The Gastronome

Gastronome definition -a connoisseur of good food; gourmet; epicure.

Looking through my very old copy of The Anti Bull Cookbook once again, I came across an article about a gastronome.  We have all met them.  “He’s portly, fruity and rather pretentious, not to say on many occasions, downright pompous.”

Fortunately, these people seem to become more rare as this 21st Century progresses but I clearly remember such a person.

When we were newly married and very young and living in London, my late husband and I had been asked for dinner by one of his business acquaintances.  It seemed to be a good thing for Robert’s career prospects and as we were being asked to a first-class restaurant, he accepted with alacrity.  Oh dear, what a mistake.

The host was so very pompous and as soon as we were seated in the restaurant began by telling us all the places in the world where he had eaten.  Many were Michelin star rated and he proceeded to give them his own rating.  He then took over the process of ordering for all of us.

Having accomplished this the Sommelier was called  – no mere wine waiter for him – and a lengthy discussion ensued on the correct wines to have with each of the courses.

Then followed two of the most boring hours I have ever endured.  This man was used to laying down the law to his underling sycophants.  He knew everything about everything and he had strong views on all things.

The food was excellent but that I suggest was nothing to do with him.  He had chosen one of London’s (then) top restaurants.  How could he fail?  But how the time dragged.

These people were at least 25+  years older than us.  Can you picture it?  A 20-year-old and her 28-year-old husband, out ‘on the town’ with this pompous 45+ gourmand?  His wife who was a quiet little mouse said very little. After being introduced to us she sat back and let her husband take over.  From the dreamy look in her eyes, she had taken herself off to some other, more interesting place.  No doubt she had plenty of practice and no doubt she had heard his ramblings many times before.

It was an interesting evening. I had never met anybody quite like him before and there was the added bonus of a Michelin starred restaurant in which we ate. And in retrospect, I did learn a lot from him, once I could put aside the bull nonsense and listen to what he said about food and wine.  But  I wasn’t in any hurry to repeat it.  I couldn’t imagine having these two for dinner in our one-bedroom, ‘garden flat” – here read’ semi-basement with access to rear garden’ in a not particularly upmarket area of London.  And as at that time, my husband’s expense account was measly, we didn’t reciprocate.  I did know enough to send a thank you note to the wife the next day with some flowers.  But spend time in his company again – never!

“A man is in general better pleased when he has a good dinner upon his table, than when his wife talks Greek”  Samuel Johnson














25 responses to “The Gastronome

  1. Just love the simple line drawing. I suppose you know why. So much is expressed with simple little lines as above pic. It really is an art.


  2. The book is scattered with these simple drawings, and they do bring these memories to the fore.


  3. I had almost the same experience many years ago Judith. It was an interesting experience but not to be repeated?


  4. I like the quote of S. Johnson. So true, men prefer a good dinner over long talks…after a great meal, the talk sounds sweeter…. Can’t think on an empty stomach! Wonderful post my friend. Stay blessed.


    • As Jane Austen said “A woman, especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.”
      Thank you for the lovely comment and for calling me friend!


  5. This is a timely post, considering I was just talking to my gentleman friend about my food snobbery just yesterday! I truly hope I’m not heading in the direction of this gastronome! I just love good food, but the key is to remember that half of what makes the food so good is the company served with it! What a fun post, Judith; thanks!


    • it is fascinating to look back on the people who have come into your life and sometimes for such a short time. What did I learn from this pompous ass? Not ever to make somebody feel small because of the knowledge that I have gained. It is better to share the knowledge.


  6. I can picture him perfectly. I shall NOT invite him to dinner. 😀


  7. LOL. You’re very generous to say you learned something from that pompous a$$.


  8. jacquelincangro

    It’s terrible when people use their knowledge to make others feel small. How nice that you were able to rise above it and take something away from that evening, including what must have been an excellent meal! 🙂


    • I think I was able to rise above it because of the attitude of my late husband. He hated pompousness in any form and never again would he subject us to such an evening. But hey, these are the memories that make writing my blog so enjoyable. 🙂


  9. I think we each have met one of those people. This past weekend I was aquainted with a delightful woman except the fact that she had a habit of name dropping…I think it was her insecurity that she could be found entertaining in her own merit. Had she not had that name dropping habit (I am not impressed by celebrity status) I would have wanted to spend much more time with her.


    • Isn’t it sad when people feel so insecure that they have to rely on otherthings or people in this way. I am sorry that your new found ‘friend’ will not become a friend now.


  10. Oh yes.I’ve been there. Great food is not worth boring company. I’d rather have it the other way round any day


  11. What an awful experience! I’m glad the food was wonderful.


  12. I will never be a food gourmet….I just eat what tastes good to me. No refined tastes here! 🙂


  13. It’s suprising how many different types of “gastronomish” people you meet in life in general. Ever since I was a child I’ve found this particular breed of people drained my confidence. My mother gave me a tip years ago which helped no end. You just have to imagine the person opposite wearing the wrong underwear – whether it be his wife’s panties or her grannie’s passion-killers – and you imediately put them off their stride with an unexpected smile throughout the conversation. 😀


    • Oh good tip. My father always told me to imagine him getting dressed. One leg at a time into his trousers and losing his balance. Brings a smile every time. 🙂


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