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Jun 27, 2007 09:04 AM

A fond tearful farewell - not seriously tearful

I must admit I have never posted on the SITE TALK board but felt it a fitting place for the following.

I have been a user, random poster of and to Chowhound for many years. I've enjoyed the "conversation" and the information. It truely pains me to choose to say goodbye at this juncture. I do reserve the option to return. The reason for my spiritual "departure" is that CH no longer speaks to me. I used to enjoy it. Now, for the most part I feel the joy, the soul, is gone. Maybe it's just gone in me. Maybe it is a function of our times. So many, so many of the posts of the past, while using chow as a basis were really discussions of life. How to live. These dynamics were often no more then subtext. There was an overt joy of discovery, of adventure, willingness to "give some hole in the wall" a try, because it "smelled" of possibility. I don't find this spirit anymore, or rarely. The type of discovery I speak of was one more jubilent, passionate; more "hip hip hooray" then I've seen recently, even for "new finds". I have tried to retain an emotional attachment with, a passion for, Chowhounds. I have actively tried of late by posting where I had not for some time. My "style", what I was attempting, seemed not to be understood by MOST of the current Chowhounders. I attempted to contribute thought out, posts that went beyond simply what was placed on a plate, to what was in our souls and how the Chow served as an element of who we are, how we live. What we consider, enjoyment and even meaning, of this thing we call life. The new paradigm it seems would rather consider if the restaurant with the red door is better then the one with the blue door not mine.

When I entered Site Talk to begin this post today, I saw a post from faijay, telling of the passing of Maurice Naughton who's posting about the Paris scene were unparalled. Reading his posts one came to understand not only the food of Paris, but Paris itself through it's food. Food and life were an adventure. The two were inseparably linked. My thanks to Maurice who took the time to share.

My thanks also to: Jim, who Danial Boone and Lewis & Clark didn't "have a thing on", Pat Hammond who always "got it" and all the Chowhounders who dusted off a trailhead which made it easier to track, and often would lead to gold. To a rich expirence > a richer life. A full belly and heart.

Allen Bank

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  1. I've just had a conversation with a friend and fellow Hound. He said he understands my issues, and for the most part agrees. Although, he added that I must work harder these days, mine the vein with greater diligence, remove the tons, ever increasing tonnage, of dirt to get to the gold.

    And if "they" for the most part, don't get it, "so what"? So, "why bother" I ask. Isn't my time better spent routing out the gold found in plain site above ground and savoring it? Looking in alleys at ingredient packing crates. Following aromas that bring me blocks off my course. Seeing a crowded, unpaved dirt parking lot in front of a restaurant with a sign half falling down. Following a Lincoln, which has ripped up red clay as it sped by, on the "hunch" they were going to, and knew where to chowdown.

    It used not to be work, but pleasure. I don't, can't consider the "sifting" pleasure / enjoyable. Does the amount of gold which ends up in my pocket / my belly warrant the work? The time? The finite time? I don't know - but I WILL think on it.

    Allen Bank

    1 Reply
    1. re: allenbank

      IMHO finding more deliciousness is always worth it. It has nothing to do with this internet site or its inhabitants. Perhaps I'm a lot less ambitious or selfless, but all I want is to eat better. I'm happy to share my chowtips, but I'm not out to change the eating habits of other folks or to cultivate those with a similar viewpoint. Whatever you choose, I hope you'll continuing chowing as you did, because you're celebrating in your own pleasurable deliciousness regardless of what other people think or want.

    2. Allen - I'm a much more recent hound than you and, sadly, far less soulful, but I've always enjoyed reading your posts - recently the one on the best chocolate chip cookies - Good & Plenty To Go is on my list now, thanks to you. As one who has only through CH learned to explore the "unopened door", I do, rather selfishly, hope that you would continue posting.

      My first efforts in opening doors not previously opened by me:

      1 Reply
      1. re: MMRuth

        No amatures you and your husband. Amatures are not in my book, determined by how much one can or desires to eat, but rather how they eat. And you're certainly not less soulful. Your post, your adventurist nature is indeed evident and what I've been finding lacking. You use the search for "chow" as an instrument, a guide, a map if you will, to initiate an adventure. You've opened yourself up, who you might be in part, through your post. There's no going back now. As a matter of fact, you've, I feel much better mastered the proportion of chow information > what I call "chowmanship" and narative better than I, without question.

        Through the "unopened doors" when either kicked, nudged or caressed open will sometimes reveal rubies, sometimes dust. But unless we enter we simply will never know. Gems, great > dust > not so great. Not entering is the only shame of it. And yes, french cuffs are not to be messed with.

        You've got the gift of openness and authenticity. You're able to be both entertaining and informative in a voice your own.

        Like it or not, by my standards > you are a true Chowhound.

      2. FWIW, as with many websites like this, the fraction of people who post are a (vast) minority compared to those who lurk. If you want feedback, it's unfortunate that the majority of people who read your posts aren't going to be be responding; just the nature of the internet. Thus, I would never take the pulse of this site based on the people who post. MOST current chowhounds you will never hear a peep from and you would never knew existed.

        1 Reply
        1. re: limster

          limster - I think what I've been missing is not feedback to my own posts, but rather the passion, the openness, the expansive expression of posters to the site. The depth of who an individual "chowhound" is. How Chow > the search for and elation in "the score", the find, effects who they are, their relationship to us all, because of the wealth found. It's sitting around a lunch table with friends, loved ones or strangers; in the sunshine or during a thunder storm, the type of which we are expirencing tonight in New York, enjoying the bounty and talking about meals past, what we were doing when... what we'll be having for dinner that night > with who > who's been where, doing what... Food and how we eat > what, where, with who, is as much a measure of who we are at our core as anything. As much as: how we standup for our friends, how we make our livings, how we define ourselves, how we make our lives. How we love. Do we passionatly search out new expiriences or remain secure in our comfort of what's known? Do we risk a disaster, for the possibility of greatness? Do we have dinner in a dumpy rundown shack with a broken neon sign and a packed to overflowing red dirt parking lot. Or drive on? These things interest me. Does it matter what music, what specific songs a restaurant was playing during a meal? What color was the light that shone through a window at 4:40 on a fall afternoon while a gray-black smokey bowl of black bean soup with a slick of oil and a ball of soured cream was placed before me? What was the pattern of the steam comming out of the bowl as it rose into the beam of light which shone through the window at 4:50 on a fall afternoon? What did the waitresses smile say? Does any of that matter, is it important? I don't know. But it interests me. It's part of the Chow. The expirence. The deliciousness is the expirence - the whole trip. Do I have the right to expect such? No! But it is what I'd like, what I find missing these days, in general of course. All this is the part of the deliciousness that I have no intention of walking away from. I could no more do that then well, stop breathing. For better and for worse, it is part of who I am. The appreciation, being able to appreciate the deliciousness of life, is the deliciousness of life. I simply do not see the depth of the posts I had in the past.

          limster, I will however rethink the question you raised of if I'm missing replies to my posts / validation or as I'd believed, depth as opposed to solely often passionless information in the posts of others. Once again, neither good nor bad. But what I perceive in relation to what I want and what I believe, I know once existed in greater abundance. If I determine you are correct regarding the validation > I've got some other questions to ask myself.

        2. Allen,

          I've enjoyed your posts tremendously over the years. Maybe you need a vacation from Chowhound rather than a "new job." I hope so.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Dave Feldman


            Over the years > back at you. As a matter of fact, while thinking > the posts have not been "what they were", by my perception (I won't go into it again out of respect to you), your posts, as much as anybodys, if not more, were on my mind. You are the benchmark.

            Vacation? Maybe a re-evaluation of my meds. But for now, I'll toast-up some Sullivan St. pizza bianca > 47th St., Sullivan St. pizza bianca, shmear it with a little nutella, twist it into cone and throw a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream in there. Perfect for 3:30AM.

            1. re: allenbank


              I go through phases with Chowhound, and I've been veering a little in your direction of late. I haven't been posting or lurking as much of late, but I attribute it to misaligned biorhythms than anything happening with the content. I'm sure the next time. Maybe the next time each of us hit our heads against a hard object (an almost weekly occurrence for me), we'll be back in fine Chowhound fettle.

              1. re: allenbank

                allen, I know you have come and gone - Ive always loved it when you've made your rare and precious appearances - what you are expressing is a familiar feeling for me. The thrill of coming on the site and getting some really amazing food reccs, of being a part of an exploring group to share finds with of having people to talk to who will understand where you are at when you get a bit say obsessed. That community of kindred spirits element of CH, which has always been somewhat undervalued on CH has really been watered down. at least in NYC. In this new format i only have time to read outer boroughs and Italy, and neither have been exciting of late, tho every so often a new poster comes on and give me hope....

                Yes I do like to write about what I find but the fact is I do not get around and out of the house enough to go suss out the new stuff reliably. There are still people on the hunt but the focus on bringing the kills back to the home fire is diluted becuse the discussion around the home fire is less intense. - we have to be talking to SOMEBODY to want to talk and we need to have other hunters we want to read to get us here too.

                Anyway patterns can be cyclic not always downhill, so I hope to see you back again when you have something to say.

            2. allen,

              i too find myself out of sorts with the current order - and i'm much less on the boards than i used to be. part of the problem i think is that we wrapped cutting edge consciousness in the cutesy folds of chow, what a disaster.

              but the sites here, and i'm sure i'll keep peeking in. and i hope you'll be around.

              1 Reply
              1. re: howler

                Goes for me too. Posters like Maurice N. will be missed, here and on the other boards we populate to share our interests in food, travel, culture and life's quirkiness. At least he died in the city he loved. But, although there's less receptiveness to depth on CH these days, it's still a place to check in, find the gems, make some comments & meet some like minded folk (I think it helps to let people know how to contact you off the boards). There are still good things (& people) here, although it takes more to find them. It's true that CH is no longer the only (or even the best) place to go to do this... it's too restrictive & bland and other places exist. But, at least in my opinion, there's no need to walk. Take a break, get a slice from Dom and write from your heart. We're still here.