What's so bad about being an gourmand or epicurean?

I take pleasure in excellent food, drink, tobacco, and other treats that I can afford. I like discussing the qualities of an excellent smoked cheddar, craft India Pale Ale, or the notes I pick up from a boutique-blended English pipe tobacco. I love my French press, and buy them for friends who’ve yet to try one. Without creating too much of a straw man, I just want to say that in my defense, I don’t endlessly go on about any of these; basically I’m not a douche. If you’re not interested, I won’t berate you on the finer points of yeast flocculation in the secondary storage of a homebrew. But even still, I get a vibe from others that I’m wrong to even care or take interest about such things. Is it a frivolous interest? Sure, but it’s on the scale of a hobby, not my life or work. So, in summation, what the hell? Gourmands, epicureans, “foodies” – ya feel me?

Quite frankly, I have no idea what you’re talking about. People seem to like it when they hear I know how to cook. I’m not sure why you would feel any hostility whatsoever.

If you’re getting grief about it, then to me that means either:

  1. You are very, very different from the rest of your social circle.


  1. You ARE being a douche about it.

There’s nothing wrong with being an epicure. Nope. And I salivate with gratitude when someone fixes me good food.

But there is something I find interesting about epicureanism.

Unlike most aesthetic experiences, with eating you can always go back to the basics. Even if you eat only at three-star restaurants, if you fast for two days then almost any familiar thing you eat is going to be unspeakable delicious.

It’s very difficult to do that with painting, movies, music, books. Once you’ve moved past Three’s Company you won’t usually won’t appreciate it again (at least not on the same level.)

A simple question.

Do you EVER do any of these?

Make a big deal about how much this cost? (or even mention it for that matter).

Make a big deal about how hard this stuff is to get ? Or mention it for that matter (or the fact that YOU managed to somehow get it)

Make a big deal that there are subtle differences that YOU can tell, but others can’t?

Any of those, even in small doses, can be easily taken for snobbery, particularly if your delivery is bad (even if you don’t mean it or believe it as described above).

Thats not to say virtually any other hobby has the same risks (and I’ve experienced it in all the ones I’ve been involved in), but foodies in my limited (and mostly online ) experience seem excessively prone to it.

I’ve only ever seen any negativity toward foodies who either a) bleat on about it far beyond the interest level of those around them or b) get all snobbish and insulting about how awful foods other people like are. People hate type b way, way more than type a in my personal experience. I’m a foodie, and even I hate type b people.

I agree with others. My SO is rather a gourmand and an epicurean, yet you’d never know it because he’ll eat most anything (barring ketchup). He just has a real appreciation for fine wine, fine foods, cheeses, coffees. I don’t have that level of sophistication but I admire and like it, especially since he is not annoying.

Except about the ketchup. I have ceased keeping ketchup in the house because of all I have to hear about it. Ah, so I’m a plebe. :slight_smile:

My friends like that I know about food, and that I enjoy cooking for them. I didn’t realize I was a foodie until we invited a couple of friends over for dinner, and I said I was going to run out to my butcher to pick up some “nice” steaks. My friend responded with, “Nice steaks? As opposed to…mean steaks?”

Maybe only this one, but my point would always be geared towards “this was tough to get, but I wanted to share it with you”.

I’ll gladly eat Kraft Mac n Cheese, and ketchup on a plain ole burger is fine with me – so I know I’m not a snob. I think it’s just the difference in the level of interest between myself and my family (and some friends).

Fair enough. Not being judgemental here.

Being a serious participant in other hobbies, I can certainly understand how its hard to deal with “beginners” without sounding snobby.

Take your sentence above. Imagine saying it with emphasis on different words or different combinations of words. It drastically changes the meaning.

Best of luck with your quandary!

take care, gotta run


Perfect. I believe for all intents and purposes these two options are collectively exhaustive.

Oh, you can. It’s just very unpleasant. A buddy and I forcibly went on an “all lemons” movie binge for a while, because we were getting so jaded by seeing one amazing movie after another, we couldn’t tell anymore. I’m talking “worse than anything Uwe Boll has ever dreamt of” bad. After you’ve been sifting through the bottom of the unfunny, unpleasing, boring and downright insulting barrel for a week or two, even a Ben Stiller flick seems like pure genius, and Keanu Reeves like a decent if ever-so-slightly wooden actor.

I’m sure it can be done for literrature too. I suggest Dan Brown’s *oeuvre *for starters.

Jeezus, learn English. I assume you’re a GOURMET. Nobody praises a gourmand, because that means “glutton.” And unless you live on bread and water, with a little cheese from time to time, you’re not an Epicurean either.

Does learning a language take into account common usage or is language proficiency attained through text books alone?

Epicure- from Merriam-Webster
1 archaic : one devoted to sensual pleasure
2: one with sensitive and discriminating tastes especially in food or wine

Note: Definition 2 is the definition not marked as archaic

From Wiki

Modern usage has diverged from the word origin, but a few centuries can do that to a word. drastic_quench was not attempting to describe the philosophy of Epicurus but was rather using an English language word as that word is commonly used.
Also from Wiki

The responses to the OP display no confusion as to what drastic_quench had intended to comunicate.

Actually, that’s an interesting twist of language. In French, “gourmand” is indeed the word used to refer to the capital sin of “gluttony.” However, “gourmand” doesn’t carry the negative connotations of “glutton,” and leaves many French speakers wondering how it even made the list of sins. If you wanted to talk about a glutton, you would probably use a word like “goinfre.”

In French, the distinction between “gourmand” and “gourmet” is that the first finds pleasure in eating and the second in food. Apparently the distinction carries in English, because Merriam-Webster has this to say:

The dictionary has my back.

You might want to leave out the “this was hard to get” part of that statement. Just give them some of whatever it is and say “I thought you might like this”. Non-hobbyists generally don’t care how hard something was to get.

I was born a foodie. I loved seafood, foreign food, mangoes, raspberries, you name it. When I was a child I got fed the usual 60’s-70’s kids crap and I hated it. Hostess donuts, cheap store ice cream, gluey cheap frozen fruit pies, pancakes for supper, cheap hot dogs. I got mocked for it endlessly. ENDLESSLY. To this day my mother still brays, “Oh, yeah, Sali loved lobster. shrimp HAW HAW HAW!” I liked also natural fibers and expensive perfume, cashmere sweaters, white linen, real silk blouses. I liked classic movies and books instead of Burt Reynolds and Love American Style. What can I say? I was born in the wrong era, maybe.

I’ve always been taught that gourmand meant glutton as well…a pig who eats a lot and doesn’t care about what’s served. Oh look, Webster’s agrees with me. But wiki doesn’t, so popular definitions of the word have changed over the years, as it does with so many terms. An interesting discussion of this can be found in the commments section of this blog.