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Why is Foodie a nasty term?

I am still new to this foodie world..... I have always been into food, but just recently found this so called foodie culture and couldn't be more happy. Although there is numerous (including this site) that just destroys the term f... Why is it such a frowned upon term, did it replace another liked name? I don't see where and why Foodie is bad?

Any suggestions?

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  1. My guess is it could be construed to be snobbish or pompous....

    1 Reply
    1. re: fourunder

      I have the impression "gourmet" is viewed this way, while "foodie" is considered less so.

    2. Personally, I’ve grown to abhor the term. I suppose that is, on the one hand, due to my fundamental hatred of any sort of labels. On the other hand, it is also due to the overuse of what is a rather amorphous term. And, finally, on the third hand (having a third hand often comes in handy), the use of the appellation as self-description by individuals who simply enjoy eating out as a leisure time activity meant, at least in part, as an exhibition of wealth. This pretentious co-opting of the term, I submit, is what may be fueling much of the disfavor for the term among food geeks.

      If you must categorize yourself, Augie6, just be a 'hound.

      3 Replies
      1. re: MGZ

        Where can I go to get an extra hand installed? ;)

        1. re: aggiecat

          I got mine when I had my tongue implanted in my cheek.

          1. re: MGZ

            And That was India at the...Oops watching too much Outsourced...

      2. Like sammich and veggie, it's a juvenile term. Does liking alcohol make one a "drinkie?"

        15 Replies
        1. re: beevod

          That's hilarious. I don't object to the term, but I think I might also start referring to myself as a drinkie.

            1. re: fourunder

              Some people play golf - I cook. I call it sport cooking. Does that make me a cookie??



              1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                Since you are a female.....yes. My answer would be different if you were a male.

                1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                  Back in the day, the cooks in the military were often called Cookie. See, e.g., Beetle Bailey. It's a very respectable term.

                  1. re: Bob W

                    Hi Bob,

                    Gosh, I hadn't thought about that in ages. I had a grandfather who was a military cook. His book of recipes is a family treasure! Stuff liking making biscuits with a barrel of flour...

                    Aren't chuck wagon cooks also called Cookie?


                    1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                      Or Camp cook. I actually was a camp cook for an outfitting company for a hunting season in NM. And wrangler. Boy was my upper body strength good, hefting all that cast iron.

                      1. re: aggiecat

                        In logging camps "cookie" was the title.

                    2. re: Bob W

                      A Beetle Bailey reference= I love it.

                    3. re: I used to know how to cook...

                      I guess because I enjoy alcohol while I'm cooking for sport, I would be a "drinkie cookie". I'm sure that'll go over great when I meet new people and they ask me what I do with my time :p

                      1. re: alliegator

                        Hi Alliegator,

                        Gotta have that glass of wine at the ready for testing pan temps! :)


                        1. re: alliegator

                          nope say drunkin cookie, people will think you meant/said dunking cookie and realize otherwise latter. Delayed rimshots are SO much better.

                        2. re: rockandroller1

                          Me too. It's much more complimentory than the alternatives!

                      2. Can't answer the question. "Foodie" is a badge I'm more than happy to wear and it is always how I would describe myself.

                        To the OP, just ignore those who would wish to denigrate how you might describe yourself - it is a problem for them, not for you.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Harters

                          Harters, I love how you put that. I really do.

                        2. I personally love these definitions on urbandictionary:

                          " A dumbed-down term used by corporate marketing forces to infantilize and increase consumerism in an increasingly simple-minded American magazine reading audience. The addition of the long "e" sound on the end of a common word is used to create the sensation of being part of a group in isolationist urban society, while also feminizing the term to subconsciously foster submission to ever-present market sources.

                          Though the terms "gastronome" and "epicure" define the same thing, i.e. a person who enjoys food for pleasure, these words are perceived by the modern American consumer as elitist due to their latin root forms and polysyllabic pronunciations. "

                          and this one

                          "Either a 27 year old woman with a boob job, or a gay man with a great job. Both claim to have many friends that are also foodies. They see Rachael Ray have foodgasms and expect the same from Burger King.

                          They spend too much money trying to emulate food celebrities they see on Bravo, and do ridiculous activities like going out in a party of 10 to a Kobe beef tasting.

                          Essentially, if you call yourself a "foodie", you aren't one; or you aren't what you think it means. A firefighter would not walk up to a burning building, criticize the flames, and proclaim that he and his coworkers are firefighters."


                          "A politically correct term for a fat person."

                          23 Replies
                          1. re: K K

                            Essentially, if you call yourself a "foodie", you aren't one.....


                            So true.

                            1. re: fourunder

                              "So true"

                              Or not.

                              But then I could hardly give a shit about other people's view of me.

                              1. re: Harters

                                What other people think of me is none of my business.

                                But if I hear someone call themselves a "foodie" I'm way more likely to tune them out. It's just a knee-jerk reaction.

                                1. re: Frosty Melon

                                  "What other people think of me is none of my business."

                                  Love that, can I use it?

                                  1. re: Quine

                                    Absolutely. It's helped clear my mind on many occasions.

                                    1. re: Frosty Melon

                                      TY, just became my Facebook status!

                                2. re: Harters

                                  Jane Austin user the term epicurean in a perjorative way in her novel "Emma" FWIW so the idea of excessive attention to food being portrayed negativly has a long and distiguished history. Epicure seems to be a loaded term already. Gastronome gets the same taint by virtue of be a "french" term so by association it's percieved as somehow snobbish. Foodie seems patronizing and infantile. I like chow-hound as it's a combination of two very pedestrian terms, chow and hound to form something which means seeking eats that are altogether neither pedestrian nor elitist. I'll consider all food no matter how extravagant or humble as long as it is done really, really well.

                                  1. re: aggiecat

                                    I find "foodie" a fine term, with a suggestion of a smile behind it. It does not seem infantile or patronizing to me. <Shrug> Obviously YMMV.

                                    Not all people who enjoy good food or fine food are also participants on this forum (Gasp! How Could That Be!! But, I think it is very true) so "chowhound" is not an inclusive term and in fact would be likely to have no meaning to those who do not participate here.

                                    1. re: huiray

                                      The term chowhound to the general populace (US at least) implies someone who is a hearty eater - the "just don't call me late to dinner" boy or girl. People who post here may think that it is a synonym for foodie or goumet, but it isn't.

                                      From my little dictionary ap: Chowhound: 1. a person who eats food in large quantities or with great gusto; glutton.

                                      1. re: 512window

                                        I admit to calling myself a chowhound or hound here, and sometimes I call myself a foodie if I think it will explain me better to people who don't "go there" or know about food on a higher plane.

                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                          I never use a term for myself here, food-wise, unless I say things like "That's how us ChowHounds roll."

                                          People I know who talk on the same level food-wise, we also do not use a label, we too much else to talk about than to do that.

                                          Times when I forget who I am speaking to and offer up what I think is a simple explanation and get the "gazed over" look ; I quickly go blonde, giggle and say "Oh I am such a foodie."
                                          If a person I admire for their cooking knowledge and skills, called me a foodie, I would deflated.
                                          If a person I admire or respect but was not food centric called me a foodie, I would feel good.
                                          Anything else. well what other people think about me is none of my business.

                                    2. re: aggiecat

                                      Reminds me of something I saw in Mad Magazine decades ago--

                                      You call yourself an "epicure"
                                      A term you really dig
                                      How nice you've found a better word
                                      It's got more class than "pig"

                                  2. re: fourunder

                                    I completely and totally agree. It's usually those with the palates I least trust who define themselves as such.

                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                      Again, so true . I do not profess to have better tastes than anyone and I know there are many who have much more knowledge than I on a broad range of topics discussed here on this site. People who think they have better tastes and know more than someone else...... I just cannot take seriously.

                                      1. re: fourunder

                                        There are various definitions of "foodie" (Yes, there are) ranging from neutral/positive to derogatory. Perhaps it depends on one's CHOICE of what definition to hew to, or one's particular experiences that were memorably negative.

                                        Note that the definitions posted by KK in his post above (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7674...) are but the 4th and 5th ranked definitions in Urban Dictionary and at first blush seem to be his selective view on the topic. The 1st through 3rd definitions which he disregarded/did not mention are positive/neutral.

                                        It would seem that you and some others share in the viewpoints and particular experiences of most of the Yelpers on this link?

                                        I myself simply don't automatically consider that someone who talks about being a 'foodie' MUST be one who sniffily considers himself or herself as having superior tastes or a superior palate than other people let alone everyone else. However, if this person IS one who blathers on in the sense the Yelpers describe then for me he/she simply falls into a SUBSET of "foodies" who blather. That's all.

                                        I would consider a person who says simply that he or she is a foodie (so long as he/she does not go on and on about it) to be one who enjoys nice food and is interested about what goes into it, both in a good sense. It's a fairly innocuous term to me by itself and I would suscribe to the positive definitions of the term as given in those many dictionary entries linked to in that Google search.

                                        1. re: huiray

                                          Your outlook and explanations are valid definitions and possible descriptions.....but my comments reflect and concentrate on the negative connotation and aspect posed by the OP's query.

                                          1. re: fourunder

                                            When I hear someone refer to himself as a "foodie", all I can think about are posters on Yelp giving critical reviews of the Olive Garden.

                                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                                              Yeah, I would likely be critical of the Olive Garden.

                                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                  I grew up in a house built amidst olive trees. We called it an "orchard" -- the "garden" was where the tomatoes were. That's why Olive Garden sounds to stupid to me, for starters.

                                  3. re: K K

                                    Love those!!!

                                    Urban can be so much fun at times!

                                  4. Great Feedback.. I do not really consider myself a foodie , gourmet , or anything .... I was really into going out to eat for GOOD food during my college years ($ permitting). Then got a little into cooking what I experienced at places I ate... Heard Anthony Broudain refer to the term foodie (negiatively) and got exposed to this world about 2 years ago..

                                    I was always explained a foodie like all aspects of food and prepartation. While a gourmet or gastrono is more inclined to fine dinning. (all substantial not fact)

                                    I do not plan on labeling myself a foodie but do like knowing this world exists!!

                                    1. If you're comfortable calling yourself a foodie than good for you. You could be called worse :)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. My favorite quote from my long-ago thesis director (Jack Matthews, in the interest of giving proper citations ;): "Every label is a libel."

                                        1. I'd also like to point out that I ONLY refer to myself as a foodie to those who aren't, because it's the only way I can think of to explain it to them so that they understand. e.g. I am meeting a long-time internet girlfriend for dinner for the first time in a couple of months when I am going to finally be in her neck of the woods, and she wanted to know if I wanted to go to a "foodie" restaurant just with her or if she should bring the whole family and we'll go to a family friendly type place instead.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: rockandroller1

                                            I find that non-foodie types use the term to refer to me when in discussions with other non-foodie types. For instance, when mom is explaining to aunt sally that Outback is fine with her, but her daughter suggested a new small steakhouse nearby for the family outing, it's because her daughter is one of those "foodies."

                                            1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                              That is always the case with my family,hycinthgirl.. Everytime we go to eat they just ask me now!! lol

                                          2. I avoid using the term 'foodie' as much as possible because it sounds juvenile to me. Surely, it is because the word ends with the 'y' sound.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: MonMauler

                                              If you're wondering whom to thank or blame for its coinage, look no further. According to etymologist Barry Popik, former New York magazine food critic Gael Greene appears to have used it in print first in 1980:

                                              Gael Greene of New York magazine used the word “foodie” in a story on June 2, 1980, and then used “foodie” several times in 1982 and 1983. There were several London-based citations of “foodie” in 1982 and 1983. It appears that Gael Greene’s 1980 “foodie” and [U.S./British author and food journalist] Paul Levy’s 1982 “foodie” were independent coinages.

                                              1. re: MonMauler

                                                Mon....Me too it sounds akin to lets go for a" walkie, and have a drinkey". Please,,,, how about ignoring the superiority of one's palate and suffice to say "Wow that dish is really good".
                                                Not go through the self-important." Oh, the top notes of melty cheese combining with the briny taste of delicately pickled sardines bathed in essence of cucumber juice vinegar all undersauced with a medley of seasonal root fruits,(?).

                                                1. re: ospreycove

                                                  This is so interesting. Some folks think the word foodie is infantile others liken it to snobbery. An adult food writer coined the phrase and society/popular culture used it as they wished. What's the big debate really about?

                                              2. I don't mind the term, "foodie." It's descriptive, and words are simply tools used to describe.

                                                On the other hand, to answer your question, it is that there is often a pretentiousness attributed to "foodies," some times earned and some times just because a person appreciates the difference between Kobe beef and a .99 cent Whopper.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: EarlyBird

                                                  Only a foodie would believe beef is worth 250 dollars per pound.

                                                2. I call myself a food snob LOL....mostly because most of my pals are happy with a burger and fries with a side of beer, so it's become a sort of running joke with us. They don't mind fast food and I HATE the stuff.....I'll go hungry before I'll stop for a plate of grease and everybody knows it.. They know if they come here to eat it won't be a normal meal but it will be good. So it's more of a joke than anything, and my defense for not stopping at Kentucky fried or Mc D's no matter who whines about it ;-)

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: crazee

                                                    No Fast Factory made food for me!! As I have stated on Chow before one of my best and most memorable dinners was fresh caught Wahoo, cooked on a driftwood fire, on the beach, sitting on an upside down 5 gallon bucket in Cuba. Just beer, Bread toasted on the fire, and minutes old fish cooked by local kids.....They were TRUE Foodies!!!!!.....LOL

                                                    1. re: ospreycove

                                                      Sounds like a great meal....fresh fish rocks! I fish a lot, it's a win/win...a great day in the sun and a great meal on my return (well, if I catch anything besides a buzz....LOL). There is something very satisfying about catching, cleaning and preparing your own meal :-)

                                                  2. If you and I met at a restaurant and began a casual conversation, how would we learn we are each members of CH? Not by describing ourselves as "foodies." Probably because we are the only English-speaking people in the place. "Have you tried the Xiaolongbao?" "Oh, yes, last week they were crab-filled. What a surprise!"

                                                    1. My take is that it's someone who feels obsessed with following every new food trend. And wouldn't be caught dead someplace considered dated.

                                                      1. Because it's an overused term that has so many definitions. Even if you do a cursory search of the term on Chowhound, it appears far too often. In fact I found this thread because I searched for the term as the main board has so many "foodie" requests and it irritated me. This is a food board. We are looking for good food. Telling me you are a "foodie" gives me little or no information about what you want to eat. You obviously want to eat good food, just tell me what kind you want.

                                                        Given all the definitions of foodie out there, the only thing I could say definitively about a "foodie" is that they don't lie to eat at chain restaurants.

                                                        Basically, foodie is so overused and abused as a term, it's lost it's meaning.

                                                        Nw excuse me, I have to go back to being a Bon Vivant. ;)

                                                        1. Words aren't nasty. People are. I'm unsure why anyone would have a "problem" with a word.

                                                          12 Replies
                                                          1. re: tommy

                                                            It's not the word, it's the connotation. Yuppie, preppie, foodie--the connotations applied to these are somewhat derisive. But, like all labels, they're mostly meaningless.

                                                            1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                              Not to mention "veggie" when used meaning vegetarian: another slang term that makes a serious daily commitment, whether to principles or just dietary preference, sound like a juvenile whim. When vegetarians themselves use it (and I've lost count of the number I've met who do) I feel they're implicitly belittling not only their own efforts but those of others too.

                                                              1. re: chickendhansak

                                                                You and flavrmeister are really just reiterating the point. "Guns don't kill people, . . ."

                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                  ...people with guns kill people." Right?

                                                                  1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                    or....people with kitchen knives..........

                                                                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                        also, "fake truffle oil" on farm raised Tilapia..........

                                                                2. re: chickendhansak

                                                                  Being a vegetarian is a serious daily commeitment? What is so serious about it?

                                                                  1. re: Augie6

                                                                    Choking down those vile faux meats requires a serious commitment.

                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                      I know many vegetarians who never eat faux meat.

                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                        Indeed, and I bet we both know many meats who ever eat faux vegetarian.

                                                              2. re: tommy

                                                                Or, as my master's director liked to say, "Every label is a libel."

                                                                1. Because some people are hung up on minutia, and others can only elevate themselves by denigrating others

                                                                  1. Didn't know it was.......or I probably wouldn't have included it in my screen name.....

                                                                    1. I look at it the same way I look at cycling. I have ridden bikes all my life- nice bikes, cheap bikes, expensive, road and mountain, BMX and hybrids and know a LOT about bikes. I have enjoyed all of them. I never bought all the fancy-pants outfits, $400 clip-on shoes, etc. But then again, I don't need to because I have done bikes my whole life and consider myself knowledgeable, am a good rider and do it every single day I can and most of all- love it!. All I need is a bike and some good weather. Can I beat the pants off a weekend warrior in a spandex suit? I do it all the time.

                                                                      Same with food, in fact I became a sous chef and cooked professionally for a few years and consider myself a food enthusiast, impassioned and like it all from some tasty fast food to fine dining. I don't always buy the latest, trendiest or even the best, but damn if I can't put out some damn good food and have fun doing it! I think it is in the passion to pursue it that makes one a "foodie". It's not about impressing or anything else, it's just because I love to do it.

                                                                      1. I think it has become a negative(ish) term because many times the people using it are more interested in style over substance. I've refereed to my simple minded SIL(The woman considers reality shows a new source.) previously. She calls herself a foodie. (She 'discovered' the term last year. and decided it applies to her.) When she goes to a restaurant she does not care about the food. For her being a foodie is the scene. This frumpy, misanthropic, soccer-mom wants to be in the center of the action at a trendy place that happens to serves food because she's a 'foodie'.

                                                                        Not to harp on her, although I could easily go on all day, but more often than not people like her are the rule not the exception.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                                          i disagree with that assessment entirely. almost everyone i know who calls themselves foodies are INTO food. myself included

                                                                          1. re: Withnail42

                                                                            Like thew, I disagree respectfully. "Foodie" can mean a panoply of things ranging from those genuinely into food and how it is prepared etc as well as those who are interested only in the "scene" aspects. It needs further clarification on one's part as to which type of "foodie" an acquaintance is through further conversation etc. It is NOT a negative term by default and those who do consider it to be so I think need to widen either their circle of acquaintances or their idea of folks into food who need some sort of description to identify their culinary interests.

                                                                            1. re: Withnail42

                                                                              "but more often than not people like her are the rule not the exception."

                                                                              well, it kinda of would have to be more often than not to be a rule right?;-)

                                                                              anyways, the thrust of what you are saying is pretty much what I think. Although I may have to downgrade how many people are like your SIL, it doesn't take very many to seem like a majority. I apply the 90/10 rule to "Foodie"......10% of people that use the term for self description make the other 90% look bad. Such is life.

                                                                            2. I don't find "foodie" to be negative however, I can see why some people might find it to mean snobby. I love visiting restaurants recommended to foodies because it helps me to differentiate between what I find to be a good dish and what others feel is a gourmet dish.

                                                                              1. I did not realize that "foodie" WAS a "nasty term." Maybe I missed the memo?


                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                  Bill, I've personally found that most people who are really into food just don't refer to themselves as foodies. As a somm, I know more people into food/wine/restaurants/gardening/etc. than I can count; none of them call themselves foodies.

                                                                                  Putting it into terms I know you can relate to: how many people really into wine do you know who call themselves wine connoisseurs/winos? It's usually the Pinot Grigio/Opus One (insert "fancy" bottle of choice here) crowd, right? The people I've met who are the most passionate about wine simply state they like wine.

                                                                                  To me, those who are really knowledgeable about something don't have to advertise.

                                                                                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                    Very broad strokes there. I have no problem being referred to as a "foodie." And I'll also refer to myself that way if I think it helps whatever communication is occurring at that moment. The word has never done anything to me, so I can't say I think it's a nasty word.

                                                                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                      I thought you said (once, elsewhere) that your hubby said you don't listen to anyone. :-) ;-)

                                                                                      I wonder if these folks felt no need to describe themselves to you precisely because they would have known (or assumed) they did not need to since they were dealing with you as the sommelier who (I presume) works in a food-centric environment. Do you know what they would say or how they would describe themselves in a concise or informal way if they were conversing with other strangers who were clearly not involved with a food and wine environment? Just wondering.

                                                                                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                          It was a little easier when there were "gourmets" and "gourmands", or a bonne gueule or buon gustaio" etc--an implied difference in position and status, between the possibly overbearing and class-driven pedant (gourmet) and the red-cheeked bon vivant who likes to eat a lot of good food, and knows what it is and where to get it. Also, I think the diminutive "ie" sends a message of derision; I don't know the first use of the term, but I'm betting on some magazine or newspaper trend article, the kind that ends up killing what it discovers (or invents).. I'm of the mind to avoid all such monikers: I like to eat and drink well, to cook with care, and to know enough to make it possible. Dat's enough for me,

                                                                                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                            For me, "wino" works very well, but then, that is just for me. I only would use that term for my closest wine-drinking friends - they know who they are.


                                                                                        2. I am 57 and started getting into food when I was 20. There were no foodies then. There were plenty of people, just like myself, who were just trying to live ok. I grew all of my own veggies, raised goats and made all home made dairy products. Also, all home made bread. Now it's called farm to table or some crap like that as though it's new. So, who cares what some magazine editor calls it, people have been foodies since the dawn of time. The non foodie is new, people who eat food from a box or never cook, etc. Not cooking is the new thing, it's just that some people are better cooks than others and that has always been the case as well.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Floridagirl

                                                                                            I really never thought of it like that.. it makes sense ,,, hopefully the farm to table movement will help spread some knowledge