A foodie is someone who has a deep interest in food. In addition to being interested in food itself, foodies are also interested in the back story: the history, production, science, and industry of food. As a general rule, foodies are amateurs, rather than professionals working in some aspect of the food industry, and many of them are self-taught.
You may also hear the terms “epicure” and “gourmet” used to describe a foodie. Many people have a personal preference for which term to use, with some people reserving “epicure” for people who are very fastidious, and “gourmet” for food professionals. Others find “foodie” derogatory, believing that it is too flip to describe their interest in food.
Foodies love food, obviously, and they are usually interested in exploring a wide range of tastes, flavors, and textures. Many of them try to be as knowledgeable as possible about the foods they eat, sometimes even traveling to an area of food production to see how their food is produced. Many foodies study specific aspects of flavor and eating, like wine and food pairings, or the impact that environment has on flavor, with a focus on eating the best-tasting food possible.
Many foodies are also interested in the personalities in the food industry, such as food writers and notable chefs. They may also be intrigued by food science, learning more about how food performs in the kitchen and why certain flavors and textures appear when they do. Scientific approaches to food and cooking have led to a slew of cookbooks which explain the science behind various steps in a recipe, rather than just giving cooks a set of directions.
Foodies are often said to be in search of the best flavor, regardless of origin, and many seek out food experiences which they perceive as “authentic,” refusing to look down their noses at particular ingredients. While “foodie” often means “food snob” in the ears of some people, foodies may enjoy familiar foods like pizza and chow mein just as readily as they enjoy multi-course meals at expensive restaurants.
A foodie can also be very single-minded in the pursuit of an elusive flavor, recipe, or experience. For people who are not quite as obsessed with food as the foodie community, foodies can seem a bit peculiar, and tensions in relationships and friendships sometimes arise as a result of conflict over food choices. Foodies, for example, can argue vociferously about a choice of restaurant for an hour or more, while non-foodies may be inclined to order delivery and call it a night.