Do you eat to live, or live to eat? If you’ve never heard this phrase before, someone who eats to live, eats only because they have to in order to carry on living. For this type of person, food is just fuel. Someone who lives to eat, on the other hand, regards food as the best part of living and is always looking forward to their next meal. I think it’s true to say that most of us fall somewhere between these two extremes!
Starting with that second group of people, a few words exist for people who love their food and are very interested in trying new food. Informally, such a person may be called a foodie: Laura is a real foodie – she’ll be able to recommend a nice restaurant.
A more formal word for a food enthusiast is gourmet. ‘Gourmet’ suggests that someone likes very expensive, high-quality food: My father was a real gourmet. / She was also a gourmet cook.
If you want to emphasize that someone knows a lot about a particular food or drink, you might call them a connoisseur: This is a website for connoisseurs of chocolate.
Someone who regularly eats more food than they need may be described as greedy: Don’t be greedy! / I’m going to be greedy and have another slice of cake! A more formal word for this is gluttonous: He was gluttonous and idle.
Staying with enthusiasm for food, chocolate is enjoyed by so many people that an informal word was invented for people who can’t stop eating it – chocoholic: My sister’s always eating chocolate – she’s a total chocoholic.
Related, someone who likes eating sweet food, especially sweets and chocolate, may be said to have a sweet tooth: I have a terrible sweet tooth. / I don’t have much of a sweet tooth – I prefer crisps and savoury snacks.
Moving on to people who are not so keen on food, someone who eats a very limited range of food, only accepting food if it is cooked a particular way, may be described as fussy. This adjective is usually used of children, often coming before the word ‘eater’: Both of my children were fussy eaters.
An informal synonym for fussy is picky: She’s still quite picky about what she’ll eat. The opposite of a fussy or picky eater is someone who will eat anything: You don’t have to worry about William – he’ll eat anything.
Whatever you eat this week, I hope you enjoy it!