In culinary terminology, a ‘gourmet’ is someone who is a connoisseur , a fastidious eater--someone who has a very high standard in food and drink. When choosing what to eat, he shows excessive delicacy and care. He enjoys eating but with discrimination. He has an appreciation of subtleties. When he eats, he eats only the finest food and drink, and only in moderate amount...
By these definitions, a vegetarian is considered a ‘gourmet’ in the sense that a vegetarian is very discriminating in the food that he eats. He doesn’t eat just anything. He doesn’t eat any form of animal flesh because he understands and is sensitive about the subtleties of material nature. He eats for optimum health, therefore, he has a very high standard for food and drink. He avoids foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat. He eats only foods that are natural and rich sources of protein, vitamins and minerals.
Gourmet food is usually associated with wealth; with expensiveness of ingredients and table setting; with class and sophistication. However, it is not necessarily limited to such. For instance, in the farm when our children were growing up, our typical daily vegetarian fare consisted of rice, soy pulp burger with a variety of freshly-picked vegetables such as sweet corn, okra, sitaw, kamote leaves, eggplant, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, radish, peanuts and many more. I cooked them in very simple yet tasty dishes that my husband and children enjoyed. We had fresh fruits like papayas, avocados, bananas and others. For drinks, we had home-made soy milk, fresh buko juice (young coconut), fresh passion fruit juice or some other fruit juice.
So I would tell the kids, “Look, our food may be considered poor man’s food but IT IS gourmet food!” It was so because such meals were of the highest standard of health, nutrition, freshness and taste. These we enjoyed in just the right amount.
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