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Jun 9, 2008 03:48 PM

What is a "Foodie"

Is it a person who lives to eat?
A food snob?
Someone who embraces all food?
Or is it someone who is thinking about the next meal while eating a meal
Tell me O Chowhounds

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  1. Noone replied to this thread! I'm not sure if I qualify as a foodie, but basically, I think it can be all of the above. (Though we don't like to think of ourselves as "food snobs". ;-))
    I don't consciously go around labeling myself or my food-loving friends as "foodies", but I really really like food. One of my friends and I write constant emails to each other about our "latest food obsession". I think I also have strong opinions about food. So if I try a recipe and like it, I have to share it with fellow CHers or friends, or make it for someone and ask them what they think of it, etc. If I went to a restaurant and really liked a dish, ditto. I'll also try to recreate that dish (assuming it's not complicated). When I'm eating out with my "foodie" friends, we both mentally do this. I mean, we talk about other stuff, too, but we could easily spend the entire evening talking about "this works b/c this flavor and that flavor go well, but this doesn't", etc.

    I don't nec. think about the next meal while eating a meal, though, unless I'm traveling.

    I don't like "wasting" my calories on meh food--e.g. chains, or fru-fru fake food (e.g. PF Changs), so I'll usually veto any such suggestions, though I don't want to be a pain, so if we're traveling, and most of the people want to stop at a McDonalds, I'll just bring fruit and eat it. I'd rather eat that than waste calories on fast food, which is not to say that I don't eat junk food, b/c I do like pizza and mac and cheese.

    However, unless I'm traveling with a "hungry-and-must-eat-now" type of person, when I'm traveling, I'd far prefer to go hungry and eat good food later than to just stop at the closest random touristy food place.

    I think the easiest definition imo is someone who just has opinions about food and enjoys food.

    1. A foodie is anyone with a refined, discriminating palate that is knowledgeable in fine food and drink. A foodie is devoted to finding the highest quality, the most enjoyable, experiences when it comes to foods and wines. So a foodie is someone that embraces all food and wine with the ability to find the best in everything.

      2 Replies
      1. re: The Ranger

        I think you are kind of mixing definitions here. I am guessing you pulled your definition from wikipedia, since there is a direct quote in your post from it (I found out when I plugged "define: foodie" into google. But you are blending gourmet and foodie into one definition (if we are to go by these sorts of definitions, which I tend to view with caution).

        That being said, I laughed at your question Jodymark, b/c it made me think of my family. My friends always comment that at my family's big events, food is the constant discussion. Our holidays tend to be three day fests with multiple meals and snacks. At the end of each meal, we always have to perform an autopsy on the meal, at the end of which we initiate discussion of the next meal even before leaving our seats.

        1. re: Cachetes

          I did combine definitions: I don't consider a foodie exclusively a gourmet. I consider a foodie someone that embraces all foods and wines and is very discriminating. I consider a gourmet someone that is not only knowledgeable but receives more than simple pleasure from fine foods and wines. The stereotypical food critic in movies would be someone that I'd consider a gourmet; can and will be able to speak about the most detailed trivia with authority. This detailed knowledge is often viewed (right or wrong) as snobbery.

      2. I don't take the label "foodie" very seriously. To me, it's just somebody who enjoys food. There are limitations though -- ie. I probably wouldn't call a person who loves to eat McDonalds every day a foodie. But for some reason, the whole chowhound versus foodie thing sparks a lot of debate. Here's an example:

        1. A foodie is someone who takes pleasures in all good foods. A foodie is not a snob, and tries to mentor those who have not yet found the satisfaction in taste and texture. A foodie who is also a food snob is, like all snobs, not welcome in jfood's definition.

          8 Replies
          1. re: jfood

            This comes close to my definition:

            A person passionately interested in all types of food: an egalitarian, inclusive gourmet.

            But I don’t really like the word “foodie” at all. It doesn’t adequately describe the depth of interest and passion of those who love food in all forms.

            It’s the damn "-ie" ending that bothers me. A word with an “-ie” ending usually connotes something small or sweet: doggie, cookie, auntie, bootie, hankie, cutie. So “foodie” seems ill-coined to me -- it lacks the gravity and heft to describe one passionately interested in food.

            But the alternatives don’t quite fit either. “Gourmet” has been over-used to the point it means nothing anymore, and has an elitist connotation, which “foodie” does not. Gourmand is too pretentious and seems to picture Sebastian Cabot. “Bon vivant” conveys the right openness of spirit but also seems to imply one who consumes copious amounts of wine.

            Granted, “foodie” emerged as a word chronologically after hippie, yippee, yuppie, preppie and other sociological and urban classifications for people, so it isn’t exactly a diminutive. Even so, foodie *sounds* like a little, less significant version of something. As such, it’s just not (at least to me) a good fit for the thing -- the magnitude of interest -- it's describing.

            1. re: maria lorraine

              I totally agree with what you say. The word really bothers me - the "ie" somehow removes some credibility. You are right - it is so inadequate to describe something that invokes so much power and emotion. I am more than passionate about food - it is more like an obsession. If I am not cooking I am planning; if not planning then eating; if not those then I am reading about food. When asked whether I am a foodie I suppose I am in some peoples' sense but they truly do not understand how deep seated the feelings and emotions truly are. I usually just say I am eat, breathe, sleep and dream anything culinary. And I am obsessed to the point of flying to various countries for culinary pursuits. :)

              1. re: chefathome

                Thank you. I thought my comment was lost, because of all the traffic down thread. Appreciate your note.

                1. re: Passadumkeg

                  I always got the impression that "gourmand" implied eating to the point of gluttony, which may or may not apply :-), and being somewhat less concerned about the quality than the quantity of food but cf. the ever-popular Wikipedia

                  1. re: grayelf

                    The definition from Wikipedia (a questionable but nonetheless oft-quoted resource) does differentiate between a new and old defintion/connotation of "gourmand":

                    "A gourmand is a gourmet, or namely an individual who has a discerning palate, and is a connoisseur of good food.

                    "An older usage of the word is to describe a person given to excess in the consumption of food and drink, synonymous with 'glutton'.

                    "In this latter usage, there is a parallel concern among the French that their word for the appreciation of gourmet cuisine (gourmandise) is historically included in the French Catholic list of the Seven Deadly Sins. With the evolution in the meaning of gourmand (and gourmandise) away from gluttony, towards the appreciation of good food, French culinary proponents are advocating that the Catholic Church update the infamous list to refer to 'gloutonnerie' rather than "gourmandise' ."

                    I always like the usage comments from the American Heritage Dictionary. This is what they say:

                    "A gourmet is a person with discriminating taste in food and wine, as is a gourmand. Because gourmand can also mean “one who enjoys food in great quantities” or even “a gluttonous eater,” care should be taken to make clear its intended sense. An epicure is much the same as a gourmet, but the word may sometimes carry overtones of excessive refinement. This use of epicure is a misrepresentation of Epicurean philosophy, which, while it professed that pleasure was the highest good, was hardly given to excessive concern with food and drink."

                    I mentioned the connotation of "gourmand" to be someone who over-consumes with my reference to Sebastian Cabot.[Does anyone remember him" He played Mr. French, the nanny/valet/gourmand on "Family Affair", an old TV show.]

                    I'm delighted to hear that's an old definition/connotation. Gourmand is a good word, though one not oft used.

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      Yup, that's me alright; and I thought I was just a chowhound.

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