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Sep 29, 2008 03:02 PM

Is "Foodie" really a four-letter word?

As a fairly new member to CH I have been very excited to read about all this site has to offer. I am enjoying everything from the blogs to the recipes to the articles. But I was particularly stunned by most peoples' negative reference to the word "foodie". I've been calling myself a "foodycat" (my maiden name is Catalano) for close to 15 years, simply to describe my love affair with great food. How and why is it that the majority of CH's blogs I have read have morphed this term into something ugly?

Webster's dictionary define's a "foodie" as "a person with a particular interest in food, or a gourmet", which is defined as "a connoisseur of fine food; a person with a discerning palate". Isn't that the foundation of anyone seeking higher culinary experiences?

My first recollection of the word foodie simply meant someone REALLY into food, and I believe it existed purely to describe those who loved all/any aspects of it: cooking it, learning about it, eating it, writing about it, reading about it, exploring it, seeking it. The word existed long before the cliche'. How did it become a generic term that defines a shallow interest in food? Have we gotten so snobby that we have risen above the basic element here? It's FOOD, really great FOOD in any setting, price range, city we can get it, or kitchen we make it.

I consider myself a foodie, but not the way described in CH's manifesto. Zagat is not my food bible, just a resource, just like CH is also a resource, different, but still just a resource. Last time I ate what I was told I was about 14. I don't eagerly follow trends; my natural curiosity and excitement for the most exceptional food out there drives this bus.

I won't stop using the term foodie (or feel bad about it) just because it's been cranked so far off it's original base by.......who knows? Maybe it's time we grabbed it by the pasta strands and cranked it back into place. If you love all aspects of really great food, you're a food-ie even if you don't admit it.

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  1. Personally, I disliked the term "foodie" long before I'd even heard of Chowhound, simply because it sounds infantile to me.

    2 Replies
    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

      Along the same lines, to me it sounds like a hobby. I think the attitude behind it is about creating the most enjoyment out of one of life's necessities. It's more than model airplanes.

      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

        I too hate childish words like foodie. Chowhound didn't create that dislike.

        1. Love the user name. I've been cruising chowhound for several months now and I must not have wandered into any of these bad neighborhoods yet. My one friend Brenda called me a food freak in a disparaging tone once. Two weeks later she was at my dining room table slurping up my very rich very chickeny chickn noodle soup and practically swooning over it. I didn't say anything, I like to let my soup do my talking. Agree with kindofabigdeal, it's not like we can give up eating. Maybe I just have a thick skin. I'm also a gaming geek and I figure if I gave up everything I love (being a foodie being a nerd) to fit in with others' expectations of what is normal then I wouldn't be living my own life. And this ain't no dress rehearsal.

          1 Reply
          1. re: givemecarbs

            Not again! I'm so sick of people who don't like the word or think it means pretentious food snob. If it does to you, too bad for your brain. I'm a foodie, my friends are foodies, we're here, we're hungry, get over it!

          2. I dont like the term "foodie" either.

            I would not like to be referred to as a "foodie", I would prefer "gourmet", or "scratch cook". The word "foodie" seems too pretentious in my opinion.

            3 Replies
            1. re: swsidejim

              Interesting perspective. I find being called or considering myself a 'gourmet' to seem much more pretentious.

              1. re: swsidejim

                I'm with you. When I get called a foodie, I want to reply with a riff of Dorothy Day's quote: "Don't call me a foodie. I don't want to be dismissed so easily."

              2. "Foodie" has become a very annoying term to me...I think it started around 10 years ago, when I first started working in and around the restaurant industry. I noticed that people began referring to themselves as "foodies" in a way that made it seem to rhyme with "greedy" and "snobby" - and they prided themselves in their ability to spend money and be really self-absorbed about food. It was a bit like a new version of the 80's yuppie culture, only instead of BMW's and cocaine, it was Cabernet Sauvignon and reservations at the Slanted Door that were the objects of cocktail party boasting. Some of these people even liked to ascribe "foodie" qualities to their young children, as in: "Oh, little Madison is SUCH a foodie! She won't eat ANYTHING without CAVIAR...isn't that just soooo precious!" I love food, I love to cook, eat, and read about cuisine...but I will NOT call myself a foodie, and I have to say, reading some of the posts on this board about how some people are willing to throw their good friends overboard, just because they think offal tastes...awful...well, that's pretty damned shallow, in my book. (Just sayin').