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Jun 8, 2010 11:19 AM

Foodie vs Epicurean vs Foodist vs Gourmand

I'm working on an article on different levels/types of food love/appreciation. The terms I could come up with are "foodie, epicurean, foodist, gourmand." Am I leaving any out?

To me a foodie is someone who watches Food Network, likes Paula Deen, etc... An epicurean is more of an Anthony Bourdain type and open to tryin anything but hates food fluff. A foodist is more of the food snob who demands things like everything being made from organic and local ingredients. A gourmand only touches food made by a top chef.

Am I off base?

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      1. I don't know what Webster's would say but I think you're way off base with your definitions and I don't think the terms "foodie" and "foodist" are sufficiently established to have a good definition.

        5 Replies
        1. re: toomuchfat

          Foodie sounds so cute and childish to me (I never use it) even though it came out of the same cultural milieu as hippie and yuppie.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            Hey ML,

            I was THERE, when you were still in diapers... Terms can be very confusing, and seldom typify the person, their relationship to the food, and seem to place too many, into the wrong "cubbyhole."

            On that, I agree with you.


          2. re: toomuchfat

            I was just struck that lots of these new words that attempt to define a person and their eating are modeled after other words with sociopolitical or pop-culture origins.

            Foodist connotes someone whose eating is affected by current political or social issues. It can be complimentary or denigrating, depending on usage. More below.

            Foodista also uses a trendy current suffix with Spanish origins: -ista. A fashionista is hip, slavish to fashion, obsessed but also trendsetting, so perhaps the same adjectives can be applied to a foodista. It's not a complimentary term.

            Others are hippie, yuppie, yippee. Foodie is an affectionate term but lacks gravitas.

            1. re: maria lorraine

              Yes, "foodista" sounds like someone, who would trade arms for food, and for political gain?


          3. I'm curious as to how you arrived at these. They seem rather arbitrary--and loaded w/judgment. I may be misreading, but I'm guessing that, in your schema, all but "epicurean" are pejorative terms? You're a Bourdain fan? Not a Deen fan?

            Labels and categories are always tricky and, too often, they do more to reveal the user's prejudices/preferences than to offer useful information. (I love the Chowhound site but have never really paid much attention to Jim Leff''s distinction between a "foodie" and a "chowhound' although I can see why, for his purposes, it was important to come up with such a distinction.) But then again, as a writing professional, I'm probably overly sensitive to language issues.

            Without knowing how serious the intent of your article is, of course, I'd advise re-thinking your terms and the criteria used for arriving at those, and then doing some research into how the ones you settle on are understood in popular usage.

            1 Reply
            1. You need to work on your definitions, because, yes, you are way, way off base. Just from the couple of sentences you wrote, it looks to me as though you have set up a theory and you are going to prove it, regardless. Not the best approach, in my opinion.