What is a Foodie?

I’m fairly sure I’ve talked about this before, but I am currently too lazy to go digging into the archives.

The folks over at Chowhounds are currently debating what defines a foodie. These types of questions pop up on the various food forums year after year, and never has anyone come up with a qualitative working definition.

There’s a reason for this. Labels (and let’s be honest here, foodie is just a label to apply to a person) are restrictive and limiting. Coming up with a definition will inevitably leave someone out who has more knowledge/experience/skill than many folks who do fit the definition. Is a farmer a foodie? Is a restaurant critic? Are people who only visit Beard-award- winning restaurants? There is no good criteria for the term.

This is the type of question that speaks more to the people who ask the question (or answer it in all seriousness) than it does to the question itself.

Look at it this way. I’ve heard (and read) some people talk about losing their foodie credibility when purchasing a type of product, whether its instant coffee (as mentioned in the Chowhound forum thread), Big Macs, or aerosol cheese (all of which have dedicated fan bases, as anyone who is paying attention to the sales of these products can tell you).

Screw that. Do you really want to hang out with people to which you have to defend your food purchases? Not me. I’d rather buy what I want to buy and enjoy them without any social stigma, thank-you-very-much.

So I’ll ask this question again in regard to the foodie label: Can we stop asking this question? It is pointless, and does as much to contribute to food snobbery as Zagat Guides and Gourmet magazine.

(h/t The Food Section)