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Jan 24, 2008 12:46 PM

Foodie Overkill

Excellent article from John Kessler calling for the end of the word "foodie":

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  1. OK, love his word "barfatronic" but I take umbrage at his comment re: a replacement for the word as it relates to "chowhound":

    "The pleasing assonance of the word "chowhound" keeps it relevant, but it properly has a narrow definition. Chowhounds troll Buford Highway for brain tacos; they don't spend $95 for chef's tasting menus. A foodie does both."

    Since WHEN does a chowhound not spend $95 for a chef tasting menu, if it's the best tasting thing out there? Harrumph.

    1. Haha! Oh my goodness, what an a hilariously geniusly written article! I have mixed feelings about the term foodie...but I honestly like it better than gastro or gastronome!

      19 Replies
      1. re: Chew on That

        I enjoyed it too - though having been called a "foodie" twice this weekend, in a restaurant and then a food store, I have to say that I cringe at the word, though my sense was that it was meant as a compliment. I agree w/ Linda about the mischaracterization of a "chowhound". I guess I don't particuarly want to be called anything in this capacity - don't really see why we need a label for loving food in the first place. Hadn't heard the "gastro" term before.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Well, as someone who associates the term gastro with a rather unpleasant viral illness, all I can say is "eeeewwwww".

          1. re: MMRuth

            "Gastro" sounds like shorthand in a hospital for a disease situation...
            : (
            Ruth Reichl has been quoted recently (in Time Out? am I losing my mind?)
            giving in about "foodie" - used to hate it, nobody's come up with a better term for the obsessed ETC
            I tend to agree - it's just not worth the energy to object

            1. re: pitu

              Obsessed? Me?

              Just joking!

              I think it is something about the "ie" at the end - as in groupie - that bothers me. Dumb, I know. But not to worry, I did let it roll off my back - just don't use the word myself.

              1. re: MMRuth

                It's like trekkie. I think they prefer to go by trekker? May we could start using fooder. :)

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    Utterly fantastic. I'm using it starting now!

                    1. re: gini

                      I can't take credit - read it on a blog somewhere. :-)

                      But I *do* like it better than "foodie" - as MMRuth said, sounds too much like groupie (although foodista is reminiscent of "barista" which I know has gotten bashed as well.)

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        and reminiscent of "fashionista" ;-)

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Ewwww, forgot about that one. So maybe not so good.

                  2. re: gini

                    *crawls into a corner and shamefully cries over her bad choice of screennames*

                    I swear, I picked it because I love food! Oy.

                    Quick OT, as the "geeky" part of my name comes from being a Trekkie and a chemistry nerd. A while ago, I learned this: Trekkers are the old-school folks, the ones who started with the original series (Kirk, Spock, and the gang). Trekkies are the "babies," the ones who were hooked on The Next Generation and the subsequent series.

                    So... if we're to apply this to 'Hounds, perhaps fooders were the ones who watched Julia Child and foodies are the ones who watch Rachael Ray?

                    I really need to change my screenname.

                    1. re: geekyfoodie

                      "So... if we're to apply this to 'Hounds, perhaps fooders were the ones who watched Julia Child and foodies are the ones who watch Rachael Ray?"

                      if that's the case, then the vast majority of us hounds are most definitely fooders, not foodies!

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        I have to say, my "conception" of foodies is that they don't watch Rachel Ray either. I think of foodies as maybe those who don't watch TV at all (grin). Sort of like those who say they only listen to NPR and don't have a TV. (For the record, I listen to NPR and watch crappy TV at times.)

                        And to geekyfoodie - hope none of us are making you feel bad in any way!! All in good fun (well, except, don't call me a foodie - but I don't mind if you call yourself one ;-) ).

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          "So... if we're to apply this to 'Hounds, perhaps fooders were the ones who watched Julia Child and foodies are the ones who watch Rachael Ray?"

                          I'm definitely saying this with an impish grin and a raised eyebrow. :) I do agree that "foodie" has overly pretentious and "poseur" connotations, but I see myself as a person who loves food and makes it a hobby. Everything is worth trying once and nothing is above or beneath me. My screenname was definitely one of those situations where I couldn't think of anything when I registered. Then, I read the FAQs and saw this:

                          Isn't that the same thing as a foodie?

                          No. Foodies eat what 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.


                          My posts would probably be a lot funnier if we were talking face to face (no worries, MMRuth, no feeling bad here!) and I could add some Jim Carrey-esque facial hyperbole to it.

                          As for Kessler's suggestions, I think "gourmand" kind of fits me. I can be quite the glutton. :) How about changing "barfatronic" to "foodatronic"? No?

                          1. re: geekyfoodie

                            Wow. The most Leffian post I've read in a while.

                            As for me, you can call me whatever you want, as long as you don't call me late for dinner.

                          2. re: MMRuth

                            Egad!!! I don't watch TV (although I have one for DVDs, but I don't have cable or rabbit ears, so not TV for me). And, double Egad, I listen to NPR!

                            The no-tv thing came about from being a frugal grad student. I didn't want a cable bill, because I didn't want to be saddled with debt upon graduation. I did splurge on a cooking magazine subscription, though. Cheaper in the long run! Didn't miss the TV (and still don't), though I would've enjoyed the Saturday cooking shows on PBS.

                            FWIW, the term "foodie" doesn't bother me. Nor do I find that it's a pretentious word. To me, it sounds overused perhaps, but hardly snob-aspiring. If anything, the pronunciation and spelling of the word smacks of a lo-fi vibe.

                            1. re: nofunlatte

                              Dto. I don't see anything wrong with the term foodie. It almost sounds cute. Maybe that's a reason to dislike it. But no, I don't find it pretentious sounding at all.

                  3. re: pitu

                    Reichl was very, very early on the ``foodie'' tip - her very first article for the L.A. Times back in 1984 was on the phenomonon.

                  4. re: MMRuth

                    I favor refering to myself as a "fooThetan" which you can take either as a food loving Thetan or a foolish Scientologist. I know in MY case I am a food lover from an alien planet, when not being a gastroenteritushound.

                1. This is a great and well written article. The term "foodie" has been nagging me for years. I liked the piece so much I emailed Kessler and told him so.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: charlottecooks

                    Foodie vs Fooder .... interesting debate. It reminds me of those Star Trek fans out these, who are of two schools (Im told). One group calls themselves "Trekkies" the other "Trekkers" and one group is more "rabid" than another, but I cannot always remember which is which.

                    I don't mind being called a "Foodie" - its a good word, although a bit overused, I suppose. I've been called a lot worse with regard to my cooking.....

                    1. re: Cheflambo

                      scroll up to "geekyfoodie's" posts - that's exactly how the discussion started...

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        I call myself a "food-oriented person."

                        1. re: Jocelyn P

                          I may adapt that to "food-obsessed person"!

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            Me too - how about FOP-ERS? Food Obsessed People... nah, never mind!

                    2. re: charlottecooks

                      Maybe I'm showing my age? Even back in elmentary school I said that I was a gourmet when given the opportunity and a gourmand by inclination. I don't think gourmand is necessarily a negative term but do recognize it comes with some bagage - in a puritanical sense a gourmand may overindulge in the pleasures of the table but, this is quite subjective.

                      1. re: vonwotan

                        Another quick comment about "gourmand" - Escoffier started a society, La Ligue des Gourmands, of his friends who put on Dîners d'Epicure. In New York similar groups have been formed by chefs to celebrate food and some might consider them gourmands as the dishes are prepared without thought to dietary strictures.


                      1. Here is my collection of names and terms for food loving people:

                        Carnivalore: One who eats only hot dogs, chili dogs and greasy hamburgers.

                        Chowhound: Like my Lab, Lucy, they will eat anything in sight if it smells good and is in easy reach.

                        Chowsall: Antithesis of a real Chowhound. Doesn’t care what goes in the gullet. Often finishing food others have pushed aside because it was disgusting.

                        Egalaeatarism: Belief that ALL food is equally good…Gourmandier: very specialized in French chow. Trained at Escoffier.

                        Egalaeaterist: One who practices egalaeaterism.

                        Foodista: One who fights for the food they love. Can be easily spotted wearing bandana and bandoliers full of eating utensils.

                        Foodologist: Also known as a Food Geek. Usually thin and pale. Spends most of their time studying about food rather than eating it. Has very annoying habit of talking incessantly about food during meals.

                        Gastrodome: Place where food fights and food eating contests are held. There you will find gastroliators and Foodistas. I hear "Iron Chefs" are building one....

                        Gastrognome: Diminutive foodie. Too small and elusive to be a gastroliator, but has been known to hide under McDonalds and sneak out to bite Chowsalls on the ankles.

                        Gastroliators: People who feel fervently about their foods of choice. Often “snarky”, especially when they get a bone in their teeth. Have been known to be combative on Chow and often gets whacked by Moderators. Similar to Foodistas, but without the uniform garb.

                        Gourmetro: Similar to "locavore", but eats only local, big city food. Often a food snob. Sometimes confused with those that only eat subs.

                        Scargod: One who loves to grow, cook and eat good food. An omnivore.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Scargod

                          LOVE this list! Especially like "Gastrodome". ;-)

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            i have to add one of my favorites - it's not a term for a food-loving person, but rather a condition that strikes many of us...

                            Chowchild [a.k.a. "Food Baby"]: the contents of a temporarily swollen abdomen following overindulgence in too much of one's favorite chow.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              You mean like, "you've got somethin' cookin' in the oven", Chowchild?
                              Excessive food intercourse will lead to this condition.

                              1. re: Scargod

                                And anyone who partakes of what's on a groaning Thanksgiving dinner table certainly knows what "excessive food intercourse" is.

                                "Food Baby" is a perfect term for it. Two very good adds. :-)