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Apr 15, 2009 08:51 AM

Would you consider me a chowhound if...

So my friends and I were talking the other day and it got me thinking about what the general consensus is on the definition of a "foodie" or a "hound".

I would consider myself an foodie however I have a long list of things in the "protein" area that I absolutely will NOT eat. I cannot and will not eat any type of organ, tripe, brains, veins, gristle, fat, skin, marrow... you get the picture. However I love eating mussels, clams and raw oysters...hmmm... But when it comes to the meat department I am a dissecting fiend. You should see me eat a buffalo chicken wing!

So, am I mislabeling myself? I love going to "foodie" restaurants (cannot stand chains) and certainly don't order the tamest thing on the menu... but I will never change my tune on eating those things mentioned above.

just curious for comments and similar stories!!

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  1. Yes, of course!

    Although I hate labels. I think food is to be enjoyed (if you can) and shouldn't be taken too seriously. I consider myself a "foodie" but don't limit myself to only fine dining. I've dined in the finest restaurants of Italy, Portugal, London, Spain, Greece, Australia, and of course, USA and Canada and have had the pleasure and surprise of enjoying food in broken down BBQ shacks as well as 5 star dining. My personal belief is you should never limit yourself. I also said I wouldn't eat some of the things on your list, however, when they were presented to me, from the right chef, in the right setting, I relented and tried it. And I'm still here to tell the story!

    1. It's not about what you choose to eat or not eat, but that you choose based on independent critical thinking (rather than accept something blindly).

      1. A chowhound isn't defined by what s/he will or won't eat, but by an attitude toward food in general. Almost all of us have at least some limits on what we'll eat, so drawing such a line (whether it's drawn at a bit of gristle or a live baby octopus) can't disqualify you from hounddom.

        The real question is what you do on the "edible" side of that line. If you see food as an evil that's necessary to keep from starving, you're not a chowhound. If you refuse to eat anything your mom didn't serve you as a kid, you're not a chowhound (regardless of whether mom was dishing up pot roast and mashed potatoes or banchan and kimchee jigae). And if you love going to "foodie" restaurants solely because you've been told you should eat there and because you can then brag to your friends about your meal, you may be a foodie, but you're probably not a chowhound.

        On the other hand, if you go to such a restaurant to find new taste experiences, you're probably a chowhound. And if you activley seek those experiences out, you're a chowhound for sure.

        That said - the only way to expand your food horizons is to try things you've never had before, and pushing the line you've drawn - just a little bit at a time - is a good way to do that. I'm not suggesting that you rush out tonight for a dinner of beating heart of cobra in its own bile, but you might enjoy, say, a bite of pate de campagne. It's just a pork meatloaf, but it does have a little bit of liver in it. From there, you might consider trying other pates, many of which use more liver. And if you like those, try the fois gras a "foodie" restaurant. Maybe just a bite off somebody else's plate (but not mine - that's one thing I won't share). Your attitude toward organ meats may never be the same again.

        7 Replies
          1. re: alanbarnes

            Great post alan!

            I agree that we all need to expand our horizons (in everything, not just food!) and happily do so...although...em... I just hate uni. Had to say it. Still, if my dining companion loves uni, I will not sit and pontificate on how much I dislike the dish. Here's the onus on Chowhounds who have dislikes: eat what you love, try to stretch when it looks good, and do not, repeat do not persist in saying eeeeeeewwwwww if someone orders something not on your approved list! (To the OP - I'm not talking about you, but in my personal experience and in general!)


            1. re: cayjohan

              Re: uni.

              I used to tolerate the stuff. If somebody ordered some I'd try it, but never particularly enjoyed it. Not any more.

              It isn't that I've given up on uni, it's just that I've discovered good uni. The itamae at a place I was eating was very enthusiastic about the quality of the stuff he was serving and encouraged me to have some. I was reluctant, but eventually gave in. He walked me through the process - moving it around with my tongue instead of chewing, and tasting the development of different layers of flavor (fresh brine, then buttery sweetness, followed by a fading nuttiness). It was a revelation.

              Shortly thereafter, I ordered uni in the mistaken belief that I'd acquired a taste and appreciation for it. Wrong. It tasted like, well, like something you don't want to put in your mouth. That was several years ago, and I've only had uni a few times since. It's always been at the chef's suggestion, and it's always been great.

              So definitely don't order the stuff. And when your companions do, take a pass. But if a sushi chef you trust gets all excited about the uni he's serving, it might be worth another shot.

              1. re: alanbarnes

                Thanks alan for both your challenge and validation! I'll keep both in mind! Cay

              2. re: cayjohan

                Jfood wishes CH placed the poster atthe top of the post so when he sees AB's posts he immediately starts reading versus the scroll down and then scroll back to read. Nice post again AB.

                Re - Uni

                Jfood is in your camp, just cannot getthere. And even in Tokyo when he explained to his "host" they insisted (onlyonce) and jfood nodded and tried at almost every stop. Sorry, but it did not click.

                So here is what jfood does now. When he is confronted with Uni on his plate, he normally knows many at his table love it. So he figures what he likes on their plate and trades. Now jfood is a huge fan of Unagi and Anago and many are not. So trading almost 2:1 for those is a normal ratio. Jfood gets a couple of extras of what he likes and his company does likewise. Works great.

              3. re: alanbarnes

                As posted below, there are several threads here regarding what the definition of a chowhound or foodie is.

                alanbarnes, yours is the best definition yet.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  Agree with alan completely, and just emphasizing the point that it's ok not to like certain foods--by the way, vegetarians can be chowhounds too! It's all in the attitude and the openness to new things.

                2. Great post and great responses so far. I am loathe to admit to any "foodie" friends the things I just don't like eating (and yes, I've tried them, and yes, prepared in great places by great chefs), primarily because the #1 class of what I don't like to eat is seafood. ANY seafood. Fish, shellfish, shrimp, lobster, sushi, scallops, mussels, clams, etc. I just don't like any of it. I will eat certain fish if there is nothing else to eat, but given a choice, I will always pick something else.

                  I also think somehow I must not be a real foodie because I can't get behind organ meats, like the OP. I have tried but I just find most of it really distasteful. Foie is about all I can do. I've tried marrow twice and frankly find it really disgusting, I can't see what the allure is. I sometimes feel like these are dirty little secrets and if any "real" foodies found out, they would revoke my membership and kick me out of the club. :)

                  Honestly though, pretty much anything other than the things listed above is a go.