HOME > Chowhound > Site Talk >


Has the Home Cooking board become a simple recipe swap?

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.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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....

        1. 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).

          1. II can't imagine why you'd say that. As a 5-year visitor to CH, I've found it loaded with spices, dishes and ingredients that I've never before heard of.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mpalmer6c

              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!

            2. I'm curious - can you share more about what it used to be like/what posters used to post about? I don't think of it as being a "recipe swap" at all, though there is of course a certain amount of sharing of recipes, but I'm not sure what is wrong with that. Nor do I recall many posts about sauteeing everything in EVOO, lemon & S&P. Nary a one that I recall actually, though I don't doubt that they are there - and, of course, sometimes the simplest preparation is the best for certain ingredients.

              1. Subjectively, my frustration is that things move a little too quickly. The board is just too popular. If no one replies to a new post within a few hours, it's all but forgotten. It's very hard to keep up and I visit less... I am more likely to do a search when I am looking for something than to browse over and see what people are chatting about. I think we're missing out on some interesting convos because of the high volume. But I have no suggestions on how to fix this.
                However when I look at the first page of topics, I see that while there are many posts with 0 or 2 replies that will probably die a quiet death, there are plenty of others with 15 - 30 replies, and the biggest threads are the most conversational such as, "Your Mom's weird cooking?". So it might be all in my head.

                4 Replies
                1. re: julesrules

                  I noticed that Jacquilynne posted somewhere that the Home Cooking board is the most active one, so that's not surprising. I agree with you about some of the chatty threads - sometimes they do lead to good recipe/cooking suggestions, but, to my mind, a lot of times they seem to just end up as lists of things, etc. that I'm not sure really help any one eat/cook better.

                  1. re: julesrules

                    I've always said that the most active threads are only VERY rarely the best ones. Generally chatty/listy, as MMRuth says.

                    Yeah, shame about the fast scroll. I can't think of any way to deal with that other than split the board, and it's hard to imagine an intuitive way to split it (and other boards DRASTICALLY need splitting).

                    1. re: Jim Leff

                      Just to throw an idea out there, I haven't really thought it out, but how about a Baking and Desserts board? Could include bread too. Come to think of it, that would pretty much be my fantasy board...

                      1. re: julesrules

                        Me too! I kind of like that idea, and I really was not on board (ha ha!) when they split Cookware from Home Cooking.

                  2. With the addition of COTM on the HC Board some time back, those interested in a more intense discussion about one cookbook or one style of cooking were provided a unique and generous place within the larger HC Board to experiment and share experiences. Not everyone participates but what is important, is that COTM was asked for by HCBoard CH's and offered. I noticed recently that the monthly "lists" for what cookbooks will be reviewed has been condensed at the top of the Board. Also helpful.

                    So, look for a COTM discussion rudeboy and see what you think.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: HillJ

                      Yes, this was what I had in mind to post regarding the Home Cooking Board. There are very lively discussions: as to which cookbook will be the next Cookbook of the Month, ingredients needed, reports of what was cooked and ultimately whether or not the food was liked in the household.....

                      The COTM seems to have taken on an entity unto itself on the HCB. Perhaps a re-think is in order, giving it it's own space????? But I hasten to add - it's not just a recipe swap in my mind.