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Do Your Friends or SO's Know of Your Chowhound Obsession?

This might seem a bit strange but, I was just thinking that if one day anything ever happened to me, and I was no longer able to post, due to death or serious injury, no one I know would ever really know about my "alter Chowhound ego". My husband might know of my CH interest, but I don't think he knows that is a borderline personal obsession of mine. I don't talk with my friends about CH either. I may send them a lead on a cool place to eat, or a great recipe that I read about here, but they also don't know my tag name, what I post etc. I've been keeping this "secret past time" for years... Anyone else there in a similar situation?

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  1. My Dh and most of our friends are well aware of it..........one friend who lurks asked if I was "Janet from Richmond" which surprised me (this was before my blog was linked from my profile).

    3 Replies
        1. re: FrankieSandals

          this might be helpful to you. There's a ton of other sites out there to regarding this type of abbrieviation.

      1. I don't think that I would have that problem. My SO knows about my obsession and because I use the same "name" for most of my online stuff he would recognize my tag (I also have the page bookmarked and always logged in). I talk about Chowhound so much that my mother has started using it to research restaurant recommendations in the DC/NoVa area and recipes. She has stumbled across my posts and will call me about them. And my roommate knows that I use the computer to search for bars and restaurants, but I don't think he knows that it's Chowhound (and a little bit of yelp).

        1. I've mentioned it to a few of my foodie friends and they think I have nothing better to do while I'm at work. It's a great way to pass time while I'm being held captive by our "help" line. I found Chowhound on accident when I googled a sushi place here in Mpls/St. Paul and was routed to a Chowhound review. I've been hooked ever since!

          1. I don't keep it a secret at all. My husband recognizes a few of the names of some posters I quote often, either funny, knowledgeable, etc. At first, when I'd say something like, "Well, goodhealthgourmet said to do this and I trust her judgement..." or "MMRuth made this duck dish that looked so good I have to try it" (or whatever the poster name was that wasn't a real name), my husband would look twice at me. Who???

            2 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              I do the exact same thing with my husband ... both about cooking and restaurants. I guess he's used to it by now!

              1. re: chowser

                aww, chowser, i'm beyond flattered that i'd ever make it into your household conversation...and that you trust my judgement ;)

                my family knows about my CH obsession - i'm always mentioning things i've read here and "conversations" that occur on the boards. every time someone i know talks about wanting to try a restaurant based on a recommendation from a third party - be it a friend, a newspaper review, a Zagat review, or anywhere/anyone else - i always tell them not to do anything until i check it out here. i trust you guys more than other sources.

                my family used to think i was silly/weird/nuts for being so into it, but now whenever my mom has a question about anything food-related - cookware, appliances, restaurants, cooking techniques - shes asks me for the CH answer :)

                now, having said all that, do i think they *understand* or appreciate the true nature of my obsession? absolutely not. if i started mentioning you guys by name in conversation the way chowser does, they'd send for the men in white coats to wrap me up in one of those armless jackets. but i like it this way. CH is a community, and i love that it's completely separate from other areas of my life. it's one of the only things i do for myself that's all about me and what makes me happy. some people decompress by watching mindless TV shows or reading romance novels, i come here to check out the latest posts.

                i'm thankful that none of my family members will ever be here trolling the boards themselves, because if they saw some of the things i've revealed about them they'd be piiiissed!

              2. Most of my family & friends already think I'm a food freak....they can't understand why I go to the farmer's market, insist on Lucatelli cheese, won't eat at chain restaurants (unless forced), seek out the best bbq & tacqueria's in the Triangle region. They can't imagine what I do with all those saved copies of Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines, no clue as to why I would ever have more than one cookbook, don't understand why anyone would ever have more than one 12" skillet or why on earth I find it necessary to have 4 different chef's knives and heaven forbid if they actually came across my paring knife collection.

                I actually tried to have a conversation the other day about the merits of California garlic versus the Chinese variety...I may as well have been speaking Chinese based on the looks I received.

                With that being said, they don't mind all of these obsessions when I'm hosting a dinner party or taking food for one of their parties but, if they ever found out about my alter ego on CH I'm pretty sure they would have me committed!

                1. Why of course, as CH and food obsession is such a big part of my life. ; )

                  All of my Boston Hound friends know my husband, and most of them have met my best girlfriends. Over the years, we've become very close and enjoy getting together for meals or cocktails, and throwing dinner parties at our homes.

                  When I first would go out to meet the local CHs in Boston years ago, E and my friends thought it was totally strange for me to dine with people I only knew from the Internet. "What could you have in common?". Umm...food! He thought I was out of my mind when I convinced him we were driving to Manhattan for the Chowhound Social potluck in 2002. What a fun time meeting so many of the Hounds from the NY board.

                  Now of course, he's used to this. In fact, last night E and I were at a local AZ CH's house for dinner and discussing this. We moved to AZ a few months ago, and when I announced one night that we were going out to dinner with a Phoenix CH and her husband, he didn't blink an eye. Of course, ArizonaGirl and her husband turned out to be great people (and excellent cooks!) so, once again, through Chowhound, we've met wonderful new friends who, coincidentally, live just a few minutes from us. A few months ago I mentioned that KatieNell ("you know, from the Home Cooking board") was coming into Phoenix for a business trip and we were going to meet her for dinner. "Okay, what time?" is his now standard response.

                  My friends always thought I was a food freak anyway, and think of Chowhound as just an extension of this. By now everyone around me is used to the wealth of information I try to pass on from this site. Great recipes, tips on restaurants, learning authentic ethnic dishes, and how to pronounce words from foreign menus are just some of the things I love about Chowhound. Ha - family come over and ask, "So, what's the cookbook of the month this time?", or "what do your CH friends think of that restaurant?". My brother is a great cook and loves food, so I send him links he'll be interested in, and my mom is currently enjoying following along with the Home Cooking board's Vietnamese COTM.

                  Of course, the best thing out of CH is the friendships I've made. We took a trip to Boston a few weeks ago, and it was a priority for me to be able to meet up with my CH friends. I was grateful that so many took the time out of their busy schedules to join us for dinner, lunch, or cocktails - YumYum, Beetlebug, Niblet, 9Lives, Alcachofa and Amy, HeatherMB, Gini, Onefineleo, and Mirage. It was really heartwarming to see my friends again, and amazing that we all met through this internet site, over our love of food.

                  1. My SO always comments that if it's totally quiet in the house and I'm nowhere to be found, I'm always in the den reading Chowhound. While I'm not as avid a poster as most, I'm an extreme lurker and have spent hours reading the various topics with great delight. For me, Chowhound replaced the late, lamented Fametracker forums, where I could also be found lurking at 3 a.m. reading thread after thread. I can't count the number of times when mentioning a restaurant or a cooking technique etc. where I've started off with "well the prevailing Chowhounder attitude about this is..."

                    1. My husband knows of my Chowhound obsession. Sometimes he thinks I'm crazy, but he also knows that wherever we go, he will reap the benefits of my insanity and have good food. And now his friends sometimes ask him for restaurant recommendations, which makes him proud! It's especially funny because when I met him 8+ years ago, for dinner 5 nights a week he ate spaghetti with "parmesan" cheese from the green can. He never thought of buying fresh cheese.

                      My family (sister, parents) know of my obession but I don't think they know just how much time I spent reading, eating, thinking about food. My father doesn't use a computer so he has no clue. A few months ago I needed a gift certificate for my parents for a restaurant in Florida (they live there, I live in NY). I turned to CH and came up with a place that sounded really good in Boca Raton. My father was like "How on earth did you ever hear of this place? We live here and never heard of it". They went, they loved it. Once again, thanks to Chowhounds.

                      Most of my friends know that I love to cook and entertain, but again, they don't know how much thought I give to all things food. Honestly, I don't want too many people from my intimate circle on CH...I feel like it's my personal space and I don't want them to invade it!

                      1. my SO makes fun of me for it all the time - when a weeds episode mentioned CH a few weeks ago, he almost spit out his drink he was so excited. he really encourages the habit - weeks before any of our vacations he asks me what my "food friends" say about our vacation spots, before i buy a cookbook or cooking gear he wants to know what you all think about it, and whenever i find a new place in our town, he brags to our friends that it's from my food forum. like smorgasbord said, he can always tell when i'm on CH b/c i'm quiet and calm - we're both writing our dissertations, so the rest of the time when i'm on the computer i'm completely stressed out!

                        1. NO, no one knows of my Chow secret. When I first discovered the site, I talked about it to all my friends and family but quickly realized it was better to keep it my secret and to keep my identity as anonymous as possible. Exactly why I can't tell you right now -- I've had a couple of glasses of wine and about to eat dinner, but as obsessed as I am, I feel better keeping this to myself while being able to provide fabulous recommendations and opiniated opinions to all and near -- thanks to chowhound.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: JamieK

                            I do not post as often or nearly as well as JamieK and have so far managed to keep my obsession hidden. Unfortunately my cardiologist will soon be interrogating me about the 5 lbs. I have gained this summer soley on account of Chowhound and depending on the intensity of the inquisition I may confess!

                            With the complicity of Hounds in Toronto and the Tri-state region I have dined happily but over much.

                            1. re: garlicandwingnut

                              I've been posting frequently for 9 years, and have managed to not talk about it with others. I'm in the "Chowhound closet". I've only "come out" to a handful of folks. Since I post mostly at work, it's pretty easy to do. It's like having a really good dessert, and not wanting to share it with anyone, but you are ok with giving a small piece away once in awhile.

                          2. Oh my friends and family know alright! Could it be that I start a lot of sentences with "Well I was on chowhound the other day and.." ? I got my friend John to post, and it was awesome because I would give a review and then he would respond to my review with his own seeing as how we had shared the same meal. It felt a little like some of the reviews by mitch where he mentions his LDC (lovely dining companion) but then you get to actually hear what the LDC has to say too. Not sure John would like being referred to as such. When John doesn't post for awhile I tell him I wrote about him again and then he logs on to see what I said about him. Such fun. But John works at a bookstore and has begun telling his customers about this site. I feel grateful to have this site and I like the chowhounds I share it with a lot so I want to tell as many people as possible. Now to call John and tell him I mentioned him again. He he!

                            1. Oh yes, my family and friends are PAINFULLY aware of my CH obsession. So much so that many know the screen names of many of you. My 9 yr old daughter has a "Club Penguin" penguin named "Chowhound".

                              Oh yea, if I were to die tomorrow, they would undoubtedly talk about my great fervor for CH at my funeral.

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: lynnlato

                                And meanwhile I'm such a wimp that I cringe at the idea of my foodie friends (and I have many) finding out my real identity. Sometimes I'm having a glass of wine with someone and we're talking about food and I want to blurt something out to them but I'm afraid it would give me away. One of my friends owns a restaurant in town and I think he must read CH quite a bit. I never post about his restaurant but I'm always tempted to tell him when I see someone else write about it. I've literally stopped myself mid-sentence when I think I'm going to say something revealing. Regarding my dear friend Lynnlato here, I linked over to her blog (which I LOVE) and know I could easily get in touch with her but I'm chicken shit! We're practically neighbors here in Charlotte and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to meet her and GodfatherofLunch for lunch one day but I can't bring myself to do it!

                                1. re: southernitalian

                                  I am duly impressed that you have such self-restraint. I, on the other hand, am a total blabber-mouth!

                                  As for lunch, I think it would be so much fun! It's certainly well overdue. If they can do it in nyc we can do it here in cha-lot. Email me. :-)

                                  1. re: southernitalian

                                    Shocker I know but GFL has a big mouth and tells anyone who will listen about CH his blog and anything else regarding food. Mrs G. does an amazing job of acting interested, what a doll. If you and La Lato will have me lunch sounds like a blast. Just the thought of us selecting a place is already making me laugh.

                                    1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                                      I will certainly try to work up the nerve. But if people ask how we know each other and we say, "We met online", how pathetic do we look?

                                      1. re: southernitalian

                                        Meeting online is incredibly common these days. I don't think you should feel any shame about that. I have some wonderful, dear friends that I met through online forums.


                                        1. re: southernitalian

                                          You just say "we met through our common love of food" and leave it at that!

                                          1. re: southernitalian

                                            southernitalian - I have many friends around the country that I've met "from online". Our standing joke is to always wonder before you meet whether or not they're an axe murderer - and wonder of wonders, they never are! ;-)

                                            Saying you met from your love of food on a message board isn't so strange anymore. I think you might be surprised how many of your own friends might have met others from online message boards!

                                            Having said all of that - I *still* haven't been to a Boston Chowdown. :-) Those folks know WAY more about food than I do - so I do understand the intimidation factor in that sense.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              I've been to many chowdowns--I really encourage you to go to one. You will be amazed by how even more interesting and passionate people are when you meet them in person. Sometimes even the quietest, most infrequent poster turns out to be the most incredibly amazing. I always find the first 10 minutes or so to be a bit awkward as in, "I can't believe I'm actually doing this..." but once everyone relaxes a bit, and yes, starts talking about food, it's really delightful. And you've never been in a group of people like this, where the discussion is 100% about food--what you're eating now, places you've been, places you want to try...


                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                TDQ-- do you remember (here in MSP--minneapolis/st paul) when the bridge fell down last year?

                                                and you started that "roll call" thread about everyone's comfort meal the day of/day after, when we were all trying to figure out which of our friends & neighbors may have died or been hurt in the tragedy? one by one, we all weighed in (i clearly remember that my response was los ocampos burritos, and remember the meal, and how dh & i felt, too), and it was such a relief to see that all the hounds were okay. i was so anxious that for a couple of days i just kept refreshing my computer to see who had responded to the thread, even though i've never even properly met any of you (that i know of). shit, i'm getting a little teary eyed just thinking about it, & i just tried to find the thread, and couldn't--stupid search function.

                                                anyway, i will never forget that thread, and it made me realize how much the little crew of msp hounds meant to me. i know i would have been heartbroken to have learned that anyone had been killed in that accident. i remember being especially anxious because it happened right at/before dinner time, because i feared that some folks would have been taking the bridge on their way to 6:30/7pm reservations downtown. most of my friends were safe for sure (working in restaurant kitchens), but we narrowly missed losing some culinary talent in our town as well, i learned later!

                                                as to the op, if anything happened to me, eventually dh would log into chowhound and let everyone know. he used to think chowhound was a giant joke, but he takes it very seriously these days.

                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                  Hi SK--I'm very sorry that I didn't see this post until just now (better late than never, I guess). I do recall that comfort food thread. I'm glad it gave you some relief during a very stressful time. I did debate at the time whether the thread seemed too frivolous, given the severity of the situation, while we were all waiting to hear if everyone we knew was okay, but I went ahead with it anyway.

                                                  It made me feel better, like, there was something I could do other than just wait... At least I could find out if my fellow chowhounds were okay and, yes, I even ended up using some of the comfort food ideas that came out of that thread. It was definitely a time to show your loved ones how much you care for them, and nurturing them with food is a natural way to do that.

                                                  I did not know there was a culinary close call re: the bridge collapse, but I'm glad it worked out. I learned of a lot of close calls among my friends, family and acquaintances and, sadly, one that turned out to be a real tragedy (as all of the losses that day were.)


                                            2. re: southernitalian

                                              So fast forward less than a month and Lynnlato and I are friends. Still haven't met but we communicate online. I was having a glass of wine with my husband the other night and he says, "You got an email from that woman you met on that food site. She seems nice." I almost fell out of my chair that he not only knew about CH, but just about everything else I do online! he seemed surprised that I assumed he never noticed the enormous "CHOWHOUND" banner on the screen every time he comes into my office.

                                      2. My SO knows, of course. Otherwise, it would be hard to explain why we have to photograph all our meals before we can eat and the expanding pile (yes, it's a pile now because I've run out of shelf space, in spite of having bought a bookshelf for my cookbooks about 6 months ago) of cookbooks on our spareroom floor. And, although he's incredibly patient and tolerant and supportive of my chowhounding, there's a running negotiation at our house about where we will go out to dinner. We have a couple of old standby places we go out to eat together that I know I can always get him to agree to, but if I want to visit some little mom and pop ethnic place, it's always a negotiation. If we've had Thai food recently (in the past week or so), then it's going to be hard to convince him to go out for Ethiopian...

                                        Occasionally HE will suggest we go out to eat at one these places and that's how I know he's trying to cheer me up after a bad day at work or that he's trying to butter me up for some reason or just being very sweet. We even have a restaurant, Ngon Bistro, that has almost become a joke between us because I suggest it so often... So, often, when we start the "Where shall we eat" negotiation, he'll let me know coming out of the gate that Ngon Bistro is off the table, so to speak.

                                        We'll even get to a point in our vacation planning, where we've narrowed in on a location, and he'll say, "Okay, you can make your Chowhound post now...", meaning we're locked into this location and so I can go ahead and do research and ask for recommendations without fear of wasting people's time. And he most certainly knows all of the Chowhound personalities, has attended a couple of chowdowns, and even has a handle (though he probably has fewer than 20 posts.) He reads the Midwest board once a week or so to stay abreast of what's going on. And, we do talk about "that place" AnneInMpls or soupkitten or MSPD or KTFoley or Jordan or foureyes or diesel or whomever mentioned. The astonishing thing lately is that I'm realizing he's reading some of the other Chowhound boards, too, because he'll mention a post on another board I haven't seen. Apparently, he's a big fan of the chains board.

                                        He also knows that I have some kind of inherent NEED to eat somewhere interesting on a regular basis. He knows if I eat a steady diet of meat and potatoes for too long, I'll explode or something. Or die of boredom. I really need some spice, literally, in my life, on some kind of regular basis.

                                        On the other hand, no one else knows. When we go out to eat with my SO's extended family, they don't even ask my opinion about where we should eat! (Which frosts me by the way, but that's a subject for another day.) With that crowd, we often end up at places that make me want to cry. I think, oh wow, we ended up at X when there's Y two doors down that is a Board favorite that I've been dying to try that I'm convinced everyone would have loved just as much. There's one family member who's started to notice that I always steer them towards really good restaurants, but she's never asked why or how I know.

                                        I work close to some of the best Chowhounding in the Twin Cities (well, there's a lot of great Chowhounding here, but this particular area and my commute to it is especially rich), and I can't convince my co-workers to go out for lunch with me to any place other than chains. So, I have to do my lunch-time Chowhounding alone... They have slowly figured out that if they all want to go out to lunch, and the place they've decided on is a chain, I will always reply "No thanks, I brought my lunch." But, if they want to go to lunch and they suggest a neat little indie place, especially one I've never eaten at, even if I'm in the middle of eating the lunch I brought from home, I'll go.

                                        Among my broader circle of friends and family, people who have known me for years, I'm known for being a very adventurous eater and that's become a bit of a running joke with a few people who like to recount various stories about certain things I've eaten that no one else would try, that sort of thing, but I don't think anyone would ever think of me as a "foodie" or anything like that, mostly because when it comes time to choose a place to eat out at, I'll suggest a few places, but I always just go along with the group consensus, even if it's a chain. So, I guess I'm known as an adventurous eater, but not an especially picky eater...


                                        1. Friends and family do know of my CH obsession, and some know my handle, as it's just a shortened version of my name. My mother has a sorority "lunch bunch" she goes out with once a month, and she'll call me and tell me "we're going to this restaurant - what do you know about it and what could I order?" (she has plain tastes for the most part) Sister calls on a regular basis saying she's meeting friends and "what's good between Sharon and Westwood (MA)? But oh - one person *only* eats plain chicken, so if you could recommend something that has a roast chicken dish, that would be best."

                                          Friends know I post here and will often look to see what I've posted if there's a group of us that head out for a dinner.

                                          Coworkers know I love food, and one asked me for suggestions when he was going on a date with a new potential - I referred him to threads here and he gave me reviews on the places that she and he went to. He also asked if I had heard of such-and-such restaurant (that I hadn't referred him to) "on that food board you like - we went there and had a great meal!" Sure enough, there are always reviews here. Several other coworkers have now also now started looking here themselves for info on places they've just learned about.

                                          I post on an AOL message board that is mostly people talking about what they're cooking for dinner, but also where they're going for dinner. I "introduced" the board to CH, I believe, and more and more, I'm seeing some say "I went to the Boston CH board as we were unfamiliar with seafood restaurants in town, and got some recommendations - and we went to Eastern Standard for dinner that night!" or "I checked out the Manhattan CH and got some great recommendations for the small party."

                                          Now if I die, will my family or friends post here saying "no more from LindaWhit"??? I doubt it. ;-)

                                          1. My husband & I both post. He's the "J" in HillJ.
                                            Altho he's away alot, we meet up online.
                                            Sometimes, chowhound serves as a virtually dinner date when he's in Hong Kong and I'm in NJ. Do our friends know-sure do, most of them are here too!

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              Okay, well, that explains alot! Ha! You know how u get the impression someone is male or female from their posts.

                                              That's neat that u have dinner dates via CH when he is abroad.

                                              1. re: lynnlato

                                                Holy androgyne Batman. c' mon stop confusing me. He is not a broad, she is a broad. Why does he get to be in Hong Kong and she is stuck in Jersey? Oh well at least she gets better pizza.

                                              2. re: HillJ

                                                Here I was thinking you had multiple personalities! ; )

                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                  Oh I am finding this too funny! I had no idea you folks were confused. I suppose your observations clear up a few things for me too.

                                                2. re: HillJ

                                                  Oh, lightbulb moment for me, too. As long as all your friends don't post under HillJ, too...;-)

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    too funny chowser! Nah, our friends have their own s/n's and take full credit for bringing J.. then me.. to CH.

                                                3. DH knows. In fact, if I suggest a restaurant to go to, he'll say, "Well, what does CHOWHOUND say about it? Did you get that suggestion from CHOWHOUND?" And if we're planning a trip, he says, "Are you going to consult CHOWHOUND?" Personally, I think he's a little bit jealous. : )

                                                  My sister knows too -- in fact, she used to post here sporadically but stopped. She was more of a lurker than anything. And one of my friends figured me out one day by telling me, "Oh, I know all about your secret OTHER life."

                                                  After reading some stuff written by some posters complaining about their bosses, dinner guests, etc., I think it's a wise move to keep your Chowhound obsession hidden.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                    "After reading some stuff written by some posters complaining about their bosses, dinner guests, etc., I think it's a wise move to keep your Chowhound obsession hidden."

                                                    I admit to having on occasion written things about my MIL. I know that my husband doesn't go on CH (he lives it through me), but I always think that I'd be busted if he did! Especially since my real name is, well, valerie.

                                                    1. re: valerie

                                                      Yeah. My "Will he die?", post might not be such a big hit with my boss' brother. But I'm willing to put my head on a block and swear he doesn't read this site. Thankfully my rant on my sister-in-law's lack of parenting skills was so horrific and off topic it was pulled. Still, I do worry about being outed.

                                                      1. re: valerie

                                                        Because I pretty much use my real name (Ruth is not my first name, assumptions to the contrary - recall Babe Ruth), I find that I control my inner bitching, which I'm sure is a good thing. I have had friends realize that *I* am MMRuth, so I'm careful what I post about, particularly on NAF. And I never make a reservation in my own name.

                                                    2. Great topic, yes hubby and everyone I come in contact with knows my obsession. Hubby tells people he's a Chowhound Widow!!! I love telling people about chowhound, I'm a walking natural salesman. Many people get that glazed over look in their eyes when I start talking about food, restaurants, etc. and I love it when I find another foodie and we just go at it. My sister just went on recently and found some of my posts, sent me an email "hey, I didn't know you didn't like Hart's". I do need to ween myself off a little - it does interfere with other things I'm trying to get done but I love it. This obsession and this site in particular is extremely helpful to those of us who can't stand wasting time and money on lousy food.

                                                      1. Absolutely. My DH knows all about it because he is about seven feet away from me laying on the couch as I post away. I also preface alot of sentences with "Well, I read on Chowhound..." At work, my Chowhounding and ADHD is so well known that if I'm on the computer and actually focused on task, my co-workers will laughingly ask me "Are you Chowhounding again?"

                                                        I guess Chowhound is my Ritalin LOL.

                                                        1. My Fam of origin wouldn't be the slightest bit interested in this site. Hubs, AKA Furry will often ask "Did you get that off CH"... and knows some people here by their handle... as I talk about you.

                                                          And we've been luck enough to meet people from here in real life, so he can put a face to a screen name.

                                                          As for the outing myself, I don't give a fiddler's cuss... I am purple goddess on every board I visit, it would be quite easy to find out me "real name" and who I am, and should I meet my demise, I am sure that you guys would find out via my online friends, both here and other places I am known

                                                          1. No, my husband has an idea I like this site but he would tease me relentlessly if he just how much I am on it.

                                                            However, he is nuts for beeradvocate.com and is always posting beer reviews. He is at the point where he cannot try a new beer without a pen and paper in hand. He just might have a bigger addiction than I have!

                                                            1. DH knows, and just like valerie's, benefits whenever we're on vacation or simply looking to try someplace new. He does tease me a little bit about it, though.

                                                              1. I do talk about Chowhound at work etc. and have actually turned some others into Ch'ers but I donlt really tell anybody my screen name. And like others, my DH knows that I consult Chow for any unknown resto and since we share a computer, he was kind enough to save the Chow to the desktop (along with Pioneer woman) along with the rest of his stuff. Even though I have never met any other Chowhounds, I do feel like I know many of you like family and friends. But on my tiny island, there is not much chowing going on. I do miss the big city....<sigh>.

                                                                1. My closer friends know, and tease me about it. Funny thing is, when they are trying to figure out where to go for dinner, they frequently call me to ask for ideas or what I know about a specific place or where to buy some odd ingredient.

                                                                  1. Here's another twist on the topic....Do your Chowhound buddies (online) know who YOU really are? I walked into a chowhound dinner, spotted an old workmate (from thirty years ago!) and after chatting, asked - So what's your screen name? I almost fell off my chair laughing when she told me - I had NO idea that Allstonian was (in Real Life) my old friend!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: fredid

                                                                      And another, sort of the reverse - virtually none of the people - who seem at least to share an interest in food - I have ever mentioned it to have any idea what the heck Chowhound is. I can think of only one person, who said "oh yeah, isn't that that Jim Leff thing?" but had never checked it out. Benighted.

                                                                    2. My wife knows...and thinks I'm nuts...but has always been thankful when dining someplace we probably would not have found if I wasn't obsessed!

                                                                      1. It's not a secret for me, I've directed family and friends to several great restaurants through this site. But none of them have the patience to use it themselves, they expect it to be like some kind of google where you can do a search and a magic list pops up of the best places.

                                                                        1. I don't avoid talking about my participation here. When a conversation takes a turn that makes something here relevant, I share it. But I don't think I've ever said to anyone "Hey, I'm Caroline1," much less had anyone ask.

                                                                          I think it's normal to wonder if you'd know what happened to anyone who dropped out of an "electronic social group." Or if friends who now live a long distance away and you keep contact with by email would have any way of knowing your bucket list ran out.

                                                                          I once had an actor/writer friend die very unexpectedly while on a year's sabatical in Italy. The villagers sent his things back to his mother in L.A., whom he had just settled into an assisted living facilty before he went off on his adventure. His notebook computer was among his belongings, and one of the people on the AL staff went through it for his mom, and sent emails to everyone he ever wrote to. I thought that was brilliant! Turned out he had lapsed into a coma a few minutes after we talked on the phone, then died a couple of days later on Christmas Eve.

                                                                          Many many people are grateful that the Assisted Living helper had the presence of mind to go through his email files! Don't know if my kids would think of doing that, but if they did... Hey, does everyone here have emails from the Chow Team in your files? Keep at least one just in case! LOL! Sorry, Chow Team. '-)

                                                                          1. Yes, my husband knows..but doesn't really understand. We discuss some of the topics at the dinner table, and I've received more "good" restaurant recommendations than I can count, so he shouldn't complain. He knows that I'm on here virtually all day because of my lack of work at work (don't tell my boss he's not giving me enough to do! Crap he's probably one of you!) but he still doesn't get it. He doesn't understand that new topics come up, new answers are given and of course there's always something to read. He complains about my obsession, but he allows it because it's better than my old obsession with "The Knot" when we were planning our wedding!!!

                                                                            1. I make no secret of it, and my family and friends have been happily guided to many a fine meal thanks to the board. My wife doesn't have the patience to browse it herself (she's much too busy hanging out on sites that sell shoes), but sometimes I'll CC her a particularly interesting posting.

                                                                              1. The other day I received an email from someone about bands playing totally non food related. I'm on his mailing list. There's someone who posts on CH and their name was similar to the guy that sends out the band email. I asked him if he ever posts on CH, sure enough, it was the same guy who sends me the band stuff.

                                                                                1. In a word, YES. My poor, long-suffering wife, knows it all. She sits, as I get copies of the menus and the wine lists. She gets grilled about each and every dish that we eat. She gets nailed with, "oh, I see that you guys dined at XXXX last weekend. I saw your hubby's post on CH, or fill-in the blank."

                                                                                  Were I gone tomorrow, she'd probably be able to dine around the globe and not find her meal on the Web within a week. Maybe she'd be happier.


                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                    I'm sure my husband would be thrilled if I didn't take photos of every dish before we sit down to dinner. On the other hand, we've eaten lots of delicious things at home - and in restaurants - that we wouldn't have were it not for Chowhound.

                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                      As this thread has some activity, since I last saw it, I have to update my response just a bit.

                                                                                      Not sure what this means, or what I should infer from it, but over the last two months, I've been to about a half-dozen events. At several of these, when I was introduced to a stranger, they immediately asked, "are you the Bill Hunt on Chowhound?" What the heck! I was meeting folk from all walks of life and every social status at these events. There were CH's everywhere. Some were just readers, but some were posters. Unfortunately, I did not recognize any of the screen names, as 'Hounds, that I knew from discussions, even on the SW (AZ, CO, NV, etc.) board, but they obviously were doing their reading.

                                                                                      My wife, who is usually recognized long before I am, was in awe. I'm not used to that either.

                                                                                      Obviously, unless I have major plastic surgery and enter a CH witness protection program, I could never be an anonymous restaurant critic.

                                                                                      This tells me that CH's are everywhere.


                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                        hey, that's rad, Bill. soak it up, you're a star! :)

                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                          I *think* that I can handle it, so long as the paparazzi keeps their distance... [Grin]

                                                                                          Actually, it was quite charming and totally unexpected. Just glad that there were no restauranteurs in any of these group.


                                                                                    2. just about everyone i know well knows about my chowhound "issues" -- even some people i chat with at the grocery store check-out. lol!

                                                                                      mr. alka: "aw, is that "chowhound"? again!??! "chow" this and "chow" that!
                                                                                      moi: mmm
                                                                                      mr. alka: how can you spend so much time on there?
                                                                                      moi: hey! where do you think i get a lot of ideas? and what about YOUR financial newsletters and websites, huh? huh?!?!
                                                                                      mr. alka: <exits stage right>

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                        When my mom calls, she has been known to ask not just "Are you on the computer?" but "Are you on Chowhound?"

                                                                                      2. A few people do, though I don't think any of them realize the extent. I've got a great reputation among family and friends for always knowing the best restaurants to go to, thanks to Chow. I especially enjoyed a trip to Tucson with my aunt & uncle a few months ago, when we ate at a different Chow-recommended restaurant every night. They were thrilled that I'd been able to steer us to so much excellent food, and while I'd love to claim that of course I, a life-long east-coaster, just happened to know which little hole-in-the-wall Mexican place would have the best tacos in Arizona, I give credit where credit's due. I don't think anyone I've mentioned it to actually uses the site though, so my role as go-to restaurant recommender and obscure ingredient finder remains unchallenged. Whew. :-)

                                                                                        1. I can't shut up about food and my obsession with it so anyone who knows me, even remotely, would probably realise very soon that it is my overriding passion in life. I remember meeting my neighbour for the first time and asking her what she liked to eat after about 2 minutes! I was kind of hoping to find a fellow foodie until she replied, with a look of utter puzzlement on her face: "anything easy like boiled pasta and a jar of bought sauce" as if anyone could be bothered to actually make anything that required the slightest bit of time and effort. Sigh.

                                                                                          Sometimes I think that everyone knowing about it has led to me being pidgeon-holed in such a way that all my presents in the last year have been food-related. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining! But I'd like to think I'm not as one-dimensional as I'm obviously coming across...

                                                                                          1. <sigh> They know all too well how obsessed I am with this site. My friends have picked up on it enough that they no longer ask, when I take them to a restaurant I've been wanting to go to, how I heard about it. And sometimes, when they're looking for something in particular, they ask, "is there anything about it on Chowhound?"

                                                                                            My last boyfriend often threatened to check out the site because I "seem to enjoy it so much." Cue me snarling and growling over my Chowhound food dish because I didn't want to share. Now, I've just started dating someone new (a chef! A 'hound's holy grail!), and while he hadn't heard of CH three weeks ago when I met him, he has already picked up the habit of asking, "What does Chowhound have to say about this place?" when we have dinner out. It's sad how quickly I've gotten predictable.

                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Wahooty


                                                                                              >>>"My last boyfriend often threatened to check out the site because I "seem to enjoy it so much." "<<<
                                                                                              ....and that is why he is your "former" boyfriend.

                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                Actually, yes and no. His willingness to explore my passions was a big part of what was keeping us together...it was the fact that he didn't have many of his own that was the problem. I shouldn't have to share ALL of my toys. :)

                                                                                                1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                  ah. i read it like he didn't even have enough interest to actually check out chowhound.


                                                                                                  you know, wahooty, your original post made me think whether i would want mr. alka to be "into" chow like i am. i'm not sure of the answer! ;-).

                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                    I've actually been thinking about that - I really didn't want the previous guy to start reading, because it's always been my thing that nobody else I know does. Plus, he probably would have read just to see what I wrote, not to actually contribute anything to the conversation. But now that I'm dating someone even more 'houndish than I am, I want to get him into it. But then, what if we break up, and then awkwardly bump into each other in "Home Cooking" and get into a pointless but heated debate about avocados?

                                                                                                    1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                      or worse yet, one of those "not about food" threads, where we hear about crazy dining companions -- or worse -- the ever-present "tipping" thread!

                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                        "You think that's bad? My ex-girlfriend once INSISTED on bringing her OWN kirgilnix to a party when she knew it was the host's specialty..."

                                                                                                        1. re: Wahooty

                                                                                                          well, for sure, kirgilnix is a contentious matter!

                                                                                                    2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                      With most couples, I find that balance is a positive. I love wine. My wife enjoys wine. Not quite opposite ends but there is balance.

                                                                                                      I love food to a very high degree, but an not really a cook. My wife could be a chef, given the time, yet she isn't as deeply commited to food, as I have become. Possibly that "time" thing.

                                                                                                      Still, we find the balance. Sometimes, two deeply passionate folk might tip the scales too far and too quickly. Yes, I am into balance.


                                                                                              2. Yup, everyone knows about it. My SO has "threatened" to join and post to argue with me, not that we actually disagree about things. He appreciates what I've found here and loves my cooking.

                                                                                                The other day when we were out with my Mom and had horrible service, she asked if I'd be posting about it on "my food site". I told her I was already forumulating the post.

                                                                                                I'm afraid I mention it constantly in conversations with people who probably could care less, but something will come up and I have to say "There's a long thread on chowhound.com about this" and mention the current opinions going on.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                  I use that "There's a long thread on CH about this..." as well. With other friends who are "into food" there is little to no reaction, as it's just "understood". With those that aren't, I sometimes get a bit of an eyeroll (from my sister) but she'll still come to me to ask for restaurant recommendations for her area. :-)

                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                    I understand this clearly. We have two great friends, a couple, who are both heavily into both wine and into food. The wife has written several cookbooks and appears on the electronic media with regularity. We share much in common with them. Still, even with my references to CH, neither has shown any interest. That is fine. We love them dearly, value their friendship and their company. I've shared the references, but neither has expressed an interest. That does not diminish my respect, or alter my feelings at all. Even when we've dined together and they are referenced in passing, I do not think that either one has ever read one of my reviews.


                                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                    I'm not sure if "wifey" is jealous of my time on CH, but she may be jealous of you... :)

                                                                                                    In response to the OP, I tell some friends about my involvement in Chowhound. I want to share in my enjoyment of places I have found or come to appreciate. Also, my love of cooking. Just like anyone might recommend a store to a friend for their specialty or quality, I point people to Chowhound and my personal Google maps.

                                                                                                    I am concerned that as my reputation grows (?) I will to go to a place and be recognized. I don't want this to happen. SO said the other night, "Are you bringing the camera and is this a Chowhound meal? Sometimes she wants a break from it. It is almost second nature to me to look for a new place to investigate and report back on, if we leave the New Haven universe.
                                                                                                    OTOH, Pass lives and teaches in a small town and is a volunteer DJ there. Everybody knows him, I'm sure. I don't think he flaunts his CH involvement publicly, but he sure doesn't hide it.
                                                                                                    OP's question has two distinct components: being known and being remembered. I've wondered some on the second myself. Seems the second element requires having a voice that people want to listen to. I've watched the "reading me list" grow to almost equal my "read list", which might be like saying my paperback has almost sold enough to cover my expenses or the folks in my ceramics class really love my work, which never sells...

                                                                                                    I have made one friend, for sure, yet I don't think it would cause a ripple if I dropped off the face of Chowhound. I certainly am not striving for cult status that EN has achieved (as everyone was wondering why he went missing, at one point). I see it as a hobby and an outlet. I do hope that pleasure is received by some, as when Pass and I chronicled our road trip.

                                                                                                  2. today I had to have my husband go on to CH for me. I had reported a restaurant was closed a few days ago. Today as I went by, it had re-opened. Since someone had a reservation for the place this evening, I felt I needed to report back right away that they had re-opened. so rather then wait the 45 minutes until I got home my husband graciously agreed to go on for me and report my findings. The funny thing is he had no interest in reading any of the other posts I've made so my obsession is still kind of under the radar.

                                                                                                    1. I'm in the same boat!! Many of my friends and my family benefits from my CH obsession, but nobody knows how much I read and post on the boards, and that everything they love comes from here...it's like my secret food resource on anything and everything :D