Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Dec 11, 2013 02:25 PM

What makes a foodie?

What are the top qualities that make someone a foodie?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. They love to eat. And as soon as they eat something they love, they instinctually begin wondering what's in it and how was it made.

    1. Interesting question.

      I see an online dictionary definition as "an enthusiastic interest in the preparation and consumption of good food".

      Certainly works for me as a definition and I'd be more than happy to define myself in those terms.

      I'm not sure that I regard myself as having any particular qualities that you ask about. Although, you'd have to have a way of knowing if you are eating "good" food or not. It's a bit like the old saying about art appreciation - I may not know much about it, but I know what I like when I see it.

      I like the "enthusiastic interest" in that definition. Certainly it sets the foody apart from the non-foody as it sets apart folk who are dedicated followers of whatever is their hobby, from the folk who have little or no interest in the subject.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Harters

        >>> I may not know much about it, but I know what I like when I see it. <<<

        Change "see" to "taste" and that pretty much describes me and wine.

      2. We all need to come up with a working and worthy definition PDQ: I read a letter to an advice columnist yesterday in which someone was saying that a friend she sees every so often is a "foodie," and always insists that they go out to a restaurant. But then this "foodie" proceeds to be nasty and condescending to the staff, making difficult demands and treating them like errant slaves. Please, folks, how can such a jerk be a "foodie"?

        I'm in agreement with both sherrib and Harters here. There was some argument on CH back in the Jim Leff days – I think it might have been he who didn't like that term, because he thought it described some sort of insufferable food snob – but I've considered myself one ever since I encountered the term. The only downside is that our interest in food can become obsessive, to the point that we can't feed the squirrels without thinking of Brunswick stew!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Will Owen

          We don't need to agree on a definition. It's only a slang term, not standard English, and slang tends to be more fluid than standard English. In any case, words become defined by usage, not by agreement. I have a "working and worthy definition," but it need work only for me. Others may use what works for them.

          As for your example, a foodie may or may not be a churl. I don't see a problem, linguistically speaking.

        2. Thanks Harters, sherrib and Will Owen. I've come across so many different uses (derogatory and positive) and groups that cross over like Chef Groupies, Whole Foodies, BBQs and a zillion others. YOur feedback is helpful and I'm still laughing about the Brunswick Stew :-)

          3 Replies
          1. re: foodiery

            Oh, indeed. Foody/foodie is one of those words that folk can use to be insulting by their own definition, but are happily used for self-definition by a group.

            I'm sure we can all think of others of those words in common (non-food) use. You know the sort of thing - OK, say, for someone from a minority ethnic group to use a word to describe themselves. Not OK, if it's used by someone from the majority ethinic group.

            Acceptablity will differ by culture. Where I am, being called a "foody" would not generally be regarded as an insult. It may not accurately describe me, but it's accurate enough by our general understanding of the word.

            1. re: Harters

              Yeah, I wouldn't describe myself that way cause, said out loud, it seems weird or something. I'll say something like "I'm kinda into food."

              1. re: c oliver

                In the ordinary course of events, I'd never actually describe myself as a foody.

                That said, in the opening sentences of my latest (as yet unpublished ) book, I do - "It was, perhaps, inevitable that I would write this book. In recent years, my interest in both the Great War and food has developed. I confess to having become something of a foody and something of a war “anorak”."

          2. In my lexicon, a "foodie" is obsessed with keeping up with trends in eating, at home or in restaurants. I've written on this before, so will leave it at that for now.

            13 Replies
            1. re: GH1618

              I think that was Leff's idea also. I think a lot of us have moved beyond that. And also know that a "chowhound" means nothing to anyone who isn't one.

              1. re: c oliver

                "And also know that a "chowhound" means nothing to anyone who isn't one."


                1. re: c oliver

                  I may use this discussion board extensively, but I would never describe myself as a "chowhound", not even to other users of the board.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Actually "chowhound" is a term used by many to describe someone who enjoys eating, with an implication of quantity over quality. Merriam-Webster definition: "a person who likes to eat." It existed long before Jeff Leff came along.

                    1. re: 512window

                      While true, that would be Jim Leff. The term chowhound is currently in use by a number of food businesses.

                      1. re: 512window

                        I was referring to "foodie" which Leff held in low regards but the times they have a changed.

                        1. re: 512window

                          "Chowhound" would be meaningless in the part of the world that I inhabit - where "chow" is not generally used as slang for food.

                      2. re: GH1618

                        Thank you! Can you send links to things you've written on this?

                          1. re: GH1618

                            Could you link to the particular comments please? I've skimmed but not finding it easily.

                            1. re: GH1618

                              Thanks! This is a great post. So true!