As I plug away at my book manuscript due in just over a month, the problem I just cannot seem to solve is a matter of proper naming. What should we call people who love food?
I know this issue has been kicked around for a long time, but I despise the term “foodie”. It suggests something small and trivial—doggie, sweetie, kiddie, newbie, etc. The book is about the food revolution and why we should take food seriously. “Foodie” suggests our newfound fascination with food is light-minded and frivolous, and the term is sometimes used with that intent.
None of the traditional terms work. “Connoisseur” is too fussy. Many people fascinated by food are as happy with a good slice of pizza as they are with Chateaubriand. “Gourmand” evokes visions of a rotund man with a turkey leg in one hand and a goblet of Bordeaux in the other with drippings on his chin. Foodist? Too close to “communist” and “nudist”. It is often not good to be an “ist”.
I often use the word “culinarian”. But that term should be reserved for inquisitive chefs, food historians, and others with deep expertise in the culture of the table.
Food fetishist? Please, an interest in food is not a fetish. Gastronome makes me think of garden gnomes—enough said.
“Food lover” is too generic—who doesn’t love food? “Food Passionista” is too precious.
Then of course there is “epicurean”. I do have a soft spot for the ancient Greek sage, Epicurus, whose paeans to pleasure and tranquility continue to be an inspiration. But this is an old term that doesn’t quite fit the contemporary ethos.
Will the food revolution stumble for want of a name?
Suggestions are welcome.