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"I am from [insert city], so I know good food"

Bhutani Jul 22, 2008 10:51 AM

Am I the only one that gets irked when I see a post prefaced by this phrase? I know I am probably being overly sensitive, but that statement just reeks of arrogance. I didn't put specific cities in the title but I usually see it from NY or SF, but I have seen others. I understand that these are great restaurant towns and there is a certain amount of envy on my part that I don't have ready access to such great restaurants. However, people that live outside these cities can "know food" as well. What does the above statement imply to those that aren't so lucky to live in those cities? Just because you come from specified city doesn't automatically imply that you know food. By posting on a site such as this, it is implied that you, and those that you are seeking assistance from, know food. Why then make mention of how much you know food just because you come from wherever?

I have no issue when a person is looking for suggestions when travelling to another city and mentions where they are from. That assists other CHs in offering suggestions that they might not find in their hometown. In this case, though, it goes beyond just mentioning where you are from.

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  1. j
    Janet from Richmond RE: Bhutani Jul 22, 2008 10:59 AM

    I am from Virginia and I often say as Americans we often think the world revolves around us, but New Yorkers believe that America revolves around them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Janet from Richmond
      thew RE: Janet from Richmond Jul 22, 2008 11:50 AM

      oh not at all.. in general we NYers feel america doesn't really want to accept us, and thus we them ;)

      i always say i come from a small island off the coast of america (manhattan)

    2. MMRuth RE: Bhutani Jul 22, 2008 11:09 AM

      I just ignore posts that I don't feel like replying to for whatever reason. Some people, perhaps, are not as able to realize the tone they are using when posting, or how their post may be perceived by others. Some people are just jerks. Not much one can do about it IMO other than ignore it if you don't like.

      P.S. Just as I am, ahem, ignoring Janet's comment about New Yorkers. <grin>

      1 Reply
      1. re: MMRuth
        t
        Tay RE: MMRuth Jul 26, 2008 05:52 PM

        And they thought we were kidding with the map of the US that only references NY. NJ, the Mississippi River and then California , lolol

      2. Katie Nell RE: Bhutani Jul 22, 2008 11:12 AM

        I agree... so, so, so annoying. Even more annoying to me... when they've moved to [insert city] and they complain all the time and constantly compare it to [insert city 2]. If you like it so much, then move back!! ;-)

        And by the way, I'm from Kansas City and I *don't know* barbeque!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Katie Nell
          limster RE: Katie Nell Jul 22, 2008 01:19 PM

          There are usually a few common reasons why a new city isn't as "good" as the old city:

          1. Different cities have different restaurants, and these restaurants aren't always good at exactly the same thing. e.g. if you moved from Singapore to Paris, the char kway teow is unlikely to be as good.

          2. Related point: "The X here isn't as good as back in city Y" - statements like these often lack rigour, as the people making them usually haven't eaten at all the places that make X or even sussed out unreported ones under the radar. Typically, this is due to lack of time in the new city. (See point 4.)

          3. People tend to know the old city better than the new city, and are therefore more adept at finding good chow in the old city. Consequently, they eat better in the old city.

          4. Amount of time spent looking for good chow. If you lived in Florence for 10 years and just moved to Beijing 2 weeks ago, you've had way more time/opportunity to look for good chow in Florence. Chance of finding better places/food increases with time spent.

          5. Stylistic differences between two restaurants in the same city can imply that they have different fans and detractors. There will also be stylistic differences between 2 or more restaurants in different cities. Not everything is going to be to precisely to one's tastes. That doesn't mean it's not delicious to someone else.

          Most of the chowhounds I admire and seek to emulate try to zero in as fast as possible on the good chow in the new city, whether on a quick trip or a permanent stay, rather than try to relive a lost deliciousness. It's a bit ruthless and unsentimental, but can result in more deliciousness. It's about being more hungry than homesick.

          The flip side is that new chowhounds moving to a different city can often provide a refreshing perspective, provided they are adventurous enough to dig deeply and broadly. For the natives it's also important to get that different perspective because it's very useful to continually calibrate, not just to the stuff in the immediate area, but the best stuff out there, ever. Chowhounding doesn't have borders; and a chowhound's loyalty is to deliciousness, not to a city.

          1. re: Katie Nell
            Boccone Dolce RE: Katie Nell Jul 22, 2008 05:00 PM

            hmmmmm... I guess I annoy Katie Nell!! ;op
            Fact is there are several priority favorite foods that I *DO* miss from NJ...and I often compare to city 2, but have no intention on moving back. Didn't realize it was annoying to others. But you gotta understand: there are NO HARD ROLLS here in FL!!! (HA!)

            So anyway, I'm fairly new to posting but I've been reading chowhound since I guess 1999- when it was all blue background and the threads were all weird and funky and it was sort of small and excitable, like a rat terrier. And I was SO nervous to respond to any post because I felt like I knew NOTHING about these restaurants or ingredents. But I knew what I liked. Still do. Now I'm not so worried about what other people think and I will contribute-even if it seems banal or silly to the masses, I'm fairly certain SOMEONE can relate.

            1. re: Boccone Dolce
              Katie Nell RE: Boccone Dolce Jul 22, 2008 06:50 PM

              Huge difference between *missing* something, and not even giving a new something a chance!

          2. Miss Needle RE: Bhutani Jul 22, 2008 11:23 AM

            That can be a pretty annoying statement. I have to say that I don't really see that statement too often on the boards, but maybe it's because I generally read the Manhattan and Outer Borough regional boards. From this thread here, you'll see that there are plenty of NYers who don't know or care about food.

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/54069...

            As MMRuth said, just ignore it.

            1. Jacquilynne RE: Bhutani Jul 22, 2008 11:25 AM

              As I've said in all the recent Site Talk threads about various posting style pet peeves, most people don't think as hard about these sorts of things when they choose their words as others might when they read them.

              As long as someone isn't obviously and deliberately trying to be insulting, we ask that you read their statements as charitably as possibly. Assume they mean to be friendly and helpful rather than assuming the worst about them and reading implications into their statements where, very likely, none were meant.

              If you still feel insulted even with the most charitable possible reading, please either report the post for the moderators to look at (if the insult was personal) or move on to the next post -- there's no obligation to answer the question of people whose tone you don't appreciate.

              -- Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jacquilynne
                ccbweb RE: Jacquilynne Jul 22, 2008 12:13 PM

                As is often the case, Jacquilynne has put it very well. Whether being from X city means that someone is more or less likely to "know" food is a separate question, but there needn't be any implication about anyone else presumed when someone writes such a thing.

              2. m
                mpalmer6c RE: Bhutani Jul 22, 2008 04:32 PM

                Don't recall ever seeing a post like that.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mpalmer6c
                  Bhutani RE: mpalmer6c Jul 22, 2008 05:39 PM

                  What boards to you read? Not going to see that lingo used on the NYC or Cali boards. I see it not too uncommonly on the Texas board for example.

                2. E Eto RE: Bhutani Jul 22, 2008 05:57 PM

                  Here's a variation on this theme that I'm finding amusing. The OP queries the board with the caviat that only qualified respondents need reply. And then the OP responds to his own query. I'll have to use this strategy to listen to myself some more.
                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/540566

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: E Eto
                    viperlush RE: E Eto Jul 22, 2008 06:57 PM

                    Sometimes I do find the "qualified respondent only" posts offensive. Especially when it is a tourist/ new resident who starts off with "I am looking for <the cuisine> in <your city>. We are coming from <their city> and are use to the best so if you haven't had <the cuisine> in <their city> you need not reply.

                    But in cases like this It's hard to feel insulted. The OP is trying to make a definitive list of the most authentic and is frequently cited as THE expert on that cuisine. IMHO qualifiers are acceptable when they are merely trying to elevate the discussion for the greater good and not trying to belittle those who don't meet their standards.

                    1. re: viperlush
                      ccbweb RE: viperlush Jul 22, 2008 09:23 PM

                      Nah, the thing I think of is that even a "lightweight" might know of one great place serving one great, authentic thing. Dissuading folks from posting (which the criteria certainly do) makes it likely that you're going to miss out on that. I don't take any insult, personally but that's because that's how I'm wired...I just think it means the thread is not one I'd read and not one that keeps in the spirit of the site overall.

                      The OP (who clearly knows a lot) could make the list without listing criteria for who should post on the thread.

                      1. re: viperlush
                        withalonge RE: viperlush Jul 23, 2008 08:54 AM

                        o.k. I am totally guilty of this (except, I hope, minus the snotty attitude). I relocated from the CA/SF/Bay Area to the Denver Area a year ago. I try, not to whine about the things I miss (like CA mex food & sourdough bread).

                        I am not trying to insult my new CH community, just hoping to find something like the equivalent here, while exploring the specialties of the area. Like Green Chile *disclaimer*please dear god, no one from new mex chime in that the green chile isn't authentic in denver.... I have not been blessed with the experience of having the green chile from your neighborhood... I use CO green chile only as an example of something you don't see in CA *disclaimer*

                        anyway, my point being... it is hard to move to a new area... but fun to find explore and try new dishes, etc. I'd hope that everyone would be tolerant and kind, and know that someone like me isn't trying to disparage the local scene... just trying to find a little slice of what has been lost... even if you love your new home it is hard to let go of a food item you've been enjoying for 30+ years.

                        1. re: withalonge
                          viperlush RE: withalonge Jul 23, 2008 10:32 AM

                          It is hard moving to a new area, I agree. I guess that I am different in that I don't try (that hard) to get a slice of what has been lost because I know that no matter how good something is it won't taste like home.

                          Who says you have to let go ? I have now instituted a toll for all guests, they must bring me pizza :).

                          But it does come across as disparaging when a CH's first post on their new board (or as a new CH) has qualifiers. It makes it seem like they aren't open to finding new dishes, exploring their new area or getting to know the local 'hounds.

                          1. re: viperlush
                            withalonge RE: viperlush Jul 26, 2008 05:43 PM

                            I see your point, but hope that most chowhounder's would welcome a transplant with open arms... rather than assume they were being close-minded about food in a new location... rather perhaps we should think of transplants as homesick freshman living in the dorms... hoping there is some food out there that is just like mom used to make (or that something new will be their new favorite thing).

                        2. re: viperlush
                          susancinsf RE: viperlush Jul 30, 2008 07:56 AM

                          The problem is, I am not sure that it does any good to be expert, if the non-experts who can most benefit from the expertise are turned off by being referred to as 'lightweights' (or 'rookie' as one poster was called in that thread).

                          I was willing to give that poster the benefit of the doubt that he is not intending to belittle anyone, but only barely (why call someone a rookie if not to belittle them?): but then the same poster made a superfluous (and admittedly) ageist reference on the SF board:

                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/542764

                          which made me wonder why he felt it necessary to separate himself from those who haven't tried certain foods, or who happen to be over 30, or whatever. I then realized that I agree with many of the posters recommendations, and am familiar with both his style, his knowledge, and many of the restaurants he recommends, but still find the tone somewhat off-putting. Under those circumstances, I can only imagine it to be more than just somewhat off-putting to a new reader or someone otherwise not familiar with the writing style. If we loose even one great Chow tip as a result, it is ALL of our loss (including that poster's) and a completely unecessary loss at that, since all of the same information could have been provided without the presumptions and labelling.

                          (just wrote this out and realized ccweb makes the same point below...well, good to know I am not the only one who has that reaction, even if I am being repetitive

                          )

                          p.s.: No one can be THE expert on a cuisine. Even the poster referred to would agree, I am sure, since he states elsewhere in the thread that he is unfamiliar with Mexican food in certain sub-regions of the greater Los Angeles basin....

                          1. re: susancinsf
                            southernitalian RE: susancinsf Jul 31, 2008 11:24 AM

                            Okay. The next time I read that CH takes itself too seriously and isn't funny, I'm going directly to this thread because my sides ache. If I don't hear soon about someone writing a book or movie based on CH, I might just have to do it myself. Priceless!

                      2. meatn3 RE: Bhutani Jul 22, 2008 11:13 PM

                        I see it with a certain regularity. Most of the posts that include the phrase fail to indicate that they have done any lurking on the board or any searches. It can come off as a code for "don't waste my time unless it is the best". I'd just turn the tables and ask them to indicate which restaurants have interest them in their time on this board, what type of regional specialties are they intrigued with....

                        That said, I've spent most of my life living in areas popular with people relocating from major metropolitan areas. You get where you tune it out. It seems to go away on its own after the person establishes a certain level of familiarity in the new town. Many people feel better within a known environment. With food being such a basic part of our feelings of comfort it is small wonder that this becomes one of their main topics of longing...

                        1. t
                          tomritza RE: Bhutani Jul 24, 2008 09:48 PM

                          Interestingly the most Chowhoundy of food in the Bay Area is no longer in SF but in environs outside the city. SF has a uniquely undeserved arrogance. At least NY comes by theirs honestly. Its the third city I have lived in and it comes in third in Chow worthiness.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: tomritza
                            withalonge RE: tomritza Jul 26, 2008 05:47 PM

                            must stick up for SF ans your comment of "uniquely undeserved arrogance"... well, while I admit the arrogance should be shelved by all (no matter where you live)... the seafood alone makes SF very chowhound worthy... not to mention dim sum, great mexican food, fine dining, inventive and delcious food. And I don't think you can separate SF and the bay area as easily.. all are close and sprawling, there are no definite "borders" any more... except the bay and ocean.

                          2. o
                            ola RE: Bhutani Jul 24, 2008 09:56 PM

                            I find it a bit irritating that people spend their time searching for food "like they have at home" rather than enjoying the diversity. New Yorkers are always complaining about the lack of New York style pizza. I love the pizza in NY but different does not necessarily mean worse. Open minds should include open taste buds as well.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: ola
                              thew RE: ola Jul 25, 2008 05:56 AM

                              different does not necessarily mean worse, but it doesn't automatically mean better either. I love diverse foods, and i have traveled a lot and eaten many things. I still like the pizza in NYC best. Not that other pizza can't be good, just it doesn't taste as good to me.

                              1. re: ola
                                Miss Needle RE: ola Jul 25, 2008 08:49 AM

                                I think there are a couple of things at play. One is that people have attachments to food that they grew up with. I think that's very valid. Sometimes you just don't want anything else but are looking for the comfort that you are used to.

                                The second is what thew mentions. I have tried pizza from different places, but am still partial to New York pizza. Perhaps I have an attachment to it. Perhaps I just think it's better. But that doesn't mean I won't open my mind up to other things. When I'm in Chicago, I do go for deep dish. Do I like it as much as NY style? No, not a chance. But I can appreciate it for what it is. As I am only a visitor to Chicago, I want to eat things that I can't easily find in my home city. If I was living in Chicago on a permanent basis, you can bet that I'll be one of those "irritating" posters looking for NY style pizza on the Chicago board -- just because that's my preference. And there are also things that I have eaten that I prefer in another city's style, like Montreal bagels.

                              2. mrbozo RE: Bhutani Jul 29, 2008 05:18 PM

                                I'll take Roanoke any day of the week over Montreal or Toronto; especially for French, Chinese, Indian, Caribbean, Italian or Portuguese.food. Fair statement?

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: mrbozo
                                  m
                                  moh RE: mrbozo Jul 30, 2008 06:40 AM

                                  "I'll take Roanoke any day of the week over Montreal or Toronto; especially for French, Chinese, Indian, Caribbean, Italian or Portuguese.food. Fair statement?"

                                  I don't disagree with your point. But the thread is about the statement "I am from.... so I know good food". While you may very well know good food if you are from ...., there are many people I know from Montreal and Toronto who definitely do NOT know good food. How else can one explain the number of Tim Horton outlets? Being from a place with lots of good food does not automatically confer knowledge about what is good to eat.

                                  1. re: moh
                                    Bhutani RE: moh Jul 30, 2008 07:36 AM

                                    Thanks for getting this back on topic, moh, and reiterating what I was driving at in my original post. To mrbozo, there usually aren't qualifiers in the statement. I wouldn't be as critical of a poster stating that they knew certain foods or dishes because they hailed from a certain city. For example, "I am from SF, so I know good cioppino (or sourdough bread)". It is the blanket statement, I am from ______, so I know good food, that kinda irks me.

                                    1. re: Bhutani
                                      m
                                      moh RE: Bhutani Jul 30, 2008 08:00 AM

                                      Bhutani, I think what you and I are having a problem with is the attitude of superiority and expertise that someone assumes just because they come from such and such a place. It is akin to name-dropping. There are many other ways to express this concept without the condescension. For example: "I am from Montreal, used to eat fois gras all the time. I am missing it very much, can anyone recommend a new place to help a homesick CH?" is the same idea, but without the attitude (I hope!). It is the "I know good food" thing that seems a little preposterous.

                                      On the other hand, it may be just the way that some people express themselves, and maybe there is no assumption of mastery on their part. Hard to gauge intent from just the written word sometimes... They may be very nice unpretentious people in real life.

                                      1. re: Bhutani
                                        mrbozo RE: Bhutani Jul 31, 2008 03:20 PM

                                        Fair enough re qualifying dishes/preparations one is familiar with and that can reasonably be assumed to be local specialties.

                                        I'll bet dollars to whale blubber that there's a gourmet or two mushing dog teams across the Yukon.

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