The smokey food stalls erupting with the smells of chicken skewers and sausage and seared fish entice you more than the famous sights in a new city. You're always willing and ready to drop hundreds on a Michelin-starred restaurant on vacation since you've budgeted more wiggle room for meals than you did on accommodation. And when you're not testing out new eateries, cooking is a cathartic hobby of yours.
Your friends and family call you a food snob but, really, you just have higher standards — you're a foodie.
What Is a Foodie?
A foodie is, in short, someone with a particularly deep interest in food — a cooking aficionado, a gastronome, a connoisseur of all things gourmet, a bon viveur, if you will. A foodie has a keen palate and a willingness to spend their dollars on different dishes over, often, all else.
Some foodies prefer to spend their time in their own kitchens, cooking up masterpieces for house guests, while others prefer to spend their time splurging on everything from acclaimed restaurants to traditional mom-and-pop shops and hole-in-the-wall hidden gems.
What Is the History of the Term Foodie?
The term "foodie" is thrown around a lot today, but where did it come from, after all?
James Beard (1903-1985), an American chef and food writer, reportedly thought that the word "gourmet" was overused. As such, in 1960, Beard reportedly stated: “Let’s bury the word ‘gourmet.’ It’s been worked to death. Now, anybody who eats broccoli calls himself a gourmet.” As an alternative to the word "gourmet," the word "foodie" became increasingly popular, according to etymologist Barry Popik.
Still, there are some difference between the two words today.
"Although the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, foodies differ from gourmets in that gourmets are epicures of refined taste who may or may not be professionals in the food industry, whereas foodies are amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation and news," Popik explains in a post. "Gourmets simply want to eat the best food, whereas foodies want to learn everything about food, both the best and the ordinary, and about the science, industry and personalities surrounding food. For this reason, foodies are sometimes viewed as obsessively interested in all things culinary. There is also a general feeling in the culinary industry that the term gourmet is outdated."
Flash forward about two decades from when Beard decided to toss the word "gourmet," the word "foodie" was used in print for the first time. On June 2, 1980, Gael Greene of New York magazine wrote the word "foodie" in a story, and then used it several more times in 1982 and 1983, etymologist Barry Popik reports in the same post. There were also several London-based citations of “foodie” in 1982 and 1983, though it appears as though Greene’s 1980 “foodie” and British food writer Paul Levy’s 1982 “foodie” were independent coinages, Popik reports.
Though unclear, the word is still said to have been coined in 1981 when Paul Levy and Ann Barr used it in the title of their 1984 book, The Official Foodie Handbook, however.
You Know You're a Foodie When...
Not all foodies have the same taste, but what all foodies do have in common are the following 30 traits.
1. The Food Network is always on at your house.
2. Your fridge and kitchen cabinets are appropriately stocked at all times.
3. You're fond of the holidays for the abounding food, above all else.
4. You don't love sharing your dish with others at the table.
5. Watching food videos on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram is inexplicably satisfying.
6. You know your favorite professional chefs (and what defines their inimitable styles) like the back of your hand.
7. You can accurately describe every style of steak out there, from the cut to the way it's cooked.
8. You recall memories like birthday parties and weddings and the holidays by everything you ate at them — and, often, the ingredients involved.
9. You carry around your own utensils.
10. You find yourself just mildly offended when people admit that they don't necessarily like what you like.
11. If an event offers free food of another origin, you're there to give it a go.
12. You schedule kitchen knife sharpening appointments — and you take them as seriously as you do your doctor's appointments.
13. You plan your vacations around your meals, not the sights.
14. You find yourself seated at the table before the food is even remotely ready.
15. You know and can easily explain the difference between a Julienne and Chiffonade cut.
16. You own a culinary torch and you're not afraid to use it.
17. You toss the word "hangry" around quite a bit.
18. Your friends and family have dubbed you the "food snob" of the bunch.
19. You find yourself giving "Chopped"-level critiques of your meals when you eat out.
20. You spend hours scrolling through delicious food photos on social media before realizing that you've gotten no work done throughout the day.
21. Meal-prepping is one of the most highly anticipated weekly events on your agenda.
22. You're willing to try any new foods, regardless of what they are.
23. You can't name every country's capital, but you can name their most popular dish.
24. You wake up thinking about what to eat, and you go to bed thinking about that last meal.
25. You start salivating when you walk through the grocery store.
26. You make your breakfast avocado toast look like a piece of artwork.
27. You show up to a barbeque with your own preferred bottle of hot sauce.
28. You know that canned sauces have no place in the kitchen — you make everything from scratch.
29. Bowl food makes your heart happy — acai bowls, smoothie bowls, poke bowls...
30. You don't just cook chicken and vegetables for dinner... You cook stuffed chicken and vegetables for dinner.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.