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Chowhound in the L.A.Times

k
Kit Aug 15, 2000 03:24 PM

Today's L.A. Times: At New York's Chowhound.com, founder Jim Leff differentiates true food lovers--the chowhounds--from foodies, the shallow followers of trends and fashion. In a chowhound universe, he declares, "people can speak with equal passion about Ducasse and cowcheck tacos. Food should be about fun and community, not putting on your turtleneck and swirling your glass." This, and other information about the rise of restaurant eating, cooking, and television cooking programs appeared in the Living section.

  1. p
    pat hammond Aug 15, 2000 03:51 PM

    Kit, You're the best. Thanks for keeping an eye out. pat

    1. j
      Jim Leff Aug 15, 2000 04:15 PM

      Ouch...did I really say that about swirling? Yeah, I guess I did, kinda. Was just trying to paint an image. But of COURSE I swirl my glass. If you want to best enjoy your wine (and if enjoyment's indeed what it's about), you've GOT to swirl!

      also, not sure we're best described as a NY operation...but we're always grateful for publicity, to get the word out about us to the many hounds still working in oblivious isolation.

      read article at link below

      Link: http://www.latimes.com/living/2000081...

      6 Replies
      1. re: Jim Leff
        p
        pat hammond Aug 15, 2000 04:34 PM

        I think it read fine. Sure swirling is good for the wine and thus the palate. But sometimes it's just part of cliched trappings, which was your point, wasn't it?

        1. re: pat hammond
          j
          Jim Leff Aug 15, 2000 05:06 PM

          Yup, that's what I meant.

          I walk a delicate line. When you're virulently opposed to snobbery and empty hype, it's easy to come off as a cretinous, undiscerning, reverse-snobbish lunk-head if you're not careful. Glad it doesn't read that way.

          To digress...

          When you fight an extreme, it's easy to be painted as coming from the opposite extreme. The Food Establishment's insistence that the 1% of the eating spectrum represented by restaurants with press agents and publicists is the SERIOUS food, and that everything else is "ethnic", "budget", and/or "cheap" (even if delicious, it's somehow an INFERIOR sort of deliciousness) represents, in my opinion, an extreme.

          The thing that's tough to communicate is that I (and most of you guys, too, I believe) like it ALL. I/we don't come from some other, contradictory extreme. I/we don't eat arepas because they're cheap; it's because in the right hands they can be sublime. But the point isn't that everyone should abandon linen tablecloths and expensive wine and just eat snacks and milk shakes. Everything (well...everything GOOD) has its place! The point is to make your judgement about quality on the basis of what happens in your mouth, rather than than on the basis of price, hype, prevailing opinion, trendiness, or reputation of chef or cuisine. Which is a pretty level-headed, non-extreme position, I think (though it used to sound shockingly radical).

          But that makes it much trickier to communicate than the standard diametrical counterpoint. Doesn't reduce well to sound bites.

          ciao

          1. re: Jim Leff
            a
            Andy P. Aug 16, 2000 07:50 AM

            Alpha-san,

            Whew! Glad that got cleared up. I'm going wine tasting near Nagano on Friday, while doing my best to conceal a hickey. I know, I know, "what is a person my age doing going wine tasting..."

            Anyway, congrats on the L.A. Times mention, and thanks for including the link.

            I actually still have a copy of the People magazine that mentioned chowhound.com, only because they referenced my VERY FIRST post ever on this most rightous of sites (Best deep-dish pizza in Tokyo??).

            Yoroshiku,
            Andy

            1. re: Andy P.
              j
              Jim Leff Aug 16, 2000 12:10 PM

              That's right, they did mention your thread (as well they should, you're one of my favorite posters now that Pete Feliz has abandoned us). And that was the "50 Most Beautiful People in America" issue. So you, by extension are kinda spiritually in that list.

              Actually, I like my cabernet SHAKEN, not swirled.

              1. re: Jim Leff
                p
                Pete Feliz Aug 19, 2000 07:06 AM

                I've never abandoned you Jim. Never, I tell, never. Think of me as a guardian angel, watching overhead--or a vulture, ready to swoop down on anything recommended on this board.

                This is the best site in the world. And just when I think things are getting re-hashed, and there's no hope in American Road chow, people like Betty from OK, Pat from St. Louis (brain sandwiches) and others who give me hope that there's more than IHOP and MCD's out there.

                Pete

        2. re: Jim Leff
          j
          Jim Dorsch Aug 15, 2000 05:15 PM

          Hey, the 'swirling' comment was spot on! No one could misconstrue what you said (unless they were trying to), especially when you link it to turtlenecks.

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