This got me thinking about similar terms in other languages and what they mean, and so I’ve been doing a little hasty survey work.
French and English have a number of terms – foodie, gourmand, gourmet gastronome, epicure, etc, and foodie poster-art represents some of these concepts:
Moing down to Africa, KiSwahili as spoken in Kenya and Tanzania has a term for ‘meat lovers’, which makes sense because meat is the best-loved of food in these countries. As well, mlafi is used to describe someone who loves food too much.
In the Kalingin society and language of Kenya (which is spoken by the Chef of the Hotel Club Lac Tanganyika), there is a similar term that translates as ‘someone who likes good things’, and can be applied to food-lovers. But there is also the term kiandit, which means someone who likes food too much and who eats a lot.
And for sure, Richard, the head chef at the hotel club du lac Tanganyika, is a man who not only loves his food, but loves to make it.
Here in Burundi, where Kirundi is the language, there is no word I have been able to find that would typify a foodie or other similar bon vivant. Again, this is expressed in a phrase such as: ‘he likes to eat!’, etc.
Moving on to the Middle East and Arabic – in colloquial Arabic that is spoken in either Egypt or Sudan I can’t remember foodie-specific terms. But you can say to a cook “tislim ‘aydiikum“, literally ‘bless your hands’, in order to compliment a cook, and there are similar food-related phrases. Within Islam there are strict provisions regarding what is forbidden (haram) and what is acceptable (halal) by way of slaughter, cooking and eating. As well, in the hadith (orally transmitted sayings of the Prophet Muhammed), there are numerous perscriptons about food and eating. From the hadith of Bukhari, for example, something on good manners at the table:
Narrated ‘Umar bin Abi Salama: I was a boy under the care of Allah’s Apostle and my hand used to go around the dish while I was eating. So Allah’s Apostle said to me, ‘O boy! Mention the Name of Allah and eat with your right hand, and eat of the dish what is nearer to you.” Since then I have applied those instructions when eating.
One very general conclusion from this hasty review of food-related words : French and English are heavy on the analysis of what and how people (should) eat; in many other regions, however, people just eat and enjoy doing so – especially in the company of friends and family – religious perscriptions, also, are found but I have been looking at secular terminology.
Not earth-shattering, but fun to consider.