I'm not sure.
I went to a chili cookoff yesterday with some friends who were in the restaurant business. We talked about food and I certainly enjoyed the conversation, but it made me wonder later how I fit into the spectrum of food eaters/thinkers. I'd heard the term "foodie" before, but am I one?
First, we must look into the definition. Wikipedia (an online collaborative encyclopedia) says that "foodie" is a conversational synonym for "gourmet." And a "gourmet" is: a person with a discriminating palate and who is knowledgeable in fine food and drink. Well, that's a pretty exalted sounding definition. I wouldn't put myself up there. That would be equating myself with someone like Jeffrey Steingarten (a restaurant reviewer and a regular judge on Iron Chef America and the fact that I know who he is does add a mark or two in my favor). I do not think of myself as a gourmet.
I *do* like food, though not to excess. I like cookbooks and have to stay away from the bargains tables at bookstores because they're loaded up with cookbooks with interesting pictures. I like reading blogs about food (Megnut and Grub Report, for example) and websites about restaurants (Alinea, where I got the fabulous picture above). I like thinking and talking about food, much in the same way I like thinking and talking about writing. My attitude toward food is probably best described by using an example of chocolate. I love chocolate, but I'd rather have a small amount of a good quality chocolate than any volume of a mediocre quality chocolate. It's about quality and moderation, though it is tempting to want to be like a hobbit, with 9 meals per day. Our family tradition is to graze on Christmas Day (a dining style I prefer to Thanksgiving Day's sit-down-and-pig-out), but it's just not my habit to think about eating all day long.
The other aspect about my attitude toward food is that I like cooking for others. I enjoy having dinner parties and making food to take in to the office. I'm working on presentation of food and I do think about dinner parties quite a bit.
I'm beginning to think that it's not so much about eating, but more about appreciating fine food and seeking out knowledge about it. In that respect, I am a foodie. I would not say I am a gourmet, as I don't have enough knowledge yet, particularly with wine. Let's say I aspire to be a gourmet one day.