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Mar 21, 2008 11:32 AM

Can a picky eater be a Chowhound?

Not having been here that long, I hope this isn't old territory.

Let's say someone is a picky eater. They only like rib eye steak, baked potatoes, and chocolate souffle. However, they are willing to drive all over town looking for the best and spend a lot of $$$ on those foods.

Is that person a CH?

I think not. I think a CH/foodie/eGulleteer/gourmet, etc. is someone with an adventurous palate. Obviously some of us have certain things that we don't like to eat (kidneys, cilantro, what have you). However, IMO, to be a gourmet, you gotta be willing to eat a wide variety of things.

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  1. I agree with you! Adventurous eater = Chowhound.

    1. I suppose being picky makes it more difficult, and being a "chowhound" does imply a love of food in general. On the other hand you don't have to be Andrew Zimmern to be a chowhound either. I think I'm probably more adverturous than most, when it comes to food, but I am married to a spouse who, despite her many wonderful qualities, prefers her poultry cooked dry and leathery, likes hot dogs but won't eat sausages...and on and on.

      So, to answer your question, IMHO it's the enthusiasm for food that makes a chowhound. If your enthusiasm is limited to a few foods then you are a "focused" chowhound, but a chowhound nevertheless.

      1. what difference does it make? are you handing out memberships? you are what you are. and i find people that don't like to try interesting foods boring. whether they're chowhounds or not i could care less.

        1. It's old territory; but, so are many threads on here.

          To answer your question: yes.

          You can define chowhound however you like but if you check the manifesto you'll find that the originating idea is centered on the delicious. If you're only interested in eating one thing but insist that that one thing be the most delicious possible version of're a Chowhound.

          Your last sentence is the telling one: "to be a gourmet..." You just changed the target. You're conflating all kinds of ideas at that point.

          A chowhound wants the delicious.

          9 Replies
          1. re: ccbweb

            And if by delicious, you mean kidneys with cilantro, then all the better. I guess I'd have to understand your definition of picky. My believe my husband may be among the pickiest (no veggies, fruits, spices, condiments, Domino's pizza is "spicy", pickles seved alongside a sandwich "ruins" the sandwich, nothing but white bread, etc). He really doesn't take any joy out of food. We were very young when we met and married. Would I do it again if I'd known? Sure. Could he ever be a CH? No way.

            1. re: southernitalian

              That he takes no joy from food makes him not a chowhound and makes it such that he'll never be one. Being picky about things doesn't have anything to do with that.

              1. re: ccbweb

       all means...enlighten me?

                  1. re: ccbweb

                    I guess the definition of picky eater. My husband is one and the idea of him being a chowhound is ridiculous.

                    1. re: southernitalian

                      I think mercyteapot hit it on the head: I was definitely not trying to tell you that your husband is a chowhoud! :) I was trying to say that his lack of joy in food is the reason he's not a chowhound, rather than his pickiness.

                      Obviously, also only my take on what it is to be a chowhound.

                  2. re: southernitalian

                    I take that to mean that a chowhound will take joy from the food he will eat, however limited those choices may be. Conversely, even a person who has no restrictions on what he will eat, but doesn't take joy from any of it, will never be a chowhound.

              2. re: ccbweb

                I am brand new to CH, and therefore may be uninformed, but in my opinion, ccbweb is right on target. I would consider myself to be a picky eater by the fact that I am a vegetarian, but I am a vegetarian who loves food, takes risks ordering unusual items, seriously enjoys high quality and careful preparation, and am definitely a chowhound!

              3. Pleas note that the following is pulled from the thread "You've never had a___": Sorry for those who have read this, but I do think it relevant.

                Please let me rephrase, CH is for everyone who is interested in talking about food and eating food. It might be how fussy they are about food, but it is still about food.

                I have some sympathy, because my beloved mother is extremely fussy about food. I just gave her a slice of this lovely blood orange, and I thought her head was going to explode! Way too sour for her! This is a woman who made us stop at about 20 different road side stands on Jeju island in Korea to peruse the local citrus offerings (they were all the same oranges. She bought pounds of oranges from multiple vendors. But they were sweet you see). She also refused to try a chinese pork bun, although she admired the bun's aesthetic (she doesn't like to eat things if she doesn't know what is in them, especially Chinese buns and dumplings). She is so crazily picky! I never know what she'll like or dislike, so new food is an adventure with her. But she is an incredible Korean cook, and also makes a few selected non-Korean items like a pro. You should try her pierogies. She cooks non-stop, loves roaming around grocery stores, loves good fruits and produce. And she loves a good bargain, and can't stand paying too much for anything. She carries food everywhere she goes. She is just as much a Chowhounder as anyone on this board (even though she doesn't know this thing exists). She is just very picky, and that can be a good thing, because she won't settle for bad food, or it can be a less good thing (we have so many stories of bad restaurant experiences with her, it is part of the legend!). She may not be the ultimate Chowhounder, the mythical beast that eats anything, anytime, has tried everything, and knows where the best and cheapest and most varied stuff is at, but I assure you, she is a Chowhounder nonetheless. If there were a Korean language board, and if she weren't completely computer illiterate, she'd be all over this.

                She is currently in my kitchen, planning a gigantic Korean feast for tomorrow night with over 15 homemade items for me and a bunch of my Korean-food loving friends. We will be eating like royalty for days. If CH excludes picky people like my mother, then CH doesn't know what it's missing, and is poorer for it.

                I do understand and sympathize with your point as well. I too get frustrated when eating with someone who refuses to try anything new. Exploring new flavours and tastes is one of my favorite things to do. But there is a place for picky eaters here, it just adds another perspective. One could argue that everyone on CH is picky is some way, nearly all of us are very picky about the quality of food we eat, and are not willing to settle for just anything for chow. If we weren't picky, we wouldn't spend al our time trying to find the good stuff, we would just eat whatever was put in front of us (This is my Dad - yup my eating tendancies have an odd genetic makeup. My dad would eat anything, even if he hates it. He once sprinkled fish food on his soup thinking it was a spice. We had to pull the bowl away from him even after he knew what he had done. He hates wasting food, and there is a certain wartime mentality.)