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Is it possible for nondrinkers to be foodies?

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I don't drink anymore and am feeling kind of left out because I can't experience the whole wine pairings aspect of dining. I still use wine in my cooking because the alcohol cooks off and so many foods really need a dash of wine to make them taste good. I'm wondering if any other nondrinkers feel limited in their epicurian appreciation. There's so much emphasis of wine and spirits these days -- heck the magazine is even titled Food&Wine -- which is fine for some, but for those of us who don't want to drink are there any non-alcoholic beverage options that enhance dining the way wine and beer does?

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  1. i dont drink at all. religious reasons. but i definitely consider myself a foodie. it can be a little limiting with certain foods but i dont consider it that way. it allows for more creativity when you have to avoid certain foods. as for drinking with food, i like water, sparkling water, some grape juices which are dry. but its not essential for me to drink something. having never experienced the wine/beer experience of dining cant say i feel like i am missing anything.

    1. I think this is fine, but I have a similar question and would like everyone's opinions who posts on this thread - is it possible for a vegetarian to be a foodie? Would like people's opinions about this as it's a discussion we've been having locally.

      4 Replies
      1. re: rockandroller1

        I do think that that the beverage can enhace the meal, I know that the drink I miss most is a nice beer with a great pizza. And the smooth ports with cheese. However as an old hand in the food business I can still enjoy all the goodness a fine meal with a sparking water

        1. re: rockandroller1

          I think so. I am a vegetarian, AND have a small budget, but I consider myself a foodie. It takes a little more work when dining out, but fabulous food can be found, and most times the search makes it all the more worth it. I also love to cook and I am a dietetics major in college both which give me different perspectives on food. I would say anyone, regardless of whether they eat meat, drink alchohol, or anything else can be a foodie if they have a real interest and desire to find or cook amazing food, and to experience a variety of types of food.

          1. re: rockandroller1

            Discussions about vegetarianism usually lead to the moderators deleting the thread. I think foodies come in all different types vegan/vege/carnivore/drinker/non-drinker etc. Vegetarians have an appreciation for food just like non-vegetarians ... just the lense they look at food through is different than a meat-eater's. Vege is vege, Kosher is kosher, they all have degrees to be sure but people who practice each can still have an appreciation for food.

            1. re: maplesugar

              thanks for the heads up maplesugar. i liked open that was, and most people seem to agree that vegetarians can be foodies. it all depends on how you want to define a "foodie" so it really is difficult for us to argue about... though we try :)

          2. I would say yes, non drinkers can be foodies.

            In my case though a drink can enhance a meal as some others have said.

            As far as rockandroller1's question "can a vegetarian be a foodie?" I would say no, their diet limits them from trying so much of the food , and dishes out there. I think being a foodie is having an open mind, and the ability to try any dish without nit-picking, or limiting ingredients. Just my humble opinion.

            2 Replies
            1. re: swsidejim

              I think the key word is "enhance." A good, well-matched wine can certainly enhance the experience of a meal, but the most important aspect is in the food itself. If you can appreciate and understand the flavors in food, no one can take that away from you.

              1. re: JungMann

                I agree, definitely the meal is about the food. A good wine can add to the meal..

            2. Absolutley, positively, without a doubt, no questions asked, no other option, answer to the question is YES!!! As you can see jfood does not have any wiggle roomon this. And before he forgets to answer the question of vegetarians and foodies, again a resounding YES!!! Everyone can be a foodie, chowhound, with or without liquor, wine, beer, etc.

              M&M jfood do not drink. But they love good food, great food and yes sometimes, not so terrific food. And the idea that because one does not partake of a particular subgroup of dining, i.e. drinking the kool-aid, is well, drinking the kool-aid. To expand the logic that someone does not drink cannot appreciate good food. If someone does not eat liver, does that violate the credo, or lamb, or veal, or green veggies, or root veggies, or on-and-on. And for some, salt enhances the flavor and for others it hides it. For some a few drops of hot sauce goes in their milk. that's the beauty of food. different flavor combinations for different folks.

              And to the "Food and Wine" comment, heck go grab a copy of Cooking Light. The first half is based on exercise for women, and has nothing to do with cooking. And going further, jfood would never consider many of their recipes "light".

              If people like to drink during a meal, that is their choice, if people do not want to drink during their meal that is their choice. Do not feel left out. Yes there are times when the server gives you "that look" when you order water, but that's their problem, not yours.

              Jfood has eaten in some of the best restos around the world, without liquor, and to say that he has not experienced the food is in his opinion just silly.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jfood

                way to go !! absolutely agree. a foodie in my opinion is one who loves food whatever that may be. the whole and total experience of food. what each person eats and enjoys is individual and best left at that. after all there are a fair amount of us who dont like specific things.

                1. re: jfood

                  Agree 100 percent. It's all about loving to eat. Period.

                  Indicentally, wasn't there once a definition of "chowhound" on the old Chowhound site? I'm pretty sure that said it all. Funny, because I know "foodie" used to be a bad word around here!

                2. i also don't drink at all (for religious reasons - and i'm a vegetarian, too!). i think any time you experience something and then cut it out you may feel like you're missing something, but the world of food is huge and there is much to explore even after eliminating some items from your allowed list.