but would be so much better if you hand made the English Muffins. I ONLY use home made fresh baked bread in my kitchen. ;)

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  2. I know what you mean about "snootiness" when it comes to food. I used to work with a chef who always tried to score points in conversation by talking about some gourmet food ingredient and going on and on about where it came from etc. It's great that he knew all that but it was a bit like he tried too hard, if you know what I mean. On the other hand I also have a friend who is an expert on takeaways! They know what's in them, where you can get them cheaply - which are the best ones!! I suppose everyone is an expert at one subject or another! Love the look of the toasts!

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  3. I have always considered food to play a very important part in my life. I never snobed or critisized anyone who doesn't feel this way. Indeed people tend to want to prove they know more than others, but unfortunately this happens to all aspects of life, school, politics, work etc. There are always people trying to prove they have the magic recipe for everything and also trying to gain control over the others. It is in everyone's power to decide whether to be a follower or just walk his/her own way to life. I love simple things in life and your sandwich is one of them.

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  4. Great post and this little toast looks awesome.

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  5. Hooray for simple! It's so nice to see a recipe and know I already have all the ingredients. That said, some of my friends would think that anything with brie and prosciutto is the height of snobbiness :)

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  6. Pioneer Cookerella~ Love the sarcasm. ;)

    Alison~ I see your point, but I figure anything you can make without having to go to a specialty store to buy the ingredients, is far game!

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  7. I like English muffins...and this is whole new way (for me) to prepare them...simple to prepare, yet with sophisticated flavours.
    Excellent!
    Angie

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  8. Oh, Sommer - I am living off of such fare these days - if not simpler! Thank goodness for the cheesemakers, meat curers, and farmers, and the inherent greatness of produce on its own. This looks delicious and helps me feel that much better about my current diet and complete lack of culinary prowess. ( :

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  9. I'm always arguing with my husband that our pizza and quiches don't need a whole wack of toppings and fillings, because you don't taste the flavours if you load it up too much. I am a simple girl at heart!
    I have to be honest, in the food-blogging world, my eyes glaze over when a title has too many words or a dish has too many ingredients.
    So I love your pear and prosciutto toasts!

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  10. The loveliest way to start the day....refortify yourself midday and or end the day. Food snobbism??? Well, I'm not enamoured of ketchup in my spaghetti sauce...but try not to say so in polite company.

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  11. Well said. I'd love to be able to make some of these elaborate dishes, but our budget doesn't allow it. The only reason I get away with what I am able to make in the magazines is that we've stopped buying "junk" food (Little Debbie cakes, chips, snack crackers, etc.) and replaced those purchases with more fresh fruits and vegetables.

    I guess I'm glad I'm in my little niche. I don't have to prove anything except that I can follow directions in magazines. :)

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  12. Hear Hear - how right you are! I'll take your recipes any day over the snooty ones. Yours are approachable and taste pretty darned good! This looks like a total winner. I think I'll get some pears so they'll be ready for the weekend. then this will be our Sunday morning treat. Kate @ kateiscooking

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  13. Yum. Simple and delicious is always the way to go.. super fancy recipes are definitely not for me, plus I like to eat more than a bite of things! i love the ingredients of this.. prosciutto is definitely one of my faves.

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  14. You are correct. This is the perfect little snack without much effort or strange ingredients. All it takes is some thought. Perfect!

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  15. Yes, there are a few holier-than-thou foodies indeed!... I love complicated recipes with rare ingredients, but also love simple and humble things.

    Those toasts look so delicious.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  16. Unless you traveled by foot to a new land, staked a claim, picked your own seeds, bred your own animals, harvested your own grains, slaughtered your own livestock ... then at some point, everyone took a shortcut. Homemade bread is nice ... but if you didn't grow your own wheat, it's not 100% homemade. And if it's not 100%, then it's all just a difference in percentages. The snootiest chefs in the world take shortcuts, somewhere. They have to. We're all interdependent on this planet, after all. So cook what you like to cook, bake what you like to bake, make things you like to share, and enjoy life!

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  17. Nice post and I love the recipe. I like to walk the line of easy & complicated - it is all fun & tasty to try new things.

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  18. Sommer, I totally loved your post. I see myself in it so much. That is in part why I do not like to call myself a foodie. That word has in it some kind of "I know it all" connotation. I can't stand those people. And you are right, maybe in our 20s we all somehow behave like that but part of the process of growing up is to realize that we do not have all the answers and that it is actually more interesting to be able to pose good questions! I try to reflect this in my blog and in my baking too. It bothers me when I find those recipes that have 30 ingredients and some are very weird or hard to find. Do really people make those recipes? Very few! I grew up in a poor family but the simple food was amazing. I still try to stick to this philosophy

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  19. the addition of meat, fruit, and cheese=perfection!

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  20. A-MEN. For the longest time I would read the hoity-toity food blogs and despair that I could never attain that level. Eventually I just deleted them from my Reader. Having two young children and running a household doesn't leave me with gobs of extra money and time to churn out stuffy French dishes for dinner.
    Love your recipes! They're simple but so classy, and they look delicious. I'm so happy I found your blog today :)

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  21. I'm so glad you posted this. I was begining to feel a bit sub-par with my humble little blog. I have stuck to my guns tho and kept my blog a Simple, healthy, home made base for real people and families. It may not be fancy, but I hope my "real food" approach will inspire more people to actually cook rather than look at foofoo pictures with foofoo ingredients and sigh with a " I wish I could make that, but dont' have the time, skill whatever"
    great post!

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  22. You are so right, it really is just about using good ingrediets and loving what you eat, not about being a snob. Your "snack" looks delicious, and it's really making me wish I had eaten breakfast today!

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  23. This was a good reminder--walking through life (and the blogging world!) with humility is so important.
    I also agree that simple food is best . . . when you have good ingredients, you don't need to 'doctor them up' to get good flavor--the flavor is already there, and it's your job to let it shine through. =)

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  24. o.k. I may have gotten carried away w Mr. Linky. This is just so right up my alley, hence the name of my blog Simply Healthy Family. Feel free to delete some of my pics if I've bombarded you! ;)

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  25. I love this post, Sommer. You put everything I've always thought about snooty foodies into words, and so eloquently. I love food and I love to cook--that's it! I have nothing else to prove. I always want to laugh at people who are overly snooty about food. When I first started blogging I was checking out a lot of the food sites like one that ryhmes with How Chound--the overwhelming number of know it alls made me sick. That's not what food is about to me. It's not a contest.

    Anyway! I can go on and on. Love this perfectly simple dish. Those pears are beautiful!

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  26. HEY FRIENDS~

    I've received a few emails today from readers checking on my emotional state after my apparent tirade! :)

    My site is called "spicy perspective" after all, so please be warned that this sort of thing might happen again!

    I had no intention of bombing other bloggers, food related sites, or any particular cooking style. I'm sorry if my post came off that way!

    It was simply a reaction to numerous personal encounters over the last month. It seems lately that every time I tell someone I enjoy cooking or write a food blog, they feel the need to go on and on about their great expertise in food. It's kind of funny, actually. I'm really not worked up over it!

    It just makes me realize, I never want to take myself that seriously.

    Have a great day!

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  27. OMG! Sommer.. I loved your text, and couldn't agree more. Yes....Out with the snooty. lol....This happens to me all the time.(Every time I tell someone I enjoy cooking or write a food blog, they feel the need to go on and on about their great expertise in food ). So sometimes I don't even say anything about my blog.

    Your toast would be a huge hit with my hubby, he looooooves
    English muffins. And simple is always great in my food bible. Have a great week Sommer. :-)

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  28. Great post Sommer. I always think my blog is just not quite what the blogsphere foodies are looking for, but you certainly put it all into perspective. Thank you for that.

    If we can just keep in mind that we all come from different places and each have our own food tales and eating habits. Who are we to decide that someone else's food likes and styles is not up to "snob" level.

    We live in a wonderful world of cultures and sharing. Food blogging is a great medium and sharing and caring is what the world needs more of.

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  29. love the new linky tool app! such a great way to share recipes on your blog!

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  30. yes yes yes- it's so funny when I have friends and family over or throw a party and keep it simple everyone is delighted. My Grandmother always says "Simple is elegant" and she's right. I'm right there with you on the mass produced and overly processed being thoughtless choices (as she crumples up the Halloween candy wrappers beside the laptop and tosses them in the wastebasket).

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  31. Hey Sommer, now that I'm in my early thirties and know myself a little better, I've come to realize that I deplore any type of snobbery or arrogance. Oh, and of any kind-food snob or otherwise. This type of behavior is just not cute. Plus, why do some feel like they need to elevate themselves above others in any way that they can? It's so egocentric and, frankly, immature (smile). I just said this last sentence with a snobby British accent;-)
    Your simple snack looks wonderful by the way. And I'm going to walk around all week saying 'I don't have anything to prove' and not just in the realm of food-yeah!

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  32. Ooh, I meant to also mention that those pears are really beautiful-me likey...

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  33. Sommer, I love your post! :) and the wonderful food ofcourse.

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  34. Amen to that! I get so tired of hearing people talk just to hear themselves talking. And it does seem particularly prevalent with food people...

    Your simple dish looks wonderful. I like the idea of broiling the pears...must give them great flavor. Yum!

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  35. HA! Very good points you make. I've worked in the food industry for more than 20 years and every day I am amazed at how much there is still to know about food, ingredients, techniques etc....

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  36. An enlightening post Sommer :) I believe there is a time and place in life, for truffles from Perigord and Spam. A true gourmand or foodie can appreciate the best foie gras as much as she can the best mac and cheese. Almost any food can be well prepared and worthy of an epicurean's attention and any food can be massacred and rendered worthless. Simple really is best. The best quality ingredients whether exotic and refined or pedestrian, should be able to speak for themselves.

    Your toasts are simple, beautiful and I have no doubt they would be delicious.

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  37. I completely agree! I think sometimes the foodie world can seem very intimidating when it really shouldn't be. Everyone can appreciate good food!

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  38. Sommer, you are absolutely right - the best kind of food we enjoy is a pairing of just a few simple but good quality ingredients. I always get comments on my recipes about how complex it seemed by just reading the title or looking at the picture, but then reading the recipe they realize how easy the dish actually is to put together. Now, the pear & prosciutto is one of my favorite combos!

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  39. Great post Sommer. I couldn't agree more with you. This toast looks pretty darn simple and delicious to boot! I love that flavor combination.

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  40. Ah yes! What a well expressed post. I think that the best meals are often the simplest. There is something that magical that happens when you use high-quality and fresh ingredients...you don't have to add a lot to make them delicious. These "simple" toasts look perfect. I love pear and prosciutto!

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  41. I'll take a homecooked meal with simple, fresh ingredients any day! Those muffins look delish!

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  42. You just know those people have boxes of mac and cheese squirreled away in the back of a cupboard, and get their guilty pleasure fries at the drive-thru. I know I do!

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  43. Wow, what a delicious combination...pear and prosciuto...can almost taste it. Lovely the way you presented :-)

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  44. whoa, the toast looks hotttt! and a great post! rock on :)

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  45. I enjoy all of the blogs I frequent, regardless of a so called expertize. I find that everyone is unique and, that is an expertize in itself...For those who find themselves superior over another, I would say that snob is a nice way of putting it.
    As far as your toasts, delightful...I adore english muffins and with the melted cheese and pear...:)

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  46. i know what u mean and totaly agree with u..

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  47. I totally agree with you! I am not a professional chef. I never worked in a restaurant. I don't cook with Pink Himalayan Sea Salt. I learned everything about cooking the old-fashioned way: trial and error. Your broiled pear sandwich sounds and looks divine to me!

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  48. You've reminded me of two simple, if less elegant, quickie dishes my mom used to make. One was a thin slice of ham on an english muffin topped with canned pineapple and a slice of American cheese melted under the broiler. The other was peanut butter on a plain Lender's bagel topped with swiss cheese melted under the broiler. I used to burn my tongue on the hot peanut butter 'cause I couldn't wait to eat it.

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  49. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the subject of food snobbery. I think some folks out there just like to express themselves in a manner that really just shows off their own insecurities whether or not it's about food or something else....that's just the way life is. I love good simple fresh food, that to me is always the preferable way to eat and your pear prosciutto toasts fit the bill quite nicely;)

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  50. An excellent rant ... and so very true. The ingredients we use can run the gamut from exotic to prepared and right out of the can ... what's important is taste. Every cook needs an arsenal of quickie recipes ... this lovely little toast fits the bill! Love the idea of it accompanying an herb omelet, cup of coffee and the Sunday paper ...yum! Thanks, Sommer!

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  51. You are so right! I just added Pesto to your list, it is quick and simple and good. But i have many of those recipes. I love soups and make many simpel soups too.

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  52. great post sommer, some people just like to hear themselves talk, what's funny is most bloggers eat very simple, some just love to create smoke...love your combo,

    sweetlife

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  53. Um, you could have just had a buttered English muffin, and I would have been on board ;)

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  54. I absolutely agree with what you say !!!! I know a lot of those people !! and I love your toasts !!!! That with a glass of red wine, and you made my day !! (or evening, actually)
    Take care,
    Cristina

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  55. I am late reading this, but I agree, nonetheless. Cooks, bakers, chefs who take themselves too seriously squash the fun right out of food. Your pear toasts sound simple, but tasty....what food should regularly be.

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  56. I am in one mind with you regarding food and simplicity. I love to eat simple food with very few ingredients to go in it.
    This toast adds up in my list of simple, quick and healthy foods.

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  57. I. Loved. This. Post. I've read it three times. On different days. Just to absorb more of it. Because I totally agree. I don't understand why things have to be so complicated. Simple. Elegant. What's available here and now. You totally nailed it.

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  58. Love this post Sommer. I love simple recipes. And this is a simple recipe I will have to make. Great job!:)

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  59. I am with you all the way! Simple things are best. I try to stick to my mission of offering recipes that are fast, fresh, and family friendly because I also write for OCFamily and busy parents/professionals don't have the time to spend hours in the kitchen. There are some pairings, such as pear & prosciutto that are classic for a reason - you don't have to gussy them up :)

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  60. Snobbish foodies or complicating recipes don't seem to bother me because I know why I started my blog and that is to document my family's recipes and share them with family, friends and my readers. The goal is to share joy and not to impress. I enjoyed reading other food blogs and learn from them and always delighted to hear from my foodie friends. I started to enjoy cooking since I started my blog and loving it. I also love reading good recipes and seeing fabulous picture of food like yours and many others. I get much joy out of cooking, writing recipes taking pictures of my own food to share. I agree simple is good but sometimes, it is fun to try something complicated.

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  61. MMMMMMMMMM,..Indeed the best ingredients creates the most delcious food! I colmpletely agree! These toasts with the lovely topping are looking so appetizing!
    I tagged you on my blog with 10 questions! Come over & read all about it, dear Sommer!

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  62. Great post! I’m looking to make some changes in my own eating habits, so I appreciate your insight a lot! Thank you. I recently stumbled upon this blog like I did yours and I thought your readers may appreciate it: http://burisonthecouch.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/food-for-thought/

    I’ve started to look for their stuff more regularly and I think I’m going to add your blog to my list as well. Thanks for the post!

    -Amy

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  63. Sommer, I am so glad that I connected with you on Twitter and found your blog. I just love the combo of ingredients in this sandwich. I have had brie and pears together, however, not with Prosciutto. Sounds delicious, and you can bet I will try it soon. Thanks for sharing your love of cooking with us.

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  64. This is a lovely, simple dish Sommer. I couldn't agree more about some of the snooty foodies...LOL If it is of any consequence, I enjoy your blog just because of your unpretentious recipes and engaging writing. I don't think most of the Cordon Bleu set spend any time on my blog either and that is okay.

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  65. Yum, toasts look great! I love the simple, fresh approach.

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  66. Save one of those pears and enjoy it with some Gorgonzola! They make perfect foils.

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  67. What a well said (written) post! I am with you and hate food snoobery, it's uncalled for. Everyone should eat and cook what they can and want and shouldn't just to prove to others something. I love your simple yet amazing recipe. Great post and recipe, thanks for sharing:)

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  68. Very interesting. I agree with you wholeheartedly, yet I wonder if others see me as being snobby because I feature so many international foods. It's just a result of my vagabond life - and actually the dishes themselves are usually the more humble choices from each culture. For example, I've always thought it would be fun to open a greasy spoon French diner and serve rustic (and cheap) family-style French food. You know, like what real French families really eat. It's not all Michelin-starred over there either. So I think we can expand our horizons without making it an ego trip. Anyway, thanks for the ego check - I think we all need it at some point! :-)

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I love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for taking the time. If you have a question, I'll get back to you ASAP!