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Gourmet vs. Gourmand

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It seems that some people use the word interchangeably on here.

I always though that a gourmet was a person who appreciated fine food and a gourmand was a glutton. When I googled for the definition, the preferred def of gourmand was a lover of fine food.

Is the glutton component of gourmand "old school"?


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  1. >>>I always though that a gourmet was a person who appreciated fine food and a gourmand was a glutton. <<<

    That was always my understanding as well, but I have recently heard the two words used exchangeably. According to my dictionary, a "gourmet" is a connoisseur of fine food and drink, i.e. an epicure, while a "gourmand" is a person who delights in eating well and heartily; so, obviously, the words are related, but the second has the nuance of eating "heartily" as well as enjoying fine food.

    The etymology of the words clears things up a bit. "Gourmand" is from the Middle English word "gourmaunt,' which meant glutton, and "gourmaunt" itself was derived from the Old French word "gourmand/gourmant." That word came from the Old French gromet/gourmet, which was a wine merchant's servant.

    1. In the words of the late Justin Wilson, in his "Gourmet & Gourmand Cookbook": "A gourmet is a person what likes fine food. A gourmand isn't nothin' but a P-I-G hog. Me, I'm both."

      1. I think a gourmet actively cooks or prepares the good stuff. A gourmond just enjoys the good stuff. Never associated either with gluttony.

        1. I've noticed the misuse of gourmand here and elsewhere in the food world. At least I was convinced based on a couple years of high school French that it was wrong to use them interchangeably.

          Then I confirmed it.

          I was in Europe at a wedding about a year and a half ago and asked the question of some fellow wedding guests, a couple from Lyon, and they confirmed to me that, at least in French, gourmet is a lover of fine food and gourmand is a lover of lots of food.

          1. A gourmand is considered a glutton, yes.

            French culinary proponents are advocating that the French Catholic Church update the infamous "Seven Deadly Sins" list to refer to "gloutonnerie" rather than "gourmandise".

            My Blog: http://www.epicureforum.com

            1 Reply
            1. re: sirregular

              IIRC, this was determined to be a mistranslation. Could be wrong, but that's what I recall reading when the issue has come up before.

              Usage-wise, the definition of gourmand (a noun, a person)
              is someone who enjoys gourmet (an adjective) food. This has been my understanding for many years reading food writing and food history. Though there was some connotation I learned of several years ago of gourmand being someone who consumed food in excess, that was certainly, in my history of reading about food, a secondary definition and not the main one.

            2. This question came up when I was working at a copy desk of our local newspaper -- where such things are taken very very seriously. I believe the outcome was that according to most current definitions the words can be used interchangeably, although some note that a distinction once was made. Personally, I'll never use them interchangeably and when someone brags of being a gourmand, I tend to smirk and look at their waistline/butt.

              1. in french, gourmet is an adjective and gourmand is a noun. people here use them (incorrectly) interchangeably a lot of the time.

                1 Reply
                1. re: tuqueboy


                  sort of like Healthy vs Healthful used incorrectly so often it is just accepted

                2. Y'all have it right: gourmets know food, gourmand's just eat a lot.
                  The dilemma is that people are now using gourmand as a non-professional.
                  Wouldn't "foodie" do as well and not gross out the rest of us?

                  1. My late uncle liked to inform people that he was more gourmand than gourmet. Indeed, he was. The man was 120 pounds overweight for decades before moving on to the Great Patisserie in the Sky.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: operamad

                      I think I'd have liked the uncle.

                    2. Never heard the association between "gourmand" and gluttony. Is used interchangeably with "gourmet," in my circles. And, as someone pointed out below, gourmet is more often used as an adjective than a noun. e.g., a gourmand is someone who likes gourmet food.

                      1. Very loosely, gourmet is someone who loves food, loves cooking, loves where the food came from, loves authentic cooking. Gourmand just loves to eat it. Likes great food prepared well. A gourmand is someone who knows what they like, they know quality but don't care much past that. Just my interpretation.

                        One isn't better than the other. Neither is a compliment or a negative connotation.

                        1. One is pretentious the other isn't.