Taste differences between foodies and non-foodies?
What got me curious about this is the fact that every city has a number of extremely popular places that the foodies almost universally dislike. This leads me to muse about the general tastes foodies might have in common with one another, and similarly the tastes non-foodies might have in common with one another. Of course this runs risk of generalization, but I thought it'd be interesting to find some things most people can agree.
Some things I can think of are
-nfs likely to find unfamiliar tastes undesirable, and less willing to try unfamiliar items
-foodies more likely to prefer a dish done "authentically" (without getting into a debate of whether it tastes better)
-foodies less concerned with portion size, large portions with freebie sides sometimes very important to nfs
-nfs more likely to list "texture" as a reason why they dislike a dish
-nfs more likely to repeat visit a restaurant they had mediocre experience with
-nfs more likely to prefer their meat/seafood cooked or more done
-nfs more likely to cite dietary reasons as a major factor in their selections
-foodies less likely to give "special instructions" and tend to let chef do their thing
Can I hear your opinions?
"foodies more likely to prefer a dish done "authentically" (without getting into a debate of whether it tastes better)"
You also have to take into account expats from abroad living in other countries, where they originally came from, and how vastly important is food within their culture. This is not to say all Singaporean, Hong Kong, Japanese, Taiwanese, Thai, Vietnamese (for example) expats are food snobs or foodies, or appreciate high end western/European dining for that mater, but they already have a pre conceived notion of how food from their country should be represented and executed.
More often than not, expats or frequent travelers/vistors to those countries who understand the food and culture, will take issue to an extent in terms of execution, or paying x3 for what is basically street/hawker food at a fancy tablecloth restaurant at lesser quality.
We were having a meal with family members about a week ago. One person at the table ordered her filet mignon well done. Another was perplexed when asked how she wanted her salmon and responded "well done" and then complained that the fish was dry.
I cringed. Does that make me a foodie and them non-foodies?
What a fascinating post.
I really enjoy food. I enjoy reading about it, cooking, dining out, trying new things - everything about eating good food. I am lucky to be married to a man who shares this joy.
I am always baffled when friends claim that XYZ dish from Chain ABC is the "best thing they have ever eaten" or think Brand X's frozen lasanga is just as good a homemade.
One friend complains that when she tries to cook my food for her kids, the kids refuse to eat her cooking. (they eat at my house frequently) I use fresh shrimp, she uses canned salad shrimp. I use fresh basil, she uses dried. I am not being critical, it just amazes me that someone could not tell the difference between good, fresh ingredients and inferior versions. ETA - maybe they can tell the difference but just don't care enough to do anything about it.
I agree with most of what you said, but obviously as you pointed out, it definitely is generalizing. I consider myself a "foodie" and yet my husband finds it amusing that I tend to give "special instructions". The most frequent example: I absolutely love my local diner and they do an amazing breakfast. I order an egg-white omelette with spinach and onions, made dry (almost no butter or oil), with homefries, extra crispy with extra onions and peppers. Technically this is a "special instruction" but it doesn't seem unreasonable, I pay extra for the extra veggies and I end up with a breakfast that's healthy and absolutely delicious. I bet money on anyone who can convince me that this way of ordering food makes me into a "non-foodie". :} (My husband is patting me on my keppe now:} )
I honestly don't feel it's that black and white. As demonstrated by some clinging to the word "foodie" and others being repelled by it, there are many factions in each of what you have defined as the foodie and nfs camps. They each have their own priorities and their own physiological, psychological and cultural traits that play into their food choices. Trying to pigeonhole anyone seems futile.
Also, non-foodies clearly have lower IQs than foodies.
Why is it so hard for so many so-called "foodies" to realize that not everyone likes the same damn thing? And vice versa, might I add.. Taste is a preference based on thousands of variables. So is how one spends his/her money. Period. What distinguishes foodies from non-foodies is mainly the depth of knowledge on any number of food subjects and (let's be honest) willingness/ability to spend more money on foods (again, for any number of reasons). Why must there be a thread that centers around the idea that foodies are soooooo much more special and better in almost every way than non-foodies every two weeks or so? Can't we all just enjoy the damn food?
A foodie is just a non foodie with a superioity complex. They are no different.
I don't think a foodie is any more adventurous than a non foodie. If the trend is hucklberries or crudo or whatever the trend of the moment is, they slavishly follow it. Sure they'll eat at taco trucks ... if everyone else does.
But say ... goat ... isn't eaten by the in food crowd. They would turn up their noses at it the same as the meat and potato crowd would shy away from cheese other than cheddar, American and swiss.
There's an old Beverly Hillbillies show filmed in the 60's (?) where granny is freaking out the Beverley HIlls crowd by what she eats ... possum, squirrel and ... goat cheese. Like I said, goat cheese became trendy and foodies started eating it.
People didn't like the elitism that was associated with the 'gourmet' and came up with the synym, foodie. Think I'm wrong? check out Thesaurus.com
Ooo, now, rworange, I think you've been hanging around the wrong food crowd! Anybody who only eats food that's "in" is just as narrow-minded as those who wear certain clothes not because they look good but because they're "in". True, these type of folk exist in every capacity of life, but a true Foodie will continue to order certain dishes not because they're the latest craze, but because they LIKE the dish and the way it's prepared and served.
Take me; I often eat cheddar burgers with fries, but I want the meat to be juicy and its flavor to be discernable, the cheddar has to be thicker than 1/16 of an inch, and I want it to be hot. I save the dry, tasteless, kept-warm-under-the-heatlamp fast food burgers for when I'm on the road and I'm hungry and don't know where a decent restaurant is; so does this make me a snob? While I'm not a professional chef, I do all the cooking for my family, and I can tell if a restaurant really knows what they're doing and cares about what comes out of their kitchen vs. a place that just throws instant stuff onto plates and expects no complaints. (I have no trouble eating tortilla chips out of a bag, but when I go to a Mexican restaurant and they serve me the same out-of-the-bag chips, I leave).
True foodies are so because we enjoy the whole experience, not because of any need to be in fashion. In fact, because food is an art, the "trends" occur because the creative people who work with food try different things, and new stuff are being developed all the time (I just read that someone came out with a vodka that is made from corn. I'm going to try it because it sounds interesting and if I don't like it, I won't have it again). If a new idea is liked by enough people, the dish will become more common. There was a point in time when the hamburger was new and trendy, and then the idea of putting different cheeses on it was new and trendy.
To sum it up, all the foodies I know are foodies because we're interested in quality and quality of experience, not because we're trying to get into some tabloid.
By the way, if you're on the westside of L.A., there's a WONDERFUL little hole-in- wall Mexican place that serves goat tacos that are so flavorful and juicy that it's almost a religious experience. And though their silverware and tablecloths are plastic, their tortilla chips are made from handmade tortillas and always arrive at your table perfectly hot and crispy. This will make me -and most foodies- slavishly continue to go there.
I stumbled onto this post as it was at the bottom of my post under similar topics, I guess.
What a fun post, and it's cool that other people have wondered this.
I know my non-foodie closest friend ALWAYS has to have her steaks welld-done, which always makes me cringe a little. And faced with a fabulous menu with a stunning variety of ingredients and styles, will always opt for the chicken sandwich of the menu, always picking off whatever toppings might be on it. Again, cringe.
I do slightly disagree with the "value" factor. Nothing makes me madder than to leave a restaurant still hungry, especially, if I've dropped a load of cash AND the food was sub-par. This may stem from my college days frugality though, shrug.
There's a reason some of these items differ between "foodies" and non-foodies and they have to do with the relative value and frequency of eating experiences. Foodies are looking for diversity and are willing to risk a bad experience which "wastes" their money whereas non-foodies are looking to have a guaranteed enjoyable experience for their money. Foodies value food novelty whereas non-foodies are probably getting novelty from other experiences in their lives.
This also ties into why portion is important to non-foodies. Food is about value and sustenance, not about novelty. I think non-foodies are more likely to cite dietary reasons for their choices because foodies are always trying to make them feel inadequate for not being more adventurous so they put up a defense. Also, frankly, having a dietary concern is likely to motivate people to be conservative eaters. If you knew there was a risk of great discomfort from adventurous eating, you'd probably be cautious as well.
One point I absolutely do not agree upon is that non-foodies prefer food that is well done or cooked more. My husband is not a foodie and detests well-done or overcooked food (the same goes for many men I know who are very conservative eaters). I also don't think non-foodies necessarily will repeat visit "mediocre" places, though they may find places that foodies think are "mediocre" perfectly acceptable because they're not that picky about the food or have found something they like and want a reliable dish/experience.
I agree with Orchid64. My in-laws don't care what they eat as long as they get their "money's worth". Given the choice of a pair of fresh, flaky REAL chocolate croissants and 6 fluffy, glossy, tasteless supermarket danishes made with canned cherry filling, my mother-in-law will always choose the latter, even when she's buying for just herself. She thinks I'm being picky because I (and my hubby) would both rather have one REALLY good cup of coffee than the entire pot of the generic brand that she buys preground by bulk and stores in the freezer.
What I say is that if she -or anyone else- is happy with bargain brands and places like Denny's, then good for them. For her, wearing designer clothes is what she wants out of life. For us, it's a plate of escargot swimming in garlic butter, followed by short ribs braised in ancho chile sauce, a simple green salad with goat cheese, toasted pignolis, and balsamic vinaigrette, a friendly tempernillo, and ending up with a creme brulee and some french roast.
Beats Armani hands down.
P.S. All the in-laws are fat, fat, fat, while the hubby and I are both light/medium build. The SMALL amounts of good food is healthier than the HUGE amounts of mediochre food.
Thanks for the very good reply Orchid64. About my point that non-foodies often repeat visit mediocre places, I am speaking from personal experience. I've been going out to eat a lot with my best friend for years, during that time we rapidly became very passionate about good food. We look back now and see that in the first year or two we used to go to a lot of places just because they were there and we were hungry and we've been before and didn't dislike them, even though the food was just okay. I look around at a lot of our friends who are not very passionate about food and see that case with most people. Now if I've decided a place was "okay" after one try or two, I would almost never go again, preferring to go back to a great place or try a reputedly great instead.
Do note that when I say "mediocre" I mean mediocre by the eater's own standards, not mediocre by some gourmet's standards. I guess in the end it means mindlessly eating to get it over with happens often with a non-foodie.
The comments here made me wonder if, in general, foodies are, well, fatter than non-foodies. Or vice versa. Do we eat more of the food we like (like to eat, vs. eat to live)? Or are we more particular about what we eat?
I know I wouldn't eat fast food unless I really had to because there was nothing else around. The last time for me was a drive through Indiana a couple years ago where there was not a thing to be found but McDs, BK and Taco Bell.
On the other hand, if I'm at a place where the food is wonderful, I"m going to want to at least taste everything in sight.
"The comments here made me wonder if, in general, foodies are, well, fatter than non-foodies. Or vice versa. "
This comment seems like you're trying to insight a riot.
Sensitive issues here unless you're legitimate in your question.
Is MB a foodie where BF really isn't?
Does IG like food more than MS?
I do call myself a foodie because way too much of my time is spent on everything regarding a kitchen. I adore food and all it offers me. I am not a snob nor do I have a superiority complex, puuuuuuuuuuuulllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeez :\
I agree, maplesugar. In fact, in all honesty, I find that the term "foodie" is somewhat snobbishly used. I enjoy food and believe I know a few things about certain types of cuisine, but I do not describe myself as a foodie.
Regarding the OP's generalizations about nf's and f's, I'm an "f" for some things, and an "nf" for others; see my comments on each statement:
"-nfs likely to find unfamiliar tastes undesirable, and less willing to try unfamiliar items " - In my case, it depends. I'm not adventurous when it comes to seafood dishes, for example, but am open to trying different, exotic vegetarian dishes and dishes with unfamiliar spices.
-"foodies more likely to prefer a dish done "authentically" (without getting into a debate of whether it tastes better)"- I will admit that I have a preference for what I consider to be authentic (e.g., Italian food prepared the way I experienced it during trips to Italy and Spanish food the way I experienced it while living in Spain)
-"foodies less concerned with portion size, large portions with freebie sides sometimes very important to nfs" - I am concerned about portion size, but more in the sense that sometimes portions are too large (at least in this country).
-"nfs more likely to list "texture" as a reason why they dislike a dish" - This also depends. Sometimes I will list it as a reason why I dislike a dish, and sometimes I don't.
-"nfs more likely to repeat visit a restaurant they had mediocre experience with" - This also depends. What about factors such as time constraints, locations, lack of other options where you happen to be, etc.? And what if you ordered the wrong thing?
-"nfs more likely to prefer their meat/seafood cooked or more done"- In my case, it depends on the kind of meat.
-"nfs more likely to cite dietary reasons as a major factor in their selections." Anyone (foodie or non-foodie) can have dietary reasons for ordering or not ordering something.
-"foodies less likely to give "special instructions" and tend to let chef do their thing." In my case, this also depends. I also have "foodie" friends who often give special instructions.
It appears that the above statements used to define differences between "foodies" and "non-foodies" and commonalities within each group are too generalized. To me, the whole discussion points to the definition of "foodie" and how people describe themselves and their interest and taste in foods.
I have heard quite a few people say they don't like to use the word "foodie" or being called one, for it can be interpreted with some sort of snobbery. I can see that. However, it is the most convenient word I know, to immediately let people know that you are someone who's very passionate about food and eating. Kind of like the words "basketball fan", "cinephile", "gamer", "book worm" etc.
Am I missing some other one word equivalent of "foodie" that is perceived as being less snobbish?
re: Dio Seijuro
I think that your question has likely been raised many times before on this board and elsewhere. For an interesting CH discussion, see:
A lot depends on how one defines "foodie". Some may say/think "connoisseur"; others may think of people who love are passionate about food and have an adventurous attitude (I know that's not one word). Others may even say that "Chowhound" or "true Chowhound" (I've seen that many times on this board) is the equivalent of some people's interpretations of "foodie".
As for me, I've never liked the term "foodie". I don't identify with it or see the need for such a label. I am more comfortable using more words to describe my knowledge and interest in a particular cuisine and my experiences with it. Maybe it has do with my upbringing and experience abroad.
I genuinely think some people are hard-wired in or out. I am a middle class guy who will do the machete thing in Central America in a quest for the perfect tar shack meal and I'll tell you about it, as I do here. In contrast, my best friend of 34 years is successful, he owns and flies a variety of multi-engine aircraft, but any meal will do. He is deaf to my coaxing that there is really good stuff out there. It's one of those Tom Petty things you can never explain, like an angel in tears or a runaway train.
I agree with you almost completely - certainly agree about the portion size issue as well as the meat done-ness point, and the willingness to try new things...
I recently dined with a new friend who I was suspecting wasn't a "foodie" - and she then proceeded to order her tuna well done - I can remember feeling the slightest ping of "oh"
I will also add that non foodies have no reason or interest in discussising food...the hows and whys and the componets of a dish are of no concern to them....food is not a subject of conversation for them...
I am in agreeance with you on the portion size issue. I know people who complain that the food isn't very good at a place, and then say there wasn't enough of it. Or they found something they liked but they "couldn't finish it". IMHO, classic non-foodie behavior.
And I would hesitate to give special instuctions except in the case of food allergy... my decidedly non-foodie mom and sister give them all the time.