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What have you learned from CH?

  • m

After reading a very interesting post on table settings. I realized that I have learned so much about history, customs, and etiquette. Until reading these boards, I never knew that cappuccino was a morning thing, and cheese and fish are not usually put together, the proper way to tip (or not tip) outside the US, and how to properly hold chopsticks (although I still stink at it). I was just wondering what others have learned from reading the CH boards.

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  1. i've learned how many thing i never thought would bother anyone really seem to get to a lot of people

    6 Replies
    1. re: thew

      Me, too. They should have a service-hound website. Astonishing what gets under some people's skin.

      1. re: iluvtennis

        And I, conversely, and among many other more useful things, have learned how many people don't agree with or follow conventions that, until the last couple of years, I had assumed to be generally accepted practices.

        Edit: I sure sound like an old fuddy duddy and didn't mean to - what I wrote is true, but a bit tongue in cheek, though I'm probably a young-ish fuddy duddy.

      2. re: thew

        Unfortunately, this is the #1 thing I take away from this site as well.

        1. re: thew

          But remember that the postings are rather skewed...especially in "not about food". The vast majority of folks read it (if even) and don't have a strong feeling about it and never post. Those with passionate feelings for the subject post, sometimes repeatedly! It's a lot of noise, but just from a relatively small segment.
          Once you start mixing pet peeves with manners, diverse culture/age/socio-economic backgrounds it can get pretty opinionated...

          1. re: meatn3

            It would be interesting if they had a counter of how many times a thread had been looked at.

            1. re: yayadave

              I agree...I always find that feature interesting!

        2. chowhound steers me to good places to eat/drink in europe, asia and north america.

          lots of smart posters out there. pretty entertaining, too.

          1. This is kind of embarrassing, but i learned what sweetbread was by stalking chowhound.

            1 Reply
            1. re: iluvtennis

              Well there's nothing wrong with that... unless you mean literally stalking a chowhounder!

              1. I have learned different pronounciations for the same word, that people eat in different orders around the world (salad course for example). Got some good recipes and menu suggestions and restaurant reviews.

                1. I've learned a lot of good things here. Many great, knowledgeable and generous people. Plus a surprising number of people who seem to like rules. In fact, I'm sure there is a rulebook out there that some of you have that I'll never get to see. ;)

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: scuzzo

                    Primary use of chowhound - finding the best places to eat.
                    Secondary - best ways to make food at home. Favorite - how to use the new herbs I just bought.
                    Tertiary - learning the different cultural rule-books. Wow.

                    1. re: TampaAurora

                      I have learned LOTS on many things in many ways...I adore many of the posts here. For example, correct use of words like Tertiary, is not a common thing, and so rewarding.

                      The postive, good food and good people share, no matter what. Good food is NOT defined by decor or price and real foodies know that. Amazing world travel and cultural exchanges, as well as experiences.

                      Two negatives I learned; WOW are some people so crazy scared of food and germs and WOWO! some people hate servers so much, and want any excuse NOT to be nice to them or tip.

                      Minorly, a poor third, people who expect everyone to follow their "manners" and expectations. I.E. the womoan who wanted to snatch a plate away from someone who was putting catsup on her "perfectly roasted prime rib" that she served at a family dinner. he he he.

                      1. re: Quine

                        People are funny, and not always in ha ha sort of way! Can you imagine how boring this world would be without people like that? (Some days I'd like to try...)


                        1. re: scuzzo

                          It would be a very boring world indeed without the Eccentrics among us.

                          I've accumulated oceans of interesting food and cultural information I didn't realize I needed to know; and here I thought I was well-educated. I've also learned when not to respond with a wise crack. Well, almost.

                    2. re: scuzzo

                      I've learned, unfortunately, that apparently people use any excuse in the world in order to skimp on a tip.

                      I cannot begin to tell you how much it irritates me that when a server makes even a miniscule mistake there are a number of people who declare that said error should be reflected in the tip.

                      That is my biggest pet peeve on this forum.

                      I also don't like it when someone posts to me "is that clear enough for you?" in an obviously snide way because I have the audacity to disagree with them. They lose all credibility with me in terms of their opinions, etc.

                    3. Restraint. There are times I want to exercise my smart mouth (or fingers on these boards), but stop (most of the time) because it's just not worth it.

                      That and a whole bunch of food related stuff. I agree with maria lorraine that there's too much to list.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Miss Needle

                        Exactly. My first thought on seeing this topic was, "To think twice before hitting Post My Reply." Too many pointless arguments with over-opinionated know-it-alls (like myself). ;-)

                      2. The only OPs I place in my "favorites" are those that cover book lists & recommended reads CH's have shared over the years.

                        Before CH, I had not read what B&Noble calls, the food-related genre. I have well read CH's to thank for many excellent recommendations. My library reading list and my relationship with Amazon.com have exploded.

                        1. As one of my favorite professors used to say, "The more we learn about something, the more we understand how little we actually know." It's never been more true than what I've come to learn here...

                          1. Quite a bit!

                            Beside the more obvious ones of great restaurant and recipe tips:

                            *Better search tips (thanks mmruth in many "site talk" postings)

                            *A world of food blogs that I never knew existed, many have become happy frequent additions to my personal world

                            *My wallet is a bit lighter in part to the on-line shops and purveyors recommended by CH's

                            *a tip that has made my fumble fingered life sooo much easier:

                            *people are people

                            *and most of them are good!

                            *I am not alone in this obsession!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: meatn3

                              "A world of food blogs that I never knew existed, many have become happy frequent additions to my personal world"

                              "people are people
                              and most of them are good!"

                              *I am not alone in this obsession!"

                              I read almost everyone's posts and liked yours the very best mostly because (surprise) I agree with you. I'm a very optimistic "glass half full" kind of person for the most part.
                              * I have learned that you can literally spend hours talking about food when your stomach is growling (go figure that out).
                              *I have learned that I was pretty sheltered when it comes to eating even though I considered myself to be a person who likes everything except liver and anchovies.
                              *I learned that it's ok to be passionate about eating in this world of obsession with being thin and dieting and going green and organic.
                              *I've learned that I'm low on the food chain (ha ha) when it comes to being a food snob. And that I don't care anymore.
                              *I've learned that my husband and my sister have come to depend on me when we're going someplace new and need ideas for where to eat. They always ask me what my "chowhound people" say.

                            2. I just learned about natto, and that it's not the same thing as annatto.

                              Will this knowledge save my life someday?


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Metalee

                                Knowing the difference just may save your life, or at least your breakfast...


                              2. Not much in regards to new restaurants, recipes, or cooking technique, I typically use it as a reference tool to get additional info on places I am interested in. I get very little recipe info, or cooking technique info.

                                I have learned alot in the following areas:

                                1) Chain restaurants... who knew they were so liked & revered by some Chowhounds,

                                2) etiquette - especially cell phone use ;-)

                                3) tipping - ;-)

                                4) vegetarians - I never knew there were so many ;-)

                                1. 1. People on line are much less tolerant than people in person.

                                  2. Chowhounders are much less tolerant than people in general.

                                  3. Tons of new places to try and enjoy. Since I have kids and don't eat out as much as I used to, I may never get through my 'to try' lsit.

                                  4. Every place can have a bad night. Give a place more than one try.

                                  5. Tipping is like politics. The world is equally divided between the "I start at 15% and adjust accordingly" aand the "I start at 20% and go up from there" camps. Neither will convince the other.


                                  1. Great idea for a topic! I've learned, among oh so many other things, to overcome my fear of posting! I've lurked for a long time on gaming forums and certain interesting Live Journals where people are invited to comment. I see people getting their lungs torn out in these places all the time, so it made me afraid to comment anywhere. I tried on two other sites (not food related) and got cursed at for my efforts. But Chowhound is awesome! Everyone seems respectful of other people's opinions, even if they disagree they do it nicely. Here it feels like we are conversing about something we are passionate about. People respond and ask questions, it's a real two way or fourty way discussion. On other sites everyone just wants to hear their own voice and drown out others. To me, chowhound is the internet at it's best. I've learned to believe in people again. Well, at least Chowhounds!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: givemecarbs

                                      some good things some bad...
                                      I have learned
                                      that there alot of people on this site that LOVE to complain..about any and everything food related, and it doesnt come from passion usually it comes from being an ass

                                      that there are way to many people that get worked up over tipping and all issues related to tipping

                                      That there are lots of great reccomendations to be had if you dig around, but also I see lots of threads where people ask something that has been asled before and those people get zip for a response. or if they do its a dismissive "look around its been discusses already" type of answer

                                      That even though I would consider myself a hardcore foodie, that I wouldnt want to associate with half of the people who consdier themselves foodies on here..way too many snotty, know it all types (who usually know nothing)..its all not that serious people.

                                      funny I still like coming here and cruising around the threads though...you do pick up some great info

                                    2. 1. That people will actually try a new recipe the first time that they've heard wonderful things about, but vary something from the recipe in a way they didn't realize was critical but was, and then complain about how lousy the recipe is.

                                      This was much more common in the early years of Chowhound than it is now, but it was a revelation to witness at the time.

                                      2. That many people have lost the formerly common understanding in our culture of the roles and responsibilities of hosts and guests, and what they've crafted on the fly to make up for that loss is often failing and causing the waste of much emotion and energy.

                                      3. That people try to use CH to lobby to change culture-bound customs and thereby declare them changed.

                                      4. That some of the explanations for what I thought was so were actually different than I had understood - it was not the thing that changed so much as the explanation of it (it would be a long list). And corrections to many recipes. And that more people than I had imagined shared my sensibilities on food and hospitality.

                                      5. That I don't suffer fools gladly (oops, I already knew that), even less on line.

                                      6. The answer to the Greatest CH Question since Who Killed JR (that infamous thread on the guest who insisted on bringing his own ribs to the BBQ, where the OP did not reveal the ending for many months).

                                      7. Most importantly, the wonderfully feisty group of Boston CH's, whom I have never in person but feel comradeship with. I think the Boston CH's have done a great service to championing what is good in our regional food scene and in scourging what is mediocre or bad. Actually, more scourging might be merited at times.

                                      1. Through reading these responses, I strongly pick up on how many have been soured by negative comments posted by some of our hounds. I don't care for many of them either, but at the same time, I do learn a lot, maybe even question whether "my way" of thinking, approaching, or doing things is proper, customary or narrow-minded. I see a lot of one-upsmanship, pettiness, anger, and disregard for others. Posters can take issues to the most minute details and explode the supposed consequences of others responses. I have been guilty of responding back in like-fashion, and thank goodness for the moderators who pick up on this and zap me for doing so.

                                        The lessons I've learned from this, especially with Chowhound being the only forum that I'm truly active on, is:

                                        We are a community. In every community we need to try to understand each other through interaction - in this case, virtual dialog. There will always be those within any community that will fall on the fringes of the societal bell curve. Those who fall under the major portion of the bell will get along, while those who are fringe members will often annoy us. At the same time they do push our comfort zones and in the long run, probably expand our notions, ideas, and tastes. Determining whether this is a good thing or bad thing depends on where your values and traditions are - only you can decide that for yourself.

                                        I often have to change my mind on how I view certain things - I am not always right and I do not know everything; in fact, I know very little. Unlike many steadfast stubborn politicians who can never admit they are wrong or believe they can't change their mind on issues, as well as those that damn politicians for wanting change or for changing their minds when the proof is evident that their former views were inappropriate, I feel it important to update, rethink, and possibly change my views on so many things. We humans do not operate within a vacuum. Change has never come so fast as it does now. This forum allows us to virtually shake hands, arm-wrestle, debate, and hopefully shake hands again by the end of a good scrum. We can embrace each other, recollect, enquire, and have heartfelt moments that will stay with us forever. These processes ensures that those who wish to hold fast to tradition have a say as equal to those who wish to differ. And what better commonality to relate life to than over a plate, bowl or glass of our favorite food or drink?

                                        I've learned that I often misread another poster's intentions, level of emotion, and sense of security. I guess maybe I am becoming more socially aware in this relatively new arena of dialog. I started out being very steadfast in my responses, often times with an air of arrogance. I now try - and I do mean I honestly try - to be a more considerate and polite poster with hopefully a greater sense of humility. Yet I try to give others as much as I can pump to them in terms of my relatively minimal knowledge and try to attach a sense of emotion or tale with it. There are times where blurbs are appropriate, but I personally hope for and try to offer more, because that is who I am.

                                        I try to avoid scrums - I did say try. Sometimes I feel so affected by what others say that I feel I have no choice but to respond. Other times, I say to myself that there is no use. I don't know about you folks, but I have come to recognize certain posters that often display vast amounts of hubris in their comments. Some are a wealth of knowledge and experience but tend to squash those who have less by they way they phrase things. They may or may not know this of themselves, but I guess my point is, I try to avoid them.

                                        Some topic boards are very much more prone to heated debate, than others. Those that I mentioned above are most likely to be in those boards. General Chowhounding Topics, Not About Food, Food Media and News, and Wine are loaded with the aforementioned. That's oki-doki - as I've already mentioned in various ways, things would be relatively stale with them. The friendliest board? Home Cooking - people are so eager to share, help and offer suggestions. This is where I think the true Chow in all of us comes out... Peace to all of you!

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                          Really thoughtful post...i think i need to start focusing more on the positives of chowhound and avoid getting bogged down in the cattiness that displays itself on occasion. I think i'm going to start checking out the homecooking board more often, too...i've got a lot to learn when it comes to that area!

                                          1. re: bulavinaka

                                            Great post! One comment that you made that was especially poignant was:

                                            "I am not always right and I do not know everything; in fact, I know very little."

                                            It's great that you are able to say that. I think one of the key issues to all these damn petty squabbles here on Chowhound (especially on the NAF Board) is that a lot of posters think they are always right, and if they encounter posters who don't have viewpoints that are in agreement with theirs, they will malign them instead of agreeing to disagree. I think some of these posters use the boards for cathartic reasons. If everybody had your terrific attitude, bulavinaka, I think the mods would be twiddling their thumbs for the most part.

                                            But most of the community here is wonderful. It has been a great pleasure getting to know you guys over the years.

                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                              If we might add a small p.s. to a wonderfully thoughtful post it's that not all posts are intended to be read as a squabble. Not all posts are read with the benefit of the doubt and not all posters are given the benefit of the doubt.

                                              In our time on CH we've been taken to task for all sorts of things and truly didn't mean to offer anything more than our comments. We don't go out of our way to be heard, we don't need to be top dog. A community of like minded people still means minds that aren't alike.

                                              We recently learned that there are lists kept by popular CH's who malign other CH's as not worthy of time and energy. That's pretty petty in our book.

                                              We've read many insightful posts over the years but find that topics stray off OP often and for every reason imaginable. It's human nature.

                                              We've shaken our heads a lot given that this site is free and never seems to satisfy everyone for very long.

                                              We've seen irony-all shapes & sizes!

                                              We're visitors, plain and simple. What we've learned from CH is priceless, fun and inconsistent but not all that different from real life.

                                              Hill & J

                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                I try to keep my eyes open for some good guidelines for understanding the world. I currently have three. The second one is that the world is made up of communities. And all communities have the same people in them. The people have different names and different noses, but they are the same. The communities named Police Department, First Church, 2nd Platoon, Ships Company, Workplace, eGullet, or Chowhound all have the same people who behave the same way.

                                                Isn't it interesting that so many of us have posted about the people and their attitudes and behavior and not about the great recipes, helpful discussions, restaurant finds, and food related insights we've gotten. And I've found out about many worthwhile cookbooks and authors on these boards. Maybe that's not so good. They're piling up.

                                                I've also learned from some of the things I post just how off the wall I can be at times. TeeHee

                                                GO STEELERS !!

                                                1. re: yayadave

                                                  Go Steelers, indeed-yayadave!
                                                  We did thank the CH's for the great reads upthread before we joined the CH's that had a few community ideas. Human nature at work.

                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                    After the first dozen or so replies to the OP, most of these threads seem to veer off into uncharted waters. Sometimes those slippery sidebar discussions are where the real action is.

                                            2. re: bulavinaka

                                              Very thoughtfully-written post, bulavinaka.

                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                i've learned that i want to grow up to be more like bulavinaka, miss needle and some other chowhounds. someday i hope to be as gracious, interesting and yet (non-obnoxiously) opinionated.

                                                i've also learned that i as much as i think i know, there's someone out there who knows more than i do -- about everything.

                                                i've learned how to properly store cheese, descale and gut a fish, make kimchi, that omusubi is made out of unseasoned rice, not sushi rice, to never refrigerate a tomato, how to use up way too much leftover herb x, that burritos are authentic in some parts of mexico. and best of all, i've learned how to procrastinate at work while looking so raptly at my screen that people who walk by my office think i'm working.

                                              2. Let's see...

                                                - I'd happily go dining with yayadave or CrazyOne anywhere in Pittsburgh.
                                                - I am routinely humbled by EatNopal's knowledge of Mexican food & culture. Having lived in Mexico for a year I thought I knew a lot. Hah. Showed me.
                                                - Sam F. will eat anything at least once. I'd love to see him throwdown against Zimmern.
                                                - There are a lot of people who call themselves CHs but appear to have no interest in trying new things. Or even trying old things.
                                                - Tastes for certain foods, like pizza - especially pizza - must be influenced by where you grew up. There's no other way to explain the love for Betos. You can't win an argument against them.
                                                - Way too many people drink bad coffee. Or quit drinking coffee because they've only had bad coffee.
                                                - There are a couple of dozen folks whom I'll take recommendations from without question.
                                                - There are a few dozen more who, when giving recommendations, I'll run the other way.
                                                - The majority of people here seem to believe that if it doesn't come piled on a tortilla, it isn't Mexican food.
                                                - A surprising (to me) number of people who talk a good talk frequent Italian chain restaurants. Hopefully that's only because there aren't many other options for a night out in their neighborhood. I personally don't get it, but I'm of the opinon that other than maybe Osso Buco or pizza, is there anything at an Italian chain an average cook can't make better or cheaper at home? Why not go out for Thai or Indian or Hungarian? That stuff takes time and energy and I'm happy to let someone else cook it.
                                                - Some CHers hold guests blameless for their manners regardless how ridiculous the transgression. I call them enablers. Others freak out if just one small thing is not as expected. I call them psychotics.
                                                - I have many new recipes I'm looking forward to trying. Most are from EatNopal.
                                                - I've learned of at least a half dozen places to try in Pittsburgh that I hadn't heard of or heard mixed reviews on.
                                                - Even though nobody has tried every version of something, it doesn't stop most people from proclaming something "the best". Really, how do you know? It would be helpful (and polite) to instead say, "the best I've had".
                                                - I have opinions on food ;-)

                                                All in all, it's been more positive than negative.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Panini Guy

                                                  You hit upon two of the most prolific posters in Chowhound, and they are at two opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of knowledge (one specialist, one culinary decathlete emeritus), temperaments and approaches. A lot can be learned (and has been) from both... Thumbs up to EatNopal and Sam The Man... I kowtow to them everyday...

                                                  1. re: Panini Guy

                                                    Thank you for kind words. It’s funny you would say that, because I often use that as a benchmark when thinking about people. Would I want to have a few drinks with those people? Have dinner? Which co-workers? Another fella and I once went through the NFL coaching ranks discussing which ones we would want to have dinner with and which ones not. It is an interesting and revelatory exercise. After last year’s Super Bowl game, Tom Coughlin praised John Wooden and his book for helping him to be a better coach. That moved him from the minus to the plus side of my register. Not that it matters. It's just my amusement.

                                                  2. Oodles!

                                                    1. CH is a community, and one that I enjoy being a part of.

                                                    2. The community is diverse in terms of eating out, cooking, experience with different foods, and, surprisingly, likes and dislikes.

                                                    3. It is surprising what we get polarized about: tipping, hosting, cell phones, Mexican food (albeit this is EN against the world), authentic, BBQ, ettiquite, omakase, food dangers, storage life, and much more.

                                                    4. How very, very fantastic, enriching, and inspiring some of our experiences have been; and how nicely and memorably many have shared such experiences.

                                                    5. How some of the soap operas (in-laws, those ribs, and so many more) have entertained us all.

                                                    6. How I've gotten to know many of you (or think I do) over time.

                                                    7. How I wonder about what has happened to several people who quit or reduce their posting (C1 are you OK??).

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                      Oh, Sam, bless your heart! Yes, I'm fine. I just live in the part of the world that sometimes seems to be the "last frontier" for the internet. For a very long time there it appeared that smoke signals were by far the more reliable communications means. I have been checking regularly, and for the last two days (knock on wood, and except for a couple of hours this morning when two browsers told me that Chow was down for the count) things seem to be MUCH improved. Suddenly "NEW" conversations are showing up on my screen.... from last May...! So that's why I wasn't around. I was locked in a cyber-closet and couldn't get out.

                                                      To the question! What have I learned from Chow?

                                                      Well, one of the most interesting things I've had seriously underscored, despite "knowing" it already, is that everyone on the planet has their own personal frame of reference, and that as human beings we all tend to assume that "everyone else" shares that frame of reference. The truth appears to be that we are all different (some more than others), but it's the areas where we overlap that build bonds and allow us to enjoy (or despise <g>) one another.

                                                      I've learned that there are some things I have a pretty narrow margin of tolerance for... In general, I dislike "fusion" foods, but ONLY because in the big picture, they seem to, sooner or later, totally displace the originals. I mean, "seared Thai ahi tacos with green apple lingonberry salsa" may be interesting, but does it have to mean I'll never be able to have another taco refrito the rest of my life? Chow has really underscored my own heretofore unrecognized (or un-admitted) intollerance for such food "innovation" and ethnic muddling. Oh, and while I'm at it, let me throw in my pet peeve, "carrot confit," and similar cullinary contradictions. Where do you find carrot fat to confit those little orange suckers?

                                                      I've learned to have great hope for the future of good food and fine dining, because some of the younger people of this world (many of them among us) are searching out new-to-them old-to-my-generation ways to "cook outside the box." (pun intended) YAY...!!!

                                                      And finally, I've learned that it must be hell to be a Chow moderator. No paycheck and a LOT of hassle from me when they delete my posts that I feel should not have been deleted. Hey! If CBS wants to turn a profit from Chow participants, they could have a membership drive like PBS... Donate at a certain level, and you get a "Delete Free" card! But I'd much rather see the Chow "Rules of Relevancy" loosened up a bit. After all, food and eating food are integrated with the fullness of life and is not a narrow, isolating experience like brushing your teeth. I love it when people's expanded food experiences slip through the moderator-filters. Hey, so CBS has to pop for a few bigger storage drives. Think of what they'll be contributing to the world's cultural literacy! '-)

                                                      Oh! And finally, through Chow I have learned that the true culinary genius of Sam Fujisaka comes from his recognition and joy in the true wonder of Sabatier knives...! LOL! So much for bipartisanship. Sam, wanna take on the Wusthof Wusses with flaming marshmallows at 20 feet? Who will stand with us?

                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                        Good to read ya, C1. Gives me the opportunity to say, thank you for the numerous tips preparing eggs a "few" posts ago. Pls. stick around.

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          Thank you! It's a real pleasure to be able to pass on helpful tips to people who love food. As long as CBS keeps the site running like the proverbial well oiled machine, I'm here! '-)

                                                    2. I have learned...
                                                      1. I ever (god forbid) get married, I sure as hell better supply the booze free of charge of course if I plan on inviting any CHers
                                                      2. The proper way to de-bone a rattlesnake
                                                      3. The existence of durian
                                                      4. How to properly pronounce Pho (but I still read it incorrectly with the voice in my head)
                                                      5. The genius of Anthony Bourdain
                                                      6. That there is so much in the world of fine, fine dining of which I know absolutely nothing
                                                      * As an earlier poster mentioned (along with some of my favorite professors), the more I learn, the more aware I become of how little I know!

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: enbell

                                                        Ditto on the durian.

                                                        On the Wine Forum, my mind is repeatedly blown by zin1953. Jason, you're a god!

                                                        1. re: enbell

                                                          Amen! and Ditto. Except with the snake thing. Eeeew. I have learned a lot from the many fine posters on this site.(Glad C1 has jumped aboard again!) I have good images of the many frequent posters in my minds eye just from their various posts. Chow has improved my vocabulary in many ways,(although I still do not know what PHO is). I am always learning new things on the homecooking board like how to make the best meatloaf, margaritas and cheap eats. I have also learned to use the backbutton because most of the time I am out of my league with most. Now I am going to read that Rib thread...thanks for the link iluvtennis!

                                                        2. Re: Home Cooking Site: I love the little stories about where the recipes came from or who in the family always had to have a certain dish on holidays. It touches me when they say that special person is no longer here to cook for and they wish they could share a meal with them again. I really like it that I have a place like this to go to when I have a question about a recipe or technique. Recently, I have been learning how to make homemade pasta. (Not so easy just from a book but CH has been a help!)

                                                          1. I've learned that the standard deviation for jerkness, cluelessness, flakiness,
                                                            inconsideration is apparently a lot larger in magnitude than i thought ...
                                                            from some of the dysfunctional family, in-law, signficant other, lame host,
                                                            horrible guest, jerklike dining patrons stories. i.e. people i thought were
                                                            say +2sd lamers were maybe only say +1.5sd.

                                                            What I havent understood yet is why some of these people continue to
                                                            have social relationships.

                                                            [although going on pickup hiking and camping trips has been
                                                            eye opening in this aspect too.]

                                                            anyway, of course on a positive note, i've found about tons of the obvious
                                                            kinds of things living in a place with an active board [SF]:
                                                            stores i would have driven by, ethnic restos i wouldnt have picked out
                                                            from the crowded field in that category [deem sum] uniq menu items i wouldnt
                                                            have noticed, uniq restos of a certain type [speific region of china or
                                                            latin america], responses to specific inquiries, some amazing food deals
                                                            [$3.50 dinner at Careme 350, DA Cafe late night menu].

                                                            i also find some of the hostility toward yelp interesting

                                                            and some of the hostility toward things which seemed incredibly
                                                            innocuous to me like these person-icons.

                                                            and sociologically there is an interesting amount of "you stand where you sit"
                                                            ... some of that is based on regional expectations [nykers and pizza], or "if only
                                                            you worked in the business" type arguments about issue of debate between
                                                            restuarant staff and patrons.

                                                            there are some other things as well, but elaborating would increase the likelyhood
                                                            of getting this post deleted.

                                                            [note: i pretty much just look at Bay Area restos and Not About Food ... I imagine
                                                            people trading recipies or sub-communities like Aggressive Food Canners
                                                            might have different experiences.]

                                                            oh the other puzzle are the fly-by-night posters who write stuff like
                                                            "looking for a great resto in SF i can take my friend Bob too next
                                                            thursday" ... are these guys dumb [too lame to help themselves get
                                                            reasonable recs, unable to search for a steakhouse or an italian
                                                            resto or god knows what they are looking for] or just inconsiderate?
                                                            [expecting either people to handhold them through iterative
                                                            refinement ... what part of town? what is your budget? rank the
                                                            following criteria A B C D E in importance ... or are they expecting
                                                            people to write them a comprehensive, personalied guide to SF dining]

                                                            i also have some thoughts on the convergence of reasoning about
                                                            awkward situations based on rules of etiquette/manners/
                                                            common sense and intuition of people who seem reasonable
                                                            and sort of formally thinking about the situation with the machinery
                                                            of philosophical inquiry, or economic/legal analysis [w.r.t. to tips,
                                                            the patron-resto "social contract", the host-guest social contract etc] ....
                                                            but that's kind of a highbrow topic for 3:30am.

                                                            ok tnx.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: psb

                                                              These enticing posts and that feeble search engine reduce me to pleading: Would someone be able to offer a link to that famous "brought his own ribs" thread?

                                                              Clearly, there is more to learn than I will ever haul in.

                                                              Thanks for your help!

                                                              1. re: KTFoley

                                                                Check this link...it was one of the ten favorite chowhound posts. http://www.chow.com/stories/10738

                                                                1. re: iluvtennis

                                                                  That's a very funny bunch of threads... And what's ironic is the article's mention on the Apple Pan post. That was my first venture into a deeply heated discussion on a CH topic, and it looks like I was the stick stirring the hornet's nest. The OP Arthur has never forgiven me - he still occasionally comes out of nowhere and broadsides me when given the opportunity. And after rereading the thread, I had to laugh because out of frustration, I realized that I was the one who mentioned,

                                                                  “I guess there’s no convincing each other of our views–I’ll sulk on the counter over a steak burger w/ fries at the Pan…”

                                                                  But what I found to be the far better quote was fellow defender mcmichael's response to my aggravation:

                                                                  "Aw, don't be a thread killer. :)"

                                                                  What a difference a year and half makes... ;)

                                                                  1. re: iluvtennis

                                                                    I love love love the Risotto nazi thread, it was one of my first Chow reads and got me hooked forever.

                                                                    Am reading "Rude Rib Rube" now, hilarious!

                                                                    CH has taught me that there are still a lot of people who not only value good food, but good writing.

                                                                    And what snarky means.

                                                              2. The most important, life-changing thing I've learned so far from Chowhound is how to make perfect rice. Thanks, CH!

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: lisavf

                                                                  I'm in the, "too much to list" camp but what I take away from Chow Hound is that there are a bunch of passionate people all over the world that share my obsession for great food....quite comforting really. Now this "passion" can sometimes get people fired up but I tend to just see it as someone being really excited about the topic and try to not let it get under my skin.
                                                                  Are there posters that annoy me....hell yes and when I read, "You obviously don't" as part of a thread I hit the "shut up" button, (little down arrow thing on my keyboard).
                                                                  I travel a fair amount and Chow Hound has been an amazing resource for finding great food in places I have never been, just got back from Chicago and without Chow Hound I would have never had a Kumar's burger...yum.
                                                                  I also adore the Not About Food and General Chow boards, so many great stories and in many of those I find the true heart of Chow Hounders....example was where OP posted on taking her granddaughter lout to eat, warm story about a little one enjoying ethnic food....many nice posts followed and then BLAM another poster says something like, "You should keep those little kids out of nice restaurants, keep them in the chains and fast food joints"...I knew instantly whose posts and opinions I would be more likely to read again...

                                                                  1. re: bubbles4me

                                                                    I agree! It's too hard to sum up because I'm checking in almost daily and finding something new. And when I'm not reading chowhound it is in the back of my mind as a treat to look forward to. Thank you my fellow chowhounds for that. I probably post more than I should but I haven't been scolded here yet. The written word is very limiting, no tone of voice or body language. For example I heartily agreed with another poster about how awesome a device tv b gone or some such was as it could turn off tvs in public places. But of course I wouldn't really buy one, I was joking. I agree that sometimes people take things a bit too seriously here, I want to hand out the winged slippers so that we all can walk lightly, I need them too, It's all relative. I've lurked on some truly nasty forums and been appalled at how people treat each other. My daily visit to chowhound feels like getting a warm hug!

                                                                2. I have a hazy cognizance of where the blind spots in my range of life's experiences lie. "You don't know what you don't know..." Chowhound has provided a lot of definition to this gap, vis-a-vis what others know that I would like to know, whether in Mexico or in a skillet. It has given me some new rabbits to chase, and cast a broad net of learning challenges appropriate for my life status. If I may borrow and paraphrase a Jack Nicholson line: "Chowhound, you make me want to be a better man."
                                                                  And I have incredible respect for 100 people I am unlikely ever to meet.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                      I learned the hard way, do it NOW. Sam and I never did meet, neither in DC nor Colombia, and it haunts me still. My fault. He invited me to be his houseguest in Colombia several times. Oh, for a do-over.

                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                        How poignant Sam's reply was. I still think of him often, particularly as I'm settling in for dinner. The stars now shine a little brighter because of Sam...

                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                          Fortunately, there are some people in this world we don't have to meet "face to face" in order to be real and true friends. Sam was one of those people. We touched. Many did. He is special.

                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                            I've been missing him anew due to the thread about the the most unusual/strange location that you've eaten. Sam would have enough great stories to fill the thread on his own!

                                                                          2. re: Veggo

                                                                            Well said, Veggo.

                                                                            It's a funny thing about intrepid travelers, you spot 'em a mile away and easy conversation always ensues.

                                                                            <<I learned the hard way, do it NOW>> Words to live by.

                                                                      2. The more I learn, the more I learn how little I know. - Socrates

                                                                        It might be cliche, and since I often take the Greek perspective in my postings, I apologize, but it's who I am, and I connect with my heritage in a big way. This quote honestly shows how I feel about knowledge in general, and this forum is no different.

                                                                        As a result of constantly being here, I do enjoy sounding like an expert about food and restaurants around friends and family, though. Usually at the risk of sounding like a complete food fanatic, of course...

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: madgreek

                                                                          I adore Socrates! He's number one on my list of "If you could invite any three people to dinner, living or dead, who would they be? Hey, not a bad idea for a Chow thread! He was my hero and my example my first night in Athens when we moved to Greece. We went to the Dionysus restaurant across from the Acropolis, and watched the Sol et Lumier show from the patio while we had mezes and ouzo until the late late show was over. When we asked our waiter to get a cab for us to get back to the hotel, he looked at us in shock and said, "There are no cabs running until the soccer game is over!" What time would that be? "Oh, possibly as early as eleven, maybe not until one." So we set out walking. And walking. Until my blisters had blisters and began bleeding. And that's when Socrates came to my rescue by having set the example so very long ago. He ALWAYS went barefoot! So I did too. '-)

                                                                          But my favorite Greek instruction is the one from the old women who sat in the tripod at Delphi... "Know thyself." If you can do that, you've got it made in the shade!

                                                                          And I'm a really happy Greek camper today. Just got home from running errands, and lo and behold,, right here in Plano, Texas, I found a GREAT Greek restaurant called, "Zorba's." (I know. How original.) It's the fourth or fifth "Greek" restaurant I've been to in the area, and unlike the rest, they have real and authentic Greek food. And amazingly, they not only make really good tzatziki using authentic yogurt, but they know how to spell it too...! Opa!

                                                                          (Dear Sweet Chow Mods... PLEASE do not delete this and PLEASE don't move it somewhere else! Okay? Love you!)

                                                                        2. Many many things, but it was great to find a neighborhood of like minded people when it comes to food and cooking. My social circle where I live is pretty much food centric but it has been great to make new friends here. We may not always agree, we are a very opinionated group and are passionate about our beliefs. I've met some great people through CH, one who lived within walking distance I had never met. People we meet when we travel or people coming to Bloomington and we have a chance to meet up. I am grateful for this site and it was a life saver when I was slowly going nuts as a Realtor. Now that I am back in the kitchen and food business and am more sane, I still love you all.

                                                                          1. Ive meet some great people here that i would love to have a meal with. I hope that mentioning a few will not put me at odds with Chowhound central, so hello Sam F, SWsideJIm, Chowser, Father Kitchen, Ruth L, Candy and a few from the Midwest board.

                                                                            That Chowhounds will spend a fortune of kitchen gadgets, expensive cookware and organic ingredients.

                                                                            That my sister is really not that bad of a cook, and I'm not that good.

                                                                            That many people seek a perfect recipe that doesn't exist.

                                                                            That I eat out far less often than most people and what I think is good is unlikely to be seen as the same to others.

                                                                            I had no idea that scratch baking terrifies so many people.

                                                                            That the B+ I received in my English composition course was be very generous, and that I write quite poorly when compared to other forumites. Calling Bill Strunk........

                                                                            1. Well, I've learned many practical things....like where to find a good place to eat in any number of cities where I've traveled. In fact, googling something like "Restaurants in Seattle" is how I found Chowhound in the first place!

                                                                              I've learned that I'm a fussier eater than I thought...and that's ok. There are people here who eat things I'd never dream of touching. OTOH, I've also learned that its ok to be obsessive about certain likes and dislikes...knowing that there's a Chowhound out there makes me feel less guilty every time I loudly insist that there be no mustard on my burger...because I know I'm not the only person who feels that way!

                                                                              I've learned that a love of food is a great way to get to know people and places.

                                                                              1. I just had to bump this thread. I got to thinking of all the things I've learned on Chowhound and said to myself, "I'm sure seen a thread on the somewhere." so I went and searched and found this one.

                                                                                While I learned tons of stuff in this forum, I guess the two most important things I have learned are: (1) Not everybody lives in the United States and (2) not everyone in the United States lives in the same place. These two revelations help me keep my perspective when reading other comments or making my own. As such it serves as a reminder that everyone doesn't eat the same food or have the same background as I do. It would sure make the world a dull place if they did.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                  Picking up on that as one of the board's comparitively few "not an American", I'm fascinated by how fascinated many board users are with the subject of tipping. Questions which arouse frantic debate here would never even be mentioned on a European led board. Even with the various national cultures and approaches to the tip, it's just something that never gets discussed.

                                                                                  I'm also fascinated by those threads where folk post incredibly long lists of food they have never eaten and have no intention of ever eating. And they always seem to be foods that I regularly eat.

                                                                                  On the plus side, the board has helped me find good eats on recent trips to America - something well nigh impossible in pre-internet days.

                                                                                2. I've learned a ton, much of it about food, some about historical customs, and a lot about people.

                                                                                  I first found Chow when I moved to a new city. I poured through my local boards to find out where to eat. It was a fantastic resource for helping me get acclimated to the local food scene and finding great places to eat, as well as the history of food in the area.

                                                                                  I use Chow as my first resource for when I go to a place to visit for work or fun. I've found lots of great restaurants for when I travel.

                                                                                  I've learned that I grew up in an environment where everyone lent a helping hand when it came to preparing meals, etc, and when we gather either at a restaurant or home or reception it is to enjoy the company of friends and family and/or great food and drink--not to worry about who brought what, bitch about if the host is providing free alcohol, or who invited whom.

                                                                                  I've also learned that people exercise a lot of judgement that leads to anger, angst, resentment, etc because people didn't fulfill a certain set of duties with regards to socializing with others.

                                                                                  1. I think of Chowhound as both a resource to learn about food and a window into the lives and thoughts of middle-aged Americans, a group that, as a college kid, I find interesting.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                                                                      "Middle aged?" Ooooohhh... I think I love you! '-)

                                                                                      1. re: lamb_da_calculus

                                                                                        Middle-aged, I will happily own up to. But not American.

                                                                                      2. I learned recently, just yesterday in fact, that some folks do not like alternatives to their own tried and true methods no matter What... and don't butt in where you're not wanted. LOL

                                                                                        1. I cook better, try harder and dig deeper when planning meals & menus because of the amazing cooks here on Chowhound.

                                                                                          I've learned that I have an endless capacity to buy cookbooks...because of the folks I've met here on Chowhound.

                                                                                          We travel and dine smarter because of the passionate diners that share their experiences on the regional boards on Chowhound.

                                                                                          Most of all, I learned of this incredible virtual community of like-minded folks to whom I am eternally grateful for the inspiration, expertise and passion they bring to the table each and every day...no matter where I am in my life or the world.

                                                                                          1. I've met about 60 or so Chowhounds over the years, and every time it has been a delight. The surprising this is: It's not all about the Chow. These folks have so much insight, creativity, smarts, charm, humor, and an inquisitiveness about so many other things as well.