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A foodie is a gourmet, or a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages. A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out for convenience or hunger. While gourmet and epicurean can be used as synonyms they have fallen out of favor and bring to mind a stodgy or snobbish attitude.
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 and occasionally reopenings, food distribution, food fads, health and nutrition, cooking classes, culinary tourism, 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 and many of the websites carrying the name foodie have become popular amongst the 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 like Foodbeast and foodieworld, specialized kitchenware stores like Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table, and the institution of the celebrity chef. There is also a growing market for culinary tourism, with tours led by operators such as Aspiring Adventures in Peru, and Zest Food Tours of New Zealand.
Chris Onstad, author of the webcomic Achewood and the author of the The Achewood Cookbook, stated a dislike for the term. Onstad said "There are so many words that already describe the concept of people who like food, or enjoy cooking, or enjoy knowing about cooking. "Foodie": It's like the infantile diminutive—you put a "y" on the end of everything to make it childlike. We don't need it. It's embarrassing. "I'm a foodie." Oh my God."
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