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Food nerd not foodie

I tried to find a post to latch on to, but they get so heated.

First, I acknowledge that whatever the label, it is irrelevant for someone who has a serious interest or passion for food ... you just know ... Julia Child, for example.

But there has to be a better term than foodie, gourmet or even Chowhound.

Never liked gourmet which implied a Jack Falstaff type of figure who would one day wind up with gout.

The sound of foodie always annoyed me ... it is the cute Gidget, Moondoggie, "ie" ending.

I like the idea behind Chowhound, that it is about deliciousness ... it is a pretty powerful and profound concept. I don't know why, but Chowhound is only a word I use with other 'Chowhound' members of this site ... and rarely then.

And I sort of think that being a Chowhound doesn't mean you have to love everything, high and low. I think it is like the restaurant that only exists because it does one dish supurbly while everything else they serve is swill.

IMO, a person can be a Chowhound if passionate about only one food.

I took a long road trip with someone who sighed with despair when I refused to eat at chains. "Applebee's", he said wistfully once as we passed by. And another time he tried "Do you think Red Lobster serves breakfast ... just wondering". He had been more or less trained by this stage in the trip that the answer would be no.

However, he has a passion about carne asada and to hear that man talk about it ... the best places .. how to prepare it right .. the way to cut the beef ... well he was a carne asada Chowhound,

Digression aside... in another post, someone used the words 'food nerd'. I kind of like it.

No one wants to call themselves a nerd, unless they are really into something. I've had my days as a technical nerd and was proud of being a nerd ... I really dug computers ... probably as much as food.

Not to get into what foodie means ... because at this point it is in a zillion directions ... from the food nerd on one end focusing on deliciousness to the foodista at the other end of the spectrum who use the term foodie as a synanym for trendy.

But a nerd ... you can't help it .. you like it, you really, really like it ... whether it is Star Treck, computers, food or whatever. It is not an attractive term that the beautiful food people would latch onto.

Anyway, if you love the word foodie ... Baccus bless you and please revel in it,

For those that think there should be a better word for people who delight in deliciousness ... what else do you suggest?

Maybe a label isn't needed ... as I said in the beginning ... you just know ... but still ... you need something to put in the title of that post to let people know you are trolling for tastiness ... "Food Nerd visiting your fine city for a few days, needs suggestions"

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  1. I'm with you - though "food geek" is the monicker I typically employ.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MGZ

      I prefer "food geek" to "food nerd" myself, if only because there's a certain cachet to geek and a certain, well, dweebiness that connotes the "nerd" moniker. And it's easily understood by anyone who understands what a "foodie" is (my, I've certainly used my weekly "quote-a" in this post!)

      1. re: nofunlatte

        +3 definitely food geek.

        Tho I still like "foodie" the best. It is a shame that it's been hijacked into another concept entirely the same way "hacker" was hijacked.

      2. re: MGZ

        Food geek is what I use too ! :)

        1. I think I'm going to go with Hypervore. Sounds space-agey and vaguely threatening. - also a little spazzy but I can live with that.

          1. Chowhounding isn't just about being passionate about food; it also requires one to think for oneself and an eagerness to explore to uncover new delicious things.

            1. nerd... geek....

              love it

              Totally agree with you.

              I really dislike foodie. Definitely has a negative yuppie connotation that almost goes against what chowhound seems to represent. At least in the circles that I have crossed....

              1 Reply
              1. re: violin

                Yeah, that gets into heated discussion. As I said, that term has become almost meaningless due to so many interpretations. And if people like foodie, good for them.

                From what I've seen, I think most of the people who use it on the site mean it as someone who is interested in delicious food ... and those that don't ... well you just know the post isn't about deliciousness, but about what is in. You really have to read a post to determine what a person means by foodie. Occasionally, foodistas apply the term Chowhound to themselves in posts, but usually on the site someone who labels themself as a Chowhound is more into the food than restaurant status ... and that doesn't have to mean high-end ... there ia even street food that is more foodista territory than delicous ... all those little gourmet street carts, for example ... some of them really are delicous ... others are just of the moment

                1. I use CH on CH but I just say 'obsessed with food' in real life. I am not sure that I like any of the words I have heard to describe this state of being. I totally agree with you about 'foodie.' It has a cringeworthy ring to it somehow, perhaps because of the phonetics of the -ie ending. I have been known to use the term, though.

                  1. I think they're all annoying, cutesy, and trendy.

                    I just say I'm a food person. I don't really need a nickname for it. Gourmet is less irritating, but it does sound kind of pompous to call yourself that.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Azizeh

                      Agreed on your first point about the labels. I'm not a food nerd, food geek, chowhound, foodie, whatever. I eat. I eat to find out what I like, what I love, and what I can't tolerate. I just like to eat and drink, taste and savour.

                      If a label makes it convenient for people to communicate, I willingly call myself a foodie or whatever term others are comfortable with, but I have no investment in subjective labels (unless bribed with a good bottle of rose - I can then be invested in anything).

                    2. How about 'Gastronomer', as in, someone who is into gastronomy ("the art & science of good eating")? Or how about 'Noshaholic'? Or perhaps a 'Victualist'. Patent-pending ;-)

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: silence9

                        Noshaholic is a contender. The trouble with the label is you don't want to make it sound too fancy so the foodistas glom onto it. I'm not sold on food geek though. Like, wouldn't Ozzie Osburn in his bat biting days be a food geek?

                        1. re: rworange

                          hmmm, I kind of like foodista. But it has to be foodista, not foodist. Sounds like nudist!!!! Gastronomer...sounds good but is kind of a mouthfull.

                          1. re: luckyfatima

                            My def of a foodista is foodies who follow the food trends such as fashionistas follow fashion trends. Definately not Chowhounds.

                      2. I love it.

                        I could get into all the philosophical and practical reasons, but it seems unnecessary.

                        I think I'll go nerd out on some baby-back ribs and kimchee now...

                        1. I like to think of myself as a Food Scholar...but, then, given what I studied in graduate school....I was! :-)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Beckyleach

                            Perhaps "one who knows, and enjoys food?"

                            That would be rather simple.


                          2. I like this term by Joe Pompeo in the New York Observer for another group of foodies I'm trying to eliminate ... rather avoid ... with a different term that would exclude them

                            The Foodiots

                            LIke the woman in the article who said about a retaurant that it has a " really good soul-food factor"

                            Ooooohhhh ... yuck ... ick, ick, ick ... I want to take a shower after reading that ... it just reeks of the superficiality of the dark side of the whole foodie thing.

                            It is just that ... that woman ... when the whole current food phase ends ... will be talking the same way about whatever the next thing is that captures peoples attention ... while the true food nerd , or whatever, will still be interested in food though the mass interest in it will have passed by.

                            I also find it interesting iin that article how threatened food writers seem to be about bloggers. I'm tired of that whole put down thing.

                            I understand the difference between true food journalism and blogging. I have never ever considered what I write here or elsewhere in that category. It is why I think food critics and writers are still a necessity and why I'm a fan with true respect for the really good pros.

                            This was really off-base, IMO

                            " As Paul Grimes, a food editor–stylist at Gourmet, told The Observer, “There’s a lot that goes into making food look good,” and that usually doesn’t involve a point-and-shoot camera.)"

                            A pretty, false picture is not good food photo journalism. I've been more inspired to try dishes by realistic amateur photos taken with bad cameras than the stylized pro shoots. It is like shooting models ... real people ... even the models don't really look like that.

                            The terse, badly worded great food tip can be more useful than the beautifully crafted and worded pro review.

                            This next article touches on something I can't yet explain myself and is sort of behind what this post is all about ... but i'm just not able to really find the words yet..

                            A quick comment though because I found one part hilarious and ... well ... even though I doubt the writer will read this ... I have to say it.

                            After years and years and years of it being pounded into our tiny brains that Chowhound is about food and NOTHING else should be discussed here ... well, like the writer I'm betting every single person here has more dimensions and interests in their lives ... it is just one cannot write about that here. Don't fret about it.

                            For many of the people I've come to know thru Chowhound over the years and email, much of what we talk about has nothing to do with food. But when we do talk food it is fun because of the real interest they have in that part of their lives.

                            However, this sentence in the blog sort of hits the nail on the head for me

                            " what I mostly see out there are more and more materialistic, hype-following foodies"

                            Well, yeah ... really.

                            Even at a few of the few Chowhound dinners I went to there are some people like that.

                            A few years ago, at a non-Chowhound dinner at one of my favorite restaurants there was a special dinner with a famous chef, I think it was Batalli. Dinner was served family style and people were seated at tables of 10 with strangers.

                            At first the food chatter was fun. Then people started to talk about a little Chinese restaurant that had gained press attention. It became clear that these people were not there for the food really, but because it was of the moment.

                            I had no interest in talking food with these people anymore. And it started a certain disatisfaction with the whole food thing. Like I said, I can't even explain it to myself.

                            Which is why I sort of want a term to separate the foodies who are foodistas, foodiots or whateever ... from the people who just really dig good eats. No, it isn't their be-all, but when you get together the sincere appeiciation for this part of their lives shines thru and I want to talk food.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: rworange

                              Fun thread, rw. I am known as the "food weasel" in my family (weasel being a word that denotes intense but not overly serious interest -- my dad would be an orchid weasel I suppose). I am personally enjoying the term gastronaut as it implies a willingness to boldly go wherever necessary for good chow. And of course when I travel to eat, I call myself a gastrotourist

                              The argument about foodie vs Chowhound (or whatever) reminds me of people who like Star Trek being offended by the term "Trekkies" and preferring "Trekkers" (I love ST BTW especially TOS). Call me whatever you want, just don't call me late for dinner!

                            2. If I was into labels, I would prefer the term Chowhound, instead of foodie, to describe myself. It’s personal preference really. We all like the same “stuff” and I echo grayelf’s last paragraph above. (TOS rules!)

                              1. "Epicure" is the best term, as it is formal without being pretentious.

                                1. I tend to call myself a food dork most often, with food geek and nerd probably tied for second. Food tends to come up in most of my conversations, so I post script (verbally, of course) with "yeah, i'm a food dork." It explains all :)

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: kubasd

                                    Actually, it explains nothing. None of those terms has a well-defined meaning relating to food. Although you may have something particular in mind when you use one of them, I don't believe you are conveying it well. Additionally, two of those terms, at least, are pejorative.

                                    1. re: GH1618

                                      They're not pejorative to me, as well as to a lot of people I know. I suppose we also need to consider audience. I am using the terms "dork", "geek", and "nerd" in talking to people in their late twenties to mid thirties. Now I don't know what your age range is, but it is generally understood that it means that you really love it to a borderline obsession and you enjoy everything related to it, regardless of its "cool factor."

                                      1. re: kubasd

                                        It's precisely because slang is fluid fron one generation to the next, and even within subcultures within a generation, that it is a poor choice for communication outside the group in which the meaning is common. Standard English is more stable, hence a better choice if one wishes to make one's meaning known to all. I wonder, if it is not the purpose of the OP in abandoning a term which is well-known and understood to a large group, to communicate to a broader audience, what is his purpose?

                                  2. Personally I am okay with "Food Geek". What is great about a Food Geek versus say a Wine Snob is I fine Wine Snobs just completely dismissing regions and varietals because it is not "hot", where true food geeks tend to seek out the best tasting stuff, regardless of fine dining pedigree. I am more happy with an interesting Taco linguica or some Asian fusion food rather than a Filet or a Lobster Tail. Yes, I love both of those, but the aforementioned makes me more happy without paralyzing my checking account.

                                      1. Always more than happy to describe myself as a foody. Or be described by others as one.

                                        The word has positive connotations for me. I couldnt care less if others may, from time to time, use it in a less positive way - that's a matter for them. Certainly the main benefit is that the word is generally understood by people so, at least, everyone is usually somewhere along the right lines - even if they intend a mild insult. Other designations tend to be less well understood or, even, not understood at all.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Harters

                                          Shaw's oft-quoted observation comes to mind: "two countries separated by a common language."

                                          1. re: Harters

                                            When we're around people who enjoy eating, finding new foods, checking out markets, farming, visiting a vineyard, digging into food magazines, walking into a new shop on the first day, attending food fairs and festivals, entertaining at home, feeding the less fortunate and generally making the topic of all things food a daily ritual--well you can call me and mine anything you please because we're too busy enjoying the fruits of those experiences to label it or define it for others who just don't take the time to check out what they are missing.

                                            Labels...well, sometimes they are besides the point.

                                          2. There used to be (and maybe still is) a host of a NYC radio food show who dubbed himself "The Food Maven." Maven is a Yiddish word, which, according to Wikipedia, is defined as "...a trusted expert in a particular field, who seeks to pass knowledge on to others. The word maven comes from Hebrew, via Yiddish, and means one who understands, based on an accumulation of knowledge."

                                            I like the phrase "food maven" because to me, it totally lacks pretentiousness.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: CindyJ

                                              Again, people know I can cook and like good food. I hate when they aren't comfortable with this because I like GOOD food, not necessarily "fancy" food. So I hate when they try and make stuff out of their comfort zone (like my sisters completely botched crab cakes) or something like that. Hell, I like a good pizza, burger and chicken wings too.

                                              I think that is what most people are on this site. Just looking for whatever is cooked, to be done using the freshest ingredients and done well.

                                              1. re: CindyJ

                                                "Maven" is a good word for an expert, and is standard English, but "epicure" is probably closer to "foodie" in meaning. An epicure appreciates and seeks out good food, but is not necessarily an expert. I would use "maven" for someone who was an expert in some particular area of food preparation, so, for example, someone who cooks competition-worthy chili might be a "chili maven."

                                              2. I'm sorry, but I feel that too many get too hung up on labels, terms and words. People are unique - individuals.

                                                Over the years, I have seen, all too often, where folk state that a "chowhound," must do this, cannot do that, and should behave in just THIS way.

                                                Nah, I rather tire of all of the labels, and usually totally disregard them.


                                                1. I have a hobby.... why nick name it?

                                                  1. "Food twits I have known."