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6 Things to Know Before Calling Yourself a Foodie

6 Things to Know Before Calling Yourself a Foodie

Do you have what it takes to call yourself a foodie? Reid Nichols with a check list guest post.
By Reid Nichols

First, let me start of by saying that I am not a foodie. I’m just a guy who likes to try new restaurants and foods. I have noticed a problem in the quality of recommendations I have heard or read from people calling themselves foodies. We need to raise the standards of what is deserving of the title of Foodie. For example, I want a foodie to give me a tip about where I can find the freshest and most favorable pad thai, not that they think P.F. Chang’s is “awesome”. Before calling yourself a foodie, I think there are a few things you should consider.

Just like everyone with a digital camera thinks they are a photographer, everyone who likes to eat seems to call themselves a foodie. I’m sorry, but just because you like to eat, doesn’t mean you are a foodie – it probably means you need to go to the gym.

Don’t get me wrong, eating as a hobby is not something that should be reserved for a select few. But it seems that the term is being recklessly thrown around quite a bit lately. Trying several different foods at a food truck roundup in 2010 does not make you a foodie. While there are varying opinions of what a foodie is, popular nomenclature suggests that it is someone who considers themselves informed on the restaurants and dishes in a particular area.

Foodies go to new restaurants, shun large chain establishments and are eager to give their opinions and recommendations. Foodies know something about the chefs, cooking styles or methods of these restaurants. They also know about the quality and origin of the food they consume. Foodies are keen to fads, education and culinary tourism.

Here are some examples:

– A foodie can recommend a local restaurant and give several options on its menu. You are not a foodie if you like a restaurant but have only ever ordered one thing on the menu.

– A foodie can tell you about a restaurant’s use of local ingredients, naturally raised animals and sustainability efforts.

– A foodie can tell you what items are made fresh in-house and which ingredients are stored or shipped in the freezer. Are the chips, salsa and guacamole made daily?!?!

– A foodie doesn’t need the waiter to explain how an item is cooked sous-vide. A foodie should be well versed in cooking styles and techniques.

See Also

– A foodie has a “best of” list longer than 5 options.

– Although not always required, it helps if a foodie is able to identify the flavor chords of a meal and be able to recommend a wine.

If we all took the term foodie a little more seriously our level of discourse would benefit greatly. Being a foodie is a fun and easy hobby to have. All of the information you need to be informed is available to you without much trouble- simple talk to your waiter or check the restaurant’s website. The next time you write a review or make a recommendation you can back up your opinion with relevant information, and that will earn you the mouth watering title of Foodie.

This is a guest column. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author.

View Comments (25)
  • Are ‘foodies’ only people who eat out? What about great home cooks who actually have the skill and knowledge to prepare excellent meals without having to rely on the ‘professionals’ to do it for them?

  • Hi Audrey,
    Foodies are definitely not just people who eat out. I respect those who are able to prepare great meals much more than those who are only able to recommend. My own personal experience with people who call themselves foodies, however, deals primarily with those who are excited by certain plates or restaurants around town.

  • Well that’s a relief:)

    All of the foodies in my circle are phenomenal home cooks, host amazing dinner parties, and most of us teach cooking classes. Many are also into restaurants — except me. I’d just always considered ‘foodie’ to be a broader term that went beyond familiarity with restaurants.

    Thanks for responding.

  • Add one more to the list: A foodie should be open to trying anything, any delicacy and any meal any culture has to offer. He/she may not make a habit of eating a controversial/repulsive/unorthodox ingredient, but should at least want to sample it once.

  • A fellow Washingtonian! I enjoyed and agreed with this blog. I myself am someone who enjoys food and trying new places but I am definitely not a foodie!

  • I just love food. Am I a foodie? Sometimes I do over-indulge, but mostly on healthy comfort foods. I have cut out most sugars from my diet but that doesn’t mean I don’t salivate for cupcakes! Eating is a big pleasure for me, always has been. But I am learning to not overdo it most of the time.

  • My friend calls herself a foodie. So, we tried to check her off this list. Amazingly, she got it all. Though she’s a foodie, pizza and sandwiches are among her favorite food.

  • Something else a foodie needs to do is step outside their comfort zones. If you can’t do that, you’re not a real foodie either. A foodie has to be willing to try new foods, even if they use ingredients or cooking methods you may find disgusting. They don’t have to like them, but they do have to at least try it because they might be missing out on something tasty. So try balut, try natto, try surströmming, try durian, etc…

  • Do Not Attempt to make up your own definition of a Foodie! Look the word up..There are other opinions. You do not have to be an Expert in Food to be a Foodie!

  • Reid,
    Am I really a Foodie? When my girlfriend called me a foodie the other day and I said what the heck is that. I didn’t know if she was teasing me or if I learned a new word about my complicated life. Context clues suggested what she meant but I still wasn’t sure. When I read the above article link she sent me, it made more sense but who likes labels? What triggered her to send it is when she asked WYD by txt and I later sent her a simple picture of some breakfast I whipped up. It was only scrambled eggs with a side of pork-venison link sausage (store bought). Yes, it was topped with a little cheddar cheese, sliced cherry tomatoes, a handful of diced spinach and was garnished with a few cucumber slices on the side. I’m not a chef but I guess the spices are the real reason she sent it. Basil, dash of garlic-Parsley, S&P. Isn’t that standard for basic scrambled eggs for brunch; or was it because I use Egglands eggs? Who knows but I think she was right. There wasn’t anything you described above that doesn’t describe my profile except I don’t talk to the chefs at the restaurants I/we go to eat. Fast food…once a month when I feel like clogging my arteries. Am I really a Foodie? Thanks.
    Eddie D

  • Thank you for this education. in the future I will be careful how I use the word foodie.
    I’ve learned that if I taste a fabulous dish, I ask the name of the person who prepared it and the next time I go there, I’ll call ahead to see if that person is cooking or when they are scheduled to be there. otherwise I’d rather not waste my time because it just won’t be the same. Maybe I’m a snob not a foodie .

  • Anthony Bourdain…loved the Waffle House…so I disagree with an exclusive definition of what a foodie is. In my view…it’s someone who enjoys discovering new types of food to eat.

  • These are some interesting points. I think it is important for us to create a clearly outlined definition of what a foodie is. Yes, we can all eat, and yes, many of us do like eating (the same things mostly) but a foodie is a term given to people who actually help spread culture to the mainstream. I think knowing a bit about food should be a mandatory requirement. Excellent article.

  • I like your definition and foodie “test” questions. How about “trencherman” I think it applies to a lot of so called foodies who are looking for a fill up vs a meal with some ambiance.

  • Thank you for your interesting and informative article. I googled the term “foodie” because I hav never heard it before. I enjoyed reading your article.

  • I enjoyed how bluntly honest and direct you were. You are correct in that many do use the word to describe an enjoyment of overeating.

  • I cook from scratch using fresh ingredients, and I don’t overindulge. Unfortunately I can’t recommend a good wine, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a foodie. I’m not familiar with the chefs per se but I know personally all of the managers.

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