The Ugly Gourmet

the perfect meaal

The term "ugly gourmet has its roots in the term "ugly American.  According to Urban Dictionary, the term is...

Taken from the book of the same name, an Ugly American is an American citizen that visits a foreign country and views everything from an American standard, refusing to acknowledge local culture and standards. Because of this ethnocentric viewpoint, the American is often ignorant to or dismissive of the foreign culture and is perceived as rude.

An ugly gourmet, then, picks and chooses the "gourmet" food he wants, bringing it down to his level.

You know, the real definition of gourmet food is well prepared food, made with fresh ingredients.  A grilled cheese sandwich made with crusty sourdough bread, imported cheddar cheese and fried in real butter can be a gourmet snack.  Two slices of Wonder bread, a slice of Kraft American cheese , fried in Blue Bonnet spread is not.

But, the truly funny thing is that there is but one rule to gourmet cooking, there are actual;l;y several rules to ugly gourmet cooking.

An Ugly Gourmet...

Would look at the illustration accompanying this web page, and think that would make for a good snack. 

Shops at the gourmet food section of his local mega market, and thinks those tiny jars of stuff are high eating.

Sees fusion cuisine as a good thing, but thinks they don't go far enough.  Why not French/Korean/Mexican/Chinese fusion?

Serves his wine in juice glasses or coffee cups-- that is, if he bothers to use glasses at all.

Doesn't bother with the real cheeses in the local mega market.   Instead, he buys such things as  "pasteurized processed smoked Gouda," "port wine cheese." or cheese balls/logs. 

Sees, spreads as the quintessence of high eating.  If it's a highly processed spread sold in small jars, it's good. 

Thinks that anything dipped in batter and fried is gourmet food: hot fogs, dill pickles, snickers bars, you name it.

Thinks that i If you can put it on a cracker, it's gourmet food.

Thinks that anything can be converted into gourmet food by pouring at least a 1/4" layer of Parmesan cheese over it.

Thinks that Lowenbrau and Blue Moon are the best imported beers in the market.

Pronounces Parmesan as "Parmesian."

Thinks that chelado (Budweiser mixed with Clamato) is a great idea.

Thinks that Parmesan and "grated topping" are the same thing.

Cooks chum salmon
.  It's cheaper than that wild caught stuff.  And who says salmon has to be pink?

Thinks that frozen lobsters from Aldi's are a great deal.

Believes that cheaper is always better.  Dried and/or frozen is better than fresh.

Believes that big gallon jug wine is just as good than that Frenchy stuff, and you can reuse the jugs to piss in.

Sees domestic champagne, imported champagne, and Asti as the same thing.

Doesn't just buy those little jars of stuff from the store and leave it at that.  He is also perfectly happy to ruin actual gourmet food by mixing it up, and making bizarre combinations. 

Loves caviar, especially the little 2 ounce jars of caviar that come from any fish other than sturgeon.

Prefers buying the chunked blue cheese over the whole pieces, because the chunks are cheaper.

Really likes that caviar spread found in toothpaste tubes.

Being an ugly gourmet isn't just a way of eating: it's a lifestyle choice. 


Substitutions are what sets ugly gourmets apart when they cook.  The basic rule is this: "______ can be used instead of fresh____, because when it's cooked you can't tell the difference."

a list of ready substitutes:

dried milk and water for fresh milk

Miracle Whip (or generic equivalent) for mayonnaise

canned tomatoes for fresh tomatoes

if you need 4 tsp. of chopped fresh herbs, use 1 tsp dried herbs and 1 TBS water

any red jug wine can be substituted for burgundy

margarine can be substituted for butter

all cheeses are interchangeable: one can be substituted for another in any recipe

Velveeta can be used instead of almost any cheese.

Imitation sour cream is as good as the real thing.  Or use unflavored Greek yogurt.

Onions is onions.  Use whatever you have.  There is no difference between Vidalia, white, yellow, shallots, or green onions.

The Recipes

You know me by now: of course there will be recipes on this page.  It's mandatory. 

Braunschweiger Pate

1 pound braunschweiger
1 stick Blue Bonnet margarine-like substance
1/2 tsp pepper
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 TBS whiskey, rum, vodka, wine, whatever
Put it all in a food processor and whir until smooth.  This is every bit as good as that Frenchy "pate de foie gras," because it's cheaper.

Pate Spread

Mix 1/2 braunschweigher spread with 1/2 cream cheese (any amount, as long as it's a 50/50 ratio).  Chill and spread on crackers.


1 large jar Manzanilla olives
1 small jat capers
1 small can anchovies
2 tsp basil
2 TBS water
1/4 cup any oil
1 1/2 TBS white vinegar

Put it all in a food processor, and whir around until it's all blended.

Cheese Ball

4 oz. crumbled blue cheese
2 tsp horseradish mustard
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (12 oz.)
1 box (8 oz.) softened cream cheese
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chopped peanuts

Soften ingredients in a microwave for a minute or two.  Transfer to food processor.  Whirl until smooth.  Refrigerate until firm.  Roll into a ball shape, and then roll in nuts.  To make it extra fancy, push a red gumdrop in the top.

Gourmet Sandwich

1 slice toasted Italian or French bread
Blue bonnet, spread on bread
Tapenade, spread on bread
Black lumpfish "caviar," spread on bread
Blue cheese crumbles, sprinkled on top
Optional: braunschweiger pate, spread on another piece of toasted French or Italian bread

This is a good, tasty, salty sandwich, well fit for an ugly gourmet. 

Tonnato Spread

2 cans sardines, drained
1/4 cup Miracle Whip or generic equivalent
3/4 tsp parsley flakes
1 TBS water
2 TBS tapenade
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar

Whirl in a food processor until blended.

Garlic Bread

per serving:
1 slice French or Italian bread
Blue Bonnet margarine-like substance spread on bread
garlic powder sprinkled on top, to taste
at least a 1/4" thick layer of Parmesan cheese, or "grated topping"

Broil in your toaster oven until it starts to brown.
This bears no resemblance whatsoever to real garlic bread.

Caviar Spread

1 box (8 oz.) cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp dill
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 oz. jar red or black lumpfish caviar

Soften cream cheese in the microwave for a minute.  Stir in all ingredients except caviar.  When mixed, stir in caviar.  Great with any crackers you can get at Dollar Tree.

Hamburger Mignon

The essence of being an ugly gourmet is substitution.  This is the ultimate substitution: hamburger for steak.

1 pound hamburger
4-6 strips bacon
steak seasoning (recipe below)
steak sauce

Shape hamburger into several filet mignon sized pieces (about 3" X 2").  Wrap each piece with one strip bacon.  Sprinkle streak seasoning on each side.  Bake or broil until browned, turning over at halfway point.  Apply liberal amounts of steak sauce on top.

Steak Seasoning

2 TBS paprika
2 TBS pepper
2 TBS salt
2 TBS garlic powder
2 TBS dill
2 TBS red pepper flakes
2 TBS parsley
2 TBS Italian seasoning

Mix it all together.  Sprinkle it on steaks before cooking.  Substitute whatever you want.  All those spices taste the same anyway.

foood processor

One essential part of ugly gourmet xooking is a food processor.  You can savew lots of time, mooshing stuff into spreads, chopping vegetables, and even kneading bread.  Get one.  Don't even question me.  Just do it.

corndog maker

The greatest cooking tool ever for the ugly gourmet is a corn dog maker.  With one, you can make all sorts of gourmet treats, without all the fuss of frying in oil.

The basic directions have recipes for corn dogs, pizza on a stick, and cheese on a stick.  But ever so many more gourmet foods can be made with this.

Don't bother with sticks.  Corn dogs and so on taste just fine without them.

Don't bother with their corn dog batter recipe.  Instead, use the old tried and true cornbread batter:

Corn Dog Batter

1 cup flour
1 cup corn meal
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
2 TBS vinegar

General Batter

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
2 TBS vinegar

(can be used with any of the below recipes)

For both of the above batters: Mix dry ingredients togther in one bowl.  Mix wet ingredients together in another bowl.  Stir the two together, and you have your batter.

Jalapeno Poppers

Get the canned jalapeno peppers that are in long slices.  Insert 1 slice on the batter, and put a piece of cream cheese cut to fit the corn dog maker well. Pour more batter on top to cover, and bake until brown.

Egg Rolls

Get some kim chee, and some cut up shrimp if you want.  Put the kim chee and the shrinp on the batter, asnd cover with more batter.  Bake until browned.

Sort of Fried Dill Pickles

Cut dill pickle pieces to fit in corn dog maker.  Pour batter in mild, then put a pickle slice on top of that.  Pour more batter on top, and bake until brown.

Filled Donuts

You can add 1/4 cup cocoa to the batter if you wish.  Pour some batter in the molds.  Squeeze a thin line of jelly over the batter, and cover with mor batter.  Bake until brown, and then dust with cinnamon sugar.

Banana Fritters

Pour batter into wells.  Cut bananas to fit in wells.  Cover with more batter, and bake until brown.