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Feb 21, 2013 12:05 PM

Foodie vs food snob

I've been obsessed with food my whole life. I read cookbooks for sheer pleasure and love all the recipe resources online. BUT I am only a fair cook and would be hard pressed to find anything (not on the dessert menu) at most 5 star restaurants to make a meal of.

Which brings me to my question. Do you like truffle infused dishes or eat Skippy's with a spoon from the jar? Or both? What are you? A gourmand, an epicure, a gastronomist, a connoisseur? And why do these terms make me think of prissy, precious, cynical, status seeking food snobs? (When did we become so wealthy and decadent that only overpriced or hard to get ingredients are deemed worthy?)

Chowhound or foodie feels comfortable. Less "tall food" more "artisanal." Maybe they are two sides of the same coin.

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  1. "Adventurous" is the better term. One of my prouder achievements is raising two kids with an adventurous spirit that extends to eating. Nothing makes me crazier than seeing kids who pick items off their plates or refuse to try something new. I get food allergies and even emotionally-triggered aversions, but to avoid trying something new just because it's outside your comfort zone puzzles me.

    The flip side of that is people who are "above" eating fast-food. I've eaten at some of the most expensive restaurants in the world and some of the least expensive. I hate nearly everything Subway stands for, but when I'm working late at my office it's probably the only place open at 9-10PM, so I suck it up. Not every dining experience needs to have organic, hand-crafted or elite origins.

    1. I like both, but I'm not a snob at all I don't think. I just enjoy food in general, in all its forms. I've eaten in some very fine restaurants and enjoyed it, but I also enjoy Popeye's Chicken. At home I make simple uncomplicated food....partly because of my budget, but mostly because that's the kind of food I like to eat on a day to day basis. The "fancy" stuff is fun for one meal, but I don't care to eat that way all the time.

      3 Replies
      1. re: juliejulez

        Standing Ovation!!! ~~ Damn right...I cook and eat what I like to eat, what I grew up cooking and eating on a day to day basis. Adventurous at times. Game to try something new..If it really is new and not some modern day bastardization of the old. ~~~ I better stop now so I want get into twouble! ;)

        1. re: juliejulez

          Ditto. I like food. I like cooking and I like dining out. I mostly cook the food I grew up with, but happily explore new when the mood strikes. I will usually try simple/basic versions of new-to-me dishes at home, and the good ones become part of my regular rotation. I jump at any chance to try a new restaurant, but also have old favorites. I'm just as happy and comfortable in a formal, fine dining environment as I am in the local dive. I like food.

        2. I like what ferret said.
          Back in the way back machine of the 1970's when I was just a little Chowpuppy, my dad's great aunt and uncle (from Naples) said of me "Oh, she's a good eater" while I had a squid tentacle hanging out of my mouth or something. I remember that my parents looked proud.
          Hooray for the spirit of eating (and making) honest, yummy wholesome meals.
          I'd say most of us on the boards are "joyful" eaters/cooks.

          12 Replies
          1. re: pinehurst


            Thanks for the date bar recipe. And I agree with you. I enjoyed all the responses here. "Chowpuppy" *grin*

            We were with our son and daughter and 3 little granddaughters (6,5 & 3) in a nice Bay Area restaurant last week-end. The 5 year old happily muched on her father's tubes and tentacles dish, the 3 year ate nothing but salad and a side order of pickled beets. The 6 year old declared everything "yucky" but wound up sharing her mother's chicken piccata. The best part was that they used their napkins and were quite civilized for an hour or so.

            1. re: ItalianNana

              Just reading this now, and HOW ABOUT THAT THREE YEAR OLD and the pickled beets????
              Rock on, Nana, rock on.

              1. re: ItalianNana

                Our 15 month old granddaughter is a total omnivore. Last summer I was feeding her triple creme cheeses and even a smidge of foie gras. She recently had some of her grandfather's jalapeno beer baked short ribs! Her cousin, only five weeks older, is pretty picky. But his time will come, I'm sure.

                1. re: c oliver

                  I was at friend's house for a dinner party and I was searing foie gras for an app of seared foie over toasted brioche w/ brandied sauteed apples. We began eating it and my 11 yr old son came over and asked for a bite - he declared it delicious and I beamed the rest of the evening. :)

                  1. re: lynnlato

                    Many parents assume that their kids will only like chicken nuggets and sugar. So, that's what they feed them. If the kid expresses an interest in any thing else, the parent says, "You won't like that."

                    Should be a punishable crime.

                    1. re: sandylc

                      Agreed. This kills me. I was never allowed to not try anything. Period. If I didn't like it that was fine, but I always had to try it. I could politely spit it out, that was fine too, but I HAD to try it.

                      Ask my four year old if he would rather have chicken mcnuggets with fries or nihari with aloo gobi and raita. Dare ya. He goes hot and cold on the amount if chile sometimes, but he loves going to the ethnic dives with us.

                    2. re: lynnlato

                      With the apple, I strongly recommend that you try that with a Late Harvest Apple Cider.

                      One of my ultimate Foie Gras pairings came from The Green House, Mayfair, London, when the chef did an Apple-infused Seared Foie Gras, and the sommelier paired that with a great LH Apple Cider from Quebec, CA. Though I have had monster Sauternes, like the '90 Ch. d'Yquem, that was the ultimate pairing, IMHO.

                      Glad that your child enjoyed the Foie Gras. Not sure if they are on the road to being a "foodie," a "chowhound," or whatever, but they have good taste, and that is what is important.


                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        What a wonderful recommendation! I still have half a foie gras in the freezer that I'm thinking about fixing for the 25th anniversary (of our first marriage!). A chef friend recommended grilled fruit which has been a big success. So your suggestion of the cider sounds perfect. Thanks, Hunt.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          With the "apple" component, it was the all-time best for me.

                          Now, I have had great Foie Gras, with Huckleberry infusion, Blueberry infusion, and several other components. Those would call for something else - apple = the LH Cider, at least for me.

                          Happy anniversary!


                        2. re: Bill Hunt

                          The cider sounds lovely, Bill, thanks... I'll keep that in mind for next time. Although, I think the Chateau d'Yquem would be really, REALLY lovely. ;-)

                          1. re: lynnlato

                            The Ch. d'Yquem IS lovely, but for the apple-infusion, I was converted.



                          2. re: Bill Hunt

                            Hello Mr Hunt,

                            I'm planning foie gras for our new year's eve meal and I'm interested in your cider experience. Perhaps you could help me out with the details. Presumably this was a sweet cider but was it still or sparkling. I doubt I'll be able to get the Canadian ice cider (Pinnacle??) here in the UK but I may be able to find something similar.
                            At the moment I have a 1996 Vouvray Clos Baudoin lined up.
                            Many thanks.

                  2. A "connoisseur" is someone with thorough knowledge and critical judgement of a subject; a "gastronome" is a connoisseur of food; an "epicure" is someone who enjoys pleasure, in this case the pleasure of fine eating; a "gourmand" is someone who is overly fond of eating. None of these is necessarily a snob, although it's not ruled out. A high price doesn't necessarily correlate to food which is more appealing to any of these types, although some things which are excellent eating are necessarily expensive.

                    A "foodie" is someone who seeks to experience all the latest in food — new restaurants, cuisines, ingredients, ways of cooking things, etc. (my own definition) A foodie must be able to hold his/her own at a cocktail part when everyone is enjoying mojitos (or whatever the latest fashionable drink is), while discussing the hottest new restaurants. In my cynical opinion, a "foodie" is more likely to be a snob than an "epicure."

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: GH1618


                      That's an interesting take on the term "foodie." I don't really know that there's a standard definition, but I totally get where you're coming from. You are describing a sort of cultural posture or personality, what my husband still calls "a dang yuppie." :-) Given that description, I would heartily concur with you about who is more likely to be a snob.

                      1. re: GH1618

                        ah, yes ... the 4-letter definition of foodie.

                        i consider myself a foodie, and also a feminist, so i already have a tough hide, & don't care much how others define the terms i choose.

                        what the term means to me is i love food, i plan for it, i consider it one of life's major pleasures.

                        i still eat fish sticks, a childhood favorite--just had them for dinner, in fact, with a side of fresh asparagus. i like foie gras too, as my name suggests.

                        i cook & bake well, mostly comfort food. i eat ethnic food across the spectrum, enjoy fine dining, am known for being an adventurous eater, will try almost anything once, & still remember the great meal i had in austin after overcoming the urge to walk out due to the overwhelming scent of pinesol. in other words, i dare you to find a trace of snobbery in my approach to food.

                        1. re: GH1618

                          i have a relative who calls himself a gourmand, and in his case anyway, your filing system would work perfectly.

                          1. re: GH1618

                            ok, i have to ask ... what is dirty water hot dog??

                              1. re: Vidute

                                ah. i used to get elotes from a street vendor on a regular basis, but when i saw her fish the plastic bottle of margarine out of the same water as the corn (hers isn't roasted) ... well, i haven't craved that particular version of elotes again. i may have to start making it myself ...

                                1. re: foiegras

                                  will you be keeping a bottle of margarine in the water? ;)

                                  1. re: Vidute

                                    i will not! if i make it myself, it will be butter.

                            1. re: GH1618

                              sadly, i have often ruined others' photo ops by digging into my food on its arrival. i think all of life is much better savored & remembered rather than photographed.

                              1. re: foiegras

                                That made me smile. I've generally taken at least one bite when I go "oh, shoot, I was going to snap a pic of that."

                            2. I personally hate the term "foodie". It brings to mind someone who follows the latest trends/hip restaurants du jour,always with camera in hand snapping photos of everything they eat. Why not "lover of all things food"?
                              But hey.That's just me... :)

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: petek

                                No it's not...! I also don't like the word foodie. A follower of trends. I actually prefer to use gourmet. Someone who appreciates good food. Not necessarily expensive food, but enjoyable, well prepared, and delicious food and wine.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  I don't know, Joe. If I tell someone, "Well, I'm kind of a foodie," I don't feel weird. If I said "I'm a gourmet," I'd be embarassed :)

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    LOL, CO... I usually don't introduce myself as a gourmet, or mention it all for that matter... But I know I am one.

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      Yeah, a snob would likely run around calling himself a gourmet, or epicure, when it is inappropriate. The real issue is about knowing and appreciating quality, having an understanding of what one eats, and knowing when it is appropriate to talk about it.

                                      The OP image of eating peanutbutter out of a jar has more to do with being a fattie, not a foodie.

                                      I like to cook, and I like to cook based on ingredients available, so shop daily. I also like quality, so don't want to waste finite number of chews on junk. Not sure that makes me a snob. I'd rather a lobster risotto than buffalo wings, however.

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        Like you, I seldom add terms, and only say that I enjoy great foods and great wines. I will let others apply the terms, that they think appropriate.


                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          It's more when others comment about my 'proclivity' :) that I might say "well, I guess I'm kinda a foodie" or "yeah, I'm kinda into food" :)

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            Yeah, "into food," works well for me too.


                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              "yeah, I'm kinda into food".

                                              I say that too, with a smirk - meaning I'm kinda making an understatement. ;-)