Everyone likes to eat....what we eat may be very different for all of us, but the bottom line is we all do it. We need to eat to fuel our bodies and minds, to keep our organs running and our muscles fueled - just in case we need to run from a saber tooth tiger or something. But some amongst us have elevated eating to a new level.
We have all heard the term foodie by now. This is a newer term in our world, but one that has certainly been used in many circles, both self proclaimed and directed to a fellow dinner guest. If you have not heard this term, well perhaps you should stop reading here, because the subtlety of this piece may lost on you. Just as talk of video games and indie cars is lost on me....no offense, just different interests.
A Foodie is defined as a person who has an ardent(i.e. passionate) or refined interest in food; a gourmet: "in the culinary fast lane, where surprises are expected and foodies beg to be thrilled" (Boston Globe).
Yeah I know it sounds like car racing with the fast lane reference.......you're still reading this aren't you? OK, good for you. Let's continue.....
The World English Dictionary defines foodie or foody (ˈfuːdɪ) as a noun,
a person having an enthusiastic interest in the preparation and consumption of good food.
This could be many of us....well the appreciation of good food. With so many choices available in both restaurants and our local grocer, not to mention the big A-zon online, we have access to more and more foods from around the globe than ever. Where the herd starts to thin is the preparation part of this definition. I have met so many people as a personal chef who gain no pleasure from cooking at all and find it a chore. I personally can't phathom that, but am grateful they found me!
So from foodie, we move back (or up?) to gour·met [goor-mey, goor-mey] a term that dates back to 1810–20; French; Old French gromet, grommes valet/serving boy (especially of a wine merchant).
It can be a noun - a connoisseur of fine food and drink; epicure (A person devoted to sensuous pleasure and luxurious living, especially in food and wine).
It can be an adjective - of or characteristic of a gourmet, especially in involving or purporting to involve high-quality or exotic ingredients and skilled preparation: gourmet meals; gourmet cooking.
The World English Dictionary defines a gourmet as a person who cultivates a discriminating palate for the enjoyment of good food and drink.
Foodies have interest in food. Gourmets have refined interests. Are foodies just gourmets in training? Is gourmet the Bachelors in Eating (B.E.) we study for? That is one final exam I could get into!
Synonyms: gastronome ( a lover of gastronomy - the art or science of eating good food, food culture) and bon vivant (a person having cultivated, refined, and sociable tastes especially with respect to food and drink).
This is starting to sound a little snooty you are thinking? Well perhaps, and true many of the true gourmet restaurants are out of budget for the average Joe. Certainly this gal, except for very special occaissions. So perhaps we also know the word - chowhound.
[chou-hound] noun Slang. - a person who eats food in large quantities or with great gusto; glutton. Origin: 1940–45; chow+hound
glut·ton [gluht-n] noun
1. a person who eats and drinks excessively or voraciously.
2. a person with a remarkably great desire or capacity for something: a glutton for work; a glutton for punishment.
Origin:1175–1225; Middle English glutun < Old French glouton < Latin gluttōn- (stem of gluttō ), variant of glūtō glutton, akin to glūtīre to gulp down
1. gourmand (one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking); gastronome; chowhound
Wait, gastronome? Wasn't that also a synonym for foodie? Here in lies the slippery slope. Can a gourmet also be a glutton? I believe so. Remember the movie Se7en with Brad Pitt? The glutton was eating very good food - just WAY TOO MUCH! Or the German boy from Willie Wonka? So yes, a gourmet can also be a glutton.
Can a Chowhound be a gourmet? Possible, but me thinks he is more the glutton (hounds in general are not gourmets, hence the term). So enjoy eating, discover new flavors, explore the options at every chance you get. But be very careful of that foie gras slope.......