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Chowhound jargon glossary?

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I had to laugh at a recent Boston Magazine take on Chowhound jargon (from this article http://www.bostonmagazine.com/restaur... "Like Smurfs, posters have a fondness for neologisms." Example: "I know it's not very chowish, but I like Big Macs."

Leaving aside the fact that that's a really terrible, misleading example of a typical Chowhound post, I have to ask: Really? We use a lot of neolgisms? How much jargon is specific to this site that might be difficult for first-time visitors? I can think of exactly two:

1) Chowish, adj. True to the spirit of the Chowhound Manifesto, i.e., relentless in the pursuit of delicious food at every level (from the refined to the everyday); open-minded, curious and trailblazing rather than following; and not unduly swayed by self-styled authorities, novelty-crazed trend-followers, industry PR manipulation, or media-generated hype.

2) Hound, n. A Chowhound, someone who posts or lurks on Chowhound at least on a semi-regular basis, perhaps with the connotation that their instincts are chowish.

And that's about all I can think of. We use a few abbreviations and jargon words that are in general use on Internet bulletin boards (e.g., "OP" for "original poster", the user who created the topic, "thread" for a post with multiple responses, etc.). And each regional board has its own set of abbreviations related to geography (e.g., "UES" for the Upper East Side in Manhattan).

But what other jargon words are peculiar to Chowhound? For the smurf of me, I can't smurf of a single smurfin' other smurf.

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  1. Well, "deliciousness" was a word that started here that should be buried here.....IMHO, it ranks right up there with "delish" and "to die for", but now I'm gettng OT, and into my own pet peeves....

    9 Replies
    1. re: galleygirl

      I have to believe that the noun "deliciousness" precedes Chowhound. You might contend that it was beaten to death here (I too loathe "to die for", by the way), but it wasn't coined here.

      1. re: MC Slim JB

        The term chowhound wasn't coined here either.

        1. re: AHan

          I think Jim Leff might be the first to use chowhound as a verb rather than a noun - e.g. let's go chowhounding - to refer to the act of combing through neighbourhoods to uncover new deliciousness.

        2. re: MC Slim JB

          I just have to add, because it always cracks me up. My mother in law always says "Its to die FROM" all the time. I used to reply "Do you mean 'to die FOR?" and she would say "nope, to die from" So after several times I gave up. Now whenever she says it my hubby looks at me with the eyebrow raised, our own inside joke.
          Oh well, not a ringing endorsement to my ears.

        3. re: galleygirl

          Ahem. The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary offers examples of the word "deliciousness" used as early as the 14th century. I don't think you can blame Chowhound for that.

          1. re: Allstonian

            Thanks, Allstonian; I was too lazy to dig out my Compact OED, and I don't subscribe to the online edition.

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Wish I still had free online access - my middle-aged eyes are only barely up to the challenge of that 4-pages-to-a-page layout. (I know that I'm lucky I have the older edition - I believe the newer Compact is 9 to a page.) In any case, I was interested myself to see how far back the word went because I ran across it recently in something else I was reading - can't recall what - and was reminded that Jim Leff did NOT, in fact, coin "deliciousness" on his own.

              1. re: Allstonian

                Well, he flogged it into oblivion....

          2. re: galleygirl

            galleygirl,
            I'm right there with you with the term "delish" YUCK how hard is it to type
            D E L I C I O U S

          3. There was just an amusing misunderstanding on the Homecooking board when someone posted about feeding some sticky rice to her "chowpups", the proper term for young human hounds, and another poster was horrified that she was feeding such good food to her dogs.

            1. DC = dining companion

              There have been occasional threads that have tried to define terms such as "dive" or "wine bar," but that hardly seems like a secret handshake.

              And I have never noticed the word smurf on these boards.

              2 Replies
              1. re: smtucker

                Gee...and here all this time I thought "DC" was "Decided Curmudgeon"

                1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                  Or "Dear Child". Context.

              2. I love it when hounds refer to a mediocre dining experience as "meh"...it is Chowhound jargon that really says it all.

                3 Replies
                1. re: bostongal

                  "Meh" is fairly universal for mediocre - I've seen it on other boards (about other topics) more than I've seen it on here.

                  1. re: bostongal

                    I think "meh" is another term that has and had wide usage outside of Chowhound.

                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      i had to explain "meh" to mr. alka. it made sense to him when i explained that "meh" is a word that sounds like a person's vocalization when they're not impressed with something (oddly, more in response to questions than descriptions, as on chowhound.com) -- an onomatopoeia, to be pedantic.

                  2. UES isn't unique to Chowhound. I'd say most language used here I've seen on many other boards and other places.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: irishnyc

                      Not suggesting those geographic abbreviations are unique to Chowhound, just that they're more likely to be understood by locals. For example, if you're not from Boston or haven't spent much time here as a visitor, you probably won't guess that "Dot" is short for Dorchester, a Boston neighborhood.

                      But this kind of speaks to my larger point: the amount of actual Chowhound neologisms is very small, much smaller than what many casual readers attribute to it. The real issue is that those people aren't very hip to the regionalisms, Internet bulletin board / IM / SMS abbreviations, youth slang, restaurant industry terminology and slang, and other sorts of cant and jargon that get used here but weren't invented here.

                    2. Fry job! Everyone comments on a restaurant's fry job.

                      Crumb... "The pizza crust at Regina's has a nice crumb."

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Prav

                        I could infer what "fry job" means, I guess, but I haven't seen it used routinely here. That could be specific to Chowhound.

                        "Crumb" is a baker's term, definitely not invented here. I'm no baker, but I believe it refers to the density and size of air pockets in the interior of leavened breads.

                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          Yeah, i guess your point does stand - much of the "Chowhound jargon" didn't originate from Chowhound!

                      2. I get confused sometimes when hounds pretend they're their own teenage kids and make up inappropriate txt: "I went to HM with my DC, my DH, who happens to be the DF to our DKs." Sorry, but wtf?

                        17 Replies
                        1. re: almansa

                          Awesome. And yes, I often feel the same way when reading such statements.

                          1. re: pollymerase

                            I recall when planning my wedidng in 1996/7, on wedding newsgroups, seeing "DH" used quite liberally As well as SIL, MIL, etc.) I'd bet that as long as the Internet's been around, people have been using these types of abbreviations, which made sense when you're an active participant of the community, but mean nothing to outsiders.

                            And seeing as how Usenet predated these whippersnapper teens, I think they're the ones who stole them from us!

                            1. re: Chris VR

                              Don't forget SO, for significant other. I think these terms, along with the following, are not unique to CH, but are general internet shorthand -- it just takes so damned long to type out the actual words:

                              ISO: In Search Of. For a long time, I thought it actually meant "I'm so over". duh.
                              IMHO: in my humble opinion
                              OMG: oh my God
                              WTF: if you don't know this one, go ask someone.

                              1. re: PattiCakes

                                I always thought ISO was "I seek out"

                                ....and the more updated version of the OMG is the ZOMG !!!

                                :)

                                1. re: im_nomad

                                  on relationship boards, ISO generally means "in search of"

                              2. re: Chris VR

                                Two more that date to at least the mid 90's are SWMBO and it's counterpart HWMBO, though I can't say I've seen them in use here.

                                1. re: Demented

                                  Hmm. Had to look those up. Somebody owes royalties to John Mortimer (or at least his estate)!

                                2. re: Chris VR

                                  "And seeing as how Usenet predated these whippersnapper teens, I think they're the ones who stole them from us!"

                                  It always amuses me how much of the hip, shiny new, totally invented by kids these days internet/textspeak were things that I was using 20ish years ago.

                              3. re: almansa

                                I'll translate: "I went to ??? with my District of Columbia, my designated hitter, who happens to be the ??? to our Dead Kennedys." Am I dating myself?

                                1. re: almansa

                                  I'm also an anti-abbreviationist (should I be in AA?), but that's really another topic, and one that's been discussed at length elsewhere. I did see a lot of these (DH in particular) on Chowhound for the first time, but that probably says more about my lack of experience with other food boards than Chow-specific jargon.

                                  1. re: BobB

                                    One never really loses the urge to use abbreviations, but Abbreviators Anonymous can help you abstain from abbreviating, one day at a time. You start by *never* referring to it as AA.

                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                      good one, mc slim jb.

                                  2. re: almansa

                                    Some of that actually comes from message boards on AOL related to families. No one wanted to state the names of their family members so they used those abbreviations. The D stands for Dear - expansion of DH, DW, DF, DS, DD, DKs is left as an exercise for the reader.
                                    Everytime I see DH, I think Dumb Hunk....
                                    But definitely not Chowinese.

                                    1. re: 512window

                                      When I see DB, I certainly don't think "dear brother."

                                      1. re: almansa

                                        What DO you think?

                                        1. re: globalgourmand

                                          My DB is my Drinking Buddy!

                                      2. re: 512window

                                        I remember at least some of these abbreviations being used on BBS's, years before the www, the internet or AOL.

                                    2. I think that idiosyncrasies in how things are described and posting obscure information with the assumption that everyone knows it are far more common than actual chowhound terminology. For terminology the one thing which comes to mind is "porky goodness" which I associate with YumYum and Gini (I have seen it used on other boards, but thought it originated with a chowdown??). Idiosyncrasies run the gamet of abbreviations, FOH and line terminology :-), hebrew and other language snippets, and speaking of food spiritually (including references to wicca, buddisim, etc). The latter part occurs most glaringly with the referring to local bartenders and chefs by name, plus a few front of house personnel (this often by people who do not personally know the involved chefs). A lot of regulars also assume a lot of familiarity with regional cusines, but even regular posters can be tripped up by "border style mexican" references. I think the latter can be useful as an educational, particularly when more detail is provided such as this particular case where the review of Maria Bonita provided information. Referring to chefs by name in a lot of cases draws away from reviews -- for instance with Something Savory a lot of reviews talk about Johnny's this and that, or make references to past dishes at Green Street, but don't introduce the food to newcomers.

                                      Its not chowhound specific, but some things get discussed in geekish terms which are second nature to many, but not all chowhounders. "The measure of porky goodness..."

                                      New chowhounds seem to think that newspaper-like reviews are common, witness the people that join from time to time and post excerpts from their blog for everyone to see their flowerly language and the many restaurants they have tried. This folks miss the beauty which is a well written post, such as those from limster which can be both educational and beautifully descriptive at the same time. I think that is what chowhounds strive for, not being amateur restaurant reviewers like a lot of print media labels us as -- "wannabe xxx."

                                      Lastly the moderators definitely influence discourse around here. I understand where they come from, but a lot of regular posters have to skirt around saying things we would offer up in a normal discussion. Plus when they remove posts, often for a good reason, it leaves holes in a thread that only people that saw it before it was changed. It can be particularly frustrating if you write something and its removed because of someone else's reference (and they apparently don't have the tools to leave innocent linked posts in place).

                                      1. Well, certainly not uncommon elsewhere, but I learned "passive aggressive" and "price point" on CH. I still use "hostile" and "cost' or "price" however.

                                        1. "Resy" and "recco" aren't exclusive to Chowhound, but they pop up here more than they should, which is never.

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: small h

                                            So - I'll play. What IS "Resy" and "Recco"?? I also saw a "Cauli" used but the way the chef described it was bizarre (pan fry, bake and THEN puree!?!) . . . So What is "Cauli" that you would torture to that extent??

                                            1. re: JerryMe

                                              Assuming you're serious: reservation recommendation cauliflower

                                              1. re: JerryMe

                                                I'll attempt a guess...
                                                Resy=reservation
                                                Recco=reccomendation
                                                Cauli=cauliflower?

                                                1. re: JerryMe

                                                  er.... cauliflower.....

                                                  And actually the abreviated term for restaurant is "resto" and the abreviated term for recommendation is "reco".

                                                  These abreviations are nothing more then a chance to shorten the typing time.

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    Yes, "resto" = restaurant, and I don't much care for that either. But "resy" = reservation, as above posters have noted. I disagree slightly about abbreviations being only about saving time. They're also about creating a code that's understood by a select group, setting up a distinction between insiders, who get it, and outsiders, who don't.

                                                    1. re: small h

                                                      Yes, I don't much care for the ressy/recto/reco abreviations too. And I suppose yiou might be right about the insider/outsider thing. But really, there's no excuse for not understanding something one sees in a post anywhere when there are so many ways to find out what it means. Doesn't mean one has to use acronyms/abreviations oneself.

                                                      One reference is an Internet Acronym Dictionary (IAD)....(~_^)
                                                      Here's a good one:
                                                      http://www.gaarde.org/acronyms/?lookup=D

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        Oh, I understand the shorthand. I just think it's stupid. And a lot of it reads like babytalk, making it hard to take the author seriously.

                                                        1. re: small h

                                                          sh...
                                                          I didn't mean that you, personally, didn't understand. I meant anyone in general.... others, as it were.

                                                  2. re: JerryMe

                                                    Cauli - isn't that where Sam F is currently exiled?... making his reccos off the resy.

                                                    1. re: fresnohotspot

                                                      Yup. Cauli, Caulimbiua. I get to provide few reccos BSFPCHOAFAR (because so few people come here or ask for a recco for a resto and if they need a resi).

                                                2. Chowcentric (chow-centric alt. spelling) and Chow-worthy are certainly two spin off words that I have only seen on CH.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                    I called someone who helped me with tips "chowfriend" after I had posted a follow-up question from a few days back and received an answer soon after to clarify. I suppose that could be construed as Smurfish, but oh, well! I meant it in a friendly, food-loving, food-appreciating way.

                                                  2. While the idea o chowing-down on something certainly is not unique to Chowhound, an organized chowdown is, no?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: enbell

                                                      in my experience, an organized chowdown was known as a family reunion. ;-).

                                                    2. So far I have Chowhound, Hound, and chowish (all with connotations of people, venues, or dishes that align with Leff's Manifesto), and chowdown (meaning a dining-out meetup organized on the board). These are the only ones that seem commonly used, actually originated here, and potentially confusing to the uninitiated. Four terms.

                                                      The general construction chow-[noun], as in chowpup, chowkid, chowfriend, etc., affectionately meaning some [noun] one chows with, is more smurfish, I guess, but it is far less widely used. (I've never used one in thousands of postings.) And their meanings aren't really hard to glean from context.

                                                      Everything else I've seen actually originated somewhere else, including DC.

                                                      25 Replies
                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                        Just not true Slim. We used the term chow hound and chowdown in high school 30 years ago.

                                                        1. re: AHan

                                                          Yes, but the words as used here have specific connotations that did not exist then. But it's a useful distinction to make: the only actual *coinage*, i.e., true neologism, might be "chowish".

                                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                            If there was a lot of use of chowcentric and chow-worthy before Chowhound I can't recall seeing it. I'm not saying there wasn't, but those two terms have certainly been popularized by the posters on this site.

                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                              I agree that those are widely-used enough synonyms for "chowish". Six words.

                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                I don't disagree, but the fact that you are seeing it on this site is not empiracal evidence that it wasn't used before this site. It's circular logic.

                                                              2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                Actually, our useage was fairly similar. Granted we didn't have access to Jim Leff's bloated egocentric diatribe on what distinguished a "Chowhound" from a foodie (many disagree with his premise on many levels, by the way), but the principle was there. We weren't talking about late night runs to Store 24 for Coke and Circus Peanuts.

                                                                1. re: AHan

                                                                  Kind of an odd, hostile thing to say about Leff.

                                                                  I don't always agree with him; he's got some idiosyncratic ideas (like, for instance, that scalloped potatoes are an abomination that destroys the essence of their potato-ness, or somesuch). He can come across as kind of a dick sometimes, in the way that many monomaniacal people do. But that monomania led him to create Chowhound, for which I will always be grateful.

                                                                  I've heard the argument that the distinction between a foodie and a Chowhound is a bit divisive, tribal even, but I think I understand what he was getting at. I know a lot of people who call themselves foodies that aren't really open-minded or adventurous at all, who think going to the latest expensive It Place within a few weeks of its opening means they have a more elevated appreciation of food than most people. That superficial, trend-lemming sort of food appreciation is what he was targeting, I think.

                                                                  What do you consider egocentric about his definition of a Chowhound?

                                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                    Only that he feels he is so all-knowing as to be able to make these decisive definitions and expect people to assume their truths. It really is not for him to say that someone who defines themselves as either a foodie or chowhound doesn't fit into the little boxes which make up his perception.
                                                                    I've had numerous dialogs with Jim, could back up much of this with specifics, and point out some blatant mistruths , but it would really be inappropriate here. Suffice to say, I do not buy into his definiton. I appreciate that he did create all of this, even with all of the flaws and overmoderation, but I tend to disagree with him on many points.

                                                                    1. re: AHan

                                                                      "It really is not for him (Jim Leff) to say that someone who defines themselves as either a foodie or chowhound doesn't fit into the little boxes which make up his perception."

                                                                      Of course it is. Just as much as it is yours to say that it's not true. People will read what Jim has to say and what you have to say, and then they'll make up their own minds to believe something totally different than what either of you has to say. lol

                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                        Well, it is egomaniacal to define people according to your own rules. I'm not defining anyone, I actually think there is a lot less of a distinction that Leff is dictating in his definition.

                                                                        1. re: AHan

                                                                          You gotta remember that Jim was trying to build this site when a lot of this chowhound - foodie stuff was formulated. Jim was trying to gain readers and notice for Chowhound as an entity on the web, and one way to do that was to create a little "controversy" or "tension" between those who liked food but didn't see themselves as something (a "foodie") that may be a little too "upper crusty" in order to help market the site.

                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                            Yes, I do remember, but it still doesn't make the hypothesis correct. It's a little too "my clique is cooler than your clique" to be taken seriously.
                                                                            I like the site, love talking about food and tangentially food related (or not) topics. Like most, I don't always agree with everything, or feel a camaraderie with all. Regardless, this is at least a loosely defined community, and the Chowhound'/foodie distinction is not truly helpful and is certainly not accurate. After all, why post your reviews here unless you at least subconciously want people to follow your lead -- isn't that what the foodies are defined as here, and what is ultimately tring to be discouraged in the Leff manifesto?

                                                                            1. re: AHan

                                                                              Correct or not, it was a marketing ploy. Appealing to the "common man" as it were to take part in wide ranging discussions of food in all its glorious forms. Pretty damn successfully as it turned out. So the idea of drawing such a distinction, debatable as it may be, was a good one. And Jim has hardly hurt anyone with this idea. You can call me a chowhound, you can call me a foodie, just don't call me late for dinner.

                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                I think you completely miss the point, so we will just have to agree to disagree.

                                                                                1. re: AHan

                                                                                  I just don't see the dictatorial bent in Leff that you do. You make it sound like he kicks people off the site if they don't match his standards of Houndishness (there, another neologism!), which I frankly don't see happening.

                                                                                  Leff offers a distinction by which Hounds can recognize a set of common, admirable traits in each other (which I think limster captured more nicely than I did). It's not about being "cooler", but it does recognize a certain exceptionalism in Chowhounds: independent thinking, obsessiveness about finding great food that leads them to go the extra mile for it, an open mind and catholic tastes. (No jokes about the use of the term "dogma" here either, please.)

                                                                                  That's not the same as cliquishness, which to me suggests an arbitrary exclusion of others almost for its own sake. I think Chowhound is much more inclusive and welcoming than that: you can be a foodie here and the mods aren't going to excise your posts.

                                                                                  Maybe it's just your tone, but you seem to hold a little personal enmity toward Leff that colors your perception of him and his manifesto. I just don't see the site's ethos as the hidebound, self-anointed-infallible-leader's dogma that you make it out to be.

                                                                      2. re: AHan

                                                                        It's a very common misconception that Jim was trying to categorize or define people. As often discussed in the past, "foodie" and "chowhound" are just convenient shorthands and labels used as a writing device to tell people to go find their own deliciousness by thinking and eating critically, rather than blindly accepting what is listed by guide books and other "authority" figures. It's delicious because one tasted it and found it delicious, rather than because some guide book or food critic said so.

                                                                        I'm not here to defend anyone, but I do want to be sure that there are no misconceptions about the ethos of the board.

                                                              3. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                OK MC Slim JB. Your use of "Hound" and "Chowhound" as a person in the OP and discussed in your reply above and by the posters here differs from Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia "Chowhound" is just the web page and we posters on this site are nothing more than "food fanatics.” A foodie , on the other hand, "is a particular class of aficionado of food ..." Chew on that for a whle.

                                                                Chowhound “ is a food discussion board … known for its user base of food fanatics.”
                                                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chowhound

                                                                Foodie is “a particular class of aficionado of food and drink.”
                                                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foodie

                                                                1. re: JeetJet

                                                                  Well, Wikipedia is only as good as as whoever has put the information up there (or edits it).

                                                                  Merriam-Webster's definitions of both words is more in line with what a lot of people think as the differentiator:

                                                                  Main Entry: chow·hound
                                                                  Date: 1917
                                                                  Definition: one fond of eating

                                                                  However, their definition of foodie?

                                                                  Main Entry: food·ie
                                                                  Date: 1982
                                                                  Definition: a person having an avid interest in the latest food fads

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    Linda, did you leave out something -- something painful?

                                                                    Definition of chowhound from Webster's New World Dictionary;
                                                                    “a person who eats large quantities of food or is fond of eating; glutton or gourmand”
                                                                    http://www.yourdictionary.com/chowhound

                                                                    This definition sound to me like the Wikpedia Choundhound link above -- “food fanatic.” Recently I made a post on this Board ( removed today by the “Team”) with the lead title word “Foodism” and listed there a glossary for comparative studies of Foodism with other “religions.” Under the word “Fanatic” I wrote, “Spends non-eating time, and sometimes even when eating, reading and writing religiously about food on the internet.” Maybe a “Chowhound” person is someone who not only loves good food like the Wikipedia version of a "Foodie" but also spends time researching online where to find that good food. But even with that added language it seems like a “food fanatic" to me. The truth sometimes hurts (the "F" word -- Fanatic) and maybe that is why the Team removed my post.

                                                                    From this site, “A Chowhound is someone who spends nearly every waking moment planning her or his next meal.” That sounds like a Food Fanatic to me. Hello, “My name is JeetJet and I am a Food Fanatic.” And proud of it!

                                                                    1. re: JeetJet

                                                                      No - I didn't leave anything out, as that was all that was listed at M-W.

                                                                      1. re: JeetJet

                                                                        Yeah - but you seem to be missing the important differentiation, which is the idea of following fads as applied to foodie but NOT to chowhounds, regardless of how fanatic they are.

                                                                        Of COURSE, we're fanatics. I wouldn't have it any other way!

                                                                        1. re: applehome

                                                                          But this "we" clearly does not apply to everyone who uses Chowhound, else there would be no posts asking about "trendy" restaurants.

                                                                          1. re: applehome

                                                                            In a nut shell,
                                                                            Chowhound is a Food Fanatic
                                                                            Foodie is a Fad Food Fanatic

                                                                            1. re: JeetJet

                                                                              I would disagree in that I'm sure most food writers and food professionals outside of the restaurant industry would have referred to themselves, if asked, as foodies. I think foodies are suspicious of food fads. I'm a foodie, I'm a chowhound, and I am also neither. I think many hounds are as interested in the latest trends or hottest spots as anyone else.

                                                                              Wait - this just hit me. Hounds are fanatical about eating food, whereas foodies are fanatical about food in general. Hounds are rabid while foodies are nerds.

                                                                              1. re: almansa

                                                                                almansa, come over to the home cooking board and say that! ;-).

                                                                  2. I still don't know what ISO means. I'm sure someone will enlighten me.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: nolanani

                                                                      Or perhaps if you go in search of the answer it will come to you.

                                                                      1. re: nolanani

                                                                        IHU & IKWYM. IHA also and think they are a PITA. JTLYK there is help ahead.

                                                                        ISO and so much more.
                                                                        http://www.netlingo.com/acronyms.php

                                                                        HAND.

                                                                        1. re: nolanani

                                                                          In Search Of, for crying out loud!

                                                                        2. In response to the OP, IMHO this whole thread is pretty silly. i do have to say that i agree that posters on here "have a fondness for neologisms" that is equally silly. i didn't take this as chowhound has it's own vocabulary with its own dictionary however if there were just one neologism, then it would have been incorrect to add the 's' on the end of the word.
                                                                          the article as i read it was not really an attack on us who post here but more to give background information to who the "critics" were, professional or not.

                                                                          1. My personal fave here, that you don't see on other boards often is MTAoFC. Took me a while to figure out THAT one!! ;) Adam

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: adamshoe

                                                                              Anyone who uses "MTAoFC" probably hasn't. And it probably should be "MtAoFC".

                                                                              1. re: adamshoe

                                                                                Oh I disagree. I've seen it used on multiple chef blogs. (Of course, we could have started it.) The one I wish we'd start using is OFAC:TSALOTK by HM. Nahh... never mind - it was harder to type the acronym.

                                                                                1. re: applehome

                                                                                  Quite true. "McGee" is faster and clearer.

                                                                                  But this underscores my point about acronym usage being evil - I own both these books and still had to google the first one to figure out what it meant.

                                                                                  Acronym usage is pure arrogant selfishness - it saves the writer two seconds but consumes who knows how much time on the part of who knows how many readers trying to figure out what the heck was meant.

                                                                              2. I've been promoting my own - not that I'm proud of it, but my kids have begun to describe things as "wicked sick," and that gets pretty hard to hear after about once. So this will probably get them beaten up someday, but I'm trying to have them say "splendicious." I'm sure it will never catch on, I kinda like it in a really dorky sort of way.

                                                                                About the Chowhound vs. foodie thing, I simply don't buy it. Nobody posts to a site about food but foodies. Sorry. Granted Chowhound San Francisco is way more foodie-oriented than Chowhound Boston where there is a 30 post thread on Hooters, but San Francisco is a more open minded and progressive food community than Boston.

                                                                                60 Replies
                                                                                1. re: almansa

                                                                                  I dunno, I still like the distinction between Chowhound and foodie. It's worth noting that that's strictly an internal one in my mind: I would never say, "Oh, I'm not a foodie, I'm a Chowhound, which means blah blah blah...." Likewise, I would never say "I'm a foodie" for the same reason; besides being pretentious, it implies some sort of elevated sensibility that many people who style themselves thus haven't earned in my mind. That club is too easy to join. True amateurs, i.e., people that are interested in something purely for the love ot it, rather than for what they think it says about them, etc., don't sport labels advertising their passions; their passions are so apparent they speak for themselves.

                                                                                  The useful distinction that Leff was getting at (to my mind) is that foodies just don't work hard enough at finding good food: they're too lazy, too wiling to be led. Everyone, I think it's fair to say, loves good food. Chowhounds go further in its pursuit, cast a wider net, and have a more personal compass than others, to an extent that faintly irks or amuses their friends and families. If you don't get your significant other's eyes rolling once in a while about your latest suggestion on where to dine (because of the travel, the risk, the parking hassles, the weirdness involved, etc.), you're not trying hard enough.

                                                                                  And at 75 responses, I am more firmly convinced that the amount of newspeak actually invented here is rather tinier than the Boston Magazine article suggests.

                                                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                    Glad you're willing to drink the Kool-aid. Not for me. I still see it as artificial, and your (Leff's) clinical definitions don't hold water in the real world. For example, I love baseball, truly love it and have a passion for it as much as for food. I call myself a baseball fan. Perhaps someone somewhere has decided to label baseball afficionados as something entirely different, and claims those who refer to themselves as baseball fans are not truly passionate, yet I AM passionate and I DO call myself a baseball fan. Why is this any different than a passioate food-lover calling HIMSELF a foodie? And what of those who call themselves Chowhounds, as many do? Shouldn't THAT speak for itself? Your argument is weak.
                                                                                    As a food reviewer, however, you do rely on those you consider to be "only" foodies moreso than those you define as Chowhounds. Isn't that ironic?

                                                                                    1. re: AHan

                                                                                      Did you read limster's post above? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5941... I think he pretty much nails the why for coining the term "chowhound" and what the difference is between the two terms.

                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                        Yes, read the post, and I have been around here for many years. I am well aware of how this site is trying to distinguish the two--my point, echoed by many over the years, is that the very premise is just plain wrong. the definition of "foodie", necessary to distinguish a "chowhound" in htis context, is simply wrong. Chowhounds are foodies. There are those who may consider themselves one or the other, or even both. Maybe they are justified in their assessment, maybe not, but it is not for us to decide if they get to belong to the club. Besides, there is nothing wrong with "sporting labels advertising [your] passions", it is how human beings communicate.

                                                                                      2. re: AHan

                                                                                        Again, I'm not sure I quite understand your argumentative tone. But as I said, the distinction remains a useful one in my mind for a certain kind of exceptionalism I associate with many posters here, even though I never speak the two terms aloud. Labels are less interesting to me than character.

                                                                                        But I am curious about one of your comments: in what sense do I "rely on foodies"?

                                                                                        1. re: AHan

                                                                                          AHan i couldn't agree more.. i like the baseball analogy. the whole thing is silly, chowhound/foodie. who cares? i like to eat. i'm not a "hound" and i'm no "foodie" does that mean i can't have an opinion? anything that goes against the masses here is often refuted angrily by the "pack of hounds" and the leaders. not very "chowish" if you ask me... silly

                                                                                          1. re: cockscomb

                                                                                            Agreed. Thanks cockscomb. I see the heavy-handed moderation continues as several posts have disappeared.

                                                                                            Slim, do you really not see how a restaurant reviewer relies on foodies for his living? You call followers foodies, then publish reviews on restaurants, basically leading the followers. It is the ultimate irony.

                                                                                            1. re: AHan

                                                                                              I think the "Chowhound pack mentality" ideas is bollocks. I think the exact opposite is true: Chowhounds are an inherently cantankerous, independent bunch, not followers. No one will contest your right to hold that idea, of course, but it seems strangely disconnected with what I see going on, at least on the Boston board where I spend most of my time.

                                                                                              I think I see your point about foodies, but again must disagree. I imagine that most people who read my professional reviews don't identify themselves as "foodies", nor as people who "follow" me. They're just readers. For example, I imagine many of them read my stuff in the Boston Phoenix every week without even registering my byline.

                                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                "Chowhound Pack Mentality" Ha, ha. Good one MC Slim. It brings to mind Jim Leff's writing more than once on this site about the utter futility of the attempt to "herd cats" when trying to get hounds to agree to anything.

                                                                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                  i wholeheartedly disagree... it's not bollocks. as much as some may not want to believe that others are "following" them, i don't find that entirely true. i agree with and admire your opinion slim on a lot of things to which i have given you credit.
                                                                                                  i do see more people following the lead on here as opposed to independent thinking. let me qualify that by saying again, there are more people on here (not all) that follow the lead. i have been attacked for certain comments on here that go against the common opinion. i.e. in another thread, i stated that i didn't find troquet to be quite the place that most on here do. that's a fair opinion to have. i am not a boston "hound" and though i have settled in boston recently, i have found that it's becoming increasingly difficult to comment (on the boston board) when people get so defensive and cantankerous (of which you slim, assured me you were not in another post yet above state that "chowhounds are inherently"). it seems as though there are a few in my camp, and those who are equally bashed (AHan) for stating an opinion that is not like everyone else. not very "chowish" now is it???

                                                                                                  1. re: cockscomb

                                                                                                    First off, let me defend your right not to love Troquet or any other number of places that have a cluster of adherents on the Boston board, and conversely to love a place that has vocal haters. But I think there's a very important distinction to be made between "has a lot of fans/anti-fans" and "reflects a herd mentality."

                                                                                                    You or I may express a strongly-held opinion about a restaurant. Active Chowhounds jump in: "I agree strongly, you rule!", or "You're full of it, where do you get off?" Often the scale tips one way or another; opinions are rarely split evenly. And yet I almost never see a place that is roundly praised or panned without exception.

                                                                                                    One opinion I've seen voiced with some frequency lately is that Boston Chowhounds tend to cluster the same way, with opinions, yea or nay, coalescing in lockstep. I don't see it now, and haven't ever seen it in the five or six years I've hung around here. There are a handful of what I'd call "pet restaurants", places loved for some special excellence, and perhaps loved extremely from a feeling that they're unfairly overlooked outside of Chowhound. Angela's Cafe in Eastie comes to mind on this score, though eventually it got wider recognition, thanks in no small part to its vocal Chowhound partisans.

                                                                                                    But as a rule, I think most opinions basically reflect each poster's latest experience or few experiences at the restaurant, never mind what the tide of opinion happens to be saying at the moment. There's a lot of *qualified* praise and *qualified* criticism. Almost everyone recognizes that kitchens and servers have off days, that the first few months of a new restaurant are a rough sketch of what it may become, and that sometimes serendipity yields a transporting dinner experience beyond what the restaurant is typically capable of delivering. The average Chowhound has been around the restaurant block, has followed a lot of restaurant tips in vain, has learned to have a certain skepticism about other people's opinions.

                                                                                                    That's exactly where the value of this board comes in. As a longtime habitue here, I have come to recognize certain individuals whose opinions, after I've read hundreds of them over time, I know I can largely trust. That's because we love certain of the same restaurants deeply, or they know more about some specialty (say, Taiwanese food) than I ever will, or we share a deep loathing for a certain place for the same reasons.

                                                                                                    That doesn't make them 100% reliable, and their trustworthiness floats over time, but in my mind their word is still more valuable than any aggregate Zagat or Yelp or other blind score, because I know something about their sensibilities.

                                                                                                    The downside of Chowhound is that to get the most out of it, you have to pay attention over time. But the fact is that there's an invisible trust model at work, largely on a one-to-one basis between many, many individual endpoints. That's a far cry, in fact diametrically opposite, from this notion I've heard advanced lately of followers and leaders.

                                                                                                    If you see me and (oh, let's say for grins) Harp00n expressing similar opinions over time, it doesn't mean that he follows me or vice versa, but it is entirely possible that we have found a common sensibility, led each other to different places the other hadn't tried before, and tend to express shared opinions about certain places. Agree always? Hardly. Know other Hounds that agree with Harp00n and disagree with me and vice versa on a particular place? Absolutely. Is there a flocking mentality at work there? Hell, no.

                                                                                                    The reality is more complicated, and grownups ought to be suspicious of any theory about Chowhounds that boils the opinions of a big, public, diverse group of people down to a handful of simplistic dichotomies. The more time you spend reading the board, the more you realize that those kind of generalizations are hooey.

                                                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                      slim, well thought out and one of the more diplomatic, yet sensible commentary on the "hounds". for instance, i have found limster to be a reliable source for a range of different foods. hotoynoodle calls it like it is and as well has a wonderful sense of wat is good/bad and ugly in the wine world. AHan has made some very interesting comments on this thread that i tend to agree with. just a few.
                                                                                                      i guess what i really take issue with is that weather it's Har00n, who you reference or some others, they tend to get their knickers in a twist when something said does not go with what you or some of the others like or dislike... i can't actually say that they "follow" you or others, it just comes off as cultish or a "don't bring that into our 'hood" attitude comes across when a comment is made. i don't protest to be a know it all or a "foodie" or a "chowhound" or someone with worldly knowledge, i'm just someone who likes to eat. does that put me in the "not valid category"?

                                                                                                      1. re: cockscomb

                                                                                                        I think if you're playing in the spirit of the site, the only not-valid opinion is one that disrespects the opinions of others who take the trouble to post here. Encompassing the enormous range of diversity of opinions demands a certain civility of tone to work, and not everyone is always on their best behavior. Some just don't understand the rules, and some just have bad online manners, but most figure out or are taught the boundaries pretty quickly.

                                                                                                        The mods step in (mostly with admirable restraint, I think) when someone gets a little too heated, becomes more interested in proving someone else's views "wrong" or "weak" than simply expressing a contrary opinion and respectfully disagreeing, or flat-out engages in ad hominem attacks. Some folks can be pretty dense on this point; I've seen plenty of posters who repeatedly try to post bomb-tossing, overly nasty views that are mainly about attacking people they disagree with, and can't understand why their stuff keeps getting deleted. They usually storm off to rant on some largely unmoderated board like CitySearch.

                                                                                                        At times, otherwise-rational posters get carried away and fire off something less than polite in a heated, fatigued or drunken moment (I've had more than one of my posts deleted that way).

                                                                                                        I think if you feel like you're being ganged up on, something I felt sometimes in my early days here, the trick is to just prevail, stick to your guns, and keep on posting. Folks might be testing your sincerity, or wondering if maybe you're a shill or a cuckoo ax-grinder, or simply probing your views and not realizing that their tact isn't all it could be. You will fill in a recognizable portrait of yourself over time as you add more dots, building more credibility and trust as your point of view and sensibility becomes more clear.

                                                                                                        But between the sincerity of most people who come here out of a genuine desire to share tips and revel in a shared passion about food, and a diligent crew of moderators weeding out the folks who are just a little too mean-spirited to fit in, I think it mostly works. Cue Mr. Spock showing off his IDIC medal.

                                                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                          i guess the tone of my message did sound more like a wah-wah, i want to be part of the club, than my intention was.

                                                                                                          i appreciate your mentorship. i was really aiming at the fact that the boston board more than any other, or any other food related site, is comprised largely of those who amongst other things are quick to do those things such as "test (my sincerity)" or just take aim at those they deem don't belong. it's borderline laughable... i don't feel as though i am being ganged up on... frankly, if some disrespects my opinion, i welcome it as a healthy debate whereas i find a lot of others are simply too closed-minded, misguided and unable to accept the other point of view. i have no desire to puff out my big massive culinary chest, i'm not looking for acceptance, i'm looking for others who have the curiosity and desire to find the best of what is available in our city and not rely on the easy, the stayed, and the tired. who is doing something good, unique, well representive of it's origin and worth the loot at any price point?
                                                                                                          yes i know we are in unfavorable economic times... i don't need to hear that anymore. do i look at my budget when making my decision on where to eat, absolutely. but when i look on here to find something different and the same conversation pops up over and over again about the prices are too high is tiresome. the notion that it is ok to criticize a place because it serves a 35 dollar entree discounting every other variable, is assanine. i have found a lot of great advice on chowhound... i have found some new little favorite places i would have never come across had it not been for looking on here.
                                                                                                          i'm not looking to build a resume or build more credibility. i want the good stuff. i don't want to sift through all the ego stroking and pontificating and cantankerous behavior when i'm simply looking to find a good place to enjoy myself. i wish there were more of a live format for this sort of discussion. i have a feeling some people wouldn't be as quick to throw daggers or antagonize as they so easily do on here. it's pretty funny though.
                                                                                                          i've recently checked out some of the other boards and found more often than not, reasonably fun and interesting banter. and when posing a contrary opinion, the discussion is welcomed. must be a new england thing .
                                                                                                          and oh, Harp00n, i know this because i too am from the good ole USA. new england in fact. pardon the cock

                                                                                                          1. re: cockscomb

                                                                                                            Here's the thing, though. You can't decide what other people put forth on this site. You say you want the good stuff but you don't want to sort through what you perceive as the bad stuff. You then go on to call other people's opinions and posts "tiresome", "pontificating", "cantankerous" and "assinine". Many of your posts come off like you are trying to pick a fight. Now, whether that's cause or effect, I don't know, but if you feel the net result is that people aren't accepting your opinions, perhaps it's because you're not accepting theirs unless they agree with you, and people are reacting to your tone. We all disagree with each other on some point or other. It's fine to express how our opinions differ. What's not OK is to treat other people's opinions as if they are worth less than yours.

                                                                                                            1. re: Chris VR

                                                                                                              ChrisVr... you are a prime suspect. please provide me examples of where i am trying to pick fights.
                                                                                                              i feel as though i act quite the opposite for the most part
                                                                                                              examples:
                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/595538
                                                                                                              i actually say here "yeah, i definitely see that side as well"

                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/589953
                                                                                                              great... glad you enjoyed it. good to see that there was a different point of view than mine. i agree, it is fun to see how a high end kitchen is run for sure

                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/591684
                                                                                                              "9lives... fair analogy to be poked in the eye"

                                                                                                              all examples where i have taken other peoples points. but thank you for proving my point chris vr.

                                                                                                              how do i treat peoples opinions like they are worth less than mine. i'm sorry you perceive me that way. by no means is that my intention. do i have a different opinion than some, absolutley. and it's my "chow" given right to.
                                                                                                              i encourage you to help me be perceived better here

                                                                                                              1. re: cockscomb

                                                                                                                I'm not sure what you mean by I'm a prime suspect- sounds ominous.

                                                                                                                Look, I'm not going to play gotcha here. If you feel that you're treating others respectfully and helpfully, then nothing I say is going to change that. But I'd suggest that if you feel that the words "tiresome", "pontificating", "cantankerous" and "assinine" describe the other posters you're interacting with, you're never going to really enjoy this community. So then it's up to you to decide if you still feel you get enough valuable info from this website to make it worth overlooking the posters and tips you don't like.

                                                                                                                1. re: Chris VR

                                                                                                                  "not going to play gotcha" or lack of sufficient information to back up the "Many of your posts come off like you are trying to pick a fight" statement. doesn't really seem fair to make that kind of accusation without providing me instances in which i do so. that's the antagonizing and cantankerous behavior that i refer to.

                                                                                                                  1. re: cockscomb

                                                                                                                    I don't think it's beneficial to the site to have a line by line debate of any poster's posts. We're all here to talk about food, not about each other. As BobB said, it's hard to convey tone in a written discussion, so taking an extra minute or two to choose our words carefully benefits everybody.

                                                                                                                2. re: cockscomb

                                                                                                                  OK, here's an example: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/592390

                                                                                                                  You were pretty quick to start ranting at me because you misunderstood something I had suggested - or maybe you didn't misunderstand, but simply disagreed. Either way your tone was quite aggressive, using terms like "pretty lame" and "overall pathetic."

                                                                                                                  This is a text-only medium. What we write can be perceived as harsher than we intend because it is not mitigated by tone of voice or facial expressions, so it behooves us to take a little extra care to keep things cordial.

                                                                                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                    i wouldn't call it a rant... i found it wrong to suggest that one may get a gift certificate from a restaurant for complaining. the suggestion sounded slimy so i stated my opinion. when other hounds decided to pile on in an argumentative fashion, i retorted hastily. regretfully now.
                                                                                                                    i still stand by my original comment and the way i responded as i read it. people need to see the other side of it.
                                                                                                                    we all make mistakes however for the most part my commentary is not representative of that one post. clearly i have stirred something in both of you though. so where i have admitted to joining in cantankerously, i'm not going to change my opinions

                                                                                                                    1. re: cockscomb

                                                                                                                      Ah, so now we've added slimy to lame and pathetic. ;-)

                                                                                                                      Seriously cockscomb, do you not see how your choice of words comes across as off-puttingly aggressive? I am interested in hearing your opinions, but I do wish you'd pause before pushing Post and consider the tone of your message, not just the content.

                                                                                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                        i said the original suggestion sounded slimy so i pointed it out. it's my opinion that an attempt to complain in order to receive something for free is just that. you won't change that.
                                                                                                                        i then go on to say that we all make mistakes. i'm sorry that you took this as me jabbing you again. that was not the intent bobb.

                                                                                                                        1. re: cockscomb

                                                                                                                          Don't worry, I'm not taking it personally, especially as what you find "slimy" is not what I was suggesting in the first place.

                                                                                                                          But I do think that, as Chris VR suggests, your vocabulary is getting in the way of your message. Food for thought.

                                                                                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                            Food for thought that no one can provide the line-by-line examples you require because so many of them have been removed by the mods...

                                                                                                  2. re: AHan

                                                                                                    which illustriuos publication does one slim write for by the way?

                                                                                                    1. re: cockscomb

                                                                                                      In recent years, I have contributed to Boston's Weekly Dig, Boston Magazine, the Boston Phoenix, Stuff Magazine, local cocktail blog drinkboston.com, Denveater.com, and the local websites of some national restaurant-review sites (without byline).

                                                                                                2. re: AHan

                                                                                                  So why don't you refer to yourself as a "baseballie"?

                                                                                                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                    barmy come on now... that's as silly as the rest

                                                                                                    1. re: cockscomb

                                                                                                      Just pointing out that his point of comparison doesn't work: if being interested in food and being interested in baseball are equivalent, why not call himself a "baseballie"? It sounds just as juvenile and frivolous as "foodie" does, after all.

                                                                                                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                        why any adult would refer to themselves using any "ie" is goofy and childish. i think AHan was making the point that he is a baseball fan, NOT a baseballie.

                                                                                                        1. re: cockscomb

                                                                                                          I can only return to his original post:

                                                                                                          "I AM passionate and I DO call myself a baseball fan. Why is this any different than a passioate food-lover calling HIMSELF a foodie?"

                                                                                                          His words, not mine.

                                                                                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                            Maybe that would make him a fanny?

                                                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                              may i write ROTFLMAO in response to servorg's post without incurring the wrath of khan?

                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                I have read "the wrath of khan" here before. By using that phrase here are you refering to some action that miight be taken upon your post by the Team ("Team" is a euphemism for the Official Chowhound Censor Board)?

                                                                                                                1. re: JeetJet

                                                                                                                  Technically speaking, suffering the wrath of Khan means being marooned in the center of a dead planet. The Chowhound equivalent is having your post deleted. Not so far apart, in retrospect.

                                                                                                            2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                              You win the war of the actual words Barmy , congratulations...
                                                                                                              either way its stupid. and really, would anyone call themselves a baseballie?? it's a matter of terms. any or all of us can choose to refer to oneself in any way. i choose not to distinguish myself with either of the clowny terms. however, those who choose to shouldn't be separated, it's ultimately one in the same. if someone doesn't know anything about this site refers to themself as a foodie, are they not aloud to be in your cool "chowhound" club?? it's sophmoric.

                                                                                                              1. re: cockscomb

                                                                                                                Since this is a food / chow discussion site words are important. When Jim started Chowhound he identified a niche that was under served in terms of talking about food. People do self identify - even if they haven't put a label on it.

                                                                                                                When you are able to tap into an area in which enough people identify, but can't easily find an outlet to discuss those feelings, and which also turn out to exist in others just like them, then you have a "recipe" for a successful dish.

                                                                                                                That dish became Chowhound. And, because Jim never "excluded" anyone, whether they wanted to be in the Chowhound "club" or not, there has been a general influx of people here who like the discussion, even if they aren't interested in referring to themselves as foodies, or chowhounds or what have you.

                                                                                                                So I would say that the idea and the term behind Chowhound was not sophomoric at all. It was actually quite brilliant. YMM (and obviously does)V, but you and everyone else are welcome here none the less.

                                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                  I completely agree and you said it well. Everyone is welcome, I'm sure that's why AHan keeps coming back. But everyone being welcome doesn't mean that there aren't differences - in fact, that's what keeps us going around and around. There are differences in tastes, differences in how important food is to each of us at this point of time. There are differences in the quality of information.

                                                                                                                  I also consider myself a baseball fan. But I'm not the fan I used to be. When I was a kid, I memorized baseball cards and stats, I scored all the games I listened to on the little transistor radio my dad bought me. You could have asked me Tony C's current numbers and I would have instantly told them to you, along with Yaz and the rest of his teammates. Not only the current ones, mind you, but the finishing stats for the last 3 years. I kept up with more than the Sox - I knew the Yanks and a whole list of big name players around the league - so I would discuss trades with a lot of knowledge at my fingertips. The fact that I don't do that any more tells you that I probably have better things to do these days (including chasing deliciousness), but I'll be the first to admit that I'm no longer as much of a fan as I once was. I rely on the newspapers and on-line sources to tell me what they think about trades. I simply do not put the time into fandom as I once did. I am a fan now, but I was certainly a more dedicated fan then.

                                                                                                                  If a person who likes to eat good food wants to rely on other people's opinions - to get quick ratings from critics and known sources - to not have to research not only reviews, but the lore and culture of all kinds of food, the backgrounds of chefs, the details behind what makes a particular dish what it is - does that make this person like food less? Is his viewpoint any less important to others than those of a person who likes to do all that and keeps on top of great places and great dishes? The answer is that it depends on what you're looking for. If you want the same level of information that this person is offering, then this person is a fine source. If you want a good place for Americanized burb sushi and someone offers a Chinese restaurant, then you have the answer you sought.

                                                                                                                  But for me, the answer is, generally, that I need a more qualified source. Just like I want to talk to the real baseball fanatic when looking for inside information, I want to talk to the real food fan when talking about food. I don't want someone that can repeat the latest Globe or Boston Magazine review or recipe. I need more information, presented to me by people who have crunched the magazine numbers in a mind full of all kinds of data and viewpoints, gathered through their own experience and analytical thinking. To me, differentiating between the person who reads me articles and one who provides some real value added analysis and understanding is what Chowhound is all about. I know I can talk to people who are analytical, who have researched lore and history, who are truly as interested in great food as I am, not just in a quick reference (is this place good?).

                                                                                                                  Labels are just for convenience. If we all agree that Foodie means one thing and Chowhound another, then we can use that as shorthand. More important is what the terms are shorthand for. They're for differentiating the type of person that understands food one layer deep - perhaps in an empirical way - ask this question, get the answer I need, go eat, versus others that understand food in many more layers. Does that mean that the one layer deep person is a worse food fan? Well - who cares - this isn't about judging others, it's simply about creating a community with the people you want to talk to. The good news is that nobody is excluded here, no matter what their current understanding of food. People are especially welcomed if they show that they have even an inkling of desire to learn. Heck, we even answer those "what's a good place to eat?" posts.

                                                                                                                2. re: cockscomb

                                                                                                                  Actually, I have never used either word to describe myself. Personally, I prefer a term I first heard from my Aunt Loretta, and later from Calvin Trillin: big hungry boy.

                                                                                                                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                    "I don't care what you call me, just don't call me late for supper"

                                                                                                            3. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                              Let me pick a reason... how about becasue "baseballie" isn't a word in the English language, whereas foodie is. Why call myself a chowhound when the vast majority of the population that may care about food or be interested in my personal passion for food could relate to the word foodie and would have absolutely no idea what a chowhound is? Sorry, but chowhound is the frivolous term, unless you know the secret handshake.

                                                                                                              1. re: AHan

                                                                                                                But "foodie" only became an accepted word in the English language (in 1982) because of frequent usage, whereas "chowhound" had its etymology 60+ years earlier. So perhaps foodie is the frivolous term.

                                                                                                                And if people start using the term "baseballie" as a term for a fan of baseball, that word could enter the English lexicon with as much ease as "foodie" seems to have done.

                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  Yes Linda, which only goes to prove my point. The "Manifesto" simply takes two already existing words, and changes the definitions of both. No wonder there is constant debate.
                                                                                                                  The redefinition of Chowhound from the a priori definition does not benefit from trying to redfine foodie. Foodie was already a widely used term that most people already understand to mean what Jim tried to define a Chowhound as.

                                                                                                                  1. re: AHan

                                                                                                                    AHan, we shall have to agree to disagree. I don't see any redefinition of the word "chowhound", whereas you do.

                                                                                                                    I always thought of a foodie as someone who had to go to the latest "it" place, regardless of whether it was any good or not, whereas you think the term foodie defines someone who enjoys good food.

                                                                                                                    Different strokes.

                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      Well Linda, that is Jim's definition of foodie. Nobody thought of it that way before he redefined it. I see the word as more all encompassing, and would include those who call themselves chowhounds as a subset.
                                                                                                                      Disagree we must.

                                                                                                                      1. re: AHan

                                                                                                                        I'm sorry, but I thought exactly this way about he word "foodie" long before Chowhound.com ever existed. Perhaps it's just because of my age and social background, but I have always thought of the term "foodie" as a subset/spinoff of the word "yuppie": one devoted to trendiness and conspicuous consumption in terms of food and cookery. (As LindaWhit points out, the words are roughly contemporaneous in their coinage.) Saying "nobody" had that derogatory definition of foodie before Jim Leff gives him far too much credit. You may not have those connotations to the word. Others, including myself, do. Neither of us is correct or incorrect.

                                                                                                                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                          I will agree with you that being a "foodie" is a particularly bourgeois pursuit, much like being a scholar or patron of the arts. But we can't all help what we find interesting, and for me, food - all things about food, from its place in history to reconstructing the unnecessarily deconstructed caesar salad - gets my juices flowing. That would make me a foodie.

                                                                                                                          1. re: almansa

                                                                                                                            Haha...I Iike that you said "being a scholar or patron of the arts" -- not arty or artsy.

                                                                                                                2. re: AHan

                                                                                                                  How do you think words get added to languages? Foodie wasn't a word, and then it became one. (And, as LindaWhit points out, it became one very recently, much more recently than "chowhound" did.) So if "foodie" is an acceptable, non-frivolous, non-silly word for a devoted fan of food, why not call yourself a "baseballie" as well?

                                                                                                                  Pitchers and catchers report today: if we work at it, we could get this into the lexicon by the All-Star break!

                                                                                                                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                    You start the baseballie movement. If it catches on I'll think about it. Meanwhile I prefer to use words people normally understand.

                                                                                                                    Some teams report today, many reported yesterday. If you were a baseballie you would know that. : )

                                                                                                                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                      Exactly; that's how "fan' came in to common usage, remember, it is actually short for "fanatic"...."Baseball fanatic", or, in my adolescent equivalent, "hockey nut", seem more telling than 'baseballie'....

                                                                                                                    2. re: AHan

                                                                                                                      It's not about labels. To summarise the "manifesto:"

                                                                                                                      1. Think critically for yourself. (i.e. it's not delicious because a guidebook/critic/someone/hype says so, it's delicious because you tasted it and considered it delicious.)
                                                                                                                      2. Discover new delicious things to eat on your own. (Create information, rather than just follow information.)

                                                                                                                      It's a different and separate issue from how much one is passionate about food - that's the WHY - why one wants to eat delicious food. This is about the HOW - given one's passion for delicious food, how does one go about finding and eating it.

                                                                                                                      It's fine to debate over what all these labels mean, where they come from, how to use them etc. But those labels are merely a tool to convey the above message. Once the message is conveyed, the labels are useless, and hanging on to them won't help anyone find something new and delicious.

                                                                                                                      1. re: limster

                                                                                                                        Amen!

                                                                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                          omfg...

                                                                                                                          1. re: almansa

                                                                                                                            Hmm, why am I suddenly having an urge to try sakuraniku?

                                                                                                                            1. re: Chris VR

                                                                                                                              Horse meat sushi? Sounds intriguing...

                                                                                                                              1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                Well clearly something has to be done with this big 'ol dead horse here. :-)

                                                                                                                                1. re: Chris VR

                                                                                                                                  ah, the dead horse graveyard, my friend.......
                                                                                                                                  as i'll sometimes say to my sister, we've got a *field* of dead horses out here!
                                                                                                                                  ;-).

                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                    Chris, Bob, alkapal -- I love your chowish winddown, very classy!