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A Chow Fan But May Not Fit In ... Outcast???


This is sort of a strange post and it may get pulled. Apologies is I am out of line with this. I try hard to follow.

I'm a simple Mom, I work 50+, single, raise a kid, take care of my house, also have a consulting business from home .... and try to cook healthy every night. I love CHOW, and many on here have excellent and very informative comments and suggestions and I love joining in.

I am single, take shortcuts and sometimes I have ideas that use quick cooking ideas, shortcuts, pre made or store bought items. A couple of times I have wrote this in my blog and been told "not to, not in those words but basically that." I also made a point of saying this was not gourmet and simply a shortcut and being a working mom this was a easy short cut to get to a great result. Well the chow hound thought it was cheap and I shouldn't of posted it. CHOW is not just for gourmets but the millions of those who watch Rachel Ray, Guy, Bobby and Tyler and want to learn to cook. Us normal average every day american that deal with 50 hour work days, kids, football, ballet or you name it and get home at 8 o clock and what to do. Still healthy and fresh. A 1 hour sauce or marinade doesn't work so ... entertain me. Why Rachel and all these others or so popular. I love short cuts and use them a lot. But also love the old fashion way when time permits.

So ... why rag on us every day cooks and moms who chime in and try to let people know that not every one has money or time to cook like Julia ... we need every little bit of help we get. Don't undermine our style our or suggestions ... I was a head chef and I do know how to cook ... I also know how to make kraft mac and cheese when needed. Not my first choice, but I have ...

Maybe I am just hoping for those who are sensitive to this and understand I just want some to believe we may like the shortcuts ... but we can cook too and looking for support any out there like me?

  1. I've got 2 kids, and they by no means picky eaters, but yeah, sometimes corners are cut in the preparation of meals to get them fed and keep them happy. I'm not a trained chef, so I don't know when I'm committing a rule of cuisine. And sometimes we like a box of mac, a can of cream of mushroom and a can of tuna, pour into a casserole and bake.
    I don't think anyone should apologize for being busy and still making an effort to cook for their family.

    1. k!!! love ya babe

      One of my favorite recipes that I got off homecooking is a shortcut recipe. Tortellini soup made with Swanson's chicken broth, pre-made fresh cheese tortellini and spinach. 15 mins and filling and relatively healthy. I have made that soup countless times when I get home from work, want something hot and don't want to spend a lot of time cooking.

      Not gourmet? Who cares!! I appreciate the person that posted that recipe and I've shared it with my sis and friends.

      So, stick around. I always read your posts.

      2 Replies
      1. re: janetms383

        Thx, I love gourmet and try to make what I call easy or simple gourmet... still the best but make it easy. we work and have crazy schedules and I just don't want to be critiized for giving a comment that is just sensible ... I cook as is .. sometimes just whatever I have.

        Thank you

        1. re: janetms383

          Thx love it. I do recipes like that all he time. Hey we all work and have busy lives. Who have 2 hours to make gourmet every night not me ... I get home at 6 and dinner in 20 ... yeah.. Thanks for sharing

        2. K, I guess I'm in the same camp as you, because I'm a "reality" cook - I make what fits my schedule, budget, and craving at the time that I'm cooking. I'm a great cook and have made some fabulous dishes, but there's nothing wrong with subbing in little Easy Mac or watching Guy and Tyler. I love cooking and entertaining for friends and family, but never will I trap myself in the kitchen where I can't spend time with them and be part of the party, either.

          I've read a lot of what I'd consider really snobby attitudes on this board, but then also come across some really refreshing folks. I just try to steer clear of some, and engage with those who are like-minded.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Suzy Q

            OMG What a nice refressing talk ... thank you... you I feel the same... I love average cooking ... love gourmet too... hate snobby. We need to keep in touch. So nice to meet you

            1. re: Suzy Q

              Snobby & pretentious!!!!

              I understand that some people have a passion for cooking. I can cook, but I don't have a passion for it. I guess that's my reality and I'll take all the shortcuts and tips you guys can give me.

              1. re: janetms383

                Me too ... me too.

                I love gourmet and I do have a passion ... but can do it when time permits but why not when the time is right?

            2. I'm relatively new here at Chow. I don't post much, but do when I have something to put into the mix. I thought this was a place to share and get ideas? I don't think in my many months of reading that I've seen too many from this site that haven't taken a short cut or two...

              I love reading your posts and have gotten ideas from quite a few of them... ;)

              1 Reply
              1. re: CadienBelle

                Thank you you can always go to my pic and get my email, not supopsed to post it here ... ls have a log site listed as well ... but I would be be glad to post anything here but I love for people to contact me

              2. I have been on Chow for a few years but definitely did the new kid thing where I just read and never posted, yeah just sucking up all the knowledge without saying hello. I have recently started posting but still rarely compared to all the threads I read. I think as with any community there will be varying opinions and if one doesn't like something unless attacked it is best to shrug it off, because hey someone not wanting/liking/disagreeing your tip is fine, hopefully it is useful to someone else. I personally have read quite a few of your posts over the last few weeks and have found that your contributions are always detailed and you seem eager to participate and relish sharing your knowledge and that is what a shared community like this is for. Online communities are a like it or lump it type of situation in my mind if you enjoy participating then continue and don't worry about feeling your timesavers are not classy enough to someone, as I have seen plenty of people thank you for your recipes. Can't please everyone.

                11 Replies
                1. re: kayEx

                  Thx for the nice response. I hope I can contribute. I am a good chef, but I'm also a single mom. To me food is about enjoying time with friends and family. I don't mine chicken and rice with campbells soup, but if I had time it would be entirely from scratch. I eat fast food, but I love to make the best eggs benedict. So I appreciate those who like me ... don't always have time, and my broth may be store bought. But appreciate the fresh stock I make when time permits. I don't worry about disagreements ... it is what makes a good board. I just appreciate those who appreciate my viewpoint as well as the more true culinary die hard.

                  It started when I review posts regarding equipment ... Most would shudder with mine. I do have a few good pieces, but ... I have pans from target, walmart, from my mom and I love everyone. I guess I like to say that I think the cook makes the food ... not the equipment. You shouldn't need a 100 pan when a 20 pan works as good. I have one 10 years old ... so 1 ever day 10 years. So in 50 years ... I will have gone through 5 pans for the price of one when they work just as good. Just can't justify it. However, sometimes a quality issue is important. I just want to appeal to those who love food and are looking for cook sound tips, but also want to improve and gain knowledge and go the next step to a great culinary learning experience. But are maybe a bit more practical and sometimes have to be.

                  Anyways I appreciate the comment, thank you.

                  1. re: kchurchill5

                    My pots and pans either came from Costco or from the Lodge Factory Outlet and are seconds. They all work great. Especially since my Costco, Kirkland brand set is made by All Clad anyway.


                    1. re: Davwud

                      My cast iron is grandmas, I love it. I think it is seasoned by now ... I do have al clad, also 1 emeril, also target and walmart, and not sure of the others. a few stainless. A mix. Stainless, non stick, cast iron, a variety ... I love them all. Thx for sharing

                      1. re: Davwud

                        really? How does one verify this?
                        kchurchill, you are great. lots of people suck. My cousin gave up on chowhound because she would go into fits every time she read a post where someone would ask a question about how others like to use "sauce x in a jar" and some asshole would reply "why wouldn't you just make your own?" there are hundreds of these posts. When people are passionate about something, they tend to become asses about it. My cousin just happened to be more passionate about people than about food. I could take or leave humans. It's all a choice. But good for you for voicing what you did.

                        1. re: toutefrite

                          They look very much like the ones that AC made at the time and the Kirkland logo on the bottom is almost exactly the same. I don't know for certain but it's just about as close to it as possible. I'm not sure if they're still doing it. I did try to confirm and was told that many of the manufacturers that supply Kirkland don't want to be identified. For obvious reasons.


                          1. re: Davwud

                            Kirkland pans not made by All-Clad and never have been. Made offshore(used to be Korea, probably China now) but designed to be comparable to All Clad.

                            1. re: ziggylu

                              Pretty good knock off then. Either way, at the price they were and the quality, I'd do it again in a heart beat.


                              1. re: Davwud

                                We stayed at a friend's vacation home last week and she has them. I liked them alot.

                      2. re: kchurchill5

                        I'm with you on the equipment. I always recommend Target for pots and pans. I went through a knife stage, but still rely on my almost 40 year old worn Sabatier and a KitchenAide Santoku from target for $17.

                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          Thanks, I do have some good quality knifes, pots and pans and some cheap. I have a variety. I'm not saying quality is bad, I just am trying to be realistic for a lot of those out there that can't afford it. My Mr. Coffee is 12 years plus and going strong. Makes great coffee with fresh grinds every morning. My friend just spent 200 on one. Mine was 12 or 15 ... Her coffee was good, mine was better, LOL

                          I guess me on chow ... I like to talk to those who maybe aren't as knowledgable or food savey but want advice. I love Rachel, Guy, Aaron, Giada, Paula, etc., it may not be top gourmet and I may not agree with their recipes at times, but love the concept ... but most of all, I love that they have reached the American public and got them interested in cooking. Same for me. Single, Mom, working, chef and just trying to enjoy cooking and entertaining with friends. At times, some of the comments make me feel below other chow hounders ... not you, and I don't appreciate that. I just want even the simple NON- gourmet type get listened too as all.

                          But thanks for your comment. I have a Kitchen Aide too. Love it!! My kitchen is so eclectic I even have 2 old copper pots from great aunt ... It is soo fun to use them. I have a soup in one copper kettle right now.

                          Beef, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, onions, fennel, lots of herbs, beef stock (yes homemade), red peppers, pearl onions, carrots, green peppers, mushrooms, almost like a stew but some very warm spices, cumin, cinnimon, allspice, and lots of swiss chard, etc.

                        2. re: kchurchill5

                          Among the stuff I've cooked, some of the best were on a no-name wok whose origins are not entirely known.

                      3. Do what you like to do.

                        Do what you enjoy doing.

                        Do what makes you happy.

                        Life is too short otherwise.

                        Plus, individuality is what makes Chowhound so interesting and vibrant.


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          That was so nicely stated, I just wanted to let you know. I'll drink to that! :)

                        2. No one can l live your life for you. That's your job and yours alone, and it sounds like you're doing a great job! A meal is not just about food. It's also about sharing, having time with those who join you at the table, a time to relish what you have and to feel some well deserved joy in the fact that you're making things work. Drop the guilt over there in the waste basket, look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself a big grin for a job well done! And just for the record, some really great classic sauces only take about two minutes to make. If it tastes good, eat it! '-)

                          1. First and foremost, you're the one cooking. If you like, who cares what other think??
                            Secondly, there can be a little too much condemnation of people who don't gourmet it up all the time or visit the occasional chain. I've always said, good food is where you find it or in this case, where you make it.

                            So don't sweat what others are saying. You can't please everyone.

                            I will also add that sometimes I just don't feel like cooking or just don't have an idea for something and will just wing it with what I have laying around. A few weeks ago that was frozen veggies (Broccoli, cauliflower, peas, etc.) in Alfredo sauce mixed with two of the Liptons Sidekicks (Alfredo flavour of some sort) and a couple cans of tuna. Grated some parm on it for serving. Was it the greatest food I ever made?? No, certainly not. Did it hit the spot?? Absolutely. Mrs. Sippi liked it and so did I. I would have no qualms with doing it again.
                            If it makes me an outcast, well this wouldn't be the first place I'd outcast from.


                            1. It's funny to read this. I've been working on, even obsessing over, this very issue. I think the way we home cook is primed for a revolution. The axes of quick/labored, healthy/decadent, and skilled/novice need unification, and we really need to escape the mindset that limitations of skill, ingredients, time, effort, diet, or ambition require the least sacrifice of deliciousness. They totally don't.

                              Chowhound put out the notion, radical at the time, that deliciousness is a lifestyle, rather than something to be enjoyed Saturday nights in shiny restaurants by people who otherwise eat soulless crap. Deliciousness is deliciousness: a superbly crafted banana milkshake is every bit as worthy as a fancy Bordeaux. Chowhound urged people to use their resourcefulness and their passion to ignore convention and to go out and find, support, and evangelize the good guys....and to make every occasion a special occasion. It was a new way to look at eating out.

                              Home cooking needs a similar revolution. I think I have a solution, though I'm working out ways to articulate it (it's mostly intuitive at this point).


                              14 Replies
                              1. re: Jim Leff

                                So true so true ... Mac and cheese can be as great with simple shredded "orange" cheese and a box of elbow with the evaporated milk and salt and pepper as to 4 cheese organic cheese with fresh pasta and organic milk.

                                If I had to serve frozen pizza and velveeta with rotel and chips. My friends wouldnt care and neither would I. I it friends and time well enjoyed, the food is just another part.

                                I love chow and love similar blogs and sites but not everyone can eat organic every night or less afford it. And some just don't have time. A good meal can be simple and nothing fancy. I do enjoy eating good and think I do a lot. I had roasted split cornish came hens the other night. Easy quick and still very elegant. Roasted fennel and sweet potatoes and a greated grilled romaine salad. Not gourmet, not average, but the night before ... hot dogs and chili, and loved every bite ... sauerkraut too. Heaven.

                                I read a couple of reviews of people who went to the White Castle Valentines Dinner ... if you didn't here they offered reservations only, A rose on the table, burgers, fries and soda ... nothing more. Oh yeah, they offered a brownie and ice cream for desert. A few review said it was the best valentines ever ... Proves that dinner isn't everything, company and the thought behind it. Some of the people it was their first date ... I think it was sweet.

                                Keep me updated on your quest too.

                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                  My parents' first date was White Castle 35 or so years ago. Until my father's health became an issue, my parents owned a restaurant and my mom was by reputation the best cook around. And she never has or ever will hesitate to take a short-cut. And neither do I. I love to eat and cook, but I have youngsters. They like to help in the kitchen, but I don't have the patience to create intricate dishes with my little helpers. And taking a 2 year old to a nice restaurant is never worth it, regardless of how good the food is. So, no, I'm not cooking my way through the French Laundry cookbook. I'd love to read it, if I only had the time and was willing to spend the money on something for myself. Looks like it's "Science Experiments you can Eat" for me. Maybe French Laundry's in my more distant future (both the book and the restaurant).

                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                    I empathize with you, k-- but I have a slightly different take.

                                    I walk to work and cook almost every night. I buy ingredients on my walk home, because rather than stockpiling, I like to buy ingredients fresh (usually organic, when available).

                                    My work day is 9-5 (7 hours), never any overtime (I work at a labor union). But here's the thing... I don't make a lot of money. I break even every month... sometimes go into my savings. Occasionally I do a seasonal freelance gig which boosts my savings back up a bit. I don't live a lifestyle of high consumption... we don't even have cable TV or a land line phone.

                                    I've definitely made sacrifices in order to live this lifestyle. I don't own a home. I don't have kids (some wouldn't necessarily call that a sacrifice...) My wife is a student and works part time. I could choose to work a second job.in order to earn more money to pay for a house. My wife could quit school and work full time or in the evenings. But we've made the decision that the domestic stuff is of higher priority than the career stuff. For me, it is very personally satisfying to know that when I come from from work at 5:30 or 6:00, that our home, hearth and hearts are all well cared for. (In case you're wondering, I do nearly all the cooking). The only shortcut I generally take is that I don't always have chicken stock on hand or in the freezer, so I use Swanson's free range organic. It's pretty good. But I always prefer to make my own, with organic local chickens, which I get from the farmers market... and really, once I make a big vat of the stuff and freeze it in ice cube trays, it lasts me for a month or two, so there's really no reason why I should even be taking the Swanson's shortcut except for laziness on my part.

                                    I know that our lifestyle decisions not a very popular choice in our modern manic culture, but it does allow us to live a simpler lifestyle in which food becomes the center of our evenings together and I wouldn't trade it for the world!!

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                      I respect your decisions. My SO and I both work at home, so we have time to walk to markets and cook, but our son has had to grow up living in a much smaller house than 95% of his friends, in a less fancy neighborhood (horrors!). Once in a while he complains about the crappy house, but I think he benefits from seeing us puttering around in the afternoons, gardening, cooking, being happy.

                                      1. re: Glencora

                                        Exactly... like everything in life, it's about the choices we make which structure our world. A slower paced, food and family centered life is a choice that requires saying NO to a hell of a lot of things which our culture consideres a requirement.

                                        My wife and I spent several months in some very poor countries in Southeast Asia, and it gave us a great perspective on how much we actually "need" in this life. The reality is that our cable-less, land line-less, big house-less life is so far beyond the lifestyle of many of the world's people, it's really hard for us to complain about, well, anything.

                                        Mr Taster

                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                          Excellent. That's the attitude that would have kept us out of this economic mess we're in to being with. And, when you come down to it, for me, a loaf of fresh baked bread out of the oven ( and the fun of making it), which I had today, far surpasses the joy of dealing with a big house.

                                  2. re: Jim Leff

                                    Love to talk more if every interested. My email is on my profile, not supposed to leave it here, Just about ideas. You seem to be on the same page. I think I won't get in trouble for this post.

                                    Thx, Kim

                                    1. re: kchurchill5


                                      I have been around here awhile and it can get intimidating. I have some great recipes that I use that incorporate lipton recipe secrets mix, lipton soup mix, Hidden Valley ranch mix, and liquid smoke! I have even post a few, but find myself shying away because of all of the people who are in the league of "why would you use a onion soup mix when you could just use onions?" Well, it's there and it's easy! Fresh garlic vs garlic powder - depends. My husbands favorite meal is, and don't tell anyone this please, is Hamburger Helper Beef Pasta. Well I have been making it for him for years but I add some rosemary, thyme, dill, chives, onion powder, garlic powder, and at the end I swirl in a couple teaspoons of sour cream. (Don't let him know - he is VERY picky.) Then it tastes really good, and I put shredded parmesan on mine, and he doesn't. We are both satisfied. But mention Hamburger Helper and I would be tossed in the trash. Mention a recipe from Taste of Home and you are dismissed, even though they have some nice, quick, tasty dishes. Same goes for Rachael Ray. So, don't feel like an outcast. I am right there with you! But the bottom line is, if it ends up tasting good, who cares if it took you 2 days to accomplish or 20 minutes? It's good food!


                                        1. re: danhole

                                          Thx, nice to know I'm not alone. I respect great food but stock home made or store bought broth ... I don't really care if it is done and on the table, :)

                                          I won't tell your secrete:)

                                        2. re: kchurchill5

                                          A reply from the Alpha Hound is always a good thing, kchurchill. :-)

                                          And like you - I *LOVE* to cook, but I don't always do it with homemade ingredients. A good store-bought chicken stock works for me if I haven't had time to make some in my crockpot. Sometimes, scrambled eggs for dinner works as well. Spaghetti with a quick doctored jarred sauce? No problem.

                                          As danhole said above, I've also got recipes that use cream of mushroom soup (a ground beef "Beef Stroganoff" comes to mind), Lipton's Recipe Secrets dry soup mix (great to use on roasting chicken!), bottled salad dressing, or whatever. It's no biggie to me. I make what I want to make because I want to make it. I don't always have the time or inclination to finely dice veggies - opening a bag of frozen mixed veggies and tossing them into a stir-fry works at times.

                                          Getting home from work, sometimes it's just "I want something good to eat, and yet I don't feel like spending the time doing the prep work." So I go with the easier shortcuts. I like taking weekends and doing the "long process" cooking - things that take time to prep, stir, simmer, braise, oven-roast, whatever.

                                          Cook what you and your family loves. That's all that counts. Join in on the "gourmet" discussions when you want. It's all good.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            Much appreciated, we all try don't we, frozen or quick is better than Whoppers to me ... We do the best we can.

                                            and love the challenge when time fits.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              Yep, I'm with LindaWhit... "I make what I want to make because I want to make it". My favorite meal of the year is my Grandma's Christmas morning meal... sausage balls with bisquick, cheesy potatoes with cream of chicken soup, and "dirty rice" with beef bouillion. I have no patience for the food snob attitude sometimes... that's when I usually rebel and eat at Pizza Hut, or something!

                                          2. re: Jim Leff

                                            Well hello to everyone and please do not get the wrong idea with a name like Bermuda Gourmet Goddess...I do like gourmet but I also use short cuts when needed. And hello love a good old fashion canned chicken noodle Soup with a American sliced grilled cheese.

                                            But to me gourmet is not just about food, it's about so much more. To me it's about taking advantage of every opportunity that life throws at you...some examples: If you get sushi take out, get some cheap sushi dishes (if you don't all ready have them) and use them...if you get chinese take out ..again, take the food out of the containers and use chopsticks to eat, drink your morning juice out a wine glass. Take you shoes off and walk in the grass or stomp in a puddle..when was the last time anyone colored with crayons?

                                            Dance when no one is looking, dance when they are, dance while brushing your teeth, turn your car stero up loud and sing out loud and make sure the windows are DOWN! (that is my favorite and I do it all the time!) Stuff like that is what also what "gourmet" mean to me and why I use it in my name!

                                            As I always say, have fun with what you want to do, YOU ONLY HAVE ONE LIFE...LIVE IT WELL!

                                          3. Who's raggin' on ya? Gimme their names. I'll kick their ass.

                                            Actually, fuggeddaboutit! All good home cooks - who have a life - do a combo of "gourmet" and junk. Depends on the situation. As to fellow hounds, the vast majority are always nice and thoughtful; many are funny; but some few others are funny, but not funny ha ha.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                              Agree, like the informational responses, some can be no so funny and almost rude, but not much bothers me I just respect those who understand us normal stressed working parents like tonight for instance.

                                              No food .. I was going to the store tonight ... instead I have 4 people coming over for dinner. House isn't perfect, clean but ... Just shut the bedroom door. So 4 people including me and my son 6 with no food. Well I have a package of chicken breasts frozen, Micro defros. I have Romaine ... Fresh blue cheese ... mushrooms ... campbells cream of mushroom ...and some whole wheat pasta

                                              So dinner is whole wheat pasta ... maybe some scallions and roasted red peppers. Chicken will be dredged in flour, sauted in butter, some white wine, actually is it sherry ... since I only have 1/4 cup, cream of mushroom soup and my mushrooms, fresh herbs, I grow them so have enough, some shallots I even have a tomato plant with lots of cherry tomatoes, so roasting them with fresh thyme. And grilled romaine with 1 container of sour cream and my blue cheese. One of the guys is picking up sour cream for me and wine. And I have some frozen shrimp, chop add with some herbed cream cheese and and a appetizer with my 1/2 piece of frozen baguette. Thank god for the micro. Dinner will take about 1 hour, but not too bad. Oh forgot. I have a bag a swiss chard from the market ... side dish with onion and red pepper flakes

                                              So yeah, frozen, canned soup, pre sliced mushrooms, cream cheese, salsa but hey, dinner for 4 in 1 hour. My version of quick gourmet. Better than burger king or mickey dees huh? We will still have fun, all help, all set the table and work getting it done and enjoy good times

                                              Thanks for all the support.

                                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                                My daughter is 5 1/2 and with me half the time. I try to work like a mule when she's not with me (and it keeps me from getting too sad). When she is with me I cook and entertain more. I like it that she's getting familiar with and liking new foods all the time. But I'm jealous of you: I wish I had my daughter all of the time.

                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                  You can use white beans and turkey in your chilli if you want to. I won't complain (too much).

                                                2. Perspective does help in keeping our minds calm and assists us in finding balance when it comes to our choices made (and yet to be made). The book "This Is Your Life, Not a Dress Rehearsal" comes to mind and "The Last Lecture" too.

                                                  Pay attention to others - but heed your inner voice.


                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                    The OP is in essence questioning her place among "Chowhounds", not her place in the Universe.

                                                    1. re: currymouth

                                                      You mean there is a "place" outside of Chowhound???

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                        So I hear, and It seems that the price of admission is the cost of several obscure self help manuals.

                                                  2. K!!! Bless you... Not to worry about "gourmet" the fact that you do all this for your family and find time to cook..Well I'm sure your kids appreciate you. Whenever I travel and my hosts want to treat me to a "fancy" meal, all I really crave is something cooked in a home kitchen. A good bowl of soup cooked with love beats any Snobby French meal I have ever eaten. Keep up the GREAT work!!!

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: BEN92555

                                                      You haven't had a Snobby French meal at my place yet.

                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                        The closest to a snobby french meal you are going to get at my house is either a chicken breast coated in french's fried onions (hey Jacques does it), or a chicken breast wrapped with a slice of ham and some swiss cheese (that's french, right??) If you want really snobby I may toss in some french vanilla ice cream!

                                                          1. re: danhole

                                                            \Mrs Hole, you're talking about "a snobby french meal." I am talking about "a Snobby French meal"! Pas les mêmes. À ma maison. Même si je n'aime pas les Français.

                                                          2. re: BEN92555

                                                            thank you sweetie, much loved the coment. Yep, just like to cook and enjoy a good meal with friends. Same to ya, good chicken and dumplings and mealoaf it what I always crave, lol

                                                          3. K - I've quit commenting on many of the boards / threads precisely for the reasons you've mentioned - after being "lectured" one too many times, I decided that I'd had enough and now don't contribute to many of the cooking and food likes / dislikes threads (there's a particular one on mac and cheese that got quite nasty).

                                                            When I cook sometimes it's from scratch, sometimes it's part scratch, part "helper" ingredients - and sometimes (ugh, gasp!) it's a bunch of "helper" ingredients dumped together (fettuccine, jarred Alfredo sauce, some [thawed] frozen seafood, frozen veggies - stir together, sprinkle with parm, and bake). This is me, this is how I express myself, and I'm okay with it. But, darn it, I'm tired of being told that my way of doing things is wrong - and I'm really tired of being told that my way of thinking is wrong, too.

                                                            And yes, I do know how to make "gourmet" mac and cheese - but sometimes I crave that darn blue box!

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: ElsieDee

                                                              God bless you!!, I couldn't of said it better.

                                                                1. re: ElsieDee

                                                                  Oh, Elsie, bless your heart! There are always a dozen ways (usually more) to do something "right," and when people start insisting that their way is the only way, I often conclude that they're not trying to convince others as much as they're trying to convince themselves. So please, don't deprive the silent majority who greatly enjoy your posts by cutting back. As Sam said, you ARE missed!

                                                                2. We are just as good, but we have a different path, and sometimes we don't have all day and only 10 minutes to make stock, so ... grocery store ... I have 20 min today ... for 6 and no grocery store ... soo ... freezer and pantry ... got to run. I'll update later.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                    Oh Kim! Your post is so timely considering the help you gave me yesterday. Surely you _must_ know that I reached out to you not at all by coincidence. Since joining the Chowhound community I have perceived you to be
                                                                    1. knowledgeable
                                                                    2. approachable
                                                                    3. willing to help/share wherever possible
                                                                    I get easily intimidated on the boards as well, but am that way by nature, so often times I think it's just _me_. I don't have the skills/knowledge base of the veterans on the boards, so I mainly use Chowhound as an educational resource to improve my knowledge of all things food. For what it's worth, you've provided a great many pointers for me. I never would have guessed your experience on Chowhound to be what you describe, but my goodness look at all the support you have here. And hey, you got a nod from the Alpha Hound like Linda said above, so you've no reason to get down! Thank you again for all the information you have both explicitly and implicitly provided to me :)

                                                                    1. re: enbell

                                                                      Thank you again. I guess being a self taught cook, and cook as a head chef and cook as a Mom and work it sort has taught me a little of both and all worlds ...and now with my catering business I have to realize all desires ...

                                                                      But thanks, Love the support and kudos and hope to just be part and continue to contribute my view to anyone who is interested.

                                                                      Thanx Erin

                                                                  2. I'm probably wierd because I've had to learn how to do slow cooking after a lifetime of short cooking (get home, turn oven or water on, get un/re-dressed, put pasta/potatoes in, put meat in...) Food's on the table in 30 minutes, no pre-fab needed. Having been single most of my life, it wasn't an issue. It helps now that I'm married.

                                                                    Good cans of tomatoes, fresh (or frozen) vegs, and olive oil work for me. Plus hard meats and cheeses for munchies. Things will likely change when I have children (they like milder food), but I can't imagine how long it takes some people to cook dinner (frozen foods or delivery take at least 45 minutes). Even my (now) husband is surprised by how fast it is to make good food--he had no idea. Heat sauces and boil water, nuke potatoes, pasta done in 12 minutes (sometimes cheating with the lid on). Heat tomatoes in a pan with herbs (sometimes garlic and onions first) and toss pasta into it. Fresh spinach or ripped up red leaf lettuce with some herbs and fresh pepper on top. Olive oil, mustard, vinagre in a mustard jar shaken up. That's my version of a 30 minute meal.

                                                                    It's one of the reasons I demanded gas stoves in each of my apartments.

                                                                    I'm sure things will change when we have babies, but having an idea of how to do things from scratch helps. I don't always cook like Julia Child, and am more likely to cook like Jacques.

                                                                    I'm not discounting what other people do--I simply don't know how to cook that way any longer. I started with bisquick and cubes and tubes of biscuits, and learned that they're no easier or faster than anything else. Having many graters (microplane as well as handheld and box) work well too. Learning to cut and make do with leftover hot dog buns (they make very good mini toasts, btw).

                                                                    In terms of heating, our place is actually cheaper than with the last tenant, even with heating oil prices increasing. We insulated each window, which helped. As do roasts. I'm still learning how to use the slow cooker (crock pot), but that too helps.

                                                                    No disrespect being given, but there are ways to make fresh food that's quick and tastey; we kick out our current "children" (cat and dog) during the cooking and eating process, but if they like the smells, it's a good sign. That, and having husband and me smile while eating.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Caralien

                                                                      I have many quick meals like that but like tonight 6 people for dinner no food at home was planning on going to the store, last minute plans, 3 cats, child, boyfriend and 5 friends, Frozen chicken, 1 box pasta and pretty much a container of pre sliced fresh mushrooms. Yes took sub chicken soup (because no milk or cream) white wine, just had a little, and chicken broth, also just a little, some onione pasta I had, salad, romaine, no other veggies so I grilled it with some gorgonzola and sour cream sauce. So yes ... not always fresh ingredients is possible. That is when shortcuts come in handy. And kids ... you don't have time with newborns or kids to toss or even take 15 minutes. That is when crock pots and roasts come into play. My husband wasn't home so I was alone and working some 50 hours. I still use fresh food, I just take some short cuts is all. Some shortcuts aren't faster but it is usually picking up the kid, dry cleaners, getting off work at 6 after going in at 7, still having to do homework and laundry, so grocery store is not on the list ... hence I keep a can of biscuits in the fridge or bidquick. It isn't necessarily faster but faster than running to a store to buy fresh ingredients. I can keep that much fresh on hand all the time.

                                                                      Example, with kids ... things happen. 4 showed up last weekend 7 am for breakfast. Well Sat I usually do the farmers market and groceries. Well didn't have much so ... Bisquick came to the rescue, made a coffee cake with brown sugar and maple syrup and cinnimon, scrambled eggs with some herbed cream cheese, hand some frozen potatoes cooked those quick and then had some onion and mushrooms also frozen so added that to the omelette and presto, fritatta.and pre shredded cheese ... oh yeah pre cooked bacon I bought just as a back up. I'll tell you what, not any quicker but I didn't have to go to the store and when kids are involved time is the key. 30 minutes and they were happy campers.

                                                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                        coffee cake? ok, now you are just bragging! :-)

                                                                        If my kids and their friends show up unnanounced for Sat breakfast after I've had a hard week at work they would probably get cheerios and milk, and perhaps an orange from my tree if they go out and pick it!

                                                                    2. Everyone takes short cuts. It's just a question of what. We do what we can and can't stress about the rest, especially what others think of you. With all the CHers here, there are always going to be disgreements, even something as innocuous as suggesting local produce tastes better than supermarket produce trucked in from another country thousands of miles away will get disagreements. I like to think of it as, we're all outcasts and that's what makes it fun.:-)

                                                                      This thread might make you feel better (and give you good ideas):


                                                                      1. What is "gourmet"?

                                                                        It seems in this thread "gourmet" has been slapped about as something derogatory - and I still don't know what the term means. Does it mean using natural ingredients, the time spent, the range of ingredients? I just can't determine the meaning from the postings - though there does seem to be a zeitgeist.

                                                                        I may the one of the posters that the OP is concerned with - and I'm not sorry (well sort of). I cook for the most part organic and from scratch. When I started cooking this way it was considered earthy and often kinda twigs and rooty - now it's called cooking locally (or gourmet?). I will add more expensive or rarer items and spend more time cooking special meals (my current loves are Keller and McGee) for an occasion.

                                                                        While I applaud anyone cooking a meal rather than buying it, I still believe that it is often an excuse to use ingredients that just aren't good. The predominance of cream of mushroom in this thread is an example - there are some strange things found in that can:


                                                                        And it could have been replaced by milk/cream, dried mushrooms, a little flour and butter. So I think It is possible to put a meal for a large family or guests on the table (start to finish) from 30 to 60 minutes using whole ingredients. My admitted shortcuts - stock (although I have some in the freezer, I keep some boxed just in case), canned beans (my go to), and canned tomatoes. I have the usual condiments in the ref (but I read and understand all of their ingredients).

                                                                        Ultimately, I do want to hear what you say because you say it well with reason and humor. Others have also encouraged you. They use and learn from your postings - that's important too. I won't always agree with the way you cook - but that is kind of what makes this interesting - hopefully for both of us. This shouldn't make me a snob or pretentious - or even a "gourmet".

                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                        1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                          But you know what? Sometimes we don't always HAVE milk (I often drink the last of it and forget to get more!) and/or dried or fresh mushrooms to make that sauce you mention. Sometimes the cream of mushroom soup can is what we deal with because it gets food on the table.

                                                                          I also try and use fresh ingredients as often as I can. But with my simple hamburger stroganoff, other than adding fresh mushrooms and red wine that was not called for in the original General Mills recipe card from 1970, I make it pretty much as it was written way back when. I want it the way I remember it.

                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                            Linda--you reminded me of my husband when he's without milk for his morning pot of coffee. I know this is off topic, but when we've forgotten to pick up milk, he's used evaporated milk, ice cream (including nut versions like buttered pecan), coconut milk, butter, yogurt, tapioca pudding...he claims that the yogurt was the worst addition, but that won't stop him from trying anything!

                                                                            1. re: Caralien

                                                                              BUTTER in his tea? Perchance was it yak butter? Does he speak Sherpa? '-)

                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                *snicker* those were exactly my thoughts C1!

                                                                              2. re: Caralien

                                                                                ROFL!!! I've done ice cream ONCE - luckily, it was French Vanilla, so it wasn't that bad...yogurt is just something I wouldn't go near for coffee cream! I'd rather go just with sugar and the dry powder (which is something I always make sure I have in my pantry after once going through one cycle of coffee without cream and sugar!).

                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  Over dinner this evening, I mentioned to him that we should pick up some powdered milk, just to keep on hand. Didn't tell him why, however. :)

                                                                                2. re: Caralien

                                                                                  Whipped cream, ice cream and evaporated (always keep 1 can on hand) works wonders. Used it many times.

                                                                              3. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                awayscooking, thank you for being the first dissenting voice in this thread. I completely agree with what you have to say about the importance of natural ingredients. Yes,most of us are very busy. Few of us have the time to spend hours cooking every day. But natural ingredients does not equal extra time and effort. Not neccesarily! We need to be aware of what we're putting in our bodies, where it came from, who is selling it to us. I try to avoid buying things with an ingredient list like the one you shared with us. This is not snobbery. Its just being aware. We're all just trying to do the right thing right kchurchill5? But I think everybody's been patting each other on the back a bit too much in this thread. Without a dialogue nobody's learning anything. And yes LindaWhit, sometimes we run out of milk, but I never seem to have any cream of mushroom soup lying around.

                                                                                1. re: haggisdragon

                                                                                  I don't think we're patting each other on the back. I do think we're just saying it's *ok* to take a shortcut now and then.

                                                                                  As for not having cream of mushroom soup lying around - depends on what you use it for. You obviously don't have any recipes in which you might use it.

                                                                                  However, I have an old (1971) General Mills recipe card recipe for Hamburger Stroganoff that is one of my silly comfort foods. It calls for COM soup, so I usually have a can on hand for that. I also have a recipe of my mother's for a baked "company chicken" that uses the COM soup mixed with orange juice, white wine, and various herbs/spices and poured over chicken pieces, sliced mushrooms, and baked. "Finished" with green grapes and mandarin orange slices and served with an orange-clove rice. Other than the COM soup and the mandarin oranges, everything's fresh. It's a favorite recipe from my family, and so I have a can of COM soup on hand for that.

                                                                                  If I'd never made either of those recipes, I doubt I'd have it on hand either. But they're favorites - maybe making each of them once or twice a year - so I have the soup on hand.

                                                                              4. Some of the most popular threads are nostalgic posts where we all reminisce about our childhood eats, growing up with mom & dads cooking, favorite "dirty" recipes and most are completely humorous and fun. Surely, the majority of us CH's just love food that makes us happy. Outcast? Hell, the entire CH mantra was built on giving diehard food lovers like us a place to play! Your in-cast, K!

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                  Thx, I'm hungry ... another post ... no store today, fighting the flu. Fried egg sandwich for dinner, mayo will get a try this time :)

                                                                                2. Have you tried using a slow cooker? A few minutes of chopping and preparation the night before and the next evening the lovely aroma of a delicious stew awaits.

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: JamieK

                                                                                    Use it a lot, when needed. Not my first choice, but comes in handy. Have over 200 recipes for it. I'm a practical cook when needed, family and all.

                                                                                    But alone right now and out of town so no food in fridge ...

                                                                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                      This thread is why I love this board. i love Kim's posts - I suspect we cook alot alike. My daughter is now a school teacher and living away from from home - but when I was a working mother I took a lot of short cuts but DID MY VERY BEST - what more can we ask?

                                                                                      1. re: nvcook

                                                                                        Thank you thank you 100 times over. I do try, gourmet when I can, shortcuts when needed. A little of both. It's a great combo, but sometimes shortcuts are the only way to go aren't they.

                                                                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                          yes, they are. What your child(ren) will remember is that you cooked for them, not the damn recipe you used.

                                                                                  2. I shouldn't be here - it's a love fest and I'm crashing it. But I find it very interesting that you have culinary training and experience. Can I ask if you still have interests in following people and ideas in that career field? Do you read any blogs by renown chefs and writers, like Michael Ruhlman?

                                                                                    What do you think of Ruhlman and other pros telling us amateurs that boxed (and all prepared) chicken stock is just crap, and that in most cases, you're better off using water. Of course, he'd rather you made your own stock - hard to do when you have work and kids, I understand. But it is a major tenet of professional cooking done well. It is a major flavor issue because stock is such a big part of so many dishes. if you take the time to make stock on a weekend or whenever, it can turn into so many delicious meals during the week.

                                                                                    There is the very basic question of what this site ought to be. Brought down to the stock example, should we be a site that encourages the use of boxed stock, or one that says - use it if you must, but let's encourage each other to make our own stock. The ultimate difference in flavor is indeed noticeable, and it's really, really worth it, from the perspective of anyone that appreciates flavor and deliciousness.

                                                                                    NVCook says above, "What your child(ren) will remember is that you cooked for them, not the damn recipe you used."

                                                                                    I don't agree. What I remember of my mother is that she was a person dedicated to making great food, someone that didn't want to take shortcuts and did so only when she judged that the effect was minimal or acceptable to her standards. I'm a foodie (chowhound, whatever) because she was such an extraordinary food lover and she infused that into us. It wasn't just that she cooked, it was that she cooked marvelously.

                                                                                    I understand the issue with time and money (money, especially regarding the trend towards organic and locavore or sustainable foods). You can't be perfect, you can't make absolutely everything from scratch, you can't buy only the best ingredients. Nobody can. But you can establish your standards and hold to them.

                                                                                    We all do what we have to do. The question remains - ought we (Chowhound) be the place where we swap 15-minute recipes, exchange ideas for shortcuts, tell each other how well Sandra Lee's latest cream of mushroom concoction worked, tell each other, over and over again, how much we guiltily love Kraft Mac'NCheese? Or are we more than that? Do we mean it when we say that we seek delicousness, or are we ok with I fed the kids tonight and I didn't go to McDonalds (a small but important victory in any case)?

                                                                                    I don't have answers or an ultimate vision, either. I'm really looking forward to Jim's latest hatchings. But I think that it needs to be something with some level of standards - in other words, it is, indeed, let's exchange ideas for shortcuts - but it needs to be let's exchange ideas for shortcuts that work, that meet our standards. Of course, setting those standards is probably not going to be possible. Which is exactly why we discuss chains here, as well as the best noodle soup cart in Singapore, or the finest que in the Low Country.

                                                                                    One suggestion to you and others that feel intimidated by us bullies. Don't. I'll challenge ideas that I don't think belong here or need to be discussed again and again. But that's just based on my personal view. There are lots of others, and as you can see from this thread, many agree with you. You can answer a challenge if you wish, but don't feel that it's mandatory to do so. Just ignore the people that think your ideas stink and gather the information from those that interest you. The fact is that whatever our image of the perfect site may be, it takes all kinds, and indeed, we have all kinds. The only people that really lose here are those that go away.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: applehome

                                                                                      "The fact is that whatever our image of the perfect site may be, it takes all kinds, and indeed, we have all kinds. The only people that really lose here are those that go away."
                                                                                      Bingo, applehome. We have different boards for discussing different things. Talk about Chains on that board. Talk about service - good or bad - on the NAF board. (Or then again, don't - as it's been discussed to death! LOL) Talk about cool new finds on the GenTopics board. Take what works for you, leave the rest.

                                                                                      1. re: applehome

                                                                                        This is an interesting question about setting the standard here. I know I have my own, where I choose to take short cuts and where I refuse but I'd hate to be told that there is a line that I must toe. I don't use Kraft mac and cheese but when my kids were 9 and wanted mac and cheese, they knew how to make Annie's from a box. When they turned 10, I started them making real mac and cheese. But, there is a place for the box, as you said, and I don't feel that I've compromised my standards by using it. At the same time, I won't be telling someone else they've compromised by using box cake mix or whatever else they use. We don't go to chains, other than the occasional Five Guys, but I don't have a problem with your discussing White Castle burgers. I really do appreciate where you're coming from and if helps, since I know you're fighting the fight probably more often than you like, that I do think about it IRL and here so your posts aren't falling on deaf ears. It doesn't mean I always agree but do think about it. Challenge away.

                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                          As in my point, I love fresh homemade, but I work long hours, a single mom, small apt hungry kids and a roommate who I cook for. They pay for some food so I don't mind, better then them messing up my kitchen, LOL. So I agree, I love great cooking, but I also love to pass along tips that may be somewhat useful to others, maybe shortcuts, but we have all been there. I think it is a nice mix here that shows. Even good cooks have their guilty food weaknesses and junk food habits but still can make the top gourmet meal when they can. It may not be every night or maybe, but it is a nice to know we can and enjoy it when we get the time and to

                                                                                        2. re: applehome

                                                                                          applehome I'm with you pretty much all the way. You ask the question should CH encourage boxed stocks or home made? CH, as a body, should not be encouraging anything but a healthy conversation with many differing view points.

                                                                                        3. kchurchill...don't leave and don't allow yourself to be intimidated. I make seafood lasagna from scratch that takes hours....I also started a thread yesterday wanting recommendations for green salsa from the store because I'm making pork enchiladas later in the week with leftover pork roast and am not making my own salsa verde (and indicated that in my subject title). I love my homemade mac and cheese but some days want the blue box. I use salad dressings and salsa from the jar because I'm not going to make ranch or blue cheese and the Newman's Own Light Asian dressing is my go-to dressing at work.

                                                                                          And I keep jarred tomato sauce in the pantry. Sometimes I make my own but some nights it's frozen ravioli, jar sauce and a quick salad.

                                                                                          We love food but we are also living a life.

                                                                                          47 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                            I made home made chorizo which I'm planning on making into tacos on Thursday for dinner. I'll make my own corn and flour tortillas but the salsa will come from a store. It's still better than what I can make (My salsa making ability isn't great) at home and just damned good period. I also have no interest in making my own cheese. I'll buy that from a store but will grate it myself.

                                                                                            Perhaps we should combine our efforts!!


                                                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                                                              See, now I'm impressed with you making your own chorizo and tortillas - I'd have gone with store-bought on both! LOL Salsa to me is WAY easier!

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                So you weren't impressed with me before?? Why not??


                                                                                                I always try to make stuff from scratch. Sometimes it's too much work for little reward. Sometimes time just doesn't permit.

                                                                                                I was watching Rick Bayless on Saturday and he made 3 different types of salsa. I was encouraged and will try in the future. But I have some excellent salsa in the fridge and will just use that until it's gone.


                                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                  jusy curious Davwud what brand of salsa do you have?

                                                                                              2. re: Davwud

                                                                                                Homemade chorizo, haven't done that. Made homemade sausage a lot. And home made brats which are a ton of fun. Love to have your chorizo recipe if you will share. Never did the corn tortillas, probably just buy, but I realize not that hard. Just don't eat that often, but I would love to try once.

                                                                                              3. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                It takes a h*ll of a lot more to intimidate me. I'm not going anywhere. I love to share very gourmet, unique ideas. Also I think some people can appreciate the quick 30 minute ideas which can still be very healthy and use great ingredients. If sometone doesn't live in the real world of stressed overworked parents who are single moms or dads who have 30 minutes or less at times to make dinner for 6 extra friends (as in my case a few days ago) at 8 pm when I couldn't get to the store because of picking up my son, working until 7 and then finding out everyone was coming over for dinner so be it.

                                                                                                I don't live for cooking, I live to cook. So boxed chicken stock, jarred salsa, packaged cheese, tortillas were the basics. I grilled my romaine, but in between watching the romaine grill, the enchilladas or whatever they were called were baking, setting the table, entertaining the guest pouring drinks, I grabbed a bottle dressing because everyone wanted something different.

                                                                                                Overall dinner was a hit and everyone pleased.

                                                                                                FYI, I don't have culinary training, but was a head chef. And when I have time, which sometimes during the week, sometimes weekends I cook everything from scratch. I do make my own broth but with a small apt freezer, it is extremely limited. I am a extremely good cook and love it and love to pass that on. I am also a struggling single mom who works her *ss off and cooks pretty darn good. And I hope to appeal to others who are the same as me and I think there are a few out there.

                                                                                                Personally Applehome, I found your post pretty disrespectful. Sorry, I understand, but I think it was unnecessary. I do respect your beliefs ... you don't respect mine. My apologies, honestly. I think there is room here for all of us.

                                                                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                  I swear by Kitchen Basics boxed stocks. It may not be as good as homemade, but it is much better than MY homemade and a hell of a lot easier.

                                                                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                    Ditto on that, love them. Hey If I had 4 hours to make stock, sure but not ... I take shortcuts when needed.

                                                                                                    Thanksgiving is a 4 day event for me, I even grind my own flour, make my own butter, bake my own bread for croutons and stuffing so when time permits, I love it. Tonight I have 6 people for dinner at 7, I get home at 6 and still have to go to the store ... Kitchen Basics will be my friend tonight for sure!

                                                                                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                      kc, Yesterday I made a large orange flan from scratch. The recipe was a new one for me. Having made other flans before, I tweaked the temp, I tweaked the caramel sauce one this version and overall was happy with the result. (I made a small one for my family and a 9x13 for party). But, if the recipe had turned out disappointing after spending $$ on ingredients and carving out 2 hours of my afternoon to make it...I would have been very disappointed...and probably would have wound up shopping locally for a dessert replacement. So I gambled on $$ & time in order to bring a homemade dessert to a party tonight.

                                                                                                      Sometimes I'm a gambler; sometimes I gamble on the talents of others :)
                                                                                                      No need to apolgize for that, right! (wink)

                                                                                                  2. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                    K, no needn't apologize or justify yourself. You are who you are and if you're comfortable with it, it really doesn't matter what others think.

                                                                                                    Apple and I had a rather vigorous exchange on the value of chains on the other board. I'd like to think that it'll help me make better choices in the future. He has encouraged me toto dig even harder to find the hidden gem. Be it Apple or someone else, I think we can lose touch with the simpler things in life. Everyone has guilty little secrets. I hope by my stance someone will realize then need to keep their feet on the ground. Food is for fun. Food is to be enjoyed. Not a way to show your superiority over someone else.

                                                                                                    PS, Apple. Do not percieve that last bit to be a slight against you. I have no idea who you are but I respect the fact that you love you a good White Castle. Not my choice but who cares?? I can tell you that I've gotten a snobby vibe from posts on here in the past though. That's who that's aimed at.


                                                                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                      Thx, I know, I'm here for fun and to exchange ideas. Good or bad ones, fancy or not. That is what CHOW is about right? Millions love to cook and sharing ideas, gourmet, not or shortcuts is all about cooking. I could throw my credentials around and experience but why, I'm a single struggling working mom who loves great food and tries to juggle it all and somehow make it work. I don't get upset very often and not much bothers me, but thanks for the boost. Appreciated.

                                                                                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                        I did a very brief stint in a kitchen as a teenage dishwasher. I talked to the chef a lot. He showed me a few things but more so than that, he opened my mind to many different foods I'd only heard of.
                                                                                                        When we were talking I told him I loved to cook stuff or as I know look back at it, whip stuff up. I was always taking leftovers from the fridge, do this, add that, whip that, fry this, stir to combine, etc. I eat it, like it, my sisters would try it and ask what it was, "I dunno."

                                                                                                        He said the abiltiy to think on your feet like that was a mark of a good chef.


                                                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                          Very true ... Your fish order wouldn't come in or the delivery truck was late, what do you do with 10 leftovers. Sort of like being a parent a a quick cook. And a lot of recipes I just make, measurements are you kidding. I try now to write it down as I am writing a cookbook but it is hard. As a chef you just MAKE. Fun though isn't it. It is always new and exciting. I did a new recipe with friends last night. Fresh fish, had some of this and that so put it all together and presto. I was amazing. Need to write it all done now. Basically a potato crust with herbs, cheese and some bread crumbs and a nice white wine citrus cream sauce.

                                                                                                          Sounds like you had fun working there. It is great to learn like that and nice to have someone willing to share with you. A good teacher.

                                                                                                    2. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                      That's not fair to Applehome. He or she didn't write anything disrespectful, only potentially disagreeing with something you believe. You have your thoughts about what you want this site to be for you and Applehome has their's. If you're going to hold that all are valid than his/her's must be valid as well.

                                                                                                      In fact, you dismissed any view that doesn't line up with yours as someone who "doesn't live in the real world of stressed overworked parents who are single moms or dads..."

                                                                                                      You've clearly found many people who agree with what you're looking for in terms of both food and in terms of online discussion. You're not going to get 100% agreement. Applehome wrote in his/her last paragraph asking that people not stop posting, noting that the only people who lose out are those who leave.

                                                                                                      1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                        I agree. I didn't find anything disrespectful in applehome's post. I thought it was well thought out and repected others views, though didn't jump on the bandwagon that has been exhibited in this post (and that includes my post that we all do what we can). Disagreement is not disrepect. And applehome did bring up a good point about what the purposed of this site is. I have to say in just the couple of years I've been here, there has been a change in the type of posts here. Not to say it's a bad thing because I do think we all do what we can and if that means using boxed stock then use boxed stock. But for someone like applehome who is more serious about cooking I can see that they could be disappointed in the change. It would be like going to a music board where people find the best music and then having a large group of Britney Spears, Jonas Brother followers come and call the others snobs for not appreciating that music. I agree w/ applehome's final paragraph:

                                                                                                        "One suggestion to you and others that feel intimidated by us bullies. Don't. I'll challenge ideas that I don't think belong here or need to be discussed again and again. But that's just based on my personal view. There are lots of others, and as you can see from this thread, many agree with you. You can answer a challenge if you wish, but don't feel that it's mandatory to do so. Just ignore the people that think your ideas stink and gather the information from those that interest you. The fact is that whatever our image of the perfect site may be, it takes all kinds, and indeed, we have all kinds. The only people that really lose here are those that go away."

                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                          Populist/centrist ideas tend to be the "norm" on Chowhound (and in life generally) - for the better I think. Otherwise it would be called "Chowfanatic" and have a much, much smaller user base undoubtedly. I'm not saying one is right and one is wrong. Just that the center will out in the end. Those who make everything from scratch and absolutely refuse to dine out unless they are going to the sine qua non of whatever cuisine are on one end and on the other are the "All Taco Bell All the Time" folks. And in the middle, the rest of us jockey for chow.

                                                                                                        2. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                          He. Thanks for sticking up for my viewpoint, all of you. (Not necessarily agreeing with me, but allowing me to say...) I do understand KC's saying that she understands what I'm saying, but feels that I don't understand, or respect her viewpoint. It's true that I no longer empathize with her perspective - my 3 kids are all grown. I used to be a big whoop Fortune 500 VP, and 60-80 hour weeks were normal. I didn't have time to cook during the week, but my wife was there to do it all for us. I can't imagine taking that on alone.

                                                                                                          Our circumstances and backgrounds definitely affect what food means to each of us. Shortcuts are inevitable, especially with circumstances like KC has found herself in. I credit her with still having the love of food that keeps her cooking.

                                                                                                          But ultimately, I think this site is more than just a utilitarian sharing of eating and cooking knowledge. I think we're all here because, in one way or another, food is fun for us. I accept that this can include chains and shortcuts, but I insist that we maintain the key ingredient - which is our love of food. If we devolve into a shortcut sharing site, where all we're seeing is suggestions for saving time or money, I'd say the basic site principles have been totally blown away. We ought to share the shortcut because it saves time and money, and is absolutely delicious!

                                                                                                          And I'm telling all of you - you will never get the wonderful aroma or the mouthfeel of a great gelatinous chicken stock from a box. I don't know if Ruhlman is right about being better off using water instead, he was referring to the sodium content and other issues he had with the boxed stuff. Certainly Bourdain's story about impressing his teachers at the CIA because he used Knorr's boullion, is telling. If it's good enough for them, then why not make it an everyday shortcut. Why not? Eat my chicken soup - you'll see why not. I've said before that only 1 of 100 restaurants have really great chicken soup. I bet they're making their own stock.

                                                                                                          1. re: applehome

                                                                                                            I don't use box stock, BTW, just used it as an example. But that is one thing I have learned from CH is how easy it is to make your own stock and I gree it is so much better than anything from a box, even the best box. There is no comparison. My husband does give me a hard time because our freezer is packed with chicken/turkey/etc carcasses and slightly old vegetables and there is often no room for his favorite king size bag of Wings o'fire. I cannot make buffalo wings and that's one short cut I'm more than happy to make.

                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                              Mrs. Sippi thought I was a weirdo with all the carcasses in the freezer (especially shrimp) until I started making stocks and using them. Then she got it.


                                                                                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                Hmm, if I asked my husband to pick between good stock and his wings o'fire, I'm not sure which he'd pick..:-) I'm just not giving him the choice between wings o'fire and me.

                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                  You need a bigger freezer. Or a second one. My fridge/freezer is full of components. Not actual food.


                                                                                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                    Definitely something I'm considering since I want to join a CSA for meat, too. But, I'm not convinced it's worth the environmental impact of buying another freezer and keeping it running. What I want is a reverse refrigerator where the main compartment is a freezer and the smaller is a refrigerator. I run out of refrigerator space, too, esp when entertaining. I can always use extra space. Or, how about a freezer w/ a wine refrigerator? That would come in handy.

                                                                                                            2. re: applehome

                                                                                                              See, Apple, from what I'm getting from you is you're afraid that the bar is getting lowered by widening the scope of peoples appetite. I personally am trying to use this to raise my bar. If I'm taking a short cut, should I do something that'll make it better but still allow the shortcut. IOW, if I don't have time for a home made stock (I fully agree there is no comparison) I'd like to learn that rather than using a box of Campbell's, right next to it is a jar (box, packet, whatever) that's better but doesn't require the extra time. Same with when I go out and spend my hard earned dough. Be it Taco Bell or Chez Maison, I'd like to know what to avoid and what is the hidden gem.

                                                                                                              I sorta thought that was the whole idea behind this site. Perhaps we're just arguing opposite sides of the same coin though.


                                                                                                              1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                I am in complete agreement with you, applehome. When I worked full-time, cooking was a combination of scratch and shortcut, depending on circumstances. I saw the Jacques Pepin epidose of "A Cook's Story" the other day. In discussing his current series, which focuses on quick meals, he explained that he still makes time-consuming, elaborate food on a regular basis, but that there are also busy days when he needs quicker preparation and makes use of shortcuts. We do this because we need to, unapologetically, yet we don't delude ourselves that the quality is the same.

                                                                                                                I am now retired, and able to spend more time in the kitchen and on the computer. If I use a shortcut it's because I choose the trade-off and it's nice that I'm not forced to because of time constraints. Sometimes I find myself needing a quick meal because I spent so much time online that the day got away from me. I have to chuckle a bit when people post about how busy busy busy they are, yet find the time to post to CH dozens of times a day!

                                                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                  heeheehee, greygarious I was just thinking that myself

                                                                                                                  1. re: haggisdragon

                                                                                                                    <I have to chuckle a bit when people post about how busy busy busy they are, yet find the time to post to CH dozens of times a day!>

                                                                                                                    Ha - I'm guilty of that too. Can't seem to make time to answer emails, but have time to post here!

                                                                                                                    and - hee hee - I just happened to stumble across this while googling something on CH. The OP posted 308 times in one week, more than anyone else on CH, and twice as much as anyone on the Home Cooking Board ; )



                                                                                                                    1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                      Oh that is too funny! I guess it still boils down to food choice - cooking or blogging . . .

                                                                                                                      1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                        I'm mortified. I'm #2!!!!!!!!!!!! Eeek. But I have two excuses. #1: I'm retired (main reason). #2 Husband was out of town and I was a lazy bum. I will NOT be in the top 10 EVER again. How embarassing. Oliver, get a life!

                                                                                                                        1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                          I have an excuse: I'm sick! Really. I've been dragging for a month and am on my second antibiotic in ten days. I don't feel like doing much but sitting at the 'pooter. Occasionally I summon the energy to cook. Fortunately, SO is a passable cook.
                                                                                                                          April 16 will find me doing a nine day road trip with Passadumkeg and then I will be at our cabin in BC for several weeks after that. I gotta get well and stay off Chowhound. Sounds like I dominate the N-E board. Don't mean to.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                            Ooh, I'm really sorry you're sick and, yes, you need to get well soon to go play with Passa. But, honestly, you were only #10, right? You need to try harder :)

                                                                                                                    2. re: applehome

                                                                                                                      applehome, I'd love to get your stock recipe.... would you mind posting it on the home cooking board?

                                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                                    3. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                      I too did not find Applehome disrespectful in any way.

                                                                                                                      I have found over the years that Applehome has well thought, insightful posts. I may not always agree, but they always provide food for thought and often teach me something new. Even in their most passionate form, I have never seen them belittle, insult or be rude.

                                                                                                                      If diplomatically phrased, a differing view is not an insult, just a point in an exchange of opinions. The skills garnered in participating in a debate are useful in much of life and can promote understanding.

                                                                                                                    4. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                      My goodness KC - why is Applehome disrespectful since he doesn't agree with some of the food choices you make? I can't understand them either but I read your posts and often respond. We should be able to discuss issues and food choices without having it be personal.

                                                                                                                      But it does seem to me as if you are asking the board to bless and support your cooking methods - that using 'shortcuts' is perfectly acceptable under the right conditions - and you have gotten that approval in this thread. IMO, your shortcuts sometimes seem like excuses to use pre-packaged food just to 'get something on the table'. We ultimately, though, cook for ourselves. There are no right answers and so these differences make for lively and sometimes seemingly fruitless rounds of postings - occasionally eliciting a gem of knowledge.

                                                                                                                      Personally, I'd like just like to learn about different techniques, strange ingredients, and new meals. I'm interested in learning learn new short-cuts. Short-cuts that are more healthy and less expensive. That a short cut for not having stock is to add bones while cooking. Or a fast way to serve a great meal for an unexpected 8 people - using relatively fresh ingredients that cost less than $25. To know and share with each other items to always stock in the ref/pantry and how to use them. To share with others their approach to having the basics and keeping the ever important stock replenished in the freezer.

                                                                                                                      We all live very busy lives that often seem not our own. But we all choose how we spend those very few personal minutes in our days. Like you, I find time to read and post to this board - a place where self-described food-oriented people hangout - and I cook.

                                                                                                                      P.S. Can someone PLEASE share with me what 'gourmet' means?

                                                                                                                      1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                        "We ultimately, though, cook for ourselves. There are no right answers and so these differences make for lively and sometimes seemingly fruitless rounds of postings - occasionally eliciting a gem of knowledge."

                                                                                                                        Very well said alwayscooking.

                                                                                                                        I think you have already expressed some of the meaning of 'gourmet'. In my own words though: Gourmet is Not about difficult or time consuming preparations. Gourmet Is about being willing to always experience new flavours, remembering those sensations, and over time, deciding for yourself what is worth putting in your mouth. And enjoying. Always enjoying.

                                                                                                                        1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                          A gourmet is a noun, not an adjective :)

                                                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                            Actually, it's both a noun and an adjective. ;)

                                                                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                              I believe the original meaning of the word was a noun, but recent trends in language have incorrectly redefined it as an adjective. I blame the marketers.

                                                                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                gourmet food
                                                                                                                                gourmet restaurant
                                                                                                                                gourmet etc


                                                                                                                                English is such a slippery language

                                                                                                                                1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                                  I see your dictionary.com and raise you an oxford english dictionary.


                                                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                    It takes a bit of time for dictionaries to recognize a change is word use and definitions and usages do change with time. The word gourmet may be technically a noun but in current usage and understanding, it seems to have become a word that also describes a noun.

                                                                                                                                    I call you.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                                      Absolutely true that the English language changes and evolves much moreso than, for example, Mandarin or French (which has a government agency overseeing the traditional language is preserved). That's why I went to Oxford (rather than Mirriam Webster or wiki-whatever)... Oxford is the de-facto, conservative standard for the English language and as close as we can get to an absolute authority on this topic.

                                                                                                                                      But I do find it distateful that a bunch of marketers started using the word completely incorrectly to describe jellybeans or popcorn or whatever ridiculous thing it is, and it somehow is accepted into the lexicon. It's like the old saying that if you tell a lie frequently enough, eventually it becomes truth. Truth then becomes this fuzzy patch of grey.

                                                                                                                                      Where's the outrage?? The outrage, I say!!

                                                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                        OK - I'm outraged. [BTW CH, chow, chowhound has started to drift into the mainstream since this site went corporate]

                                                                                                                                        Totally agree about the marketing co opt - and when the trend started in the 70's, it was just odd. Now when it appears on packaging it means something more expensive and likely over-processed. Although, I sense a new marketing trend of calling packaged natural food made with better ingredients 'gourmet' (is that a good thing? gourmet beets anyone?).

                                                                                                                                        For me, I just like to eat and make food from fresh and good ingredients - and that often takes a tad more time then the nuked 'gourmet' frozen pizza. So sometimes my priories differ from others on this site.

                                                                                                                                        (A draw, huh?)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                                          Every time I see some new thing with the word "gourmet" slapped on the front of the package (like your "gourmet pizza"), I immediately visualize a pizza with discriminating tastes and quietly laugh away my sadness.

                                                                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                          Sea Change! Everything's a sea change. Most are using the term inappropriately. A bunch of people copycatting a person who has misused it. I doubt it will ever be the same. I'd like to give them a sea change!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: choco_lab38

                                                                                                                                              Boy was that "anti-climatic" (I have always been against the weather whether you believe it or not!) ;-D

                                                                                                                          2. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                            Have to chime in here with others that I found Applehome's post not disrespectful in the least. In fact, the opposite. Apologies? For what?

                                                                                                                        2. I also didn’t feel that Applehome was disrespectful. And even though I’ve been intimidated about posting at times, I also agree with his perception of what this site’s intended purpose is. I discovered this site within the past 2 years or so, and it appealed to me as a resource for serious food and restaurant information on a level above, say, The Food Network. As opposed to that Network, I didn’t find this site to be overly “populist” or “centrist” and I’m glad of it!
                                                                                                                          I was a fan of the Food Network at its inception, but, as many posters on this very site have, I have all but abandoned it when it became entertainment for the "millions", as KC lovingly refers to them, who are looking for "quick tips", "$40 a day travel budgets" . The likes of Rachael Ray and Sandra Lee showed up and got more play and support than chefs such as Mario and Emeril, I got disgusted and tuned out. Theirs’ is not the kind of cooking that transports me, that stirs my creative soul and gives me great pleasure--it's utilitarian, and personally, I have a problem with utilitarian short-cut cooking being glorified over slow food, or whatever it is that you are considering "gourmet" . Alwayscooking made a point that appears to have been ignored: The term "gourmet" has been used countless times by the OP in this thread, and I definitely get a vibe that it's being used in a derogatory sense. Please define what you consider "gourmet". A meal that's made with completely fresh ingredients? A meal containing "expensive" ingredients? A slow-cooked meal? Any meal that takes 30+ minutes to prepare?

                                                                                                                          You have many supporters and your agenda in creating this thread is another example of a kind of "reverse-snobbery" I've increasingly seen on these boards . My first post to this site was a request for recommendations of artisanal cheese producers (not limited to cheddar) in VT. This simple request caused a debate over the quality of Cabot cheddar (considered by myself and others to be a "supermarket cheddar", widely available and not at all in line with my original request) and the person who suggested that I plan a trip to the Cabot facility all but called me pretentious for overlooking Cabot for "stinky cheese". Here, the term "artisanal" (a good thing, in my book) was labeled as pretentious.
                                                                                                                          Let me share my frame of reference: I grew up completely ignorant of Hamburger Helper or frozen entrees... until I went to friend's houses for dinner. Mom instilled an appreciation of fresh, quality food in me and the idea that food can be an affordable luxury--something that could transport you to another part of the world, even if you couldn't afford much more than busfare to NY. I spent hours and hours of cherished quality time at her side as she prepared meals. Food and food prep is so much more than just a daily chore for me. I'd spend my very last $50 on 1/4lb of Jamon Iberico de Bellota and consider it well-spent.
                                                                                                                          I came to this board to get an idea of what like-minded "foodies" are exploring and tasting and have found some great information that has expanded my horizons. I won't lie, I'd hate to see these boards watered-down to "quick tips" to get one through the "daily drudgery" of cooking with minimal impact on the pocketbook. I'm personally not looking for that and one of the reasons why I initially enjoyed this site is the fact that it wasn't geared to that mindset.
                                                                                                                          There are already plenty of resources out there for the harried home cook, all the more since Rachael Ray has made a lucrative career out of it and many seem to believe they can follow suit!

                                                                                                                          69 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: choco_lab38

                                                                                                                            choco_lab38, I agree with you completely. Excellent post.

                                                                                                                            1. re: choco_lab38

                                                                                                                              You posted as I was writing and you did a much better job of it. Thanks.

                                                                                                                              1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                                Thank you alwayscooking! I think your post said it all --and much more succintly :) I tend to be verbose LOL
                                                                                                                                I hesitated to post to this thread, as the OP seemed to be baiting. But if the real purpose of the original post was not to rally the troops and smooth ruffled feathers, but to gain an understanding of why people on this site might argue recommendations of processed and prepared foods, and Sandra Lee-type short cuts, etc. I tried to answer that question.
                                                                                                                                I sense this site is on the precipice of change--much like Food Network ...Perhaps it's time for me to move on--When a post lauding the merits of Pillsbury pizza dough appears and is commended to be a great idea, it makes one wonder if Kraft and Best Foods don't have plants on this board...

                                                                                                                                1. re: choco_lab38

                                                                                                                                  For the record, I don't like sandra Lee, but I do have to use short cuts with work family and other obligations. I don't get home to 6 sometimes and need to cook for 2, 4 or 6 or more. I leave at 6 am, tell me how with no refrigerator room. If you can do it go for it. Secondly, I do believe that shortcuts now and then are allowed and welcome. And yes the pizza crust is not bad. As good as I have had. I have made my own, bought some and it is still good. So what it is BAD because it is in a can. That is just rediculous.. Homemade from scratch absolutely when I don't work all day and have 30 minutes to get dinner on the table for 6 kids who are hungry and I am late and groceries ... no time for the store ... just me. Now. Am I wrong for feeding them a descent meal even if it takes short cuts or should I have spent a fortune on Happy Meals instead.

                                                                                                                                  I think I made the right call. Gourmet, yeh, tomorrow, day off!!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                    I think that many are conflating the notions of bad food and being a bad person. When I write that I think some food product isn't good or that I wouldn't eat it, I don't mean that someone who does eat it is somehow less of a person than I. Only that they like a different food than I. I also don't ever intend to or want to tell someone what their priorities ought to be in terms of their lives. It's their life to figure out as they wish and not my place to tell them what is and isn't important.

                                                                                                                                    From this particular post, I do have one very specific question: if the pizza crust from a can is as good as you have had (which I take to mean as good as making one from scratch) why would you ever make one from scratch?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                      Honestly I have made crust from scratch and most often get it from my pizza place, Mine is no better honestly nor has any homemade crust I have ever had for a thin crust. I would buy the can or from the pizza place instead. Now getting into thick crusts, that is different. I would buy the the pizza store, Just as good as mine. But for the thin why not. Especially when time is of the essence. I know for the most part it is the same, but I think the flavor is a bit different. Just my opinion.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: choco_lab38

                                                                                                                                    While I have heartily agreed with everything that has been said from applehome down I find Choco lab38's last statement: "Perhaps it's time for me to move on--When a post lauding the merits of Pillsbury pizza dough appears and is commended to be a great idea,( is innovation not great, if not just plain inspiration to say to yourself I can do better?) it makes one wonder if Kraft and Best Foods don't have plants on this board..." the exact reason why these discussion happen. Not everything on ANY community site will ever suite ALL your tastes, if that were the case I am sure that site would be a party of one. Chowhound is meant for discussion and exchanging of information. KC has been told if someone does not like her tips get over it and move on to the next person who sees her point of view instead of talking about not belonging. My point, which I am sure I might be making badly, is are you saying the people who can say they need to leave CH are the cooks who are above certain ingredients, cooking methods what? I am trying to see why someone like KC should just deal but "coking purists" somehow deserve a better, different Chowound. I don't buy processed anything, sometimes to the annoyance of my younger brother who may just want a snack that is quick, but I certainly don't consider myself a better cook because I don't. I don't because I love to play and explore with food. And my normal habit of making everything myself does not stop me from reading a tip about a pizza dough and thinking hmmm maybe it is worth a try, maybe even have a pizza making get together and compare. Why disparage another hounds tip if it not for you?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: choco_lab38

                                                                                                                                      If Pillsbury pizza dough turns you off, ya better avert your eyes from the threads that wax rhapsodically over White Castle burgers. This isn't a site for foodies but rather Chowhounds. There's a difference.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                        And what is that to you? For me the biggest aspect of the difference is discovery. Foodies follow the crowd - they don't discover new, but chase others who tell them where to go and what to eat (they follow chowhounds). Chowhounds don't follow rules or guidebooks - they certainly don't follow the crowd. They discover new places to eat and new delicious foods to try. They're not limited by any type of food whether by cost or any other factor - they have open minds and love learning about all kinds of delicious new foods. Deliciousness can be found in Per Se, a street food cart, or in you own home with a special recipe.

                                                                                                                                        I say (and this is my opinion only) that WC Slyders are unique in burgerdom. There is no other product like it, other than that somebody might have copied their recipe and method. They are still a chain, and that means that they are replicated over and over again in the manner of mass produced foods. While that doesn't necessarily disqualify them from consideration on Chowhound, it makes slyders much less of a unique discovery. Personally, I have no problem bringing them up on Chowhound and having this level of discussion about it. I might even recommend it to someone looking for a different burger experience who has never had a real slyder before. But repeated discussions of how good slyders are and how nostalgic we are about them would become noise, real fast.

                                                                                                                                        Is Pillsbury pizza dough defensible as a "chowhoundish" product? I don't know, as I've never used the product. But it seems to me by what I'm reading here that it is not particularly unique - in fact, it's useful because it is the same as home or bakery made.

                                                                                                                                        So is that a legitimate discovery in the CH sense? I think that this is where all the shortcuts fall in. What's wrong with discovering a new shortcut and writing about it? Whether it's a mass produced product or a fairly unique, more artisanal item - or perhaps it's not an item at all but a new process or method that cuts time or effort and still produces a good result. I do believe that these are legitimate finds - discoveries for us to discuss here.

                                                                                                                                        So what bothers me the most about discussing shortcut products and chains? Well - there's the whole signal to noise ratio (SNR) issue. It's true that we've segmented off chains, etc., and it's really up to each one of us to just pick and choose what we want to get involved in. And yet - the more stuff there is that we don't want to get involved in, the harder it is to navigate the site and to find those gems we do want to find out about. So when people start posting about boxed stocks, boxed mac'ncheese, campbell's soup, etcetc... it's noise. And I believe that it's noise to the majority of people who come here.

                                                                                                                                        And yet - a periodical post that says - hey I found a new boxed macn'cheese and it's really much better than the orange cheese powder stuff, then it's certainly a discovery and would probably be appreciated by many, if not most.

                                                                                                                                        And yes, I know - by that definition White Castle isn't exactly new, and there's really not a whole lot of new things to say about slyders. So I created more noise. Mea culpa.

                                                                                                                                        Davwud asked me above, and I never answered, (I've been thinking about it), about what I thought of as lowering the bar "by widening the scope of peoples appetite." Certainly the more inclusive you are, the more information you will get. But you'll also get a lot more noise, and the SNR will be lowered.

                                                                                                                                        I guess that I'm afraid that the lowering of the SNR happens in small increments - it creeps down. It's only really detectable if you look at periods of time far apart. But I don't really want this site to be exclusive in the way that other sites are (one site, by the way, was started by people who left because the SNR was getting too low here - and that was 8 years ago), so the only option is to ride it out and hope that the SNR remains tolerable for as long as possible. As long as I can pull out a gem here and there, it's worth it to mudde through.

                                                                                                                                        But I feel that's it's up to me (and each one of us) to point out noise for noise's sake. Maybe if we all stay conscious of the issue and understand that we don't want to descend into complete junk food madness, we'll police ourselves.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: applehome


                                                                                                                                          As far as the canned pizza dough goes, I don't think it is a particularly "chowhoundish" product, but did you read how the people who used it added their own unique touches to it to make it more chowhoundish? At the beginning of this thread I confessed that my DH LOVES hamburger helper beef pasta, which bores me to tears and I cringe every time he begs me to make it. But I embellish it, quite a bit, with herbs, spices, and sour cream. Is it gourmet? No. Do I use good quality meat? Yes. Does it taste good? Yes. Would I serve it to company for dinner? No. But I am cooking for a man who loves plain buttered noodles and a link of pork and venison sausage, or steak and baked potato with only butter and bacon on the potato. So I give up! Making him a fine meal is a waste of time. I can't even get a beef stew into him.

                                                                                                                                          Now I do make a great homemade stock, and keep extra in the freezer, and when my daughters were babies I made all their food from scratch - no jarred junk. I also used to make our own bread, bbq sauce, no shake 'n bake - I made my own mixes for breadings, had sourdough starter for rolls and pastries. I went all out, but I was a stay at home mom, who also sewed the girls clothes. As they got older I cooked a lot of different things, because they would eat them, and he would get a hot dog. Now that it is just the 2 of us, it is harder to get really good food. I may make a pot of soup for me and freeze batches of it (he only eats chicken noodle) or pots of beans made with ham bones (yes I have a freezer full of carcasses and bones) but beyond that if I want something special I go out to get it. Shortcuts are a way of life for me just because that is what he eats. And it isn't all junk.


                                                                                                                                          1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                            applehome did a much better job getting to the point that I was trying to make!
                                                                                                                                            Regarding the semantics of foodie vs. Chowhound? I apologize for being somewhat unaware of the difference. If I go by applehome's definition, I'm probably a Chowhound. I may not be the very first on the scene, but I'm definitely in the lead pack LOL. I gain as much (if not more) satisfaction from criss-crossing my state in search of the best hot dog as I do in dining in a great 3 or 4 star restaurant. For me, there is great satisfaction in finding a unique gem that rises above the norm--the best hot dog or the best foie gras, it doesn't matter...food that is transcendent....food made with pride and the desire to be the best in its class. Do I take short cuts at home in my cooking? You Betcha! There's no way around it when you work long hours at a stressful job. I don't have a problem with that or people who use processed foods (to each his own) or want to save a buck(who doesn't in this economy?). GREAT eats that happen to be easy and on the cheap? I'm there! Mediocre eats quick and cheap, where the priority is primarily on time and cost savings? Probably not. Not what I'm looking for on Chowhound, at least. My only point is whether THIS site should become a clearinghouse for the latter. And sorry, but it is my opinion that Pillsbury Pizza dough (which I HAVE tasted) falls into that latter category. What's more--Pillsbury spends millions on advertising and hardly needs the help of Chowhounds to spread the good word about their product. My heart truly goes out to anyone who has not had a better pizza dough than Pillsbury's!

                                                                                                                                            Do I, personally, come to this site to get ideas about how to put food on the table quick? No. Nor would I presume to think that Chowhounds would be interested if I suggested using english muffins for a quick "pizza" base--something I have done on occasion, but something that, I think, falls into the "noise" category that applehome was talking about.
                                                                                                                                            I have plenty of other sources for quick recipes or short cuts--plus the many that are already stored in my brain. I use this site as an aid in finding the transcendent experience. And while I may never have the opportunity to dine at Per Se--perhaps once in my life--I enjoy knowing that there's a source where I can find out what makes it so special and read about others' experiences there.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: choco_lab38

                                                                                                                                              Re your not knowing the difference between "foodie" and "chowhound".... check out this link. Chowhound used to clearly define the difference on the main splash page, before the suits took over in 2006.

                                                                                                                                              Those of us who have been around for a while clearly know the difference as defined by Alpha Hound Jim Leff.


                                                                                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                            2. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                              Isn't it the moderators job to handle the "Signal to noise ratio" applehome?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: haggisdragon

                                                                                                                                                No. Not at all. As I explain down below (this is the problem with coming into a heated discussion like this so late), the mods handle the mechanics. They're the traffic cops. We manage the contents or what's carried in the cars. There are notable exceptions insofar as they have to catch the criminals (evil-doer shills and people who insult others, for example) - so contents have to be monitored. But their job is not to insure that content is correct or particularly meaningful for everybody. That would be an impossibility - talk about herding cats.

                                                                                                                                                So we have to guide, if not herd, ourselves - we have to control (or at least, influence) the general direction of this site based on what we decide to post. We can talk about Rachel Ray if we wish (we do often, usually to denigrate her), but the cookbook of the month threads, for example, generally try to select more complex and interesting fare. Does this site need to open up more and include more Rachel Ray recipe discussions? Perhaps - perhaps not. But that's up to all of us to decide - not the mods or any one or group of posters.

                                                                                                                                            3. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                              A flip dismissal, but I'm not sure of what. I keep reading posts in which people try to define this site for others but none of them match up exactly with each other. Maybe there's a reason for that. Lot's of threads available on Chowhound.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                I think the thing that is being overlooked here is that -- as far as I know -- EVERYBODY uses short cuts of one variety or another from time to time. The big difference is that there may be some who never cook without using shortcuts while a others may rarely use shortcuts, if at all, and I think that is the primary difference.

                                                                                                                                                Speaking for myself, there are occasions for which I wouldn't dream of serving anything that I didn't absolutely make from scratch. Those are usually small, intimate gatherings. But for larger gatherings, I might augment my primary menu with a few shortcuts. But if I wanted to expand the number of people and try to keep the amount of work on an even keel, well... If it was a holiday dinner, for instance, and I had my heart set on a magnificent croquembouche to serve as both the centerpiece and as dessert, I don't see anything wrong with popping off to Sam's Club for a few boxes of frozen cream puffs, then just making the caramel and spin sugar from scratch to assemble it. But I would never ever serve Kraft mac and cheese no matter how pressed for time I was. But some might.

                                                                                                                                                There are short cuts, and then there are short cuts. We all set our own standards. I just don't see a lot of benefit from sweating what group you fall into. If you don't like where you are, change! Or stop feeling guilty. '-)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                  Mornin' C1. Like you, I cook alot from scratch but not every single thing. I was glad to see you took a short-cut with those sliders :) I also think it's pretty easy, almost foolproof to look at the title of a thread and see if it's going to be "worthwhile" for your purposes. I put that in quotes cause sometimes I'm just looking to be entertained :) But let's take MY thread on Pillsbury pizza dough. All one had to do was read the subject and know if it was for them or not. Now if one's goal is to denigrate someone else then go for it. But it's not very hard to make good decisions on this board. If one is new to CH, there may be a learning curve but it happens pretty quickly. And it's like trash/treasure; one person's noise is another's sound. Stop listening if it hurts your ears!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                    The goal is NOT to denigrate someone else, the goal is to say whether someone else's idea is good or bad to oneself, and as well, to the site as a whole (IMHO). If the writer takes that as denigration, then it is on their shoulders, not the wrtier's. I discussed that before and think of it as a key aspect to how this site works - if every writer is going to take anything anybody ever says about their post as a personal attack, there isn't going to be much discussion done.

                                                                                                                                                    If it's easy to select your topic, then the entire world should simply post anything they want. Welcome to the world wide web. Welcome to Yelp, The Phantom Gourmet, etcetcetc... the lowest common denominator site will always win. The legacy or reputation of a site will not matter - print truth, near-truths, falsehoods, whatever... it's up to the reader to figure it out.

                                                                                                                                                    See - I think we're better than that. I think we have a reputation as a great place to find food information. And to keep that, I think we need to filter ourselves and work at keeping that signal to noise ratio up.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                      CH's talk as much about their community behavior as they do about the food they love, the food experiences they wish to share. This reference to "signal to noise ratio" is a pita. It's human nature to talk about all sides of an interest. And, even the level of signal to noise gets equal time on the food-play-ing field. Why complicate our already passionate p.o.v. w/ human nature! Enjoying our chow that's the point!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                        The S (Signal) = chow, everything else is N = noise. So talking about SNR is lousing up the SNR. But SNR (as a metric applied to this board) was thought up by our glorious founder Jim Leff years ago, and remains as an earmark of Chowhound philosophy. (SNR is a telecommunication and audio reproduction term I've used for years as an electronic technician - I was surprised when I first ran into it in one of Jim's writings - but it is a brilliant usurpation, and fits perfectly.) As LindaWhit said a while back, these conversations are segmented on boards, so if you're here on Site Talk, the assumption would be that you're at least somewhat interested in how the site is doing, where it's going - community behavior, as you say. There's room within the degradation of SNR short term, to talk about the long term. But I question the value of complaining for complaining's sake - posting just to get people to pat your back and comfort you.

                                                                                                                                                        I know I've done it once or twice myself in the last 8+ years, but generally speaking I don't see a whole lot of people starting threads about how to maintain the standards and purity of Chowhoundism (other than the Jim's initial thoughts and the mod's additions). Posts like mine, expressing concern about lowered standards are almost always retorts to threads like this one that start, "Why rag on us everyday cooks...", where people complain about snobbery. The thread originators, like KC, are complaining that they should be left alone to talk to fellow "low-brow" shortcutters and chain-eaters without being made to feel guilty for their supposedly low standards by "high-brow" snobs.

                                                                                                                                                        But if you take the premise that this whole site is about learning and improving, it's inevitable that people will chime in with suggestions. If you write about a shortcut, you're bound to have someone who does it from scratch say, "Have you ever thought of doing it from scratch, it's really pretty easy and makes an awesome product?" This is almost never a personal attack. It's simply a query to find out if someone might want some help in learning more about the subject.

                                                                                                                                                        Some people think that playing devil's advocate is a bad thing. But debate is actually an excellent learning tool. It establishes a dialectic. It's about going back and forth with ideas and searching for the truth. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with personal attacks or feelings. Most people who challenge someone else aren't playing devil's advocate at all - they are simply stating their own passionate position - one they've come to from their own experiences and learning.

                                                                                                                                                        If you're not here to learn about chow, why are you here? Why would you assume that someone is simply here to put you down and make themselves feel good? We should all be extending a hand to each other, sharing what we know well. And we should all be willing students, eager to understand more.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                          applehome, your idea of "helping" a fellow hound out can be overbearing at times. Here's a question: Why do you find it necessary to ask "why are you here?" It's annoying as all get out. I'm here for an enjoyable experience, just like you.

                                                                                                                                                          For instance, your views on food media are often compelling. Good reads.

                                                                                                                                                          However, the reply and detailed explanation for the "benefit" of all above is not necessarily helping **my** CH experience. The idea of asking why **we** should be here is unnecessary. Thousands of individuals come here for a number of enjoyable reasons. Easy to understand that.

                                                                                                                                                          When we give a CH a break, the S to N ratio levels are fine.

                                                                                                                                                          Now you have a great day, applehome. Time to enjoy my morning chow!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                            As you have so clearly divined, HillJ the trouble comes from those who purport that it's "It's about going back and forth with ideas and searching for the truth." as applehome does in their reply to you.

                                                                                                                                                            Truth in taste is a contradiction in terms which can never be reconciled. But there are those who believe that they "know" that from scratch is "better" - without ever being honest enough to admit that there is only "individual better" judgment, and applying their version of the "truth" to the taste buds of others, carries with it an absolute lack of logic.

                                                                                                                                                            When you hear someone say "And we should all be willing students, eager to understand more." as applehome does above I say that that sentiment includes learning from those who take short cuts and turning out a product whose taste is indistinguishable from that of the "scratch or die(hard)" proponents, (at the very least, indistinguishable to those who follow the short cuts version of their own cooking methods).

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                              "Truth in taste is a contradiction in terms which can never be reconciled."
                                                                                                                                                              ............................................................................ Servorg

                                                                                                                                                              In order for your statement to make sense, Servorg, you need to add "except by one person." All things subjective are determined by a committee of one. When others agree with you, chalk it up to coincidence.

                                                                                                                                                              As far as "from scratch" being better, it depends entirely on the "shortcut" being used instead of the scratch method. In almost all cases, scratch provides the cook with a means of controlling salt and other chemical additives in the family's daily diet. It is a much better method for managing allergies than most shortcuts that use ready made ingredients. And often as not, scratch cooking is a major step toward reducing your food budget.

                                                                                                                                                              But there are some shortcuts that are worth using under certain circumstances. For example, I keep a supply of Walmart's "Great Value" Pizza Crust Mix. It runs around 10 or 15 cents a pack. You mix in water, it only needs to rise 5 minutes, then you make your pizza. Or focaccia. Or whatever else you want to make with a pretty good yeast dough. Is it as good as dough I make from scratch? No. But it is definitely better that SOME bread I've made from scratch. And there are some fairly decent pasta-sauce-in-a-jar products out there to top it with. It's MUCH cheaper than either take-out or frozen pizza, and you have control.

                                                                                                                                                              Would I ever buy another box of "instant" au gratin potatoes? Not even if Hell froze over! Takes more time than scratch and, to me, it tastes disgusting.

                                                                                                                                                              I don't find fault with applehome's post. I suspect that you, Servorg, and HillJ may be reading her post with inflections it was not written with. But in the end, I think it is CRITICAL for everyone to feel comfortable with their own opinions. I think that if we feel that way, we won't feel threatened by the opinions of others. Works that way in life. Works that way here too. If a discussion is pushing your buttons, or you're feeling too many people are simply spinning their wheels, it's perfectly acceptable to move on to other more interesting threads. '-)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                You might want to quote the paragraph that follows the quote you did select above regarding "Truth in taste..." which is "But there are those who believe that they "know" that from scratch is "better" - without ever being honest enough to admit that there is only "individual better" judgment, and applying their version of the "truth" to the taste buds of others, carries with it an absolute lack of logic."

                                                                                                                                                                And the unfortunate fact is, some here are certain that their way produces a "universally proveable" better taste. Which, as I state above, is an unpalateable load of codswallop (whether or not that codswallop is made from scratch or microwaved out of a box).

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                  C1, speaking for myself, it would appear that we are all discussing similar points. Wouldn't it be simpler to give every CH the benefit of the doubt rather than overly debate who's version of "from scratch" matters more?

                                                                                                                                                                  I was also questioning applehomes remark "why are you here?" I do not feel that question needs to be overstated from one CH to another. The why is a general question often used to defend one position over another. Not needed, not generally helpful to the thread. To me this is a fine example of signal to noise for those keeping track.

                                                                                                                                                                  btw-Applehome, I thank you for your time.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                  If taste is entirely, purely subjective, there is no way to compare and learn from each other. There can never be a meaningful discussion about food. If taste is something we're born with - whole and given in its final form at birth, there will never be a path to learn about new flavors, new textures, new foods, our tastes can never change. In fact, they do change, and the direction of change can be influenced from both experience and learning. They can be guided.

                                                                                                                                                                  All our senses are used for us to experience the world. We run into new sensations all the time - new visions, new sounds, new tastes. The pleasure and emotions derived from a sensual experience is entirely formed from your our own past experience and internal mechanisms. That pleasure or emotion is in and of itself difficult to share, but the data regarding that experience can be easily shared.

                                                                                                                                                                  If we start in different places, you on the US left coast and me in Japan, and we come together, you can tell me about things I have never experienced, and I can tell you about things you've never experienced. The final judgment of whether something I tell you is truth or not may need to be done empirically, but the discussion may stimulate each other to focus on aspects that we've shared and reasoned as a good thing to try or verify.

                                                                                                                                                                  Using the dialectic process to arrive at ultimate truth is a purely philosophical mechanism. Using it to bring out more and more information, from which we can make informed decisions is a practical and efficient learning method. Writing on the web particularly lends itself to the dialectic process. Back and forth, which you so virulently object to, brings out more and more details on any subject. Unless the first post was a virtual encyclopedia of information, follow-up posts will always bring more information and more focus.

                                                                                                                                                                  By my experience, shortcuts always create inferior food. You may have other experiences, but they would need to be empirically verified. The quality of verification matters - if you can get say, Thomas Keller, to tell you that a particular shortcut makes no difference in the final product, I would stand a better chance of believing it and might therefore try it. I really don't think you're going to get a long list of shortcuts from Keller. There is indeed a scale of truth here, if not an ultimate truth.

                                                                                                                                                                  However - the point with this thread is that nobody is discussing the quality of a shortcut. There is the fundamental assumption that shortcuts make lesser flavors, different textures - nobody is saying that they are better, but that they are acceptable for the situation of coming home at 6pm and feeding 6 children. I completely accept that position. I'm not sure that this means that we should be using Chowhound to share that shortcut, but that's what we're discussing - back and forth.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                                    (More of the general comment on the thread rather than a specific reply to applehome.)

                                                                                                                                                                    I wouldn't make any assumptions about shortcuts or anything; after all, the goal of this site is to share information based on empirical experience so that we can all eat and think critically, rather than blindly accept "conventional wisdom" or what we're told.

                                                                                                                                                                    If someone tried a shortcut and it reduced the deliciousness substantially, it means that that particular short isn't good. However, that doesn't generalize to all shortcuts. And rather wait for someone else to tell us, I'd rather see chowhounds trying out for themselves and telling us the results.

                                                                                                                                                                    What if someone bought ground meat instead of hand chopping it? In what dishes does that make a difference? In what dishes does it make no difference? Those need to be evaluated critically.

                                                                                                                                                                    Are all brands of chicken broth the same? Is homemade breadcrumbs better? Is hand churned ice cream better than an ice cream maker?

                                                                                                                                                                    P.S. Actually, if you have access to liquid nitrogen, it's a time saver in terms of churning ice cream as it is much colder, and having tried it (we made our own liquid nitrogen ice cream), I can't say that this time saving mechanism reduces the quality of the final product.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                                      "By my experience, shortcuts always create inferior food. You may have other experiences, but they would need to be empirically verified. The quality of verification matters"

                                                                                                                                                                      Empirical verification of taste. Good one. Let me see you pull that off with 100 people from 100 different countries on good old planet Earth. Training seals to catch balls, yes. Training people to agree to the notion of what tastes "good", no. And whether it's Thomas Keller or Soupy Sales telling them that what they are eating "must taste good" to them you will have achieved the same end point. Zero.

                                                                                                                                                                      But it was good for a laugh. So thanks for that.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                        I don't think it's about verification of individual tastes, but verification of properties of the product, like texture, density, the presence or absence of flavours, interaction between flavours etc.

                                                                                                                                                                        If a whole bunch of people tried a certain method, and found that a certain flavour got stronger, then hound that prefer stronger flavours will want to use it, whereas hounds that prefer a milder flavour would avoid it. And we could also make comparisons to known items e.g. "it tasted like X from restaurant Y," again allowing folks who love X to favour the method and vice versa.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: limster

                                                                                                                                                                          Unfortunately, Limster the more that we see sound scientific method applied to things like tasting contests with wine, even in the hands of so called experts, we find that there is so much variability with human taste - driven by things like perception and bias and who knows what all - that these sorts of ideas, to come to some form of universal truth on any of the properties you list, end up being meaningless.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                            Yep there's variability between people (e.g. you might not like something someone else likes), but less within an individual (e.g. you like something, and you like something that tastes similar).

                                                                                                                                                                            If you said you like dish X, that's subjective. But if you said dish X tastes like dish Y, folks that like Y would probably have a pretty good chance of like X too.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: limster

                                                                                                                                                                              Limster, I find that applehome and some others here are of the opinion that "from scratch" preparation leads to a "better tasting" end product. And when they say "better tasting" they mean for everyone, no matter what. I think that's codswallop by any measure. Taste is subjective and we will never have a "unified field theory" that encompasses taste. Seeing that wine tasting experts can try the very same wine, during the same competition and end up in one tasting giving that wine a gold medal and in the next not finding it worthy of any award tells you a lot more than I ever could about how taste and perception/bias works.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                Yep - that's why I mentioned above about generalizing the impressions from some short cuts to all and about why each short cut is going to be assessed on its own. It's possible to say whether a method produces a difference and it's possible to describe that difference, either on its own or in comparison to other foods. Whether that difference is desirable depends on the individual.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                  Servorg - When I say 'cooking from scratch leads to a better tasting end product' I do mean for me. The flavor is can be subtly or dramatically better - but it is ultimately better - otherwise, why would I spend the effort or time?

                                                                                                                                                                                  Will everyone I serve taste this difference? Nope. Some will and know why. Others usually they say 'I've had this before but it never tasted like this' (accompanied with ummm's). Those who don't notice the difference typically feed themselves using packaged foods - and I'm hoping for a conversion.

                                                                                                                                                                                  So I agree with you, taste is subjective but a good flavor can usually be detected.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                                    But most will tell Boone's Farm from a serious wine, and do so every time, and most will select the serious wine as a better product than Boone's Farm. So it's just a matter of degree, not of infinite acceptance of all things. Most people can be taught to further refine their abilities to differentiate. There will indeed be a minority of people who feel that the Boone's farm is better, but the rest of the human race is going to move on.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Going to a wine tasting or a cooking lesson is not a matter of having someone teach you what's good and bad, but of learning about the components of taste. You always decide for yourself what's good or bad - what other people can do is to guide you - to help you open up to new experiences and new tastes.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Shortcuts are ways to make something quicker and easier, not just different. There is experimentation for the sake of creativity, and then there is saving time. Processed foods are about saving time - someone has done some work for you, so you don't have to cook something all day. At the very least, there is the fact that using someone else's shortcut product limits your creativity - that doesn't mean that the end product is necessarily worse, but it is less creative.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Campbell's green bean casserole is a specific dish made a specific way. People have argued that making it from scratch (bechamel, fresh mushrooms) doesn't end up with the same thing. Yes - that's right - it's NOT the same thing. Better or worse, it is different. Perhaps you used chanterelles and shiitakes. Perhaps you made gribenes with the onions duck renderings - fried in duck fat.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I am a musician, having played piano and violin from 5 years old on. Playing music is a craft, but playing it well is an art - one that requires creative thinking, layered on top of technical expertise. Perhaps that's colored my thinking about what cooking is to me. It is indeed a process of making things to stuff my face - we all have to eat to live. But here, on Chowhound, we say over, and over again - we live to eat. Shortcuts are great for eating to live, not so much for living to eat. I loved Branford Marsalis' comment on Top Chef Finale, where after listenting to the other judges talk about a set of dishes, he said, "You sound like a bunch of musicians."

                                                                                                                                                                                    Absolutely, time is a limiting factor. You can't be Picasso every night. But thinking that shortcuts are acceptable within the framework of great tasting cooking is just nonsense. Shortcuts are acceptable within the framework of a compromised creative process. We accept those compromises so we can have a life.

                                                                                                                                                                                    So can I accept trading shortcut information as a "necessary evil" here on chowhound? Yes, absolutely, but I hope it is treated as a minor area of interest, not as a mainstream discussion, where we glorify shortcuts and bow to the great and wonderful leadership of Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee. We should remain mainly about great food.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                              That is true Servorg, but lets say for a moment you've got 100 guys from the Soloman islands, 100 guys from Russia, 100 guys from Rwanda, and 100 guys from Tuscon Arizona, and they all happen to really love pizza. I'm willing to bet that if they had a choice of Pillsbury pizza dough and Mama's 200 year old family recipe pizza dough, I think I know which one they might prefer.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: haggisdragon

                                                                                                                                                                                But if I were going to feed 400 guys (!!!) I would definitely NOT be making Mama's 200 y.o. recipe :) Hell, I'd probably give them gift cards to McD's.

                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                                              If we were to continue the dialectic with integrity and some concentration applehome, might we not agree that the ultimate question is something like " Is Taste subjective?"

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                            Don't you see that the thing is that it's overbearing _to you_. It's annoying _to you_. You have some idea about what you want to see from posts on chowhound and applehome's posts don't fit that all of the time or maybe even very often. You have no problem telling him to hold his tongue and not post what he's thinking but want for others to be able to post just what they're thinking without editing or being questioned at any point. Your version of criticizing someone is fine but his version isn't allowable. That doesn't make any sense to me.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                              ccb, good day! I did not tell anyone posting on this thread to hold their tongue, thank you. I was not discussing what constitutes allowable conversation, that is coordinated by the Mods of this site.

                                                                                                                                                                              I was referring to and maintain that a CH who enjoys this site "why are you here?" sets a tone: one of us and them. Applehome and I may not agree with each other and that's fine.

                                                                                                                                                                              Coming to the defense of a fellow CH sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. I asked applehome a question in response to his/her own.

                                                                                                                                                                              If it's unfair to ask a CH a direct question based on their post, then that is what I did.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                I think some are taking applehome's rhetorical question as a pointed question directed at them. Expand the question to include the assumed part of it and I come up with, "If you aren't here to expand your knowledge and enjoyment of food and share your ideas and learn from or reject other people's ideas, then.... why are you here?" I took the question as rhetorical, questioning the obvious, and not at all out of line.

                                                                                                                                                                                To each his own? '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                  Which is why the printed word is so darn tricky. I read the words, implication is another bird...too tricky to determine...and a minor distraction from the chow. Pizza from scratch, pizza from a tube. Our tastebuds, time management skills, culinary patience, final enjoyment...let's focus there. The why is personal choice.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Better to camp in the "room for all welcome mat" because whether I'm talking for myself or aligning my pov with a fellow CH...it's from a place of welcome.

                                                                                                                                                                                  If I did not do a bang up job of conveying that, my bad.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                              Well - this has been thrashed to death. But Caroline is right, I was asking a rhetorical question. The whole quote is, "If you're not here to learn about chow, why are you here? Why would you assume that someone is simply here to put you down and make themselves feel good?"

                                                                                                                                                                              I ask that because, as I have said many times, here and elsewhere, it's the personalized response to a critical post that most often sends people off the rocker, not the original criticism. People say that you have to be nice, but I've seen some of the most nicely worded critiques taken personally, as if it was intended to put them down. Rarely, is that the case.

                                                                                                                                                                              The nature of public communication is that if there is any value to it all, there will be discourse. So personally, I don't ask people to be nicer writers, I ask them to be better receivers of criticisms and suggestions. If you post here, expect a response. Expect some agreement, expect some criticism.

                                                                                                                                                                              As to "why are you here?" Are you here to throw stuff out and *NOT* get a response? Are you here to throw stuff out and get only positive responses? Or are you here to learn something, and maybe occasionally get your back patted? What are you learning if you say, I think this makes great pizza, and everybody chimes in with "you're so right'. But if someone tells you they disagree, and why, or they suggest a possible alternative, it might possibly be useful information. I agree that a lot of what comes back is not useful - if you're looking for shortcuts and someone gives you a scratch recipe that you can't use because of lack of time, it's not very useful - the responder didn't understand your needs. But that's when it is indeed up to you to understand that and move on - not feel like you've just been told your a meaningless nebbish.

                                                                                                                                                                              But all of this are the mechanics of the process. It's not at all what I was arguing about at the core. At the core of the Signal to Noise metric (as with any other metric) is the desire to keep the quality and function of the site we all love at a high level. Whatever we can agree on towards that goal, we should start by agreeing that this is not a site where anything goes. It's moderated, mainly for language/civility, topicality and business shilling purposes. But more than that, it started with an inclusive and yet distinctive mission - it was really about loving food, not just stuffing your face with what's available. I fundamentally question whether talking about convenience is about loving food. But whether you agree or not, that's the kind of topic that discussing our future should be focused on - not the mechanics of whether a person is insulted or not. Jim and company actually resolved the mechanics many years ago - if someone is being personally insulting (not just critical of an idea), tell the mods.

                                                                                                                                                                              At the end of the day, we'll continue to post about shortcuts and chains, we'll continue to have the ever popular, I remember Spaghetti-O's threads, and yes, even the I love White Castle ones. We'll all continue to avoid the noise and hunt down the signal - even as we recognize that both signal and noise are going to be somewhat different for each and every one of us. But my observation, for what it's worth - the SNR does indeed go down from year to year. As we attract more and more people, we are losing the basic sense of the original mission. The number of these "the nasty snobs hate me and beat me up" threads are more popular than ever - there are more of them and the sympathetic responses keep increasing on each one. I absolutely mean it when I tell everyone to keep posting and to ignore negative comments. The answer is never going to be to censor anybody. But I'd love to attract and encourage mostly, people who love food. If we do that, our SNR will go back up.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                                                Adding to the point above.

                                                                                                                                                                                A criticism of someone's recommendation or suggestion is NOT a criticism of the person. Criticising the use of shortcuts is NOT a criticism of the the person who suggested it. If we want to think and eat critically, we cannot blindly accept or reject all recommendations, whether it is a shortcut or a hardcore method. If everyone were to endorse an opinion or method just because someone else posted it, this would be a site of lemmings.

                                                                                                                                                                                The solution is twofold: disagree in a civil, friendly way and be willing to accept that not everyone will agree with you. Think and eat for yourself, you're solely responsible for how much you enjoy your food.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                                                  If CH Boards include categorizes that welcome shortcuts, chains and Spaghetti O threads and that seems off to you, take your points up with site management. I don't believe that the majority of CH's/users of these specific boards are doing anything more than enjoying them while other CH's enjoy regional Boards.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The "basic sense of the original mission" now includes expanding, growing and changing the model. Holding onto the original founder's message without embracing the new adventures ahead is going to make for a frustrating "meal."

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                    Do you feel the need for any level of exclusivity at all? Is this site the same, should it be the same, as Food TV's forum or any number of other sites that reflect the lowest common denominator cooking and eating that appears to be generating chain upon chain, massively processed products upon processed products onto the American public?

                                                                                                                                                                                    If your feeling is that there is no need to shoot for any level of quality, then we have a serious battle ahead of us, because I intend to defend this turf from the Huns. On the other hand, if you feel that there is a continued need to have some level of focus on deliciousness and the extraordinary love of food (yes indeed, we are extraordinary lovers of food - and we put in a lot of time and effort into expressing it here) - then we're only arguing about where to draw the line. That's not an acute problem, that's simply evolution.

                                                                                                                                                                                    The original intent is important, whether you like it or not. When Jim set off the difference between foodie and chowhound, and focused on deliciousness, he was defining a vision - not for the sake of exclusivity, but for the sake of meaning and direction - something all visions are about in any organization. The people that bought his product did so with a full understanding of that vision, and with the intent of continuing it as well as integrating it into the whole of Chow. If you read Jim's 3-part (so far) explanation of the events, you'll understand that he would have rather folded the site than give in to a commercialization without that commitment to his vision. The continuation of the mods in situ is a perfect example of that on-going commitment.

                                                                                                                                                                                    "Embracing new adventures" shouldn't mean lowering standards and becoming inclusive to the point of including the worst of TVFN types of food and their vision of what a foodie is (which I believe is someone that spends money eating just about anything and watching TV). It shouldn't mean an endless repetition of the wonders of Kraft and Campbell's products, nor endless comparisons of fast food cheeseburgers. For every new user that this site gathers that wants to discuss Rachel Ray's recipes, we lose ten potential and existing food lovers that will see this site as just another TVFN wannabe.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm not advocating filtering out all chain and shortcut discussions, far from it. But I am advocating that we maintain a distinction, something that makes us "better" than all those other food sites where people can go to discuss Sandra Lee and Rachel Ray at length. If we stay focused on the tenets of discovery - of sharing new and wonderful ideas, places, recipes, and yes, good and useful shortcuts, we'll end up with a cleaner site that doesn't reek of the low-brow, inane contents that are part of the lowest common denominators, like TVFN. We'll be proud to be members of this site and of this community of food lovers, and people coming to the site will see the benefits of joining the community - not just as a place to commiserate over long hours of work or rehash what everybody already knows about ways to make green bean casserole, but as a place to learn what's next? What can I tackle next in my quest to become a better chef or a better eater?

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm sure people, especially newbies, often ask themselves, "How can I contribute new and exciting information to this community?" If the community is a reflection of TVFN, they'll post rehashes of Sandra Lee recipes. If the community has been teaching them about discovery, they'll post about their adventure at the new Sichuan place that opened up nearby, or a simple Hazan recipe, new to them, that changed their entire view of pasta. We need to focus on the latter.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                                                      Applehome, you make a good argument for establishing a Shortcuts Board on CH.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                                                        "Better" is open to intrepretation. Thank goodness for that.
                                                                                                                                                                                        You refer to the founding vision and what the site was built on. Ok. What about where the site is going today? What about learning from others who take the site in a new direction ? Have you asked yourself if this website remains a fit for you? I hope it does.

                                                                                                                                                                                        We can all learn new methods of preparing dishes and accepting the idea that we don't have all the answers. Flexibility be thy guide.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Now, I'm off to whip up some beautiful eggs thanks in large part to C1's shared technique a few months back.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Have a great weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                          Ooooh, thank youo! Glad it worked for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                            What is this egg technique?

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sharuf


                                                                                                                                                                                              This post resulted in a great deal of CH give & take; old & new techniques. Nice illustration of how CH's come together. Got me in a new mode of egg-making. Old dog-new trick!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                                                            I continue to be impressed with the eloquence and consistency with which you lay out your ideas of why it's important for people who post on this site to keep some levels of standards about food in mind, applehome. I clearly don't agree all of the time with you on each thread (or necessarily on this thread) but each topic but that's exactly the point, really.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I look to Chowhound for something that is better than what I see elsewhere online when it comes to food. I'm looking for more than just the cheapest place to get lunch or the fastest way to put dinner on the table or the most effortless way to impress my dinner guests. Cheap lunch, fast dinner and effortlessly impressive food all have their places, no question. But they're also easy to find information about all over the web and in magazines and on television. On Chowhound I'm looking for what tastes the best. What is the most delicious lunch I can find, what is the best tasting ingredient to go into the dinner I'm going to put on the table and so on.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                Just remember C. For every yeah, there is a nay. There are poeple who just can't wait to hate something. There are people who will just plain play devil's advocate.

                                                                                                                                                                                As I told K. If you're happy, who cares what others think??


                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks, DT. My MIL is a black/white, either/or, no grey in her life kinda person. Drives me crazy. I used to cook everything from scratch - soup to nuts. We entertain alot and a number of years ago I decided that was idiotic (for me). So I combine all sorts of things. I don't make my own cheese and haven't made pate' yet (although that's on the horizon). My husband will make a favorite Brazilian dessert of papaya, vanilla ice cream and creme de cassis. We won't be making the ice cream either. In summer I grow a few vegetables and buy others. I don't milk a cow or slaughter a steer either :) But I WILL use a pre-made pizza dough if I damn well feel like it. And I don't give a rat's a** WHAT others think! And any time a good cook like alkapal recommends something, I will bloody well check it out. Because *I* have an open mind. Whew. I feel much, much better :)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                    Lessen, 'an lessen good. You make yer own sausage wich is hail lot more'n most.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Davwud

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm done on this subject. I RARELY post to these boards--and I'm certainly less likely to now. I assure you that I am not a hater. Haters tend to resort to name-calling (see toutefrite's post above) I don't live to play devil's advocate, and I am not a "psycho" as inferred on the pizza thread hahahahaha!

                                                                                                                                                                                    I feel vindicated by the fact that someone on the Pillsbury post is actually going to try to make pizza dough for the first time because I and others posted about how easy it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: choco_lab38

                                                                                                                                                                                      Please keep posting choco_lab - I'll rub your belly and give you the best bones!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: choco_lab38

                                                                                                                                                                                        And I think that's the point of CH. Getting people to do more than they would have and sharing that type of knowledge. Maybe the Pillsbury is a step up from ordering from Domino's and will eventually get them to bake their own pizza. Baby steps. Few people in this day and age jump in and make everything from scratch but if you give them ideas, some will take them. I went from buying all the bread in the house before CH, to making the no knead bread and now I make bread all the time and can't remember the last time I've bought a loaf. Different shortcuts at home, maybe from using a bread maker to make the dough (on those tired days when I don't have time) to using the stand mixer to doing it all by hand. All thanks to CHers.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: choco_lab38

                                                                                                                                                                                          You know I appreciate the time someone takes to nicely suggest an alternative way to do something, especially if it is not a terribly time consuming endeavor, or doesn't require me purchasing another kitchen appliance. So don't stop posting. It just like anything else, maybe 10 people will blow you off but there are a few that are going to listen. I did.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                                                                            Does that mean I'm not an outcast because I spoke out. I believe in great cooking, I'm also a working mom who has no time and has to use every resource. I respect the other side. I just hope others can respect my side and I hope I can bring some input to both sides in CHOW. I was just very put off and offended to a degree against what I used as cooking but I didn't respect him which I did. But felt I was not respected in what I did at times when time became a factor. I never claimed it to be gourmet or CHOW worthy even though I was a head chef. I use all techniques and methods of cooking, but we are teaching people how to cook and to learning to cooking methods, and that it what food threads are about. Educating and teaching. Sometimes that includes us everyday non purists who also enjoy the art of cooking and really want to learn but don't always have the time, but love to the learn the "true" way when they are allowed time. I would like to think we can offer both and teach those and educate people and convert them to learning how to love and enjoy cooking like us.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I hope I still have something to offer.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                                              Of course you are not an outcast! You have contributed far more than "quick 'n easy" out of a box or can tips! Anyone who has looked at your blog can see that you do not exist on a menu of Kraft dinners and frozen supplements. I feel more of an outcast than most, but still contribute. Take me as I am, because that is all you are going to get. My collection of recipes is very extensive, but I am limited to only being able to making very few because of my DH's bad food habits. It took me 12 years to get him to eat chili they way I really wanted to make it, meaning with flavor. 10 years before he would even try a piece of ham. The first time I served him orzo you would have thought I was serving him maggots. He liked it but it took prodding to get him to taste it. See what I'm saying? So I enjoy reading about how people make all these exotic dishes, and then join up with a friend, or one of my daughters, and find a place to try those dishes. But if someone doesn't respect me because I use liquid smoke, oh well! (Although I am looking forward to trying the homemade pizza dough, because I'm not that crazy about pizza and he loves it, so maybe that will make a difference. And if it can rise in the fridge overnight - even better.)

                                                                                                                                                                                              And you are right - it's a two way street. We can teach and educate each other, but we need to be nice about it. It can be done gently.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                                                                                Thx I just though my opinion got no respect from some and I honestly don't care ... but I just hope they can at least respect us as I respect them is all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                It takes all of us nuts doesn't it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thx I just though my opinion got no respect from some and I honestly don't care ...
                                                                                                                                                                                                  But you do care. Otherwise, this thread wouldn't have been started. But at this point, the thread really has been beaten to death with the constant rehashing. Again - just go with what you want to take away from the site.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                                                Does that mean I'm not an outcast because I spoke out.
                                                                                                                                                                                                You're the one that termed yourself a potential outcast in your OP. And at this point, after close to 150 responses, I think it's clear: Everyone can make a contribution to this board. Say what you want to say. Read what you want to read. Take away what you want to take away. Ignore the rest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you are looking for universal approval you should not post to any forum on the internet, certainly not here. Just because someone disagrees with your thoughts or opinions does not mean they are disrespecting you. This is a forum for discussion about food and most of the people who post here have strong opinions as do you. Differences of opinion are certain and if you can't handle that then you shouldn't post anything (which is not what I am suggesting) to chowhound.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: choco_lab38

                                                                                                                                                                                      choco_lab I think that your tone a little harsh. But I support your point of view. I have also wondered about corporate plants on CH. What do you think about that Ms churchill5?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: haggisdragon

                                                                                                                                                                                        Since I was the OP who recommended the Pillsbury product as a short-cut (another thread - or two), I assure you that I'm not a corporate plant! I'm a 61 y.o. woman who lives in an area where I make do or make it myself. I'm new to dough making, live at a high, dry elevation. I also sometimes just want to open the fridge, pull out a half dozen ingredients and have dinner going in a flash. There maybe be "plants" on CH (one of my favorites is fennel) but I'm not one of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Something that came to mind just now. I've read "discussion" (ha) about putting knives in the DW and had people saying it was "idiotic" to do so. In the same vein to say "I feel sorry for anyone who thinks that's good." Those are unkind ways to express oneself and sure don't foster genuine dialog. We all get too dogmatic and it's really easy on the internet. Maybe *I'll* try to ask myself "is this how I would respond to a friend in this situation."

                                                                                                                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                    Perhaps they are unkind ways to express oneself. But it happens - in the real world as well. And people shouldn't take it so personally, unless the person is being out and out rude. If someone has lurked on CH for awhile, they know that, while we're not always a big happy family singing kum-bai-ya, we do respect one another's positions on various subjects. Or we choose to "agree to disagree" and move on.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                      Good thought! And not having any vocal inflection as a guide can be a problem too. Makes choosing the right words a challenge. But worth it!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                        That brings to mind a time when I posted about a brand new Santoku knife I had that had rust on it. I had put it in the dishwasher, Sam responded with something along the lines of "Oh no! Ms Hole! You should never put a knife like that in the dishwasher." And then he told me how to make it all better. He did it in a very nice way, and I learned something new. And I hand wash that knife now! Good point about asking if that is how you would respond to a friend.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: danhole

                                                                                                                                                                                          We all love Sam, don't we? And, yes, it's not what you say but how you say it --- and I can be guilty also, for sure. There are posters here that, without blinking an eye, I will do a 180 degree change of mind because a) they really know what they're doing and a) they advise in a helpful, kind, nonjudgmental way. And, quadruple yes, C1, about inflection. I use the smiley emoticon WAY too much in emails because frequently if/when I reread before sending, I realizie it could be taken too harshly.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                            I use the smiley emoticon WAY too much in emails because frequently if/when I reread before sending, I realizie it could be taken too harshly.
                                                                                                                                                                                            And that's why I'm very thankful for the ability to revise what you've written for about 45 minutes. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                              Agree. Plus I will all-too-often leave out a word, i.e., "not," which makes a huge difference :)

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                          Agree 100%...we would have less "noise" here on CH (and elsewhere on the 'net for sure) if only people would ask themselves, "Is this how I'd respond to a friend in this situation?" before clicking "post my reply." Nicely stated, C.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                            I *try* to always ask myself if I would feel bad if my Grandma Ginger were reading what I had written... it helps me to think more conciously about what I write. (Hi Grandma!! You know, just in case! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                                              Can I say hi too??? I don't have a grandma any more. Hi Grandma Ginger!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                Of course! I'm sure she would adopt you if you met her! (Her picture's also on my ginger spice tin, so she's always watching after me too!)

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                                                Your grandma would be proud! And I got a kick of your dog checking out whatever goodies might be lurking in the dishwasher. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I hadn't noticed her avatar. Reminds me of our new girl. She doesn't appreciate our freezer on the bottom fridge. Doesn't work for her. Likes her goodies already thawed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm sure. Just picture her going in for a lick and getting her tongue stuck like Ralphie in "A Christmas Story!" HA HA HA!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh yes, Stewart's the pre-rinse cycle! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                              3. You need to read the boards before you post something like this. There is a huge variety of opinion on every food subject possible. No one "rags on" anyone -- there's just a wide range of opinion on what we like to cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Believe me, I know this is snarky (and so may never post again). I write this, though, because food , flavor and nutrition seem to be sometimes lost in this discussion. And I really resent that I'm called elitist and a snob BUT never a gourmet (thanks I think!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  A CHOW FAN BUT MAY NOT FIT IN - OUTCAST?
                                                                                                                                                                                                  (This is rather different post and it may get pulled - and I'm out of order)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm a person that believes in great flavors and interesting tastes. I work more than I should (I don‘t count), have my family, participate in my community, take care of my house, take classes and ‘raise’ my SO (don't tell him, please!). I also do IT consulting and personal catering for my family and friends fairly regularly. And I try cook and eat ‘healthy’ every night. I’ve just begun to love CHOW - many on here have excellent and very informative comments and suggestions. But I’m not sure that I’m loving the ‘joining in’ part.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I’m single and busy but have rarely taken a shortcut cooking - once I decided one method provides a significantly better flavor than another. Sometimes, when I post here, I’ve been called elitist, a snob, and even (shudder) a gourmet. While I thought cooking was about flavor, texture, aroma, nutrition and presentation - others on CHOW cite Rachel Ray, Guy (!), Bobby and Tyler (ok - they all cook but Guy) as examples of the way to cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  For those of us average, every day Americans who value taste but have other commitments - both planned and unexpected - it can be a burden. But I plan. Each week, I buy fruits and vegetables that need to be used immediately and those that are longer lasting. Since it’s now winter, it’s mostly cabbage, leeks, beets, squash, onions, potatoes and legumes. I also won’t apologize that I can feed unexpected guests using both the freezer and what’s in the frig because I do plan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  So ... why harass my methods (what used to be called ‘earthy’ and are now gourmet) when I find that recipes like Julia’s that use simple ingredients are actually sensible, tasty, and cost effective.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe I am just hoping that some here will realize that meals happen 3 or 4 times a day and so can be planned. And a good meal without additives can be on the table from the frig in 20-30 minutes. And that one set of ’complex’ ingredients can contribute to meals later in the week (or more, if frozen). Please let there be CHer’s who understand - is there any support for someone like me?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  25 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I support you hehe. Actually I support all methods as long as people get into the kitchen I feel once in there curiosity will always lead you to new methods and learning whether gourmet or lowbrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well I love flavor and taste. I love to cook the best and from scratch totally. However. You said you are busy and single. Ever get called in at 6am, then work all day till 7, my son is an home wanting food. I get home and have 6 kids to feed, work to do laundry to do and work from "work" This night I was supposed to go to the store and shop for groceries so nothing at home. They are going to a movie in 45, so. what do you do. Make chicken stock or a 1 hr dinner ... no pizza, crust from a can, some left overs and cheese and presto, food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Some nights I am not home until 11 and up at 5, I'm certainly not cooking anything gourmet at midnight. Me and my SO are hungry, quick and 10 minutes is all I need. Most times I have have kids and family and they don't want gourmet late at night and don't want to wait. But when the time permits. Absolutely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Make Julias recipes without going to the store and in 15 minutes and I'm sold. This is what I am telling you that a lot of parents and every day people deal with. I'd love to shop every day or market but it just doesn't work. We get home and kids are happy and kids just don't love some of her food, sorry. Adults, yes, but we don't always have time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tomorrow I am working from 7-2am, the next am 8-11, dinner, are you kidding, I would love too. Now I have great chicken and fish in the freezer but nothing to go with it except canned items because no time for the store. My point.. I do go to the market on Sat, but the only time I have for that and most is used by Friday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      My point is I love fresh, I try fresh, it isn't always possible. I just want someone to understand and respect that canned and premade is ok when in a hurry and you don't have any other options. And I think some good options are out there who come across this same point. That is all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Well, this is chowhound, where all kinds of folks have all kinds of divergent opinions. Because we all have different tastes and tolerances, it's highly unlikely that everyone is going to agree with anyone on any single point. But just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't mean that they do not respect you, it's just that they have a different opinion, that's all. It's part and parcel of a board site like this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: limster

                                                                                                                                                                                                          FYI, I don't think that he didn't respect me ... I don't think he respects or understands my opinion is all. I respect his opinion even though I disagree. I just thought it was stated wrong is all. I may disagree but that is far as it goes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          CHOW is about education and spreading all view of cooking. And that is what it should be, not criticism toward personal views.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've stated above that no one should be raggin' on you. On the other hand, I sincerely think that your responses regarding applehome's replies are perhaps a bit harsh. applehome is one of the most thoughtful, caring, informed, and passionate people on these boards. Applehome has been a protagonist (or antagonist depending on your point of view) on many somewhat heated discussions, but applehome's intention has always - always! - been the same as all of ours: to openly and frankly discuss, impart what we know, to learn more, to be a contributing member of a wide and great community!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                              As I said, and thanks for the comments, I don't want to make enemies ... I want to contribute, I thought it was harsh and didn't even think of my point of view is all and I didn't respect that I don't think he respected me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Maybe just got off on a wrong foot. I'm not holding anything against him, but I still feel that way. I respect all opinions, some I believe, some I don't. That is what CHOW is about. We may not like each others style, but still respect them is all. Maybe just a bad start. Still no hard feelings, just still thought it was wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Someone mentioned I contact CHOW to talk to them via email with a subject. it had nothing to do with this. It was regarding a matter someone posted and wanted my help with. IT WAS NOT regarding this. I wouldn't do that. I was helping a friend is all. I wanted to make sure that was clear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                                                                What did he say that was disrespectful?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To me it was just the way he commented on my way of cooking which took as disrespectul. Maybe wrong. Just how I preceived it. Like I said. Not worries and not a big deal. I'm fine with it, just wish for recognition of my belief of cooking at times, but also realizes I am a good cook too., that is all. Nothing personal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think one of the problems with reading posts and not hearing is that you read your own feelings into posts(the general you, not you specifically). I didn't think applehome sounded disrespectful but presented a contrary view. I do understand where he's coming from in his post(s), even if I don't completely agree. I think there is room for everyone. But, if more and more people post about the wonders of Sandra Lee vs Julia Childs, these boards can become that and they've been so much more. Yes, Sandra Lee might be more attainable for the busy working person, but is that where these boards are headed? Kwanzaa cake with corn nuts?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      chowser, again you bring up valid points. However, chowhounds are not the only contributing factor to this latest OP about "fit." While CH's come and go and many have years of posting history, the site content and marketing development is changing all around the pages of this large website.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If advertisers, CHOW site topics and CH Boards are being developed to attract, entertain and encourage all type of homecooks, why be surprised when CH members arrrive to enjoy topics about shortcuts, quick meals, easy entertaining?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We have all said there is room for everyone here, so what's the beef? Come for the shortcut..wind up staying for the zuni chicken! It's all good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Come for the shortcut..wind up staying for the zuni chicken! It's all good."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Exactly. Has anyone spent time at CH and not become a better cook or learn of better places to eat? If not, then CH has done its job.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oops, I hope I didn't offend anyone who likes the Kwanzaa cake...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No one likes the Kwanzaa cake....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Except to laugh at hysterically. :D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It is my understanding that the celebrating of Kwanzaa dropped by over 12% after the introduction of the infamous cake because so many people did not want any association with the monstrosity known as the Kwanzaa Cake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I "arrived "here about a year and half ago looking for restaurant recs in NYC and now I've made pasta. I've always cooked but now I cook better --- AND I use Pillsbury pizza dough :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            >>why be surprised when CH members arrrive to enjoy topics about shortcuts, quick meals, easy entertaining?<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Agree absolutely!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And at the same time, we shouldn't be surprised that those topics are also scrutinized by their fellow hounds who will give their unbiased opinions. If one doesn't think a particular method is good (be it a shortcut or a 5-day recipe), there's every reason for them to share their opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We absolutely need to have room for everyone, including those that may disagree with what others post. The alternative is group think, which is in stark contrast to the independent critical thinking and eating that is a core ethos of this website.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: limster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't think anyone is arguing the merit of shared opinions.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sharing opinions has never been a problem for anyone on CH :)-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Best to you limster!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think that what is so jarring in this discussion is the way that kchurchill's concern is met with 'I believe in good food, good taste, healthfulness and the glory of all things foodie' as if kchurchill's position is inherently opposed to such things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It was a rhetorical strategy denigrated more than the words themselves. At least, that's what I saw when reading this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think that the thing about Chowhound is the incredible mix of people, particularly in terms of location, time, and income. Someone here has explored the ability to feed herself on $3 a day, but not everyone lives in places where they are spoiled for choice of shopping, not everyone has disposable time to hunt the elusive organic bargain, and really, when it comes down to it: not everyone has the money, if not for the food itself, then for transportation costs or lost time at work (or additional time at daycare).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That is only one example, but I think that what comes easy for some may not be easy for others-- not because they don't want it, but because of other limitations in their lives. Haggis dragon laughed at those who post here but talk of time limitations. As it stands, I am typing this as a brain rest from my work in my office. I will be back to the hard stuff again. Meanwhile, as I do not live in an urban metropolis, my shopping efforts are limited. If I do not make time during the work day for a trip to the shop, I'm screwed-- my local produce shop and butcher are closed by 5.30pm, as is just about everything in this village. Moreover, so are the speciality shops in the larger city nearby (which costs me in time and £££ to go).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If I'm not prepared, can I come to Chowhound and ask a question about shortcuts with what I do have?b Can I be forgiven for not having spent my Sunday preparing every weekday meal in advance?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think all too often, there is a preaching voice (or many) that comes into such threads and queries that really dismays the person who is aware of (and likely frustrated with) the limitations their lives impose (for whatever reason).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think kchurchill would love if someone provided amazing shortcut recipes that were fresh, but could also acknowledge that sometimes the larder was not restocked that day, so what now?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am not even going to get into the really sad tendency I've seen develop in which hounds have started reviewing dinner with friends as well as restaurants. There is something alienating about it, one is free to participate, and one is free to ignore it, but I have to say, the appearance of such things is demoralising.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ultimately, one does need to learn to ignore the intolerant comments, kchurchill. My feeling is that chowhound is also a place where some people seek out praise and satisfaction, and not simply good tips on cooking and restaurants. Me? I first came here for local food discussion, but then that all went to hell when I was exiled to a far off land with a fairly crap selection. Now I read about food to excite my sad denied desires.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, and I expound endlessly and needlessly on subjects when I'm avoiding my own writing deadlines. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "It was a rhetorical strategy denigrated more than the words themselves. At least, that's what I saw when reading this thread."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We counter and challenge ideas. That's what a meaningful conversation does in one way or the other. I see nothing written here by anybody that is intended to put anybody else down, only to challenge ideas. And yet you see unintended insults and retort in a much more personal way, speaking of intolerance, alienation and demoralization. If you honestly feel that someone intended to alienate and demoralize other people by taking the position that having an increase in discussions about shortcuts and Rachel Ray/Sandra Lee recipes would be a bad thing for Chowhound, then you are reading things between lines that nobody put there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is a place of learning, people will challenge your ideas here, whether they're about shortcuts or the food at Per Se. If you're going to post here, be prepared to have a conversation and don't feel like every challenge is about intolerant people trying purposely to alienate you. Otherwise you will drive yourself mad!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          KC and everybody else should go ahead and post whatever they wish, including shortcut requests and Rachel Ray recipe discussions. They will certainly get people that will challenge them and say, have you tried scratch, or Julia's recipe, or some other suggestion. And that's exactly what these posts will be - suggestions from people that learned here and that want to share their experience with others. Few, if any, of these people are trying to alienate or denigrate the OP.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Erm, Applehome, I was responding to the question as to why the OP may have felt offence. However, your mode of response goes a long way to demonstrate my point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My problem is not with challenging ideas, but the ways in which people choose to do so. It is a style issue. For example, I raise the issue of shortcuts and you respond immediately with Sandra Lee. Wow. I didn't suggest that people become Sandra Lee here-- nor am I convinced that shortcuts necessarily mean this. You are trying to reframe the terms of the argument, so that now I am against free exchange of ideas and pro-Sandra Lee. And this from my trying to explain where a person might have taken offence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As I said, I have no problems with people challenging ideas, but I see people doing so in a way may be seen as unwelcoming. I am not suggesting this is intentional. People are passionate. Ideas get thrown around. But I think respect for other people tends to be one of the first things to go on these anonymous boards.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ETA: And as you can see from how annoyed I got with teh Sandra Lee crack-- I may have feelings about food that more mirror your own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Here's a current thread on "short cuts" which I think is interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Edit: Forgot to give the link --- http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600148

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And, yes, I agree with you about aggressive tones. I think offense has to be in the eye of the offended not in the offender. Are some people TOO sensitive? Of course. But I don't think that takes away from the fact that some people are over the top in their criticism. I wrote somewhere (here?) that I'm going to try to think 'is this how I would respond to a dear friend' who asks a question or makes a comment. It will hopefully remind me to be kinder in my replies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the link, an interesting discussion there. I appreciate the many definitions and the sensitivity to the important issue: if one does not have access to the finest ingredients and time,how can one still make something good? (This is particularly important for those feeding a family; little children can't say 'no thanks, the calories are simply not worth this inferior, inauthentic fare!')

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Al Way Scoo King, I've always enjoyed all of your posts - make more sense than those of many others. No need to take your ball and bat home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                There are plenty of people here who have your mindset on cooking--I'd guess more than not but it could just be those I make a point to read. There are some great CH cooks who consider it cheating to use a pasta maker or stand mixer, both of which I embrace. I didn't find this thread to be harassment of people who do like to cook (for the most part, but there were the few attacking ones) but as a backlash against those who like to cook who put others down who don't do it the same way. If you can plan ahead and make 3-4 meals a day, 7 days a week, more power to you, and I mean that sincerely. I look forward to reading what you do and learning from it. But, while some of us love to cook, there are also many other things we enjoy doing. I try to make most of our food from scratch, spend time shopping, planning, cooking. But, on the weekend, you'll find me on the ski slopes and the last thing I have on my mind is braising short rbs or whatever, and cheap quick take out works--it's my short cut. If I've done a 10+ mile run in the morning, I'm less likely to feel like making my own ravioli and will use frozen, though my favorite premade frozen. It's not about how busy we are but how much of a priority it is to eat all food made from scratch all the time. Balance is important.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                As short cuts go, though, we all take them. I thought I was doing really well baking all of my own bread until I started chatting with someone who grinds her own wheat. I looked into it and decided, even if grinding fresh flour tastes better, buying flour is a short cut I'm willing to take. I know fruit fresh off the trees is best but I rarely pick my own fruit or vegetables. I looked into roasting my own coffee and decided it was something I could try in the future and continue to buy roasted coffee. Yes, it's a far cry from Pillsbury pizza dough in a can, to me at least, but we all draw the line somewhere. I don't mind the threads about processed foods because I can just skip them. I probably would have skpped that thread if it hadn't been so prominently posted about here, just as I generally skip the chains board, unless I have some extra time. It's easy to skim over posts that talk about the wonders of cream of mushroom soup. It might be noise to me but it's signal to someone else. As kay Ex said above, much more succinctly, I support cooking, respect people who can do it for every meal but also support all methods as long as it gets people into the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Brilliant, HA!, I love it! You bloody smartass! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I totally appreciate this post. I don't have kids and i am in my early twenties, but I am prepping for med school and caring for a sick parent while holding dow a few jobs! So more often than not, I'm improvising and hoping eventually I can enjoy and afford a few meals and fine ingredients in my nyc neighborhood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I have read through ALL of the post's and I fail to see where anyone has been disrespectful or derogatory. It's true that some don't agree with the methods of cooking or ingredients used, but that's expected. Or at least it should be. We're not carbon copies of each other and we don't live in a world where we all think alike and do the same things... just think how boring that would be! Sure, it's nice to have someone pat you on the back and laud your posts... make's you feel good. But it's not going to happen all the time. Post and you're going to get feedback and sometimes you're not going to like what is being said. You want recognition, well, I think your input and cooking style has been recognized, just not what you'd like from everyone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For the most part I think most of our cooking habits stem from the way we remember it being done at home. I know mine do. My mother made everything from scratch. I never knew what mac & cheese in a box was. That I discovered after I was married, thanks to my SIL. But it's still something I never used. I grew up with a mother who made everything... sausage to stock. That's how I cook and don't care to do it any other way. But that does not mean that I disrespect anyone who does things differently. I don't expect everyone to agree with me on everything and if I post my style of cooking or a recipe of mine... well, maybe they'll like it or maybe they won't. That's their perogative, that's life. My dad taught me that I can always learn from others and to take criticism constructively. There just might be something in it that I need.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also think it's a shame that some have mentioned not posting anymore. IMO, this site would suffer greatly at the loss. I have thoroughly enjoyed their posts and hope that none quit. I think everyone has something to contribute and that's what makes CHOW what it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    OK, I've rambled on long enough and I think this horse has been thoroughly beaten.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bonne nuit! 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Wow, what an incredibly long thread this has become!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Let me come at this from a different angle. kchurchill5 - after reading your post I wanted to read for myself the nature of some of these threads where you feel ragged on, and in the course of doing so I realized that most of your posts were in response to an OP. Nothing wrong with that; I, myself, feel much more inclined to answer someone else's post than venture out into the wild's of CH and start my own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      However it occurred to me that all throughout CH there is a huge difference between being an OP of a thread vs. being just a non-OP contributor to a thread, and that is no matter how divisive or sensitive the topic at hand is, the OP is almost always given great deference and support in setting up the constraints and nature of an inquiry in the way that he or she sees fit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So many times I've seen the non-OP contributors to a CH thread steer a conversation that has started to become "non-responsive" to the OP's request back "on track". It's almost as if CH has its own immune response system that's socially driven to fix it's own threads.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A corollary to this is a non-OP contributor to a CH thread has little ability to narrow or redefine the constraints or nature of an existing thread, which is probably right where things ought to be. Afterall by responding to an existing thread one implicitly is joining a thread of discussion that the only the OP had a chance to initially define and constrain, and if missing such constraints the thread itself will likely go any way that the respondents to the thread choose to go. i.e.: It's no fair to setup new rules once the game has already started...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So my simple suggestion to a better CH experience for you would be to start more threads of your own. I'll bet that the CH community will "self-police" each of your threads should you constrain the subject matter up front.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Of course I am not implying that you withdraw from replying to any existing threads. However before responding perhaps see if the OP has constrained the discussion in a way that suits your sensitivities. If not all bets are off and there is not much protective cover to duck behind, less it becomes outright uncivil and clearly in violation of CH posting rules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The best part of responding to such threads? Then you yourself can join in on its policing when you see someone turning a "quick and dirty, need to be fast and efficient, and use any trick in the book" home cooking thread into a "ranting, holier than thou, for gourmet's only, my nose is turned up so high I can barely see the stove" thread of self-important pretentiousness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ...BTW I too saw nothing disparaging about Applehome's comment. This is all part of the self-policing I was talking about, the "meta thread" in this thread regarding Aplehome's post, and according to my count so far the vote is that her response is still responsive to the OP's, that is, yours, original post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cgfan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The problem with your observation is that all threads on these boards are unlikely to be accurate representations of the ongoing process from the beginning. The Chow Team (aka moderators, or "mods") work daily to keep down the vitriol, to keep things on topic, and sometimes they even just delete things that are a total puzzle to those of us on this side of the magic curtain. Believe me, initiating a thread is absolutely no guarantee that you will come under less attack than if you're just a contributor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The internet is what it is. There are some who conduct themselves on the web pretty much as they do in real life. There are those who consider the web a place where they can misbehave -- sometimes within reason, sometimes not -- with impunity. It is the diligent moderation on Chow that makes both active and inactive threads appear as docile as they do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. kchurchill, I think it's best not to take these things to heart. No one here could possibly know or presume to judge your personal life, so all we can offer are suggestions. You are the ONLY one who can know what works for your circumstances, so just take from Chow what is useful to you, and leave the rest. And please do keep sharing with us the things you find useful -- there are many people who would appreciate it, even if others disagree. Food is a highly subjective topic; there's no One Great Universal Truth only the pure of heart know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The other thing is that it's difficult to read emotion into the postings of strangers on the internet. It's a lot easier to guess at tone when you actually know the person writing the words, but even then you can be mistaken. Posts may be written hastily, or maybe the wording they've chosen may not be the clearest or the most tactful. I try not to read emotion into postings if I can avoid it, and always try to give people the benefit of the doubt. But even if people *are* jerks, it's probably not worth worrying about. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I think there are more "outcasts" than you know! My issue is with cost most of the time and that's why I cut-corners when cooking (I'm a 20-something single girl)! But I get the same impression from most posters that the way I cook is blasphemous to some chefs! (I love the green-canned parm. cheese! and buy a jar of tomato sauce to go with my otherwise homemade pastas).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Maybe it's the "gourmet" chowhounds that need to get off their high-horse sometimes! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JenInTosa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you can afford to buy the jarred sauce you can certainly afford to make your own. In this case, cost wouldn't be an issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JenInTosa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have a pony an' I'm not gettin' off! You gotta grow up! All kidding aside, you are probably ahead of the game; you're cooking! I am on my high horse from time-to-time and I was probably no farther along when I was your age.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I just suggest that you learn from us and not take offense. Sometimes I'm even back down on the floor, crawling again. Different strokes and so on, not to mention that some of us have strong personalities. Don't be skairt off or pissed off. Join in the fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LOL, stay on your pony! I might not have been the best cook in my 20's and certainly am not now but I wouldn't have ventured to tell others who do cook better that they're too pretentious, especially on a board where people enjoy cooking. Why is it okay to be proud that you don't want to cook better but put people down who do? There's lotsa learnin' to be done here if people would only stop being offended! Even the best chefs have things to learn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well said, SG and chowser. Ride that pony! And JIT, if you're making fresh pasta then you're already ahead of where I was a month or so ago --- and I'm 61! And KT is right also. Jarred pasta sauce is more expensive. Here's something almost as easy as opening a jar:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Good luck. It's a wonderful journey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Grow up?!?! Who does that?! (on another board lots of the chowhounds called themsleves "peter pans"!) Anyway, I didn't mean to sound like I was taking OFFENSE, I just was agreeing that people who are "better" chefs than the rest of us turn their noses up at at those who are crunched for time and/or money and I "feel" it on the boards. It's one thing to be a great chef and share ideas and it's another thing to put down the ideas of people who aren't great chefs who are just trying to offer time/money saving ideas. **not that all chowhounds do this either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I love that there are all different skill levels represented here, but sometimes it's the more skilled chefs that take more offense to and snub the ideas of the corner-cutters like me! I'm proud of my cooking skills... but I also know I am young and have a lot more to learn! that's why I am here!! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JenInTosa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As you said, it's all about learning and getting better. There are so many great chefs/cooks on these boards and I've learned so much. There are people who will put down what you do but you know, there are many posters and you have to tune out those who are like that. Most posters, I find, are willing to go out of their way to help/teach. I think the point isn't about people like you who want to get better but those who don't, are happy with their green container of cheese (though, that was another board and another thread) and don't want to hear anything different. Young or old, we all have a lot more to learn!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I rese mble that! I hope that I have helped as much as I have criticized (or been an a-hole). Certainly I jest! I am very fortunate, even lucky, to be in the position I am to cast facetious dispersions on those that use the green can, or buy sauce in a jar, or don't have time, because you are raising kids by yourself, to roast your own free-range chicken. I came from very lowly beginnings, so I have done it all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've learned it's a big spectrum out there. I thought making bread was a big step until I talked to people who grind their own wheat. I love that I can roast a good free-range chicken but i'm sure there are CHers out there who've grown their own chicken. FWIW, I don't remember your critcizing but do remember some of your advice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Probably all deleted...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You make a good point. I'm a woodworker but I'm not into cutting down my own trees. You can only do so much, too, and it's better to do one thing at a time and do it well. I am often impressed with what people can accomplish but you can't spread yourself too thin. I want to have chickens... but then I have an herb garden and a veggie garden. I have flower beds and a big yard. I have many projects. I'm in the middle of laying travertine in our den right now.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sometimes I shortcut meals when I know I could do more and be more creative. I make pasta every month or so but I sure can't make my own flour! Last night I made tortillas. So good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But the advice remains in my brain, unless it's also been deleted which happens far too often these days...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Along the same lines, I'm a calligrapher. There are far more people who use a felt marker and think it's calligraphy. I think of them as the box cake mix people. I mix my own gouache, sometimes but not always, grind my own ink, which makes me a fraud to some calligraphers. But, there are also calligraphers who boil black walnut for their ink and cut their own nibs from feathers which I have never done. I think of them as those who grind/grow their own wheat and grow their own chickens. Like cooking and woodworking, there's a wide spectrum. The list of things I want to learn/do cooking gets longer and longer (making my own tortillas is one of them), even as I do more. But, whether we do the short cuts or long ways, we appreciate the difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Maseca Instant Masa. I don't have a press; I rolled it out and trimmed before cooking. Fun to watch them puff up!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh yea, had it with shredded pork and my own green pepper-tomatillo salsa. Corn/black beans, cilantro and avocado, too. Simple meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not bad, Number 10, but wouldn't pintos have been more "authentic"? Oooooo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Number 10, huh? I don't think I am a worthy enough Chowhound to be in the top 10. No wonder the Moderators tell me to stop posting irrelevant drivel and clogging the bandwidth... here I am doing it again!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Gosh Kc, where the heck have I been!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm just so blown away that you posted this and I didn't see it, so I really feel stupid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Let me tell you one thing, I have had my share of people tell me my way is all wrong, and I wish I could tell you that forget them, but I know it hurts. And it does go back to how you were raised. I had the benefit of a super sweet mother and a military father so I guess that I had the best of both worlds. But I mostly identiy with my mom because I get and have had my feelings hurt too. I think you also must remember that the written word is more powerful, and they might not mean it the way its comes across.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You should of seeing the ass whoppin I got for saying that I love,oh do I dare say it?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Should I? well you see I am one of those strange people that along with flavors, I am super sensitive to temperature. I want some foods so hot they burn my mouth and I want the rest nice and cold. Yup, that's right! I store my tomatoes in the fridge! Ha!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (you can thank me for that diversion later!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I think everyone has a different tolerance for what shortcuts they will use and which ones they wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole. No boil lasagna noodles? Sign me up. Can of soup cooking? (with a few exceptions) no way. I'm like you -- Work 50+ hours a week, have a full time job + a full time gig I call "parenthood" and many nights I'm just happy to get dinner on the table that didn't come out of the freezer. As a chowhound, I like to think that what matters is the deliciousness -- the taste of the food -- and not how complicated it is or how many hours it took to prepare.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. This thread seems to have run its course and turned into an argument about who is calling who names. We're going to lock it now, and ask that people return to discussing food, instead of discussing the discussion of food.