Monday, September 1, 2008

Urban Snob

A long time ago, in my previous life as a Cheesehead, I worked for a company called Rent-A-Center. You may have heard of it—they “rent-to-own” overpriced electronics and furniture to people with no credit, who have no possible way of affording what they’re renting. So essentially, they rip people off. Which is pretty much why I don’t work for them any more. But I digress.

During the time I worked there, I had two different bosses: the first one, who was a pretty nice Fundamentalist Christian type guy who could be annoying but was certainly entertaining to argue with, and the second one who was just a dick. And it was the dick who was my manager when I decided to move to Chicago.

I remember vividly when I told him I was moving to Chicago, and he asked me what part of Chicago. When I told him “downtown Chicago,” he looked at me with a smirk and said, “Oh, so you’re gonna be one of those people going to wine and cheese tastings all the time.” I rolled my eyes at him and said, “Yeah, right.” As a 25-year-old beer-drinker cheesehead, I had no interest in wine tastings, and I certainly didn’t need to taste any cheese beyond the cheddar and curds I grew up with.

So the other night, I was at a wine-tasting with Buck, and it suddenly hit me: I have become that person! I’ve been to several wine tastings (many of them unofficial wine-tastings at Buck’s apartment—but still!), and I know that an official cheese-tasting will almost certainly be in my future.

When did I become such an urban snob?, I thought to myself. But then I realized that there really is nothing inherently snobby about either wine or cheese tasting. People have been drinking wine and eating cheese for thousands of years, so what’s snobby about that? And in fact, the two official wine-tastings that I’ve attended have been very casual—I even wore shorts and a t-shirt to one of them!

And my favorite part about wine-tastings, in my limited experience, is that the people running the tastings are very friendly and down-to-earth, and don’t make any assumptions that you know anything about wine.

In a recent tasting that I attended without the wine-savvy Buck, the guy running the tasting asked me if I had ever heard of “pairings.” I said, “Uh—do you mean like, wine with food?” “Absolutely,” he said, and went on to serve me a glass of red wine with a chocolate chip. (Yummy!) It was delightful.

See, I’m not so much an urban snob than somebody who really likes food and drink—and especially, food and drink tasted slowly, with great attention to the different flavors. There is just something very “zen” about a tasting. I really, really love it.

So yes, Mr. Jerkstore Manager, I do live in downtown Chicago and attend wine tastings sometimes. It sure beats being a jerk and getting rich by ripping off poor people.

15 comments:

Diane said...

Chick, you could never be a snob no matter how hard you tried! :)

Mathman6293 said...

You are hardly an urban slob, I mean snob. I used to consider myself an urban snob of sorts [the beer and vodka drinking kind]until I left Chicago first for Des Plaines and then for Rural North Georgia. Just yesterday, I noticed that the Rent-A-Center is the anchor of the mini-mall where I do my dairy queening here in GA.

jp said...

When I was in college, I bought a black-and-white tv and dorm fridge from one of those places. Stupid.

However, it serves to remind me that I've worked hard for the things I have now and if some occasional wine and cheese turn out to be amongst those things, so be it.

Barb said...

I used to think of "Niles & Frazer" when someone would mention wine tasting but now I know better. It's lots of fun. How about a "pairing" of white wine and strawberries ~ YUM.
I'd like to go to a Tequila tasting!

Gilman Chatsworth said...

Barb, tequila tastings a fantastic! If you find one (I knew one place in Seattle that did them), go for it!

Buck said...

When can we go to the wine-tasting place again? I just got back from rural Texas and need to snob it up a notch.

rosemary said...

You are not a snob....you are social. Me? I like sweet wines....really sweet. I have no taste at all i guess.....my favorite is a wine that is only in Sandpoint at Christmas time.....Kijafa cherry....damn yummy. The Rent-A-Centers here have been replaced by payday loan outfits run by dicks.

MaryRuth said...

do you eat arugula too? =)
I'm too intimidated to go to real tastings...I don't want to end up having to buy a super expensive bottle of wine. I just spin the wheel at Trader Joes.

Miss Healthypants said...

Diane-chickie--you are sweet!

Mathman--I'm not surprised that RAC and DQ are in the same mini-mall. :)

JP--you DIDN'T!! But I'm glad you're beyond the "Rent-A-Center" phase of your life now. :)

Barb--white wine and strawberries does sound YUM!!

But I'm not so much into Tequila (sorry, Bosk!) that I'd like to go to a Tequila tasting.

Buck, you crack me up! :)

Rosemary--I like sweet wines AND complex wines. I'm weird like that. I can just as easily drink grape-juice wine as a smokey Cabernet.

Mary Ruth--I don't even know what arugula is!--seriously! *grin* But don't be afraid--wine tastings are fun! And they don't usually make you buy a bottle of wine--they just make you pay for the tasting itself. But you got the right idea, anyway--2 Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's wins lots of wine competitions! :)

Sling said...

Wine tastings are a blast!
I love the pomp and circumstance...
I guess that makes me kind of a snob, (wipes nose on sleeve)..

Speck said...

I went to a wine tasting once. They had to pour me in the car after about half a glass. I guess that makes me a wine slob. But I'll taste cheese all day long. Yum!

sfoofie said...

I'm guessing Chicago wine tasting and places could never ever even come close to the wine places all up Long Island (ahem, HAMPTONS area) that we went to when we were in NYC. Holy gourds was that awful! We were with cool people, but everyone else was terribly snobbish.

As long as you (specifically you) are never "too good" for a 3.99 bottle of wine the world is all in order....

ROMA said...

Did the jerk tell you the ocean called and was running out of shrimp?

greeny said...

My favorite things! Wine and chocolate (sorry-coffee is in there too). I can't think of anything LESS snobby unless you stick your nose up in the air and spout snobby wine terminology.
BTW, thanks for the lovely introduction to your blogroll, madam!

Miss Healthypants said...

Roma--I didn't get your comment at first! Duh! LOL! :)