Has the Home Cooking board become a simple recipe swap?
- rudeboy Aug 30, 2008 10:08 AM
Well, not entirely, but it seems like the board used to have a higher proportion of interesting method-oriented twists and takes, explaned parenthetically, rather than sauteeing everything in EVOO, lemon, and S&P. Or the reposts of a cookbook recipe.
I think it’s true that with the increase in traffic on the site there are more requests for recipes on the Home Cooking board than there once were. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. There are times that responses to even the simplest question can generate a lively discussion of techniques or ingredients. And with the proliferation of recipes on the Web, it’s sometimes hard to distinguish the gems from the drek. Personal recommendations can help separate the two. And many cookbook recipes aren’t on the Web. I probably have about 250 cookbooks, and that’s after a recent culling. I really appreciate it, when there’s a really outstanding recipe from a cookbook I don’t have and don’t intend to buy, when someone paraphrases that recipe for us. I’d need more fingers and toes than are currently available to me to count the number of outstanding recipes that wouldn’t be in my repertoire were it not for the Home Cooking board.
Not only do recipes shared generate a lively discussion they are provided by those who have already tried the recipe and can offer some guidance, some time saving tips, their own disaster experiences and dietary substutions (just to name a few examples) before you approach the recipe yourself. I find that aspect of HC Board more & more helpful. Time, money and the anticipation of a successful recipe go into every dish so hearing how the recipe worked out for another cook is beneficial.
I also like the variety and regional/ethnic recipes shared on HC Board that I might not otherwise know about or try. HCB is a history lesson in food culture as much as it is a recipe box.
I just today had a question about how to deal with fresh porcini, and received a GREAT deal of help and tips. Like, um, there are worms in those shrooms? Tiny, tiny icky maggot-like thingees? I found this to be quite valuable information, and am now hoping that the 2/3 of the porcini that weren't too icky and were sautéed pronto are now edible. Perhaps with the occasional micro-maggot in there....
I've repeated this same advice to site users dismayed about trends on Chowhound since the community launched in 1997: If you don't like how things are going, then post more of what you DO like. And engage more with posters posters you like...which will encourage them to contribute more. That way you will prime the pump and encourage like-minded posters.
Chowhound's not a TV station. It's not passive entertainment, to be complained about if you don't like the programming. On Chowhound, YOU are the programmer.
What's needed isn't less of what you dislike (as if you or I or anyone else could ever make people change their posting habits!). It's a big forum, and it can accommodate lots of different stuff serving lots of different sorts of users. But to see more of what you like, POST more of what you like! BE the change you want to see (apologies to Gandhi).
I think what the poster meant was that Home Cooking used to be more skewed toward esoteric, imaginative, offbeat sort of contrarian tips, tricks, and strategies. The sort of stuff you didn't see elsewhere. As you say, the range and depth remains quite wide. But it is indeed skewing a bit more toward the conventional, and more about recipe swaps than iconoclastic creativity.
The solution to his complaint is not to try to persuade others to be less conventional, but to post and encourage unconventionality. It's contagious!