No one ever knows when they are well off. Whenever I was called a gourmet, I suspected that I was being accused of something at least slightly unpleasant. But that was before I heard the term foodie. I am still not sure that a gourmet is a good thing to be, but it must be better than a foodie.
I may not know what a gourmet is, but like Justice Stewart said about pornography, I know it when I see it. I am contemplating the meaning of the word gourmet because I am clearly in the company of a couple of them. Two gourmets have invited me to lunch in a rural Basque restaurant in the green mountains of Vizcaya province: the small, red-faced and energetic author of a popular Spanish food guide and an enormously round man of unclear profession whose business card labels him a gastronomic adviser.
The enthusiastic author rates all his food from one to ten, and he wants the well-fed gastronomic adviser and me to do the same. He gives the lomo, a thinly sliced, burgundy-colored prime cut of cured pork, only an eight. The gastronomic advisor has ventured a nine, and so they turn to me, the Hamlet of our group, who can't make up his mind and requests clearer definitions of eight and nine.