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Fussy eaters vs food snobs: which are the worst?

It has been historically claimed that yours truly has the constitution of an ox. That's a statement that can cover various ailments, but more specifically, it's referring to my ability to eat indiscriminately without getting ill.

My stomach is my greatest asset. It attracts admiring comments from both sexes and I'm not afraid to flaunt it in public. But I'm talking about what lies beneath rather than a washboard tummy (that's never going to be possible - occupational hazard). My stomach is pretty impressive: it's weathered the dangerous realms of dubious package holiday buffets, brains, crickets and locusts and come out the other side full of new-found knowledge (though smelling slightly of sausages).

I know what you're thinking: batten down the hatches, there's a crazy female in our midsts. If taking a cavalier attitude to sell-by-dates and keeping sushi on your desk instead of the fridge because you can't be bothered to make the trip to the kitchen is your idea of teetering slightly on the edge of normality, then you'd be right. At the bottom of the precipice is a week-long bout of gastroenteritis, yes, but hey - some people like to live dangerously.

But, if a recent survey is anything to go by, it looks like I might be more solitary in my adventurous/reckless attitude towards eating than I originally thought. Commissioned by a leading food brand, it revealed that although a third of Scots would label themselves a 'foodie' (I'm using inverted commas because it's such a loathsome term. Why do we have to cutesify every word? What's wrong with food lover, or, more accurately, greedy bastard?) 46% of us hate anchovies.

Let's take a moment here. Almost half of the entire nation hates - and that's a pretty strong term - a tiny fish. Albeit a strong tasting one (the chilli pepper of the sea world) but consider this: wherever you are right now, half of the people you're near hate a tiny fish. I'm sure they also hate what most of the rest of us do. Poverty. Putin. But also a tiny fish.

Of course, being a fussy eater isn't always about a five-centimetre long anchovy. It can be about being genuinely afraid of food, and having allergies and intolerances. Being fussy is different entirely. It is sticking to what is safe rather than taking a leap into the unknown. It's about being that person that asks for a dish in a restaurant that bears no semblance to its former self because it's been stripped of everything that makes it interesting and gives it flavour.

Maybe it's only in my own experience but many fussy eaters are the ones who stick to a strict diet of soulless food. I went to university with a man who would only ever eat pizza, toast and chips - and that was it. The unholy trinity, if you will. If I'm honest, it actually sounds kind of amazing but imagine eating that all day every day. All your dreams would be soundtracked by the Hovis bike advert song. Forget the track my iphone app: people could map your travels by checking toilet pans in your area. Anyway, it made eating out with fellow classmates really restrictive, but he was sound so somehow it was kind of OK. Yet I did wonder what would happen if he ever ventured out of his tripod of doom. Spontaneous combustion (let's not speculate where from)? Instant death? As far as I'm aware (though please feel free to comment if you know otherwise) no one ever popped their clogs from trying a spoonful of Nasi Goreng.

Bold statement coming up, though. I'd argue that just as bad as someone who won't try something once is the food snob. We all know one. The food snob wouldn't dream of eating from the staff canteen because they're perfectly happy with this organic quinoa salad made with tomatoes they grew themselves in their architecturally-designed urban allotment, but thanks for asking anyway *smug smile*. The food snob will only drink a cup of tea if the bags used to make it have been knitted by Peruvian goats (fair-trade, natch). If you cut open a food snob, instead of a liver and a heart and a spleen (which I'd be probably quite happy to sample, by the way) is simply a poster with the dates of every Scottish farmers' market coming up in the next two years.

I'm not having a go at Scottish famers' markets. I actually love farmers' markets - what's not to like? There's nothing I'd rather do than buy really fresh beautiful fruit monstrously hungover early on a Sunday morning, but most of the time you literally cannot move for people wearing padded gilets. At the fish counter you are sandwiched between two gilet-wearers rustling ominously beside you. You become a sardine in a sea of down-insulated sleeveless jackets. Much like how you shouldn't inflate a life jacket until you're out of an aeroplane, a gilet is an entirely inappropriate item to wear in a confined space: it keeps you safe and warm, but only at the expense of others. It is the ultimate selfish garment.

In doing so the food snob is as particular and restrictive about what they eat as the fussy eater. And chances are a fussy eater won't try to give you a lecture on the provenance of Quavers. But at least the food snob cares about the bigger picture: growers, farmers, and possibly most significantly, the welfare of their large intestine.

If I had the chance, I'd settle the debate in a good old fashioned Harry Hill TV Burp style. A giant jammy dodger would have a full-on punch-up with an oversized organic carrot (the ones with weird extra legs coming off them like a Doctor Who baddie because they've been discarded by the big supermarket chains who only want homogeneous veg).

As for who would win, who knows. But you can bet your bottom dollar the end result would be some new fusion cuisine not even pioneered in East London yet. You heard it here first.

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Food and drink

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