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unappetizing posts

If the following is true:
"Chowhound's goal is to help people find great chow right now"

why are posts that seem to be about turning people OFF their food flourishing? (i.e. "cooking with urine"....."most disgusting foods" type lists)

I recognize that lots of foods are not everyone else's cup of tea, and lots of things i like or dislike might be gag-worthy to others.....but some of these types of posts sure don't make me feel like eating anything any time soon.

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  1. Second that.

    I worry some threads/posts turn people off certain foods before they even try them.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions and preferences but I think encouraging people to talk about "gross" and "unappetizing" foods are just attention getters without much value.

    1. Yah. but ya don't pay any money and ya takes yer choice.

      1. nomad
        You know, I had exactly the same thought when I saw the "cooking with urine" thread title.. I'd like to think I'm a pretty hearty and open minded individual, but I just shook my head. Some things are just universally in 'poor taste ...Literally.

        1. So when you see the most recent "disgusting food", "worst..." "Ban Children In Restaurants" or "How Much Do I Tip" threads, who or what force compels you to read them?

          4 Replies
          1. re: ChinoWayne

            one has a choice whether or not to delve into a post of "most disgusting" types, as the words in a title of "most disgusting" in and of themselves are not all that disturbing...........however unless you don't log in at all, or avoid the general chowhounding board altogether, you still see "cooking with urine" each , and every, time .

            1. re: ChinoWayne

              A "How Much Do I Tip? "thread is a long way off from a "Cooking with Urine" thread.

              1. re: Tay

                Not after you have seen the 1,000th tipping thread. ;-)

            2. I agree with the posts explaining that 'cooking with urine' is a long way off from 'How much do I tip' threads or even the ten million 'would you rather good service, mediocre food' or 'good food/mediocre service' threads. One assaults you with its very title and doesn't seem related to delicious (whereas at least the other threads remain marginally related to the pursuit of food).

              That said, I find that any post which describes a lovely meal that was 'washed down with' something or other puts me off faster than anything. The meal was so good you had to force it down with some liquid concoction? Seriously though, that phrase is just so unappetizing.

              1. I should add that i don't necessarily think there was any ill intent with some of the posts, but I am surprised that CH would leave stuff like that up, particularly those which are not just "icky" to some, but pretty universally nausea inducing topics (urine, maggots...) right there in the title. If i go into a post of "most disgusting" or "things i hate" type posts and read something i have a reaction to...well that's my bad I guess.

                just when i think i got this place figured out......

                6 Replies
                1. re: im_nomad

                  " particularly those which are not just "icky" to some, but pretty universally nausea inducing topics (urine, maggots...) right there in the title."

                  Im_nomad, I appreciate that the post in question may offend some sensibilities, and I respect the feedback in this post. I'm glad all of you are willing to take a stand on this issue. Makes for very interesting reading.

                  But I have to disagree with the phrase "pretty universally nausea-inducing topics" I do realize that in the North American context, these topics may be nausea inducing. But there are many people who believe in the benefits of auto-urine therapy. Similarly there are many people who enjoy eating insects. You and I may find these topics nausea inducing, but we can't really say that this is "universal".

                  Keep in mind that maybe 20 years ago, the thought of eating raw fish might have been considered nausea inducing in North America. Yet today, sushi is incredibly popular and mainstream. Now, I'm not saying I hope we go that way with urine.... but I hope you understand my point! :)

                  1. re: moh

                    You make several good points, and I greatly respect your opinions. but there has to be some sort of common sense definition applied to the word, "Universal" To fast trackJustice Stewart's now (in)famous pornography definition:
                    We know it when we see it.
                    Nor can you 'future date' food trends, EG:Sushi,that tend to evolve/devolve, with the times. Like all other things, they come and go.

                    1. re: Tay

                      I love that definition of pornography! But still debatable! Who is the "We"? One person's porn is another person's art.

                      "Universal" is a really big term. I would have no problem with the phrase "Controversial topics (urine, maggots) that induce nausea or repulsion in a significant proportion of our population". But "universally nauseating"? No, it is not universal. There are many people who would disagree.

                      Re: the sushi, I agree it may become less popular as trends come and go, but I think we have moved past the point in our culture where a significant proportion of people would be disgusted by the mere thought that anyone would eat the stuff. There are still people who are disgusted by raw fish, but as a culture, we don't condemn the practice.
                      Who knows? If drinking urine is shown in a double masked clinical trial to reduced your risk of cancer by 2.4 times, maybe we'll all be doing it. And then we won't find it "universally disgusting"!

                      1. re: moh

                        ok ok, maybe i shouldn't have used the term "universal", however i did qualify it with a "pretty" aka "somewhat" term. So i did not imply that every single individual on the planet isn't off-put by these topics.

                        However, i'm not about to get into a debate on whoever out there actually looks forward to chowing down on either of these items, because that would pretty much be doing the same thing as the OP's did. And i'm not talking about any individual who "goes there" for religious reasons or because they have no other alternative due to starvation or dehydration. Think of it as the "gee, i sure can't wait until the weekend to knock back some _____".

                        I sure can't wait for the day when i get to discuss how i dropped my cookbook in the toilet by mistake.....because after all, it's a COOK book, and therefore ok.

                        1. re: im_nomad

                          :) Point taken, Im_Nomad! You made me laugh with your "gee I sure can't wait until the weekend..." comment!

                        2. re: moh

                          "One person's porn is another person's art. "...
                          Again, I tend to agree... For the most part.
                          Once it involves, say, children or animals it may still be "Art" to some, but at that point I'd have to say for the vast, vast majority of us it's crossed over to 'Universally nauseating'

                          "If drinking urine is shown in a double masked clinical trial to reduced your risk of cancer by 2.4 times, maybe we'll all be doing it"

                          Maybe so.... I'll wait for the clinical trials, :-}

                          Seriously, (See? I can be serious...Occasionally)
                          I had a friend who was stranded in the Desert and kept hereslf alive by 'recycling' her urine, so I agree there are exceptions to present day "norms"
                          I'm just agreeing with nomad that some post threads seem unappealingly titled EG "Cooking with Urine"

                  2. I'm the one who started the urine thread. I'm sorry if I have offended some or ruined some people's appetites. But I did certainly did not post something there for any shock value or attention. This isn't Bizarre Eats. I posted it not to get the "eww" responses but to really see if anybody has tried it or had any experience with it. While it may be a bit off-putting to N. American sensibilities, it must not be so to the Sinaporeans for them to actually serve it in a restaurant setting. And as my background includes Eastern herboloby, I work with items that most people would find disgusting such as feces from flying squirrel, molten shells from cicadas and scorpions. These items have been used for thousands for years for medicinal uses. I'm actually surprised how the Chinese made the connection using flying squirrel feces for dysmenorrhea or bruises. I'm always fascinated by other cultures' healing methods. In my past, I've dismissed a lot of ideas because there was no scientific basis for it (I used to do research) and it sounded a bit kooky. And then once I've had experience with these things, I realized how wrong I was to automatically shun them.

                    And then goes the statement "pretty universally nausea-inducing topics." I also have to disagree with that statement as cultural bias comes to play. While I also find distaste in the idea of consuming urine (even though I've never done it), I'm always curious and eager to learn what other people do, just like I'm always curious to see all the differing points of views on Chowhound. I may not agree with all of you, but I find it interesting to see the diverse viewpoints and why you've come to those conclusions, whether it's about certain restaurants, the organic movement, tipping, etc. I think as a discussion remains civil (unfortunately it sometimes doesn't) opposing viewpoints are great. It would certainly be freakin' boring if there was board consensus -- eg. Pizza Hut is all bad, Di Faras is all good, Sandra Lee should just go. You don't necessarily have to agree with it. But you may be depriving yourself of different foods, ideas, etc. by automatically shutting yourself off from something because you feel it's not tasteful. I've certainly done my share committing that sin. Do you know how many years I denied myself from the wonderful quinoa grain only because I thought it sounded too "tree-huggerish?" When I was in the situation where I had no choice but to eat it, I was so surprised that I've shunned this magnificient grain for so long. Ok, so quinoa is a bit different from urine. But the idea is that you'll never know unless you remain open-minded to it.

                    I know everybody has their own definition of what a "Chowhound" (and I don't want to start another thread about the definition of a chowhound) is but I thought it was to blaze trails and find deliciousness wherever. While most people probably would find urine not delicious (and I'm sure most people who say that never has tried it), there are some people who do. Bourdain ate some feces-filled rectum of a warthog (?) in Namibia. He thought it was vile, but decided to be polite to his gracious hosts who had offered it to him. The hosts, I'm sure, found it to be delicious otherwise they wouldn't have offered it to him. Whether it's urine, rectum, maggots (not just finding them in books -- some people eat them you know), or insects they are delicious chow to some people.

                    Boy, after this thread, I think if I ever get myself to Singapore, I MUST try the urine-flecked fried food. Then I can say that I hate it having tried it. : )

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      I've already said that i was sure there was no ill intent to the OP'ing you put out there. However it also didn't turn into a "forum" as any opposing comment or "i find that repellant" comment from other posters on that topic, got very swiftly deleted. I'm also not sure why, if you agree with your original posting, you are coming into this one (yes in self-defense i realize), to add further repellant references. I really didn't need to know that Bourdain ate that thanks. .

                      Ok, again , i said "pretty universal" as in a fair proportion of people. As i am not equipped with the capability to poll the world to find their views on this issue. But you said it yourself, "while most people probably would find urine not delicious". I'm not real clear what the difference is how i said it.

                      I guess it boils down to the purpose of the item in question. If it's medicinal or of religious significance, it's original purpose was not as FOOD. People with pica sometimes eat dirt, chalk, paper etc..... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pica_%28...), but most of that stuff isn't food. I'm sure there's also a few paraphilias that we could also discuss, that have a faithful following and internet sites dedicated to same. Some people have been cannibals in their time too no?

                      i'm kind of sorry i started this one now....please don't anyone else come on board and tell me how they ate toenails or something....

                      1. re: im_nomad

                        My original purpose was urine as food. If you make of note of my original post, I mentioned how Sinaporeans were using urine crystals to flavor fried foods. I don't think they did this because they thought it was going to offer some medicinal benefit. They probably thought that urine would add an interesting depth to the dish. Moh mentioned the medicinal usage, and the urine as healing thing came as a tangent.

                        And people do differ on what they find appropriate. I know a lot of people who find serving a whole fish disgusting because they didn't like seeing the head as it reminds them it's an animal -- like a fish really swims around the ocean in nice 6 oz scaled chunks. Everybody just differs in what their threshold is.

                        And for the record, I'm actually disappointed that nobody had anything culinary to add about the urine. Perhaps on the weekdays when more people read the boards, we'll get some more responses.

                        1. re: im_nomad

                          You're funny...
                          (And I'm having a hard time with the whole Bourdain reference as well.
                          So much more information than I ever wanted...:-}

                        2. re: Miss Needle

                          Miss Needle
                          I find your posts interesting and very well written. That having been said, I am not willing to accept that whole "You have to be willing to open your heart/mind/mouth, to everything or you'll run the risk of being perceived as being (OMG!) close hearted/minded/mouthed"
                          Using whackadoo Boudain, who would eat his own intestinal tract if it brought him ratings,as an example of "openmindedness" is hardly a persuasive example
                          "Whether it's urine, rectum, maggots (not just finding them in books -- some people eat them you know), or insects they are delicious chow to some people"

                          Yes, and while I respect their choices, which I would imagine, in most cases originated out of survival/necessity, I daresay, most are still very unappealing to the vast majority of the readers/posters of this site.... But that's probably a discussion for a slightly different thread. I'm saying, as articulate as you are, I think you could have come up with a better, yet still accurately descriptive title for the thread.. That's all :-}

                          1. re: Miss Needle

                            I'm behind you completely onthis one. Chowhound should be about deliciousness for everybody, not just some common denominator.

                            I once attended a lecture on culinary byways by a food anthropologist. At the end of her lecture she said "If you are disgusted by what people in other cultures eat, ask yourself 'have you ever eaten an egg?'"

                          2. I want to know more about other cultures' food, whether it be abhorrent to me or not. This site can be very educational and I would hate it if a topic were deleted just because it offended our americanized sensibilities.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mojoeater

                              "I would hate it if a topic were deleted just because it offended our americanized sensibilities."

                              It didn't offend me. For some of us, the thread was just unappealingly titled.

                            2. Tay, I actually laughed out loud at your Bourdain commentary....

                              rectum? damn near killed em !! ok ok i'll stop..

                              and then i made the mistake of looking at The Grinder

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: im_nomad

                                "and then i made the mistake of looking at The Grinder"

                                Given the subject matter, if you think for a NY minute that I'm going to check out that site, all I can say is:
                                Ha! No way, no how, not happening in this, or any other, lifetime :-}

                                1. re: Tay

                                  Tay, good instincts. I checked it out, and it was pretty gross! In someways, more gross for me. But interesting.

                                  But now aren't you dying of curiosity???

                                  1. re: moh

                                    I figure, I don't get too many warnings in life. When I do, I'm inclined to mutter "Thank you" to no one in particular and move on...:-}

                              2. I tend to get grossed out fairly easily, but that posting seemed fine to me. At the time I read it the responses were phrased in an adult, matter of fact manner. That kept it from crossing over the line for me. I'm not sure what a better title could have been. The title chosen let you know whether you wanted to investigate further. Maybe a teaser like "don't read if bodily functions offend"? :) I personally don't really like teasers since it involves an extra step to determine my interest or lack of.

                                I will say I am glad the post was allowed to stay up. My education background was Anthropology, so perhaps that contributes to my finding it of interest. I doubt I would ever want to try it, but I do think there is value in being aware of it's existence - even if just as a reminder that our view point is simply that -"ours". It's a big, varied world out there and I for one feel the differences make it that much more fascinating!

                                2 Replies
                                  1. re: meatn3

                                    "I tend to get grossed out fairly easily, but that posting seemed fine to me. At the time I read it the responses were phrased in an adult, matter of fact manner. That kept it from crossing over the line for me. "

                                    Well, in all fairness, and in the interest of full disclosure, I think some of the more adolescent jokes were deleted by the CH moderators. I think some of mine remain only because I tagged them onto more adult, serious information. But I am ashamed to admit, I would have to fall into the less mature side of the spectrum. I am slave to my quirky sense of humour, which may not be to everyone's tastes. I love to laugh, you see.

                                  2. I agree, in part. I think it's iunteresting to find people's likes and dislikes.

                                    But there seems to be an occasional troll of late getting through. People talking about sewage as food and warning that their post should not be read by the squeamish are just 8-yesar-olds of what ever age playing computer games.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: mpalmer6c

                                      "People talking about sewage as food and warning that their post should not be read by the squeamish are just 8-yesar-olds of what ever age playing computer games."

                                      Thanks! I like being considered 8 years old. It beats what I'm at right now!

                                      You know, I put that warning for the squeamish up specifically in response to those readers who are turned off by the topic. Believe it or not, the intent was consideration for those who did not want to unwillingly participate.

                                      Mpalmer6c, I'd really appreciate it if you could express how you feel we should handle the situation. If warnings won't do the trick how do you see we could resolve this issue? Is it as simple as moderating off these kind of subjects? But if it is, then please elaborate on where the line of a distasteful topic should be drawn. For example, I hate green onions, and have a visceral reaction at the thought of eating them. So if I see a topic with green onions, I am turned off. But I wouldn't imagine using that as a reason to remove a topic. So that is the extreme case, and I think all would agree that this is an unreasonable place to draw the line. But where to draw the line?

                                      Back to playing Wii - I await your response.

                                      1. re: mpalmer6c

                                        There is never going to be a point that will please everyone. The title for the "squeamish" post was very good IMO. You understood the topic enough to see if you were interested and those who are squeamish knew to proceed with caution if at all. There is a certain carefree joy in eating messy foods - but awareness of others sensibilities often limits those indulgences to behind closed doors. This forum draws a wide range of people with one primary interest: food. Sometimes the posts are going to swing towards an "extreme" - at that point we can just be reminded of different strokes for different folks and
                                        redirect the mouse and move on...

                                        1. re: meatn3

                                          Thank you for stating that meatn3! What I did when I read the title was to "redirect the mouse and move on." The title told me exactly what I needed to know, and how to proceed.

                                          1. re: meatn3

                                            There's a huge potential for misunderstanding on a forum like this. It's sometimes difficult to adequately express oneself by the written word. Moh is one of the most considerate posters on this board and I'm pretty sure she posted the warning because some people took issue with my urine post. With all the posters from such diverse backgrounds, there will be somebody who will take offense to something.

                                            1. re: meatn3

                                              Thank you for the feedback about the title Meatn3, Gio, and Miss Needle. It was indeed my intent to try warn those who would be offended. I was trying for something like those movie classifications: General, PG-13, R-rated, X-rated, etc. Perhaps the "WARNING" was a little over dramatic. I shall work on it!

                                              1. re: moh

                                                Your warning was not overly dramatic at all. Thank you for redirecting me. I value your insightful and intelligent opinions and enjoy reading everything you have to say.

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  Thank you Gio. Your kind words are greatly appreciated. It has been a tough day.

                                                  1. re: moh

                                                    You're waaaaay cool in my book, as well... :-}

                                            2. re: mpalmer6c

                                              i have referenced "squeamish" etc in threads relating to real food-related, serious topics in the past. i find the subjects discussed are very "adult" and valid, but i also would explicitly caution readers/viewers who may have difficulty with certain images and descriptions to avoid these threads if they might be disturbed. it's very mature, imo, to tackle these more difficult issues-- and absolutely decent and courteous to other users, to post some sort of warning about disturbing content, so that they may choose to avoid that content if they prefer. please consider some of the content in this recent example:

                                            3. i was just thinking yesterday how many people respond to the "i can't stand xyz" threads -- and always interject the same "anti" sentiments even into the "i love xyz" threads!