Certified sniffers and tasters of wine and such–like water, mustard, honey, and tea–are ubiquitous now.
They have the best jobs. Back in the day, we thought being a rock star was the bomb, or flying to the moon, or being a movie usher (which has its downside), or travel writer. Travel writer is still good and is an equal opportunity opportunity. I write about stuff that happens traveling from my house to the pool all the time.
Rock star, on the other hand, takes a certain amount of chutzpah not all of us can muster. Sometimes it even takes talent.
The first sniffers and tasters were whineophiles. Wait. That’s not how it’s spelled! Something to do with pigs? Swineophiles?
Never mind. It’s one of those words that comes from the Latin meaning, “I’m drunk,” or i ebrium, which sounds like the opening preamble to the Constitution. I ebrium unis….
Which means of course, “We are gathered here to drink, make merry, and birth a nation of drinkers.”
I read an article in The Week describing some of these new “jobs” people can be certified in for sniffing and tasting things, if they have approximately $3000 to spare. Regardless of what your personal tastes are, the experts will tell you that whatever you like and buy at the grocery store is just sugar water.
The mustard you like and buy, French’s Classic Yellow mustard, is just sugar water. Same with hot sauce. Tabasco? Just sugar water. Olive Oyl? Sugar water.
The exception to this rule is caviar. The exception to any rule is caviar.
“Zat ees NOT caviar!” the fish egg expert will yell at a room full of cowed postulates in his Caviar Certification class held in the downtown Radisson in Cleveland, OH (Classes fill up fast, please reserve your spot now before they’re gone!), for six days in April. “Zat, what you are eating, ees whale poop!”
Well, it’s not. It’s packing peanuts the size of buckwheat.
There are even expert water tasters who add sugar to water and become expert sugar water tasters.
One woman is so good at tasting honey, she charges people a LOT of money to take a “honey sensory” certification course right there in her store. She is so pure, she can taste honey and know if the bee keeper washed his hands before or after flushing, or whether he voted Republican.
The honey lady says that the beloved teddy bear honey is just sugar water. The real stuff, hers, cost twice as much as Teddy cost, for half as much honey, which is how you know the honey lady is for real.
The bees that make teddy bear honey don’t even look like real bees. That’s the expert way to tell where your honey came from at the grocery store. If you see a bee shaped like a teddy bear, you are already halfway to being an expert.
Honey tasters don’t taste or sniff. They smear. This sounds a little gross, but it means they smear the side of the wine glass the honey is in. And then shoot back some wine, which is just sugar water.
Wine sommeliers do not like nouveau sniffers and tasters to call themselves “sommeliers” though. Only whineophiles are proper sommeliers, which is French for “sleep.” You will fall asleep listening to whineophiles talk about the misuse of the word “sommelier.”
Some sniffers and tasters refuse to use the word sommelier, preferring instead to use a new word, like “tobacconist” for a cigar chomper.
“There’s a big difference between a guy that likes to sit around all day and talk about sports and cigars, and a real tobacconist. Our ideal customer is not a guy that just wants to chomp on a Swisher Sweet.”
I like Swisher Sweets, but they are just sugar water, I am aware. I have learned so much from our experts!
To call oneself a sommelier is the key to monetize something. Monetize is Latin for “three day workshop at the Radisson in Cleveland, OH” (reserve your seat now for the upcoming workshops before they fill up!) If you are entitled to be a sommelier of something, you can entice people to upgrade (which is Latin for credit card) to a different, and reputedly better, bottle of wine, mustard, honey, or sugar water.
Since this appears to be a career field open to anyone and their mother, I am going to become a sniffer and taster, too, as I have been a long time sniffer of many things: eggs, coffee, sardines, and the occasional pit.
I really don’t want to pursue that last line, though. I would have to learn to differentiate the region the person was from, their ethnicity, what they do for a living, the whole thing. And then I would have to monetize “Pit” expert and become a sosmellier.
Ergo (which is Latin for “make up your mind, dork”), I choose cookie tasting as a career.
To learn from me and become a Certified Cookie Connoisseur, you can register for my three day workshop online for only $600. (Only five seats left for Sunday’s workshop! Go online NOW!)
Don’t make a fuss about the cost. First, it’s cookies, for crying out loud, and second, it’s less than half what the tea and honey people charge. Those two should get married and do a BOGO of tea and honey tasting. What could be more natural? Unless we got a toast taster handy. Anybody?
And when you stir honey in hot tea, you know what you got? Sugar water! Haha!
Anyway, cookie tasters will learn many things at my table, which is made from the finest wood I could sniff out.
Over three days (seats are filling up fast, so reserve your seat and glass of milk now at the Cleveland, OH downtown Radisson!), cookie students will learn how to:
Distinguish between a cookie and a doughnut, tell the difference between a cookie and a cupcake, place a cookie on a tea saucer, dunk a cookie as opposed to dunking a donut, tell the difference between a cookie and a glass of sugar water, choose which spelling of the word doughnut to use, and how to get away with calling yourself a “cookie sommelier” in order to entice people to upgrade from the $3 box of generic cookies to the $5 box of Oreos.
How you decide to eat an Oreo is up to you. But you’re doing it wrong.