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Are You a Foodist? Interview with Joan Gussow, Part 2

by: Jill Richardson

Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 19:37:30 PM PST

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When I heard her speak at the Edible Institute this January, Joan Gussow said she is not a foodie, she is a foodist. Then she defined what she meant by "foodist." And as I listened, I realized that I am a foodist too! So, in the second part of our interview, I asked her to describe what she means by "foodist." I think this word should be officially added to the lexicon :) Read what she says, and you might find that you're a foodist too.

See the first part of our interview here. In the coming days, I'll post more from our interview, in which we talk a bit about her new book, Growing, Older, and a little about her older book, This Organic Life as well.

Jill Richardson :: Are You a Foodist? Interview with Joan Gussow, Part 2
Q: Can you explain what you mean when you say you are not a foodie, you're a foodist?

I think I became very aware of it when I was looking over the Edible magazines before I went to give my talk at [the Edible Institute.] I became aware of how much attention - and I already knew it, but I mean it, like, reverberated with me, and I thought, "God, I'm not really one of these people." I don't really... I mean, I love good food, I was on the board of the Chefs Collaborative, so I have had meals, I've had fabulous meals, and I joke about Blue Hill being my neighborhood restaurant here, 'cause it's cheaper for me to drive to Blue Hill than it is for me to go into New York City to eat because New York City's farther, I have more bridges to cross, and I have to park there. So it really costs a lot of money to go there. Not that it's equal in price, Blue Hill being extremely costly... but I've had wonderful food.

However that's not how I cook. And that's not how I eat. And I am not eagerly searching for the latest farmstead cheese or the latest tomato that won this contest. I don't think I have the taste buds - if I ever had them, I certainly don't have them anymore - to make fine distinctions. I can certainly taste the difference between whole foods that really have rich taste and come from the garden and crap from the grocery store, but I don't really have the palate. I know I don't. I mean, I buy a case of wine - I've bought the same kind of wine now for probably two years. I think I'll shift [laughs] and I like it. I'm not really a wine connoisseur. I don't make real distinctions, except very broad ones, between wines.

So I realized, I just wasn't feeling comfortable defining myself that way. And I realized, for a long, long time, I've been calling myself - when I was talking about organic and other things in the old days, I really risked being called a faddist in my profession. You know, anyone who said organic was okay was a food faddist. So I said, "Well, I'm not a faddist. I'm a foodist." And so it became sort of a joke.

And then when this 'foodie' thing came along, I said, "No, that's right, I really am a foodist." I'm someone who really just loves wonderful foods, and they don't have to be elaborately prepared. And I'll be happy if you just serve me real food. It's not that easy to get.

Are you a foodie or a foodist?


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I decided to not go there (4.00 / 1)
After all, if the use of foodist gains more cultural use there will surely be another round of pejorative articles using that term against others just as there is/was against the label foodie.

"Every label is a libel" says a discussion about the term foodie on


Foodian? Eater?

I'm just unsure! It would be fun to have a bumper sicker that said, FOODIE AGAINST TACO BELL so that people could stare at the dirty hippy behind the wheel.

i'm still and always will be (4.00 / 1)
a's a recognizable term and its members are not militant, as far as i can tell.   go, join, act

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