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Is it possible for nondrinkers to be foodies?

f
Fuser Nov 7, 2007 10:50 PM

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?

  1. choctastic Nov 10, 2007 06:07 PM

    Heh. I dont drink at all. I really can't stand wine with food except when this one good friend of mine pairs it for me. She's a genius. Otherwise, screw it, no wine for me. I hate beer too. I usually drink water with meals. If the food tastes bad, I grab sprite or other soda.

    Not sure (and don't care) if I'm considered a foodie, but I do like good grub.

    1. h
      hungry_pangolin Nov 10, 2007 03:33 PM

      I had forgotten about an old roommate of mine. He didn't drink at all, because (a) his father was an alcoholic, and he was deathly afraid that it might be hereditary and (b) he got outrageously drunk on his eighteenth birthday, and truly swore off it. While living with me, he became interested in wine, just to know what it was all about, so I would pour him a small taste, perhaps 2 ounces, of whatever I was having that night. The intriguing thing for me was that he was utterly indifferent to food, but proved to have a superb palate for red wine. With almost no guidance, he could identify different flavours in some quite complex red wines. A couple of times he actually revealed to me aspects that I had missed. Quite oddly, he claimed to hate all whites that I put before him; Chablis, Sancerre, Hock, Rhone, new world, old world, it didn't matter.

      1. v
        VirgoBlue Nov 10, 2007 09:25 AM

        More power to you Fuser! I totally love food and call myself a foodie, but I'm not a drinker for various reasons. True, I may be missing a different element of fine dining, but I don't ever feel like I'm missing out or that I'm not a foodie because I don't do a wine pairing. And don't let others tell you different!

        1. m
          misterbrucie Nov 10, 2007 09:08 AM

          After many years of trying and failing to be a wine lover, I've finally had to admit that I am not. I'll drink a glass of it now & then, but have always found that, for me, wine spoils the taste of the food I'm having it with, and vice versa. (Apologies to the wine gods, and especially to my friend who uncorked some really nice, expensive wines in hopes of converting me.) ...And yet, like everyone else on here, I consider myself a foodie.

          1. pikawicca Nov 9, 2007 04:18 PM

            I drink, but one of the most serious food lovers I know does not. I do not think that her avoidance of alcohol detracts from her judgement/appreciation of food at all. I think there's way too much pressure put on non-drinkers to join the ranks of us indulgers. Great food is still great when accompanied by Perrier or Evian. Alcohol adds a lot to the price of a meal, and is not exactly health food. Stick to your guns and enjoy your food. Jfood is a good example of a true chowhound who is a discerning judge of food, but doesn't touch the booze.

            1. John Manzo Nov 9, 2007 03:01 PM

              A better question is, "Is it possible for a non-drinker to be a restaurant reviewer?"

              2 Replies
              1. re: John Manzo
                h
                hungry_pangolin Nov 9, 2007 04:45 PM

                It is interesting to note how many restaurant reviewers make no mention of the wine list. Joanne Kates, some years ago, in a column, fessed up to not knowing that much about wine and not caring, really. She does drink it, though.

                1. re: John Manzo
                  b
                  Brit on a Trip Nov 10, 2007 01:24 AM

                  Yes. One of the UK's best known reviewers, Adrian Gill, does not drink as he is a declared recovering alcoholic.

                2. i
                  in_wonderment Nov 9, 2007 01:16 PM

                  Disregarding my little argument about vegetarianism, and back to the alcohol question.

                  Isn't it true after 2 or 3 glasses of wine, you cannot really taste the difference? Because your palette is overwhelmed? I know many people who serve the nice wine first, and end the evening with a very cheap wine.

                  Would this carry over to food as well? If so, then nondrinkers would be better foodies, at least, after the first 2 or 3 glasses of wine.

                  1. Chew on That Nov 9, 2007 12:34 PM

                    YEA! For sure. While wine pairing can be an exciting part of the food realm for some foodies, it most certainly doesn't define a foodie. Foodies just have to like FOOD and be excited by different possibilities and trying new things.

                    1. Peg Nov 9, 2007 09:53 AM

                      yes (sans alcohol) and yes (veggies) - adding restrictions to our choices tend to make us more creative, not less.

                      but - can heavy smokers be foodies?

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Peg
                        a
                        Ainana Nov 9, 2007 10:30 AM

                        While I am not a big fan of smokers in general, (except those that smoke food), I don't see why a smoker can't be a foodie.

                        1. re: Ainana
                          Peg Nov 9, 2007 10:41 AM

                          I'm thinking of the damage done to tastebuds/sense of smell.
                          Maybe smokers like stronger tasting foods? I'm just guessing... any heavy smokers out there?

                          1. re: Peg
                            a
                            Ainana Nov 9, 2007 10:51 AM

                            Wow, does it do damage? Didn't know that. Just know artichokes change the way you taste.

                            1. re: Ainana
                              vorpal Nov 9, 2007 12:32 PM

                              It's true: smokers generally find their sense of taste diminished. I know that when I quit smoking, I began to find food more flavourable over the next few months. I still like strong flavours, but they stand out more now and have more complexity.

                              1. re: vorpal
                                h
                                hungry_pangolin Nov 9, 2007 04:43 PM

                                Yes, and I'm surprised by the number of chefs I know who are smokers. They, and doctors, have the best reasons not to be.

                                1. re: vorpal
                                  p
                                  Panini Guy Nov 10, 2007 05:42 PM

                                  I smoked for ~35 years and quit awhile ago. I think that whole thing about dulling taste buds is a lot of hooey. I will say that if the area you're working/tasting in smells like smoke, then yeah, your perceptions will be affected while you're in that area (or if you yourself stink of cigs). But dulling tastebuds? Not in my experience, nor with the smokers I associate with (many of whom have trained palates).

                                  As far as drinking... well, you ARE missing out on an experience if you don't do wine, but overall, certainly one can still be a foodie. I didn't drink for a few years out of respect for my S.O. at the time. Didn't stop us from going out to nice places or cooking fantastic dinners.

                                  On the vegetarian-foodie question, also yes. I eat a lot of veg meals that are fantastically assembled and presented with eye-opening tastes - and I cook a lot of vegetarian (much to my current S.O.'s dismay). As long as you don't kid yourself into thinking you really know what a medium rare char-grilled porterhouse tastes like.

                                  But vegan... not so much a foodie IMO. Try prying my cheese from my cold, dead hands. And really, "vegan eggs"? Oy.

                        2. s
                          Sherri Nov 9, 2007 09:26 AM

                          OP writes: "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"

                          ............"because the alcohol cooks off" is not quite true. Yes. much does cook off but not all. If this is an issue, you need to be aware that some alcohol remains after cooking.

                          Is there some importance to labeling yourself as a "foodie"? You cite the magazine "FOOD & WINE" as an example of the pervasive influence of the wine-food pairing experience. Please reconsider the source of your information. Magazines exist to make a profit. They sell ads. Some of those ads are purchased by wine sellers who make big bucks pairing their product with food. They're very persuasive at what they do and often can convince people that their life is incomplete without their product. Heck, this works in every other field of advertising, why not wine-food pairings? Sort of like a "two-for-one" deal.

                          My father owned an advertising agency when I was growing up. Our family was regularly expected to separate the truth from the dream-hype in print ads and we were encouraged. as a sort of game, to re-write what we saw. Bag ladies & street people looked bizarre in ads for Cadillac automobiles but we were able to "see through" the well-dressed folks touting cars on those slick and sleek pages. Food and Wine ads are the same. You'll not see the down & out extolling the virtues of pairing a Silverado Limited 2002 Cabernet with Osso Buco because it is bizarre as well. What you will see are people, usually young, thin, wealthy, healthy people laughing and enjoying themselves while enjoying the pairing of Silverado Limited 2002 Cabernet & Osso Buco in a luxurious setting. They're selling a dream, much like children's cereal makers promise the world if the kiddies can badger their parents into buying the Choco-Whoosis cereal-of-the-week. The toymakers are the clear champions of the kids' market and it is a rare parent who can withstand the pressure to buy this year's dream toy..........and it only gets worse. Yesterday's Cabbage Patch doll becomes today's wedding present McMansion upon marriage (never mind the budget-busting wedding itself!). When did automobiles become 16th birthday gifts? ski trips requiring a passport thought of as a suitable 18th birthday present for the youngster and several of their friends? It is but a short jump from Cabbage Patch dolls to feeling out of place NOT pairing the proper beverage with the proper food. It's those advertising dollars hard at work making you feel inadequate and out of step with the norm if you don't follow their lead.

                          Stick to your guns and make your own decisions.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Sherri
                            i
                            in_wonderment Nov 9, 2007 12:53 PM

                            you really have to love marketing. i don't mean that sarcastically. it is just amazing to see through things, to the truth.

                            a nice little example of this. my mother, regardless of the amount we need, will buy the full amount in the grocery store at "3 for 6 dollars" etc. We may not need 3, and they may be the same price individually, but it doesn't matter. We are buying 3.

                            marketing at work :)

                          2. c
                            CookingGirl Nov 9, 2007 09:26 AM

                            I don't eat red meat for health reasons, and I still most certainly consider myself a "foodie" (for whatever that's worth) even though it seems as if in the culinary world there is a lot of emphasis on red meat.

                            To add to that, I don't eat out very much (hence the username) but I still most certainly consider myself a foodie.

                            I don't think it's so much about what you eat or where you eat it, but it's more about the passion you have for food. For instance, I curl up in bed with a good cookbook instead of a novel, I'll hunt high and low for some special ingredient, and when I do splurge on going out to eat, I'll research it for hours to make sure I'm getting the best pizza in the North End or the best dish of pici in Tuscany. That's what it's about to me.

                            1. luckyfatima Nov 9, 2007 09:23 AM

                              i am with the status quo here, a foodie plans about lunch and dinner while having breakfast, loves recipes, learning about different cuisines and their respective essentials and techniques, learning about cooking, eating out in restaurants, etc...I think you can be a foodie and not even cook very much, or perhaps be on a limited budget and not dine out frequently. It is about love and passion for food. You can most certainly be a vegetarian foodie or a teetotaler foodie. I don't drink alcohol or eat pork for religious reasons. I don't know a thing about alcohol or wines. But I don't think that my vacuum of knowledge in that regard destroys my credibility as a passionate food lover, that's just nonsense. You ask me how to use fresh Chinese egg noodles, how to get your baked chicken golden, or what to do with a certain spice, you bet that if I can't tell you off the top of my head, I know where to look for an answer in my well-worn cookbooks. You can definately and unequivacably be a foodie sans the spirits! Happy eating and cheers to you with my glass of water with a wedge of lemon!

                              1. Seth Chadwick Nov 8, 2007 10:19 PM

                                Of course you can be a foodie and a non-drinker. I find this whole discussion fascinating for two reasons.

                                First, there are plenty of restaurants that serve outstanding food that have neither a wine list nor anything other than Bud Light on the menu. Is my experience diminished because the Mexican hole in the wall doesn't offer a comprehensive list of Shiraz options? No!. I can take my street tacos and torta and mole enchiladas and discover the nuances of each bite without so much as one drop of wine or beer.

                                Second, I am perplexed as to what the pay off is in being called a "foodie." Is there some special deduction box on the 1040 tax form? Do you get a special designation on your driver's license? Will it get you a discount at the dry cleaners?

                                Epicurian appreciation stems from someone's palette, brain, heart and soul, not from a list of alcoholic beverages.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Seth Chadwick
                                  r
                                  Rick Nov 9, 2007 07:30 AM

                                  I rarely drink alcohol and consider myself a foodie. I certainly do enjoy a good food and wine pairing, but it's not something I regularly find myself seeking out the same way I do a good meal.

                                  1. re: Seth Chadwick
                                    danna Nov 9, 2007 07:43 AM

                                    I have to agree. Honestly, i think you could still get that foodie ID card even if you subsisted enitirely on water and chewing gum. As long as you were passionate in your quest for the purest, best water and obsessed with obtaining the widest variety of long-lasting gum.

                                    1. re: danna
                                      i
                                      in_wonderment Nov 9, 2007 08:00 AM

                                      disagreeing again... sorry im in the minority, haha.

                                      a foodie would not be satisfied with just water and gum. again, I think the breadth and depth of one's palette is important. the range of flavors in water and gum is relatively shallow, and I think a true foodie would be unsatisfied with the limitations.

                                    2. re: Seth Chadwick
                                      maplesugar Nov 9, 2007 02:48 PM

                                      Well said Seth.

                                      1. re: Seth Chadwick
                                        MMRuth Nov 9, 2007 02:52 PM

                                        FWIW, my husband and I drink wine with pretty much every meal (well, not breakfast), but it would never occur to me that somone who did not do so could not enjoy the food. For us, yes, it does complement the meal, but far be it for me to judge someone who, for whatever reason (recovering alcoholic, Muslim, doesn't like the taste), doesn't want to drink with a meal.

                                      2. Honeychan Nov 8, 2007 07:39 PM

                                        It's completely, and totally possible to both be a nondrinker AND a foodie. I will agree, there is a very heavy emphasis by the powers that be (take that as you will) that one MUST drink a wonderful, expensive glass/bottle of wine for one's dining experience to be perfect. That's just silly! I expect the wine-lovers on CH will either take exception, or agree..I'm not too concerned about that.

                                        Perfect example: Here in Las Vegas, Lotus Of Siam not only has fantasic Thai food, but from having been there (and learned from this site) a wine-list that is exceptional. Many, many wine-lovers go there, and get emmense pleasure from getting both the great food, and the "perfect" wine to go with it. I've -never- ever had a glass of wine there, as it's not my reason to go there. I like wine just fine, but limit my booze consumption due to meds. I have never felt like I was "missing out" by not getting wine with my meals. Now, beer- I do personally love a dark beer whilst eating German cuisine, or a Asahi Dry with Japanese. It only -enhances- the meal, not makes the meal complete. I can eat with drinking only water, and be just fine.

                                        I do think there are "wine snobs" (not here, but other online places) that really try and push the concept that a fine wine is a MUST for any meal. I mean, dessert wines? I'd never thought of that, untill I read about the concept online! I think some people place the level of importance on the wrong thing, and try and have others follow, lemming-style as to what's the proper way of enjoying a meal. Is this a cultural thing, that's French, possibly? Since fine French cuisine is the standard for "fine, high-end" cuisine, and they drink lots of wine...This is just a musing, a thought that has no real answer for me.

                                        Anyone who loves food, the making of, the eating..Is a foodie. At least to me. Even if it's something I personally don't eat, but they are passionate about, they are a foodie.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Honeychan
                                          janetofreno Nov 8, 2007 10:11 PM

                                          Agreed, Honeychan. I have eaten a number of times at Lotus of Siam, yet only remember drinking wine there once. That time I was with my sister, who likes wine, and we had something from the list that was just delightful. But most times I've been there I've had beer ...because, well, I just PREFER beer with spicy food. I know LOS has a lovely wine list very carefully selected to go with the cuisine, but I prefer beer. So shoot me. Everyone has their likes and dislikes, and one's preferences don't determine one's chowhound/"foodie" credentials.

                                        2. i
                                          in_wonderment Nov 8, 2007 05:24 PM

                                          I'm going to take the unpopular position and dissent. I think being a foodie is about being unpretentious and openminded with eating... enjoying all that is out there, and not judging those who enjoy food to the fullest. I think not drinking is fine, whatever the reason, but im not sure it allows you to enjoy the best experience of a meal. For me, this is up for more debate, given that a drink isn't truly a "food."

                                          However, I think, and I'll take blame for this... that a vegetarian cannot be a true foodie. How can you even comprehend flavors that cannot be duplicated? How would you even know what I'm speaking of if I reference the sweetness of crab meat, or the soft texture of kobe beef?

                                          You can be a vegetarian foodie, but I'm not sure you are completely 100% a foodie.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: in_wonderment
                                            t
                                            Terrieltr Nov 11, 2007 12:46 PM

                                            Taking your argument a step further, NO one can be 100% a foodie. Because there's always going to be something that a person is not familiar with. After all, there are plenty of meat eaters out there who aren't familiar with the texture of tripe. And plenty of people have never had wild rice on its own, so they don't know about it's eathy, nutty flavor. Heck, I've never had puffball mushrooms, so I can't understand if someone describes those.

                                            1. re: Terrieltr
                                              h
                                              hungry_pangolin Nov 11, 2007 01:13 PM

                                              The difference being that you are not in principle against the eating of tripe, wild rice, puffball, etc. You just haven't tried them yet. That might, by your description, not make you 100% foodie, yet, but you can approach the 100%, albeit asymptotically. A vegetarian's % falls far short by virtue of excluding an entire class of food.

                                              1. re: Terrieltr
                                                i
                                                in_wonderment Nov 11, 2007 04:12 PM

                                                love both responses thanks.

                                                its difficult to "exclude" one type of food, whether it be alcohol, or meat. because, as hungry said, you cannot possibly ever reach the 100% foodie mark. However, as terrieltr mentioned, no one is ever going to reach that mark.... to do so would be survivorman-like, and most of us don't eat the intense foods needed to survive.

                                                some would even think that principles would overrule most other restrictions. aren't principles morally higher than the very basic - "eww its gross"?

                                                however, principles do limit us quite a lot. and as hungry said, exclude entire classes of food.

                                            2. hotteacher1976 Nov 8, 2007 03:18 PM

                                              Yeah, I don't much anymore and I'm a foodie. I love good food, period!

                                              1. chelleyd01 Nov 8, 2007 02:12 PM

                                                non drinker. foodie. yep, it happens.

                                                1. b
                                                  Brit on a Trip Nov 8, 2007 12:38 PM

                                                  I also don't drink anymore. I still enjoy the food experience but I miss wine a lot both at home and at a restaurant.

                                                  I miss not being able to sit after the meal with a coffee, brandy and cigarette. I am unsure which I miss most - the brandy or the cigarette.

                                                  The OP asks is there a good non-alcoholic substitute. Certainly not in the UK. Non-alco drinks are far too sweet and my experience in the US is the same.

                                                  1. ktmoomau Nov 8, 2007 09:59 AM

                                                    I don't drink much because I have seen family members with what I think could go over the line if they aren't careful. I feel just as much of a foodie.

                                                    Also my BF is an alcoholic and doesn't drink and even though he isn't on Chow, he probably eats much better than I do and is really into food.

                                                    1. vorpal Nov 8, 2007 09:38 AM

                                                      I think if you have a deep love of food, you're a foodie, despite any restrictions you may have or choose to have on your diet. Who cares what other people think?

                                                      I have a health condition that seriously limits what I can and cannot eat. For example, chocolate, wine, coffee, tea, MSG, and cabbage are right out, and that's only a small subset of the foods I cannot consume without jeopardizing my well being. That being said, I am most assuredly a foodie... Perhaps some might not consider me as such, but their approval doesn't really mean much to me. I love food - every aspect of it from studying to preparing to eating - much more than most things in life and far more than virtually anyone else I know, and to me, that's enough to give myself the designation.

                                                      1. s
                                                        soupkitten Nov 8, 2007 08:41 AM

                                                        of course it's more than possible to be a straight-edge foodie or a veg foodie! saying that it's not possible is like saying it's impossible to be a kosher foodie or impossible to be a foodie who is allergic to shellfish or peanuts. the range & scope of food is so broad and wonderful that the only "limitation" with special diets are limitations of imagination, knowledge & training of the cook.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: soupkitten
                                                          Richard 16 Nov 8, 2007 09:13 AM

                                                          jfood and soupkittten nailed it.

                                                          You could eat a different vegetarian meal every meal of your life and not cover 10% of what's out there. (OK, I made up th 10% figure.) We *all* are limited in our choices if for no other reason than we simply don't live long enough!

                                                          As for wine and such, you may have to retrain your palate and expectations. Note that I wrote "retrain", not "lower". I have no personal objections to moderate alcohol, and occasionally have a drink -- but the overwhelming majority of my meals are eaten without it. And as a chef I never drank, at least at work, and my palate worked just fine.

                                                        2. ccbweb Nov 8, 2007 08:32 AM

                                                          I think people with any sort of limitations or preferences can still be "foodies" or chowhounds. Especially with what a chowhound is, according to the manifesto. Chowhounds are concerned with finding something delicious to eat. Even if one were limited to white meat chicken and toast...what's to stop that person from seeking out the best white meat chicken and toast everywhere they can find it. Just because you don't drink, or don't eat meat, or can't eat X doesn't mean you can't be interested in food and how it's made and what makes it better and where you can find that better version. That's a chowhound and it's probably what you mean when you say foodie, too.

                                                          As for non-alcoholic beverages....check out drysoda.com Not so sweet and in interesting flavors and designed to do just what you're asking.

                                                          1. h
                                                            hungry_pangolin Nov 8, 2007 08:28 AM

                                                            Yes, I do think that it's possible to be a non-imbibing foodie, but, frankly, nothing enhances the flavour of food the way wine does. That said, the one thing that I want to warn you away from is de-alcoholised wines. I have yet to try one that was the least bit pleasant. You are much better off with traditional non-alcoholic options. A few years a go, I had to give up booze for health reasons for a couple of months. I found that nothing was a suitable replacement for red wine, but to replace white wine I had pretty good luck find things like dry sparkling cider, or (and this was really good!) mixing elderberry syrup with soda water. It tastes like a sparkling Gewurztraminer. I found the elderberry syrup at (of all places) Ikea.

                                                            If you like the flavour of beer, I find that de-alcoholised beers are OK.

                                                            As to the poster who asked about being a vegetarian foodie. Honestly, I don't think so. Some vegetarian food is very good, no argument there - it's just that vegetarianism excludes an entire universe of possibilities, definitionally. Just my opinion.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: hungry_pangolin
                                                              p
                                                              phoenikia Nov 8, 2007 10:36 AM

                                                              Do you become more of a foodie because you eat more types of organisms? I don't think so.

                                                              Discriminating taste is part of what makes a foodie, and that's why so many of us are choosy eaters. A foodie should be able to discriminate against the taste of meat, or jelly beans, or whatever it is he/she chooses not to eat.

                                                              And the concept of foodie is relative. Are the people who try every single thing at a buffet foodies? Or is the people who compare dozens of versions of eggs benedict across a big city who are foodies? Is someone with a massive appetite more of a foodie than someone who is on a strict diet?

                                                              I dislike vanilla ice cream and I don't like the idea of eating farmed shrimp or horses but I still consider myself a foodie.

                                                              Being a foodie is more qualitative than quantitative.

                                                              I think most people self-identify if they are foodies. I wouldn't say I have the right to tell someone they are not a foodie, or that they are less of a foodie, because they choose not to eat meat.

                                                              1. re: phoenikia
                                                                h
                                                                hungry_pangolin Nov 8, 2007 11:12 AM

                                                                I hope that you're not mistaking my omnivorous appetite for gluttony. And did say that it was just my opinion. You'll note that it was offered in a pretty mild fashion, not some Bourdain-like rant.

                                                                1. re: hungry_pangolin
                                                                  p
                                                                  phoenikia Nov 8, 2007 11:26 AM

                                                                  Not meaning to offend you, hungry pangolin. I realize your entry was offered in a mild fashion and I'm sorry if my reply was too sharp.

                                                                  I was just trying to say eating more types of things doesn't necessarily make someone more of a foodie in my opinion.

                                                                  And I guess, that there might be more than one type of foodie. Some foodies focus on different types of variety more than others do.

                                                            2. c
                                                              CurlieGlamourGirlie Nov 8, 2007 06:41 AM

                                                              Absolutely! I'm a huge foodie and I'm not a big drinker. I find it keeps my restaurant bill much lower!!

                                                              But I never feel like I'm missing out on something because I don't drink a recommended wine or what have you.

                                                              That's why I like Saveur magazine - a small wine column and the rest is food!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie
                                                                jvish Nov 8, 2007 08:16 AM

                                                                without question..you can be. I enjoy wine with my meals more than my wife does. So we often skip having wine with dinner.
                                                                We have been lucky to have dined in some of the best restaurants in the country and I have never felt like my meal was diminished by NOT having wine.
                                                                In fact I feel that there is defintely pressure put on in restaurants to order wine. Sometimes you feel almost obligated. It is something that can enhance your meal, but I dont feel that by not having wine with dinner takes away from your meal.

                                                              2. arifa Nov 8, 2007 05:43 AM

                                                                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.

                                                                1. jfood Nov 8, 2007 05:34 AM

                                                                  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
                                                                    f
                                                                    foodwich Nov 8, 2007 09:43 AM

                                                                    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
                                                                      k
                                                                      Kagey Nov 9, 2007 03:30 AM

                                                                      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. s
                                                                      swsidejim Nov 8, 2007 05:02 AM

                                                                      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
                                                                        JungMann Nov 8, 2007 08:08 AM

                                                                        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
                                                                          s
                                                                          swsidejim Nov 8, 2007 08:15 AM

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

                                                                      2. rockandroller1 Nov 8, 2007 04:34 AM

                                                                        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
                                                                          j
                                                                          jscott65 Nov 8, 2007 04:41 AM

                                                                          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
                                                                            s
                                                                            sarahelan Nov 8, 2007 04:49 AM

                                                                            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
                                                                              maplesugar Nov 9, 2007 02:34 PM

                                                                              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
                                                                                i
                                                                                in_wonderment Nov 9, 2007 02:48 PM

                                                                                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. f
                                                                              foodwich Nov 8, 2007 03:42 AM

                                                                              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.

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