Foodie is an informal term for a particular class of aficionado of food and drink. The word was coined in 1981 by Paul Levy and Ann Barr, who used it in the title of their 1984 book The Official Foodie Handbook.
Distinguished from gourmet. Although the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, foodies differ from gourmets in that gourmets are epicures of refined taste , whereas foodies are amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation, and news. 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.
Pursuits. Foodies are a distinct hobbyist group. Typical foodie interests and activities include the food industry, wineries and wine tasting, breweries and beer sampling, food science, following restaurant openings and closings, food distribution, food fads, health fads, and nutrition, and restaurant management. A foodie might develop a particular interest in a specific item, such as the best egg cream or burrito. Many publications have food columns that cater to foodies. Interest by foodies in the 1980s and 1990s gave rise to the Food Network and other specialized food programming, popular films and television shows about food such as Top Chef and Iron Chef, a renaissance in specialized cookbooks, specialized periodicals such as Gourmet Magazine and Cook’s Illustrated, growing popularity of farmers’ markets, food-oriented websites like Zagat’s and Yelp, publishing and reading food blogs (a number of people photograph and post on the Internet every meal they ever make or consume), specialized kitchenware stores like William-Sonoma and Sur La Table, and the institution of the celebrity chef.
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