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Feb 16, 2009 11:02 AM

The case against "foodie"

In one post to our food blog at the Dallas Observer, I once made the mistake of using the word "foodie." I didn't give it a second thought, but our restaurant critic made sure the word never made it online -- he can't stand how popular the word has become.

To make the distinction between "foodie," "gourmet" and "gourmand" clear (he prefers these), he's written a diatribe on our blog that I think boils down his argument nicely:

Anyway, I'm curious how other people feel about the word and its rise to popularity.

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  1. I think it's a bit pretentious. Never use it.

    1. I think it sounds like babytalk (see also: veggie, yummy, resy), and I would never use it. I refer to myself as obsessed with food, but I don't have an adorable name for that. Just the truth.

      2 Replies
      1. re: small h

        That is my issue w/ the word "foodie" as well. I've been called that many times now, in ways that were meant to be complimentary (sp?), and I don't make a fuss of it. At the same time, in my younger days, I would never have considered being called a "'hound" a positive thing. That said, I like the "ring" of it these days, and just so fully identify myself as a poster on Chowhound, that I take being called a 'hound as a good thing.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I never liked the term, "foodie", because it sounded silly and pretentious to me. The first time I ever heard the term was when David Rosengarten used it on his show, 'Taste'. I loved that show, but hated that word. Now, however, it is so commonly used and accepted that somehow I have gotten used to it. I have actually surprised myself in the past year or so by referring to myself as one, which I never thought I would do. I am not crazy about the term, "hound" either, but I guess my allegiance to this site has brought me to accept it with affection :)

      2. Maybe Hedonist is a better term. I agree "foodie" does sound a bit childish.

        1. I would hate to be called a gourmand. There's lots of food I love that's definitely not gourmet.

          I find that author pretentious and insulting when he talks about "peasant fare".

          Fried chicken doesn't have to transcend to a thing of beauty to be appreciated. Sometimes people just want to discuss or eat good fried chicken. Or hush puppies. Or, god forbid, fried pickles.

          "Foodie" might be a silly term. But "gourmet" is just downright snobby.

          3 Replies
          1. re: huaqiao

            I totally agree. I actually hear the word "foodie" as a little self-deprecating -- I'm making fun of myself -- at the same time it describes a certain passion I have for food.

            Gourmet (and worse gourmand) sounds a bit dated to me, as well as pretentious.

            Hedonist is a whole 'nother thing that goes way beyond food. I would not call myself a hedonist and, in fact, find that a bit obnoxious.

            I'm open to other options, including Chowhound, which while it is not exactly commonly used is certain clear.

            1. re: huaqiao

              I just call myself "a fat guy who likes to eat"

            2. I dont think I could refer to myself as a gourmand, gourmet, epicure, etc, without feeling like a tool. Having said that, I feel like a tool calling myself a foodie as well.

              I like to eat, pursue, and prepare the best foods the world has to offer. Is there a word for this that doesn't scream "Im better than you" a la "gourmand"?

              6 Replies
              1. re: ZeTerroir

                Well, it's "chowhound," but that's not in the vernacular. Whether we like it or not, "foodie" is what' gotten around. Similar to how chefs cooking with "molecular gastromy" almost all hate that term, but that's what it's been branded, so deal with it. I'm not in love with the term foodie, but it's better than "food snob," which was what people were saying before foodie was coined.

                1. re: ZeTerroir


                  "Hi, I'm pg and I'm a gourmand/epicurist" would pretty much get you bashed.. and rightly so... for being a pretentious tosser twat here in OZ.

                  I ran with "foodanista" for a while but it made me sound like a bit of a pillock.

                  I'm all good for foodie, or food obsessive.

                  1. re: purple goddess

                    pretentious tosser twat

                    Now that phrase I like. :-)

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      WTF?? How did that get by the chowhound police? LOL

                      1. re: Bob W

                        We're in Food, Media and News; the land of the lost souls. Society's outcasts.
                        I wonder whether tosser is being used to describe a person with a tendency to show (off or brag in an excessive and embarrassing way), a masturbator or someone you have a low opinion of?