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Dealing with non-chowhounds

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Okay.. here's a general sort of question for everyone. I'm sure you've all met and probably have friends who are totally non-chowhound-ish.. how do you deal with them when you go out or try to make a meal?

eg: this girl I know when trying sushi, picked up a piece, dipped it in the soy, and placed it in her mouth and spit it out when she tried to chew because 'the rice wasn't hot' (nevermind the fact that she didn't notice that when she picked it up)

Or someone that prefers 'americanized' chinese food - the stuff you find in those nasty mall foodcourts and stuff and won't touch anything that looks 'authentic'..

Am I just being too picky, or do these people drive anyone else nuts?? :) It's not a big deal to me, except when we try to go out for food together!

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  1. It's a challenge, I have this problem with my family too. I got a rant from my mother the other day when we had recommended a steak place in Palm Springs and she saw the menu and flipped over us paying $27 for a ceasar salad for 2 when we go there. (LG's in Palm Springs/Palm Desert, best tableside ceasar ever).

    But I love my family som I put up with their un-chowness.

    3 Replies
    1. re: muhlyssa

      It's good to know I wasn't alone in my frustrations! At least I don't know too many people anymore who say "Oh I don't like that" even though they've NEVER tasted it! Ah well.

      I guess it's hard for some people to see sometimes what you pay for is more than a bowl full of lettuce and croutons... hey, there's always the $0.99 caesar at Wendy's with those packets of dressing. :)

      1. re: muhlyssa

        Could you nicely ask them to hush up when you're ordering and eating?

        1. re: muhlyssa

          My mother never complains about the menu prices at finer restaurants when we are treating, but always feels compelled to chip in at the end. I find it endearing!

        2. People who refuse to regard food as anything more than sustenance are aggravating because they are positive that, since they eat as much as we do, their opinions are just as valid. I try to be compassionate and remember that many people seek comfort from their meals, not challenge or enlightenment. With borderline boors I can usually be happy with something simple: everyone likes braised short ribs and mashed potatoes. Or we go out for Mexican, not Peruvian. Your post touches a nerve because here in Milwaukee (much to my shame I assure you) the local paper's "Reader's Choice Awards" chose Red sLobster for best seafood, Bakers Square for best desserts, and Cousin's Subs for sandwiches (3rd place thank goodnes). While Milwaukee is no culinary mecca, things are not that bad. I kept wondering why people who eat at those kinds of places exclusively even thought they had the right to vote...But they do, really. How do I deal with non chowhounds? My mother always said "If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all." I place them in the same league as people who have very different (i.e.wrong) political opinions and avoid them. Snob? Maybe. But it's easier on my stress level.

          17 Replies
          1. re: christine

            This is a bit off topic,but your post reminded me of a trip to Erie, PA, for a family wedding. We found a cool little Greek family diner for breakfast, and the food was clean, fresh, basic and good. Our local family members were horrified that we hadnt gone to the local Chain/ Applebys/Coffee shop. What's the deal !! are people brainwashed by relentless advertising that chain restaurant food is good??

            1. re: tanyal

              I found a pretty good Thai place in a local stripmall (Suko Thai on Watson if anyone's from St.Louis). I was coming out the other night and noticed that the local CountryBuffetClone was packed--packed i tell you. Go figure. Most people like the cheap and predictable. Have you ever been mad and sad at the same time? I had a colleague who spent a week in Paris and took most of his meals--honest to god-- at McD's.

              1. re: CliffA

                Reminds me of friends who made their first trip to Paris a few years ago and asked me for advice--they planned to self-cater and asked if I knew of hotels with kitchenettes in them. I had to give serious thought to the merits of keeping them in my address book after that, but set them straight and they ended up having a wonderful time, without cooking a single meal (or breaking their budget).

                1. re: James

                  To be fair, having lived in Paris I know that there is spectacularly good food available at chacuteries that you take home and simply heat up. My husband and I went to restaurants as often as we could, usually twice a week. Most of the time I cooked dinner, using the incredible ingredients available at the markets along Rue Clair. But occasionally he'd pick up something from a chacuterie on his way home from work, and most of it was every bit as good as anything you'd get at a one-star restaurant.

                2. re: CliffA

                  This reminds me of when I was flying home from Italy. My seatmate, a very nice guy who worked for the military in some capacity, was returning from a stint in Rome. The topic of conversation turned to food and he said that he didn't know where to eat when he was in Rome, so he ate at McDonald's most of the time.

                  1. re: lad1818

                    My non-chowhound sister returned from Italy saying that the Italian food in Italy wasn't any good. I nearly ruptured my eardrums trying not to laugh.

                    1. re: EWSflash

                      My girlfriend did the same thing. She said it didn't taste anything like Olive Garden.

                        1. re: scubadoo97

                          We've been BFFs for over 20 years, and yes, she's a keeper!
                          I don't think I could tolerate my hubby being an unfoodie, but my friends, they can eat whatever they want.

                        2. re: kitchengardengal

                          well she was kinda right. the food in Italy is pretty much not like Olive Garden (and vice versa)

                  2. re: tanyal

                    My town was full of funky coffeehouses before Starbucks muscled its way in. Only then was a co-worker of mine willing to go to one. Go figure, sad. Now, on their lunch hour they go to Starbucks in a huge mall, which takes up most of the hour, in order to avoid buying their latte drinks at a conveniently located privately owned drive-thru.

                    1. re: tanyal

                      Brainwashed? Actually, yes. and habituated to bombshell/fake tastes. Read Salt, Sugar Fat.
                      And ad-bombed into paralyzing embarassment that they will look stupid or silly if they are unfamiliar with anything in a new environment.

                    2. re: christine

                      I agree with you 100%. Our local poll is always full of chains as well. Which points up just how unexpanded many folks are when it comes to food and how rare chowhounds really are. I also find myself avoiding meals with certain friends. It's just too painful, Lovely folks, just not meal-mates. Family can be difficult too. I once made pavlovas for a family Christmas with fresh berries and Grand Marnier decorated with chocolate leaves. (No one had ever eaten meringue that wasn't on top of lemon pie.) I called ahead to make sure there was heavy cream. I was told, "We've got lots of it" No one could understand why I spent 3 hours on Christmas Eve combing the Hudson Valley looking for real cream, when the fridge had two kinds of the fake varieties.

                      1. re: scottso

                        They don't understand why I trim off and throw away the frosting from bakery cakes. You know, the emulsified shortening/chemical soup kind. People who should know better tell me that it has cream in it, so it's good.

                        That's kreem with a k.

                      2. re: christine

                        Once I started reading the results of my area's "readers choice awards" I sort of lost respect for the rewards, as we had similar results as yours.

                        I "tolerate" those franchised restaurants, but if I have any say in the matter, I refuse to eat in any of them. I'll take a local well-visited establishment any day.

                        1. re: christine

                          In Reno, there's a fancy-dancy Chinese place that ALWAYS get "Best Chinese." Every year. It's not even close but it makes the 'average' non-chowish diner comfortable. My late MIL would only go there if we wanted Chinese.

                          1. re: christine

                            I couldn't Agee more. I had a man the other day tell me that white anchovy was a terrible addition to the Caesar salad on my menu...... So he gave us a 5/10 rating...... I can not stand people who think they are pro chefs and critics and clearly know nothing.

                            Best think for me, laugh at them and move on. Forget about if.

                          2. Chowhounds love challenges. And I view these sorts of people as challenges.

                            If they're simply naive, then you'll have the wonderful experience of unlocking an entire world of enjoyment for someone, and taste it through their...er...palate. That's a particularly good sort of challenge. Of course, one can always cop an attitude of condescension and disgust. But that's not half as satisfying as opening vistas for someone.

                            If you're dealing with someone who's stubbornly and defiantly opposed to the idea of eating well, that's a different sort of challenge. But every dead weight has a fulcrum. You've got to dig deep. Figure out what food moves them, whether from ethnicity, nostalgia, or sheer whim. It's probably an unexamined pleasure, so it won't be easily extracted. It will require work and patience. But once you've found a fissure, any mind can be effectively blown.


                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Jim Leff

                              "...once you've found a fissure, any mind can be effectively blown."

                              very true

                              1. re: Jim Leff

                                really generous and good-hearted, Jim. you're a good example.
                                thanks for the perspective

                                1. re: Jim Leff

                                  ...and realize when you've been outgoobered and it's time to give up.

                                2. If you stay patient and keep offering your friends occasional tastes off your plate, you never know when their epiphanies will hit. I was very unchowhoundish the first half of my life. My mom would make pretty cool after-school snacks like monte cristo sandwiches and I would be like, "Yeah, whatever." For dinner she would make us even cooler stuff like jellyfish salad, geoduck sashimi, and sea bass chigae -- and I would silently wish for KFC so I can eat like "normal people". I finally had that Moment of Clarity where I understood her curiosity. To sum up, you're probably being more of an influence than you realize!

                                  1. Somewhere on this site there's a link to an article in The Onion-- "Man Mistakes Spanish Restaurant for Actual Mexican Place" (Or something like that). Or just go to . ANYway, it's pretty funny and related to what you're talking about.

                                    1. This happens to me a lot. I like to experiment when I cook for guests, and tomorrow (Nov 3) am having two people to dinner who are new to my dinner parties (as well as two old-hands). I am making an Asian-inspired meal of bento-sized dishes (and have made a set of three-tiered 'bento boxes' for the occasion) that includes sea urchin, lotus root, Chinese gochi berries, and other unusual ingredients. I have no idea whether the two newbies will like it, but there is a McDonalds on their way home if they end up leaving hungry.

                                      1. It is very difficult. Any easier way to do it if you are cooking is instead of overwhelming them all at once slowly introduce new things. Or don't tell them what something is and let them just eat it. I recently got a bunch of stubborn people who refuse to try new things to eat Tofu by putting it in lasagna. No one knew, everyone said it was delicious. After the meal, I told a few of the more open-minded ones they had just eaten tofu, they were surprised and still said it was good.

                                        Another good thing, get them while their young. My nephew who is now 8, will try anything and has since a young age.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: LisaN

                                          That reminds me of the time I served a roasted venison loin with anduille sausage and vegetables to a group of my friends (virtually all of whom are great food appreciators). It was delicious, if I do say so myself. However, the loin was actually roadkill, having been killed outside my friends house. The police asked my friend if he wanted to take care of the very recently killed deer, and I was the recipient of some beautiful meat. I did not tell anyone about the origins of the meat until after it was eaten. To my happiness, nobody was upset, just surprised. To this day, I am teased about that.

                                        2. I try to ignore them, as much as I can.
                                          I have my inlaws over for dinner every now and again. They are the pickiest people to cook for. ESPECIALLY when they declare ME the picky one.
                                          I have tried to accomodate them, within reason, but to no avail.
                                          So when they come over, I cook what I like, and "mention", in passing, that the local McDonalds has renovated their store front,lol.

                                          1. Depending on the cuisine, I typically take the initiative and order. If I take people to a taqueria or a yakitori joint (of course getting them there in the first place is a challenge), I'll make sure to order tongue, but not mention what it is. I usually wait till after everyone is done enjoying it before I tell them what it was. I half expect someone to gag, but it never happens.

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: Eric Eto

                                              "I'll be sure to order tongue, but not mention what it is."

                                              Eric, when I was a kid, my mother frequently served tongue. I always enjoyed it. BUT -- I am embarrassed to say how many years it was before I put the 'association' together. Because I was eating it as a chowpup, I never gave it a second thought. The day I finally DID ("'Tongue' is a TONGUE!?!"), I got a little squeamish. But, I'm okay with it, again. Sort of...

                                              1. re: AliceJ

                                                I had the same experience -- my mom served tongue occasionally when I was a kid, and I ate it until one day I saw a whole tongue on the counter in the kitchen of my neighbor's house.

                                                It was so gross I've never been able to eat it again (although some day I plan to psyche myself up to order a lengua taco).

                                                Thank goodness I managed to get over the milk phobia I developed when I started thinking of it as the secretions from the mammary gland of a cow.

                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                  Tongue is tasty- my mom used to make it, but I don't. I don't want to peel it, for openers. I especially hate the spotted tongues, remindsme of the spotted cows I like. I know, I know, we all have our strengths and challenges, right?

                                                2. re: AliceJ

                                                  Growing up, we had tongue quite frequently. We also had kidneys and eggs for breakfast and other offal.Even bone marrow was a regular dish! I never realized that I was being trained as a chowpup back then! Those foods were just normal for us. Nowadays when others wince at some of the dishes I serve, I just shrug it off and say to myself "hey, that's more for me".
                                                  I don't get too upset with others' who are non-chowie. Being self-centered works wonders sometimes. My ignorance to others' ignorance is my bliss!

                                                  1. re: jarona

                                                    "My ignorance to others' ignorance is my bliss!"

                                                    true story

                                                3. re: Eric Eto

                                                  Like the dim-sum man said: There are only two kinds of people in this world. Braised chicken-feet people and everybody else.

                                                  1. re: emu48

                                                    Bob and I are the former but only know one other person who is. Sad.

                                                4. No, you're not too picky. Those people drive me to distraction, too. You ought to try dealing with people in the semi-rural South. They have to have (well-done) meat and two vegetables at all meals. An all-you-can-eat Chinese feeding trough is really exotic for them.

                                                  It has gotten to the point in my gastronomic life where I divide everyone I know into two categories: the select inner circle of chow friends, and other.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Sam Stevens

                                                    Sam I think you meant SOME people in semi rural South

                                                    1. re: Laura B.

                                                      Heheh.. I spent about 10months in NC. That was about as rural as I got.

                                                      Things I found I had a weakness for: hushpuppies, sweet tea, and ribs & wings from Oh! Brian's in the triangle. *drool*

                                                      Bad things: desparately seeking -any- pseudo authentic asian(but the sushi was usually decent!), chain restaurants-o-rama, and all the all-you-can-cram buffets!


                                                    2. re: Sam Stevens

                                                      That reminds me of that PBS program, what's it called, A Chef's Life? The one with the married couple who open up a gourmet restaurant in eastern North Carolina?

                                                      On one of the recent episodes the woman chef was complaining about how there was no labor force there. And what there was, didn't understand what a spectacular opportunity for them to work there (presumably so they could get jobs in other fine dining establishments).

                                                      There's a total world view difference on each side of the employer-employee relationship. To her, you're lucky to get a job in a place like this, so you can work your way up the line, become a sous chef, open your own place, etc. Its all about opportunity and career advancement to her. To them, they need a job. They chop vegetables because you pay them to do so, but if they find someone else who'll pay them to chop vegetables and will stop flipping out about every little detail, they'll go work there. They don't care about the opportunity, they don't care what they learn, they're there to get their paycheck and they go home. The more of a PITA the boss is, the better working in a convenience store looks. End of story.

                                                    3. I just got back from spending a week with a non-chowhound (in the non-chowish town of Colorado Springs).

                                                      No one else has mentioned the non-chowhounders' secret weapon: their health. I was told that she couldn't eat garlic because her stomach couldn't handle it, and that she needed her meat cooked to the consistency of a hockey puck (her actual description!) because she was afraid of food poisoning. She insisted on getting "light" ice cream to go with the Scharffen Berger chocolate sauce (desecration!) I brought because she was worried about the fat.

                                                      Somehow these concerns didn't keep her from eating Polish sausages and nachos at the arena where the event we were attending was held.

                                                      I love her dearly, but I never want to eat with her again!

                                                      11 Replies
                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                        You're a better person than I, Ruth. I can barely bring myself to like these people let alone love them ;-) I used to have a friend sort of like that, and I always felt manipulated when she used a "health" excuse to not eat somewhere when the real reason was that she didn't like the food. For some reason, she always called ME to go to lunch or dinner with her, then insisted on going to Perkins (yumm!) or some other place with whitebread food. And heaven forbid we go to a place with entrees more than $7. She'd throw a fit. We're not friends anymore. ;-)

                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                          My mother-in-law can't eat- or says she can't eat- potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, any dairy, red meat, she can't drink vodka or Amaretto (Amaretto?!), curry or ginger. I don't think she can eat eggs either. I love her, but boy, she's paranoid about her food!

                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                            Ruth, I went to visit a friend in central Florida once- I was expecting a lot of multicultural awesomeness and food and culture. Ha. The space coast is nothing but middle-aged and older white people and chain restaurants. My friend's favorite restaurant was Ruby Tuesday. I didn't see but one apparently locally owned Chinese restaurant. Never saw even ONE caribbean place. I actually lost weight on that vacation.

                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                              Once you get outside the big cities, the quality of Asian food in Florida often comes down to 'did we ever have a military base there?' So Chinese is a lot cause, but in an area with Patrick AFB nearby, you can probably find a number of nice Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, or Japanese strip mall restaurants. The GI retired and wanted to live near VA services; his foreign-born wife discovered after a month of him puttering around their house that he was driving her nuts, so she decided to get out of the house and become a small businesswoman by running a Thai/Korean/Filipino lumpia place.

                                                                1. re: beachmouse

                                                                  In certain parts of the US, it seems that nobody knows how to make pizza properly.

                                                                  1. re: beachmouse

                                                                    good for her! the next step is getting the owner to drop the "safe" moo goo gai glop from the menu and focus on what they know and love. mmm lumpia.

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        yeah but I'd rather have lumpia (smirk)

                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                          Me too. (Non-smirk!) Bob had a professional friend and he and his family were originally from the Philippines. They had a huge party many years ago. Family members were in the kitchen constantly cooking lumpia. Heaven on earth.

                                                                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                  As someone who is trying to eat healthy that's bullhockey! There are tons of delicious ethnic dishes, that are healthy and tasty!

                                                                3. Try encountering a non-chowhound at your own wedding! My husband's family is Puerto Rican and I'm Chinese. When my husband and I planned the reception, we both decided to have the traditional Chinese banquet in Chinatown. My husband LOVES real Chinese food from Chinatown but he did not tell me how his family would react to the menu my mother help me pick out. Midway through the courses, his grandfather asks my mother in law, "So where's the pork fried rice, spareribs and egg rolls?" in loud Spanish (thank god for small mercies). You can imagine my mortification!

                                                                  1. e
                                                                    Emily Cotlier

                                                                    Check out a delightful piece in this week's Onion about some (hopefully fictitious) anti-chowhounds....

                                                                    Even if a small handful of my friends don't appreciate good food, nothing's going to stop me from serving it to them, or insisting (sweetly, but insisting) we go to a place to eat that we could both enjoy. Oddly, they don't seem to mind my food bossiness, because it saves them the trouble of having to decide where to eat, and some of them have unbent and admitted that "they don't feel comfortable when they don't know what things are on the menu."

                                                                    Link: http://www.theonion.com/onion3739/spa...

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Emily Cotlier

                                                                      _this_ :

                                                                      'and some of them have unbent and admitted that "they don't feel comfortable when they don't know what things are on the menu."

                                                                      After being in other countries, one characteristic of so many people here - who i also love - is their absolute reluctance to be in any food situation they don't already know about. Mass produced crap is popular because it is completely predictable and always, always exactly the same, everywhere and anywhere in the US.

                                                                      People I traveled with (family, business, college friends) were nearly terrified of 'not knowing how to act, or what might happen or how some stuff would taste' if we went anywhere but to the same nationally recognized chains: fast food and mid-price: Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesday, Arby.

                                                                      Because i'm always an anthropologist (never off duty) I gently asked why and how that happened. Food and settings connect to vulnerability of many kinds, especially looking foolish and awkward. My crew actually feared that locals/different ethnics would ridicule and snicker if they made 'mistakes' and some were convinced folks would serve them nasty or yuckky tasting things just to humiliate them.

                                                                      I very much underestimated how fearful and suspicious many many people are of anything and anyone different from themselves. Sigh. and yep - I partially blame the parts of national media that drive home a 'fortress America' attitude. That can change but it takes time, patience and a gentle attitude.

                                                                      1. re: kariin

                                                                        "...and some were convinced folks would serve them nasty or yuckky tasting things just to humiliate them."

                                                                        one need not travel abroad to encounter this as it is very common on our own shores, by and from "locals and ethnics".

                                                                    2. If you really love this friend, you learn to love his /her non-chowhoundishness--much the same way you love a child's inability to spell correctly, say, or your spouse's inability to set a pretty table.

                                                                      I have many non-chowhoundish friends,and family members, too. I deal with their uninspired food choices by trying to be in control to whatever extent possible. Last Xmas my husband and I lugged four casserole dishes a mile through snow by foot to my bro-in-law's log cabin in north Georgia. When I am at my folk's place, I now contribute dishes. My mom is a famously good cook who has become rather lazy and pedestrian in her cooking in later years. Rather than criticize, I help. I find most people are glad to be served good food. Even the most non-chowhoundish love good food--given it's within the boundary of the familiar.

                                                                      I have maybe three friends who eat sushi, period. I say, just don't push it. If people aren't open to foods new and different, then find a good homestyle restaurant and eat your eat and potatoes, knowing it's the friendship that matters!

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: stella b

                                                                        Yep. I go out frequently with my cousin, who is truly my favorite person in the world to hang out with. I am a hound, I can even be a bit of a snob (please don't charge me twelve dollars for a square of microwaved food-service lasagna),and I am willing to pay more for tastier food, although I like a plate of hot wings as much as the next guy, too. Cousin, however, is a stickler for value, by which she means quantity. This girl can eat. We are neither one of us slender, but she's a lot thinner than I am...and she can put away six or seven plates heaped with food. This means, of course, that she looooves a buffet. Ryans. Golden Corral. Chinese buffets. And you know what? I deal with it. I have a salad and the fried chicken (even bad fried chicken is pretty good), I enjoy her company. Once in a great while I drag her to my choice of eateries, and she grumbles a bit about the 'small' portions and lets me have my fun. In the long run, I enjoy a mediocre meal in good company as much as a better meal all by myself. I'm a chowhound, but I can bend my rules for the sake of someone I love. Now...could I LIVE WITH someone who insisted on frozen dinners every night (like the 'healthy eater' boyfriend who only allowed diet soda & lean cuisines in the house)...nope!

                                                                        1. re: tonifi

                                                                          hey toni - I know it's a bit beyond your neighborhood, but there is a Chinese AYCE up on Dorsett just West of 270 that delves into beyond the expected and boring. (call ahead, not every station is open at say 5:00 PM on a Monday - when my aunt who favors bland AYCE likes to eat)

                                                                      2. j
                                                                        Janet A. Zimmerman

                                                                        Maybe this proves that I'm not a true chowhound, but it doesn't really bother me to eat with non-chowhounds. I guess I deal with them the same way I deal with people who have less than perfect (i.e., different from mine) taste in movies or music -- we can usually find a compromise that works for all. Or I enjoy their company in other circumstances. (Of course, it would be awful to have a non-chowhound mate, but I'm lucky there).

                                                                        It is a different story when I have occasion to eat with those people who treat food as nutrients only, who divide food into "good" and "bad" by whatever the criteria of the moment are. For instance, I recently had dinner with my sister and some friends, one of whom was into that blood type diet. After a few minutes of her inane pronouncements, I really had to restrain myself (out of consideration for my sister only). Another example: My ex's mother was convinced she was allergic to damn near everything and therefore wouldn't eat anything with wheat, yeast, dairy, and various other ingredients, so I would end up trying to alter my menus for her, only to discover that she was suddenly allergic to something new (at least she lived 1000 miles away).

                                                                        Or those "my body is a temple" types (Anthony Bourdain had the right comeback for them in Kitchen Confidential: "Your body is not a temple; it's an amusement park.")

                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Janet A. Zimmerman

                                                                          Laughed about the "nutrient" people--we've all met one of those! (And, did you ever notice, they rarely have a sense of humor??) Anyway--I must ask--what in the world is the blood type diet? I know of a particular vampire who yearns to become a fluids-paying member....

                                                                          1. re: LynnKane
                                                                            Janet A. Zimmerman

                                                                            I think the official name is "Eat Right for Your Type" -- the author claims for no proven reason that one's blood type determines which foods are healthy and unhealthy. Supposedly this has something to do with the group each blood type is descended from, but I've never figured out why blood type should be any more important than any other genetic trait, like eye color or skin pigment, tongue rolling or right-handedness. (The adherents of this diet do not like it when this point is raised, however.)

                                                                            1. re: Janet A. Zimmerman

                                                                              I heard about this from some women in my yoga class. One of the women weighed about 50 pounds and was happy because since she'd started the diet she'd lost weight! These women weren't vain slick chick types, either--they are earthy hippies who already seem to exist on steamed barley and seaweed. I know that I can never be truly close to people like this. The woman who was losing weight said she had to avoid orange juice and wheat. The clincher though, was the lack of explanation. The book proscribes but doesn't explain. Unfortunately, the types of people I know who fall for these whacky diet trends don't expect justification--they just want to be told what to do.

                                                                              1. re: stella b

                                                                                I'm shortly to have a bone marrow transplant which will change my blood group to that of the donor. Maybe I'll need to adapt to a whole new diet!

                                                                                1. re: Peg

                                                                                  I'm happy/sorry to hear that Peg, if you get my meaning. Wish you the best on that. But I'm sure being a Chowhounder in an ingrained sort of thing... ;D

                                                                              2. re: Janet A. Zimmerman

                                                                                Ooooh- I'm looking forward to the "Eat Right For Your Eye Color"' diet and the "Graying-Brown-Hair" diet

                                                                              3. re: LynnKane

                                                                                We have a 'fitness expert' at work, she's very nice, but the stuff she talks about eating and enjoying make me want to barf sometimes. I'm reminded of the now-closed local restaurant that I used to see people chewing dry granola- and paying for the privilege.

                                                                              4. re: Janet A. Zimmerman

                                                                                My sister-in-law became a devotee of Dr. Weil a few years ago. She got rid of anything in their house that might contain trans-fatty acids and became fanatical about her diet. One time I mentioned an occassion back a few years when we all had gotten hot dogs from a vendor in D.C. and her response was, "UGH! I can't BELIEVE I ever ate a hot dog!"

                                                                                Needless to say, whenever we drove away from visiting her and subsisting on her spartan fat-free diet for a few days, our first stop was for something to eat that I'm sure was chock full of trans-fatty acids (AND was delicious)!

                                                                              5. I don't care what anyone else chooses to eat as long as they leave my diet alone.

                                                                                1. I went to a wonderful small plates restaurant with really creative cuisine but not scary different. A friend insisted on having a plain green salad. She wouldn't let it go so she made the kitchen make her a simple salad. Her argument is she eats salad every night for dinner. I wanted to scream....

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: DowntownJosie

                                                                                    I don't get it. You got to eat creative, well-cooked food, your friend got to eat food that she also enjoyed, and you two got to spend time together.

                                                                                    What's to scream about?

                                                                                    1. re: DebinIndiana

                                                                                      Firstly it was a birthday dinner and she is not really a friend, secondly she was rude and insistent to the waiter that the kitchen make her a salad. We then spent 30 mins+ talking about how bad the service and restaurant was because they did not have salad on their menu. It was just a very boring and useless conversation that made me a bit crazy.

                                                                                      1. re: DowntownJosie

                                                                                        Absolutely! Issue is not your acquaintance's lack of chowiness -- the problem is that this person is a crashing bore!

                                                                                        1. re: DebinIndiana

                                                                                          same thing.

                                                                                          and her fear of the unknown is what makes her a "non-chowhound"

                                                                                  2. Luckly, I married someone who is not a foodie but eats everything.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Monica

                                                                                      I truly think the eating situation can totally make or break a relationship. Even though my husband isn't the most keen on vegetables all the time, he totally puts up with my crazy food pursuits.

                                                                                    2. One Valentine's Day, my father bought my mother some good Godiva chocolates, or maybe they were something even more gourmet, like Scharffenberger, I can't remember.

                                                                                      Anyway, mother did nothing but complain that these delicious gourmet chocolates weren't as good as Hershey's chocolate. (Can you imagine?) Did nothing but complain about it for days, and didn't stop until the rest of us scarfed them all down because they were delicious.

                                                                                      After that, dad decided not to throw pearls before swine, and she's received Hershey's chocolate ever since. Why waste money, or good chocolate?

                                                                                      1. This thread might set some sort of new record for lapse of time between comments and replies. A bit over 12 years. Perhaps that shows how timeless some of these topics are. Anyway it's always nice when the really old ones suddenly come back to life.

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: ePressureCooker

                                                                                            It's thoroughly unzombied now... there's a new discussion going on. :) DH is not a foodie, and we have serious budgetary limitations that prevent much exploration of exotic cuisines, but we've come to a compromise over the last decade - I can make 'fancy' stuff if I really want to, but most of the time I keep it fairly simple and just try to make good food, and he likes it. Sometimes he surprises me and tells me it's fantastic, like our Thanksgiving stuffed pork loin with 'the best veggies he's ever tasted'. :) (also, although we don't eat much of it, he enjoys watching interesting food television with me, so we can explore food together vicariously that way...)

                                                                                            1. re: Kajikit

                                                                                              I love that word, unzombied, as applied to this thread. Can't wait for the rumors that Chowhound has a reanimated food thread going... ;D

                                                                                          2. The sushi thing I would have gotten up and left her ass at the table.
                                                                                            But I don't hate American Chinese, I'm almost directly across the globe from China, and my city is legendary for not having good Chinese fod, even americanized.

                                                                                            Are you being too picky? Ask yourself that and answer. Not everybody is a chowhound, ain't no shame in it, necessarily.

                                                                                            1. It's tough, especially when they're family. As when rubbing elbows with those of differing religious views, I try my best to be respectful to the non-chowhounds as much as possible, but I do expect a certain amount of respect in return.
                                                                                              When faced with a [stryofoam] cake with that "butterkreme" on it, I try to accept it with grace, nibble a TINY bit ('trying to lose weight") then later get some baked good that's REAL. When invited to my neighbors, we eat beforehand.

                                                                                              But that's different from the situations described by the OP. All I can say is that food, and all its aspects and glories, are such a large part of my life that I have no friends who are "eat to live" followers, because not only would these people drive me nuts, but we would have very little we could talk about and share. They might live longer, but I will certainly have a much more fulfilling and joy-filled life.

                                                                                              And definitely do what some of the posters here suggest: if the non-chowhound is happy with Hershey's, save your money; buy them the Hershey's, or Thunderbird or whatever, and save the Chocolate Indulgence and Chateau Barossa for yourself.
                                                                                              Or you can invite me over! :)

                                                                                              1. As I see it, there are two kinds of non-chowhounds. The first are the Goop-Eaters who subsist exclusively on the likes of Pop Tarts and Froot Loops and products from the Mega-Corporate Burg-R-Kompanies. They're not fun to dine with for obvious reasons but are easier to put up with than the second kind of non-chowhound

                                                                                                The second kind are the Nutri-Cops who lecture you on how a food/dish is fattening/caloric/starchy/fatty/cholesterol filled, packed with sodium and you shouldn't be eating it if you want a healthy body. Those kinds of NCH's really twist my toga because they can be downright rude. We all want a healthy body, but Holy Roman Emperors, we DO have taste buds for a reason and we all like a treat every now and then. There is such a thing as a treat. My response to a Nutri-Cop would be, if you don't want to eat the darn thing, don't eat it, but don't ruin the treat for other people.

                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Sparkina

                                                                                                  Sparkina - there is a third type, you can take them to a 3 star Michelin or to a Waffle House and either way they'll love it. you can't talk to them about the food, but at least they're not preachy (needless pretense or health-wise).

                                                                                                  THAT I find refreshing.

                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                    Or, for another variation, the food-is-fuel type who just shovel any old thing in, eat only because they're hungry, and seem completely indifferent to what they're eating. I had one of those call me a "food snob" a while back, and I responded:
                                                                                                    "Because I care about what I'm eating?"

                                                                                                    1. re: Steve Green

                                                                                                      I took a friend who called me a "food snob" out to eat. good food, just a simple accessible place. explained why I thought this food was better than the factory down the block. waited a short while, took this friend to another place that had grilled meat. good meat. last meal out this now chow-ish friend had the braised lamb shank, red wine from the wine list, and passed on the cappuccino. totally won over. welcome to the bright side!

                                                                                                      1. re: Steve Green

                                                                                                        that's kinda what I meant when I badly worded that the food-is-fuel type preaches that we're guilty of needless pretense.

                                                                                                  2. I grew up in NY which of course is a melting pot of deliciousness so I love all types of foods, which I did not get from my family..my parents & family are from NC. Most of them, mom included, are not chowhounds and whenever it comes to a dinner that's potluck or if I host a meal, I have to tone it to their tastes. For years, my mom would ask me if I was going to make "regular" food, meaning what she grew up on, southern dishes, which I also love but I like foods that are different. So, every now & then I'll do something familiar with a twist and it will pass with the diners but can't go too far outside of the box. This summer, we had a BBQ at moms house; I was manning the grill with the burgers. They were nice & juicy so I took them off. She made me put them back on and that's where they stayed until they dried up like a hockey puck. Then she was pleased.

                                                                                                    I remember when I was a teenager, I decided to buy dinner for the family and went Chinese. What did I do that for? My siblings were used to pork fried rice & egg rolls. I came home with beef & broccoli, shrimp fried rice, lo mein, Chinese spare ribs, etc. It was picked over. That was the last time. Now, I just do what I know they will eat and let it go.

                                                                                                    Now, I have a fiancé, also from NC...a country boy who has never gone too far out the box and is kinda picky. But he will tell you he has never tried so many "new" foods his whole life as he has since we've been together this last 2 1/2 years. He's a work in progress and I get a kick out of when he tries something he said he didn't like only to find out he actually likes it.... On the other end, some people will never be converted and that's okay.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                      That's when you take HALF the burgers off and leave the rest to cook to shoe leather, so people can have their choice and you can have your deliciousness unruined... you can't change some people, but you don't have to go down with the ship.

                                                                                                    2. We all have our own threshold of non-chowishness. Maybe its Eithiopian food...or maybe a bowl of fish eyes, or some of that crap Andrew Zimmern eats.

                                                                                                      We eat for pleasure as well as sustenance (most of us anyway). Nobody would deny that we eat first with our eyes and that if a dish looks tasty it will taste that much better.

                                                                                                      Well, what if it looks like a pile of slop? Might be appetizing in some cultures, but to me it would be nothing I would try if something pretty is available. Why risk having a meal I don't like? Doesn't make somebody narrow minded. And being more or less adventurous is neither a virtue nor a vice.

                                                                                                      Of course one can be an ass about it and only eat food that is brown, beige or white. ( I know somebody like this...other wise sane).

                                                                                                      1. a few years ago, three couples, all in there late 30's early 40's out to eat at a regular sit down restaurant, I think they use the term "American Modern" or close to that.
                                                                                                        my SO and I look over the menu, see a lot of simple proteins with simple sides and are less than impressed, so we order the seared tuna, served rare (actually raw) in large slices with something very forgettable sharing the plate.
                                                                                                        the look on the faces of the other two couples when they saw raw tuna on a plate, still makes us laugh. they all ordered either grilled meat (steak), well done, or grilled chicken. They also explained that none of them have ever had sushi or raw tuna, etc.
                                                                                                        we enjoyed our tuna, finished a few bottles of wine, had a great time. we as well discussed sushi and the like.
                                                                                                        we now go out with these couples to eat in restaurants and although still not up for a sashimi or large slices tuna seared, they stick to simple maki rolls, tuna included, but especially California, and variations of that, they are very comfortable after our "night out" a few years ago.

                                                                                                          1. Nothing wrong with being picky. But people like those you discuss don't drive me nuts because I pretty much never go out to eat with them. But on the rare occasions when I do, I don't find it that hard to just grin and bear it. Nobody ever died from eating Chuck E. Cheeze pizza or taco salad, after all.

                                                                                                            1. Bummer of a date, Synistyr. She doesn't sound like a keeper for a Chowhound. Period.

                                                                                                              1. This thread is thirteen years old, who on earth dug this up? lol

                                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                    There are those who periodically lobby for locking old threads. One just like this argue against that. It's as relevant now as it was 13 years ago.

                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                      Frankly, it's time to lock this up: however interesting some of the offshoot threads are here, the original post leaves me (again) with a lousy taste in the mouth. "How do you deal with non-chowhounders?" How do you "deal" with people who don't; like asking how do you do deal with folks who don't like NASCAR or biodynamic wines or barrel aged cocktails or performance art? What arrogant and insular nonsense. The whole chowhound ethos seems to me to embrace everything with gusto, and have the grace to be kind about it.

                                                                                                                      1. re: bob96

                                                                                                                        But that's different than what I was referring to. Some people think that, with age, any topic becomes irrelevant. And, yeah, you do make a good point. We sometimes do get a bit snobbish and judgmental. Mea culpa.

                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                          "We sometimes do get a bit snobbish and judgmental."

                                                                                                                          it's the only reason I visit this site. otherwise there are MANY crappy sources on the interwebz to find the latest trend or a mediocre burger at a high end restaurant.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                            You visit CH in order to view or be "snobbish and judgmental"????? Lost me on that one, G.

                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                              Not necessarily. I WANT to read the "snobbish and judgmental" reviews of those that share my passion.

                                                                                                                              Otherwise I could YELP it like everyone else to the local feeding trough Applebee’s/Olive Garden...

                                                                                                                          2. re: bob96

                                                                                                                            bob: There's a CH ethos [and it is to embrace everything with gusto]? Although I like it, I haven't seen a common thread here ....

                                                                                                                            1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                                                                              Not that making judgments or strong statements of like or dislikes is wrong: indeed, informed, enthusiastic judgments are the heart of CH. But never do I associate the value of a judgment with its maker; you can "deal" with non-chowish food habits however you wish, but I don't think a person's worth is associated so completely with his or her liking for--or ignorance of--something you find worthwhile eating. I don't think it's ever been the spirit of CH to have to account for those who might not share your tastes, or passions. Sharing enthusiasm for a favorite food or drink is fine, of course, and so i trying to get others to share that enthusiasm. But stigmatizing is not.

                                                                                                                            2. re: bob96

                                                                                                                              bob96 - just because I love someone doesn't mean I don't get to poke fun...

                                                                                                                              heck I love freezer corn dogs, White Castle, and will eat almost anywhere without complaint or comment. but I am aware there's more out there than what's advertised on TV. my idea of 'dealing' is being convinced to go to someplace that's "ehh" but runs national ads when I know full and well that a few blocks away is a mom'n'pop place that's incredible.

                                                                                                                              that's the approach I find frustrating. and it's not snobbish to imagine some hole-in-the-wall might be either fantastic or an absolute foul pit. we have no way to know until we try.

                                                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                True, but it's a fine line, and I've learned my own lesson. That just because you might know someone, it doesn't always mean they might not be insulted or hurt by chowish fun poking. I'll eat anything and everything, and care little if people I care about don't. If it means a mediocre meal at a chain place just because it's really more convenient, and makes an hour spent in good company possible--where that mom and pop might not, for whatever reason--then for me friendship trumps food choices. Not always of course: but just as much as there's always tomorrow for that chowish adventure, there's always life between meals, too.

                                                                                                                                1. re: bob96

                                                                                                                                  all matters with loved ones skirt a fine line indeed.

                                                                                                                                  chowish? nah I'm clownish.

                                                                                                                              2. re: bob96

                                                                                                                                Food is love that's the ticket! Thanks for teaching us that Emeril, Julia, Jacques:)

                                                                                                                        2. Non-Chowhounds are just people who like to eat different shit than you.

                                                                                                                          How to deal with them? You don't have to deal with them any more than they have to deal with you.

                                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: JayL

                                                                                                                            Yep. I'm sure those who put little emphasis on what they eat can be annoyed (or some other word) by OUR attitudes.

                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                              No lie. The guy I mentioned upthread, who called me a "food snob", gets annoyed when I don't always agree to join him at his slop-house-du-jour. The irony is that when he called me that, we were sitting at one of his favorite places: Olive Garden. I refrained from pointing out that if I were truly a food snob, I wouldn't have been caught dead at OG.

                                                                                                                              I tried to get him to see my point of view, and took him to Lotus of Siam here in Vegas, but it was a complete waste of time and money. He thought his regular Thai place was "just as good, and much cheaper". So I let him take me there next time. Big surprise -- mediocre food, and not much cheaper either.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Steve Green

                                                                                                                                As I get older, I am beginning to realize that sometimes people just cannot tell the difference between things.

                                                                                                                                Some people cannot tell the difference between two different musical notes.

                                                                                                                                Some people cannot tell the difference between being friendly and being rude.

                                                                                                                                Some people cannot tell the difference between "chipotle" and "chipoltay".

                                                                                                                                And some people cannot tell the difference between Taco John's and Frontera Grill.

                                                                                                                                It is what it is.

                                                                                                                                That said, people who CAN tell the difference shouldn't be called snobs by the people who can't.

                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                  The people who can't, usually don't call anyone else snobs; they really don't care enough, and have other things to worry about. It's usually those who feel they "can" who draw the invidious line between themselves and those they feel cannot, or won't.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: bob96

                                                                                                                                    "re-write!" (like we're on a tv soundstage) my point being diplomacy is very important trying to explain that (f'rinstance) dried cilantro won't replace fresh. to those who don't notice or care, without some care, one can earn the 'snob' title with ease.

                                                                                                                                    I get insistent on certain ingredients, methods etc. (it's claimed bay, rosemary, garlic and others aren't noticed yet I get objections when I include them, they're already in the house, it's not a waste - so what's yer point? no a microwave is NOT the same as a conventional oven for reheating fried chicken)

                                                                                                                                    a few weeks ago the folks went to a friends house (near St. Louis) for a holiday party and were describing a St. Louis stuffed potato using Velveeta. I asked "Velveeta? not Provel?" and got called a snob. they have labeled me a snob when Provel is in fact, trashier than Velveeta but far more regional.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                        Well color me impressed! What a food genius:)!!!!!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                      Knowing better doesn't make you a snob.

                                                                                                                                      Letting everyone know that you know better does.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: JayL

                                                                                                                                        I understand and agree with your point. Where it becomes a grey area is when you become forced to defend your lack of enthusiasm/participation regarding trips to McDonald's, Olive Garden, etc.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                          Frankly, were I ever in that situation,with no say in the matter, I'd just go, do what I can to trim my "losses" and move. Not worth a statement of distinterest. I can't imagine being forced to defend a lack of enthusiasm: no one I know, or would choose to be with, would force me to it--I'd just go, make the best of it, and look forward to the next, more chowish meal. At the same time, I never expect everyone I'm with to share the same pleasure or enthusiasm I might have for a food choice I might have made for us all: you just never know. That's life.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                        I treat everyone well even if they do not love eating smelly cheeses or raw fish:)

                                                                                                                                2. I think Chowhound is great. But I don't ever say to myself ,"I'm a Chowhound." I always enjoyed new foods and liked to cook way before I discovered Chowhound. I deal with the people around me and it's no big deal. It's what Iv'e always done.