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Oct 10, 2006 07:01 PM

Adventurous vs. Risk-Averse: who's the "foodie"?

I've been participating in a thread over on the LA Board, about a restaurant in Pasadena, and one of the most recent posters said that she was reluctant to try it because "I'm a serious foodie and I hate being disappointed". My immediate reaction to that was "How can you be that serious if you aren't willing to risk disappointment?" though I didn't say that in so many words, as that was not the proper forum.

So, boys and girls, can one be a truly dedicated foodie, Chowhound, gourmand or whatever, and still be reluctant to try something you might not like? Or which, heaven forbid, might fall short of your expectations? My attitude is that this is like claiming to be a serious cyclist while refusing to take off the training wheels. Am I being harsh here?

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  1. Which thread on the LA board is that? musta missed something.

    The serious foodie is the adventurous one, the one who is willing to experience ups and downs with food.
    But having said that, there are practical limitations. If I had unlimited cash, I'd try most places at least once. But I don't, so do I want to spend $ at a place that I'm pretty sure I won't like or spend the same $ to try a place I think I'd like, or know I like.

    4 Replies
    1. re: slacker

      What is a Chowhound?

      A Chowhound is someone who spends nearly every waking moment planning her or his next meal. Whether eating in a white-tablecloth restaurant or grabbing takeout on the way to work, Chowhounds hate to ingest anything undelicious. They won't hesitate to go far, far out of their way for even slightly better.

      Isn't that the same thing as a foodie?

      No. Foodies eat where they're told. They lap up hype about the “hot” new restaurant/cookbook/ingredient. They’ll explore unfamiliar neighborhoods, but only with their Zagat securely in hand.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        I never made that distinction between the two terms in my mind, and won't. I view the two terms as synonymous. But I don't really care for the term "chowhound" so choose not to use it. So my view of "foodie" is your view of "chowhound." As to your definition of "foodie," I would call those people dilettantes. It's all diction.

        So yes, a foodie will go far and wide for good food. But will also take risks. If you don't take risks you're not going to know for yourself whether you like it or not, and then you'd just be another dilettante because you'd just be following other people's advice.

        1. re: slacker

          That's not my view, it's Jim Leff's, from the FAQ.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Right, realized that after. But looked like you posted it as your own comments. Saw the link later.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. First off, the whole who's a foodie and who's not is an arguement that can't be won or decided. You can debate it but to me it's semi-pointless because at a certain point it goes beyond an interest and hobby and it becomes who's a professional.

        That said, I don't think the key here isn't about who's a foodie (or not) but going out, spending some $$$ and not wanting to be disappointed. As someone mentioned, not everyone is loaded with $$$ and for that matter time. I like food a great deal but I also understand that sometimes I don't want be challenaged, don't always want an adventure and sometimes don't want to be particular if it's an expensive place. Sure if they're little cost, why not take a chance. OTOH, even if I had all the money and time, I'm still not sure I'd just to for adventure sake. I have other things going on that take up time energy. If I had kids I'd tell y'all to jump in a lake about who's a foodie or not.

        1. Taking into account the people who are not necessarily foodies but who just love to be able to say, "I've eaten that," I think that people who are risk-averse are not as dedicated. In my house, my husband will try anything; I am still rather timid but I'm getting there.

          My thinking is that if you don't bet, you can't win. Sometimes in the search of food (or anything else) you're going to be disappointed. That's true of pretty much everything.

          1. You know, this is really interesting, because I tend to be very risk-averse in pretty much every arena of life with the exception of food. I'll try almost anything at least once (actually, probably at least two or three times, just in case the first time it wasn't cooked quite right or in the way that I would like it). I actually get frustrated when I'm eating with people who don't have this view of food and trying things (especially since I like to share), since I feel like it's a little boring. Just recently, actually, I was out to dinner with a friend and we ordered and appetizer to share that neither of us was sure that we would like, but we both ended up loving it, which pleased me.