Defining ‘foodie’ is first step to respond to negative criticism

May 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm

This is an extension of my podcast that first aired on Friday on my Web site,

Are you ashamed to be identified by the f-word? No, not that f-word. This f-word: foodie.

Foodie is someone who embraces the rich significance of food, who understands that meat comes from animals, and how we raise them is important, from values to taste. But Foodie also has a connotation of an elitist approach to something (food) that we all need to survive.

Eric Schlosser wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post last week about why being a foodie isn’t ‘elitist.’ Schlosser points out that “America’s current system of food production… is profoundly undemocratic. It is one more sign of how the few now rule the many.”

In that sense, I – along with millions of others – would call ourselves ‘foodies.’

Critics harp at foodies as people who sing Kumbaya to the chickens as they warm their hands before reaching in gently to pull out an egg.

There are those people, and they love to be called “foodies.” There are also people in other spectrums that identify as “foodies” who are more grounded, reasonable, practical, straight forward, basic.  These foodies follow simple prescriptions. Eat good food. Don’t eat too much of it. The more whole the food, the better. Avoid the processed and the over salted and the over sweet.

They don’t want to be “seen”.  They want to lead simple lives where they can have easy access to well-grown food at a reasonable price.

Schlosser says the “foodies” are not the elitists, saying “Calling these efforts elitist renders the word meaningless. The wealthy will always eat well. It is the poor and working people who need a new, sustainable food system more than anyone else.”

So do you think there is a communications disconnect? Do you think “foodies” are enlightened, elitist, or both?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.