America's food obsession has grown prodigiously in the last decade or so (have you SEEN our pants lately?), and alongside that growth, many different strains of food snobbery have taken hold and flourished. But not all food snobs are created equal. Here they are, ranked by their varying levels of obnoxiousness. You may find yourself identifying with one. Or two. Or five.
19. The Sourcing Stickler
Caring about where your food comes from is admirable and all, but not when it's 6:30am and The Sourcing Stickler is drilling the barista on which region of Guatemala that morning's cold brew comes from (it damn well better be Acatenango Valley!) and whether or not the flour used in the banana nut muffins was milled within 30 miles of the shop.
18. The Self-Congratulatory Home Chef
When dining out with The Self Congratulatory Home Chef, every last detail of the meal is an opportunity for them to regale you with stories of their home cooking prowess (even if the evidence is already quite thoroughly available in their Facebook feed). You actually found yourself avoiding the braised pork shank with pickled onions just because you KNEW it would spur yet another conversation about how they've "gotten really into pickling lately."
17. The Bourdain Disciple
The Bourdain Disciple used to be more into No Reservations but thinks Parts Unknown has really come into its own, and views every possible dining experience through the lens of whether or not Mr. Bourdain has dined there. Weirdly, does not travel all that much.
16. The Intrepid Forager
"The grocery store is but a tool of the establishment," says The Intrepid Forager, who relishes in combing alleys, road shoulders, forests, and parks looking for dandelion leaves, mustard greens, or any other weed they can claim tastes "so incredibly bright and peppery." Also they've been accused of trespassing on multiple occasions.
15. The Basic
It's entirely possible the basic subsists solely on avocado toast and a stockpile of pumpkin spice lattes meticulously hoarded during the autumn months. It's not likely. But it's possible.
14. The Trend Humper
Swears that Matcha Turmeric Jackfruit Poke Bowl tastes good, but you're pretty sure The Trend Humper is just showing off as efficiently as possible.
13. The Customizer
Where a normal person sees a "menu," The Customizer sees an abundance of opportunity to make bizarrely specific requests like taking the Bordelaise sauce from the short ribs and applying it to the duck breast, but then demanding that the roasted parsnips on the side be switched for the potato galette that comes with the chicken. If the server resists, The Customizer is not above citing an allergy that doesn't actually exist.
12. The Offal Evangelist
More like "awful" evangelist, right? Right?! Actually, it's important to honor the animal by consuming as much of it as possible, but at some point you just have to accept that Aunt Maxine just isn't going to be hopping on the duck tongue train anytime soon. Also, The Offal Evangelist is quite averse to hot dogs, which seems odd?
11. The Guilt-Tripping Vegan
It's one thing to go vegan. It's another thing to casually show everyone videos documenting the horrors of pork production while you're checking out a hot new restaurant. Called Le Porcine. That you suggested. Was this your plan the whole time? Look, if there's a pig on the sign, you don't get to feign surprise when there's bacon in everything.
10. The Repatriated Expat
It's been two years since The Repatriated Expat moved back to the US after a magical six months residing in Spain (Espana!). And yet, the backhanded comments about how "it's so weird to be eating dinner before 10pm, the observations that the gin and tonics "just aren't the same," and the refusal to consume any red wine that isn't Rioja have not lessened in the slightest.
9. The Over-Pronouncer
Adopts a strange accent for every single non-New American restaurant she enters, and insists on over-pronouncing every single menu item with the precision of a third-grader reading an English translation dictionary. In fact, The Over-Pronouncer is known to carry said dictionary, or at least a translation app that also relays how to say “thank you” and “hello” (incorrectly) in the language of the cuisine’s origins, despite the fact that the joint is run by a white hipster who simply likes tikka masala. Ahem, “maaaaah-saaaaay-laaaaah.”
8. The Insta Influencer
By the time each dish is carefully photographed and each hashtag is hashtagged, the food is cold, but the Insta Influencer doesn't even notice because they're too busy talking about how they're "really working to build their 'brand.'" They have 900 followers.
7. The Expense Account
After a few years into a finance gig, The Expense Account became a little bit bored with steakhouses (a little -- they're still very much in the rotation) and began furiously checking off the city's priciest tasting menus. He can rarely recall much in the way of details on a favorite dish, but can definitely inform you with zero sense of modesty how much he "dropped."
6. The Name Dropper
The minute you walk in the door with this human megaphone, The Name Dropper already telling everybody within earshot about knowing the chef or the owner. This habit hits a wonderful crescendo at that magical moment when The Name Dropper tells the owner about knowing the owner.
5. Captain Irony
It’s all about the irony. He always suggests you eat at Applebee’s... because it’s ironic! He’ll show up at a fancy dinner party with a couple Totino’s Party Pizzas... FOR IRONY! Eventually, you find out that he’s super-broke and likes to eat garbage. And like Alanis, he doesn't know what ironic means.
4. The Breadless Wonder
Not celiac or anything, but experienced a huge life change after going gluten-free after self-diagnosing a gluten sensitivity via a 2013 copy of Cosmo that was at the dentist's office. Somehow continues to express wide-eyed bewilderment that exchanging grilled cheeses and chicken fingers for salads has led to increased energy and weight loss. Has EXTENSIVE thoughts on the merits of various nut butters.
3. The Authenticator
The Authenticator fancies himself the arbiter of "authenticity" when it comes to a wide range of cuisines that originate in countries he has never experienced outside of a half-assed viewing of Bizarre Foods during a hangover. Still, brags "we were the only white people in the restaurant" with a frequency and fervor that kind of weirds everybody else out. Does not respond well to being corrected.
2. The Competitive Eater
No, not like Joey Chestnut-style hot-dog-eating contest competitive. That dude's cool! In this case, The Competitive Eater is that person who can't let someone else talk about a trip they've taken, a dish they've cooked, or a restaurant they've tried without immediately pointing to something they've experienced that is undoubtedly superior. Gets weirdly upset when the table concludes someone else's entree was better than theirs.
1. The Elite Yelper
Enters any beloved restaurant with an unspoken plan to "take them down a peg," ready to pounce on the slightest misstep in service and levy unfounded complaints about the texture of the pasta. Of course, if the establishment in question caters to The Elite Yelper's outsized ego when they casually let it slip that they're a "restaurant critic," things might play out differently. Once thought about negatively reviewing a friend's dinner party. Re-reading particularly biting one-star reviews in the dark of night before falling asleep is the only thing that keeps the loneliness at bay.
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Deputy editor Matt Lynch admits it. He's starting to get into pickling. Ask him about it @MLynchChi
Senior editor Andy Kryza's love of Totino's Pizza Rolls is anything but ironic. Offer him some @apkryza