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Why do people post on the chain boards when they hate chains?


I love local restaurants, holes in the wall, etc, but sometimes (especially when traveling) I enjoy a chain restaurant/ fast food experience. I like the consistancy of it, and some of the menu items I find to be plain tasty. So I go.

I also like to lurk on the chain board to see what others say about those restaurants. I recently went to Carrabas for the first time with a gift card and used it to see what were preferred items on the menu. But it never fails.... whenever someone posts asking what's good, or what to order because they're going there with others, 50% of those posts are from the chain- haters.
"don't go there"
"give away your gift card"
"how can you hang out with people who eat at Fridays?"

What's up with this? I don't live in San Fran, so I don't offer my opinion on their restaurants. I understand the concept of free speech and that this is a board for everyone. So I understand that not everyone agrees on what's good and what's not. But why post (or read) the chain board if you don't like chains???? I just don't get it......

  1. Maybe you're reading it as "I hate all chains" when it's really "I hate this particular chain" or "I hate this particular dish at this particular chain."

    Or maybe people are just being perverse. You know, the way someone will answer a "Where can I find a restaurant that serves X?" post with "Why don't you just make X at home? It's so easy!"

    1. Don't try to "understand" everything.

      1. I agree - and I have no idea why people do it, particularly when it's rather clear that they've not been to the chain in question for a number of years. I have no shame in admitting that I make several visits to BK and McDonalds several times a year on roadtrips!

        1. ROFL, this question gave me the smile of the day!
          Thanks jessic!

          1. I don't get it either.....never have.

            A similar scenario is when someone asks about the best jarred/premade pasta sauce, salsa or salad dressing and the "it's so easy to make your own" police come out from everywhere along with lectures concerning HFCS, preservatives, etc.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Janet from Richmond

              We have taken a note of your name. As this is a first offense we are going to let you off with a warning.

            2. For the same reason that some have been known to say that NO one should put mayo or cheese on their pastrami, or ketchup on their hot dog, or enjoy fusion sushi rolls, or that the only way to cook is by growing your own scratch and then cooking from that in the pans you made from the ore you mined, smelted and cast in your backyard - or what have you. And that if you commit these heathen acts you are an apostate, and will never ascend to the purity of their ketchup-less hot dog heaven.

              There seems to exist a belief among some here that because THEY find something an "abomination" then all must cede to their superior way of chowing. And that if you won't bow down to their superior taste intellect then you must pay homage and spend as much time and effort "educating" yourself to the rightness of their "way" as is humanly possible - or you will incur the wrath of their postings - and to which I say "pfffffffffffffffffffffffft!" (with extra flying spittle for emphasis).

              3 Replies
              1. re: Servorg

                And don't forget knives in the dishwasher!!!

                1. re: c oliver

                  I almost forgot the sacred "smoke ring" which must appear in any bbq'd meat (bow down and kiss the sacred smoke ring!) or it is nothing! Nothing I tell you!!

                2. re: Servorg

                  "There seems to exist a belief among some here that because THEY find something an "abomination" then all must cede to their superior way of chowing"

                  That type of derision is true of a lot of people on here and out there and of a lot of subjects. It's the same thing that makes people conspiracy theorists. It's about knowing something that others don't. Everyone has it. Some are just more rabid about it than others.


                3. There are some positive reviews, too, as there are 4-leaf clovers. I passed a Ruby Tuesday in town 100 times without thinking of trying it, until I read here that they do a great crab cake. Tried it; liked it. And with stone crab season over and a moratorium on grouper fishing, I'll be back. (I'm in Florida)

                  1. I suspect many chain haters are recovering - but never cured - chain and junk food addicts.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      The Oedipus-Electra food complex rears it's ugly head; makes sense.

                      1. re: Veggo

                        Lol. "Ruby Tuesday...Guilt And Desire."

                        1. re: Veggo

                          Are you suggesting my mother was a bucket of KFC? She did have nice legs...
                          I too, have slight pangs of desire when I pass a KFC, Taco Bell or Wendy's.

                      2. Sometimes we are all in a situation when you have no choice, so why not do a little research to find what several people suggest? If I'm in a situation to go, and it is really offensive, I'll post it.
                        To randomly trash them without reason, yeah, that's wrong.
                        I love Popeyes, Papa Murphys, and our local B-Bops, but when someone on the chain board says the burger at BK wasn't good, and I know of a place 2 blocks away that makes a great burger for a dollar more, I'll tell them . Isn't that why we're here?

                        1. I ignore the Chain board now, but I didn't used to. My attitude hasn't changed much, but I have given up, on some level. I've always been concerned about how Chowhound projects itself to the world. As it has evolved and become more and more inclusive, and the umbrella spreads out further, we've lost our focus - which was always deliciousness and unique and new food discoveries. Writing about a new ethnic ma and pa place is a new discovery. Writing about Burger King isn't - unless it's a discussion about a new product or ad or whatever that they have put out. Even then, it's hardly unique - every BK in America, pretty much has the exact same new thing. Telling each other about it hardly qualifies as a worthy conversation for people that are seriously into food.

                          The other issue is that chains are bad for family run and individual chef run places. It's difficult to compete with a chain. While it's absolutely true that an independent shop may serve worse food than a chain, it's also true that an independent shop may serve better. A chain is a chain is a chain - they're all run by corporations that use focus groups for testing their recipes - not the trained palates of people seriously interested in food. With rare socially mandatory exceptions, I don't spend my money at chains, because I need to keep it so I can discover the real finds, even if I waste some on the turkeys along the way. More independent places would do well if people didn't go to chains so much - especially in these times.

                          So as a long time Chowhound, should I care that when I recommend this place as a mecca of great foodie information - better than zagat, better than yelp, better than anything else out there - and people then check out the site and come back to me with a big guffaw - yeah you guys discovered the BK Angus Burger - whoohoooo! Or worse yet, all they see is a bunch of threads of people saying how delicious Kraft Mac'NCheese is.

                          This stuff sets our standards. Yes - it's simple enough for me to ignore these posts and hunt down the ones that are meaningful to me. But when you see negative comments about Chowhound on serious chef blogs, it leaves me angry - we're better than that - you just have to get through the baloney. Unfortunately, the baloney is getting thicker all the time.

                          This site is about learning and expanding your understanding of food. We're *supposed* to answer a query with something that might help improve the questioners knowledge. Of *course*, someone's going to say, hey you can make a much better version of that at home, or hey, you can go around the corner for a better version at this ma & pa place.

                          Chains offer very little in terms of learning and growing your tastes. They offer food for people who eat to live. Chowhounders live to eat. Having said that, I've long since given up looking at Chain posts or trolling for a good argument with a chain lover. It's just not worth it. Some folks just want to stay as they are. The question remains: why are they on chowhound?

                          22 Replies
                          1. re: applehome

                            I agree with you philosophically but not practically. Yes, it would be wonderful if it was all about expanding tastes. But there's a couple of issues I have with your approach.

                            One is that people's tastes evolve from different places and at different rates. I remember 15 years ago I had a celebration dinner at Olive Garden because I thought it was a good restaurant. It's not particularly, and I wouldn't choose it today, but people start their food journey from different starting points. Certainly on a local board you should do your best to steer people away from chains and to better places (unless the chains are actually the best option, which is true in some places).

                            The other thing is that chains are a fact of life for most people to some extent. If my girlfriend and I want to go to dinner, we're highly unlikely to pick a chain unless I'm having a Five Guys craving.

                            But if Mildred from finance is retiring and they're having a celebration lunch at Chili's or Macaroni Grill, yes, I want to know the best thing on the menu. If I'm flying into Salt Lake City at 9 PM and the only open thing near my hotel is a TGIF, I want to know the menu items that will make me feel relatively satisfied. Most people have friends who insist on chains at some point (I have a friend who thinks Chili's boneless chicken wings are heaven, I think they're vile) and we need to go along with their choices sometimes, at least if we value our friends over our taste buds. I do try to offer better options when choosing a place to eat, but the reality is that I don't always win out.

                            Chowhound isn't about expanding understanding and knowledge of food, although that's a part of it. It's about helping people eat better, and that happens under a variety of circumstances. Sometimes that includes chains.

                            1. re: JonParker

                              Good answer Jon. My husband likes the food in Chain restaurants, except for a few, and I would prefer to try new local place rather than go to a chain. I get sort of bored with the food. But he isn't very adventurous, is set in his ways, and if he finds a certain meal at TGIF that he likes . . . well that's where he wants to go. So we go. (And then he has to try a local place that I like - if I can find something on the menu he will eat.) The menus at those type of chain places have many, many different choices, so I try something different each time. That is always my response when a poster is whining that they are being "forced" to go to a chain. Good grief, if you can't find one thing to eat from a menu that is a few pages long, then shame on you!

                              As far as the posters who tell you to get rid of the gift card, or fake an illness so you don't have to eat there - ignore them!

                            2. re: applehome

                              Also, chow is not a gated community from which highly evolved culinary freakin' experts can exclude people whose tastes and preferences are deemed pedestrian / unworthy.

                              Ah, the internets. Room for everybody. Even on this precious little site. '-P

                              1. re: applehome

                                Aw Apple, do we have to have this debate again??


                                To me, it's all about finding delicious stuff. I don't care where it comes from, what it's called and to a certain degree, what it looks like.


                                1. re: Davwud

                                  The difficulty with this issue is that the word "delicious" is not one that can be objectively parsed to the point that everyone ends up agreeing on a universal taste definition of what is delicious. And if you cross that problem with one in which true believers in their own brand of "deliciousness" are outraged by the choices of others (who don't adhere to that definition) you end up with some mighty flame wars against the heathen interlopers.

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    I agree with you. I've always said "If you like it, eat it." What's delicious at a M & P to someone might be dishwater to someone else. I don't care what Apple thinks. It would be nice if he agreed but he doesn't. So be it.
                                    We had a long and somewhat heated discussion about this on another thread. He has opinion and I have mine. I will say that he made me think more about skipping the chain/ or DIY at home and I hope I made him rethink his position as well.


                                2. re: applehome

                                  applehome, thank you, you have expressed it better than I. I agree on every point. No oedipal- electra issues here, just basic chow economics and issues of personal growth.
                                  Achtung! On das chainboard vi vill have no dissent!

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    If I might ask a question (of you and others who might want to jump in), since you mention economics: what is the relevance of ownership and profit to the nature of Chowhound? We can espouse philosophies all we want, but in the end, if the site doesn't make money, it will fail.

                                    I guess I ask this b/c every time I see people discussing what Chowhound is or should be (which are always enlightening discussions), I can't help but always see the profit motive as the ultimate determinant of Chowhound content.

                                    1. re: Cachetes

                                      The ultimate determinant of Chowhound content is what people post about. We moderate the site to keep things on topic for each board, honest and friendly. But whether people choose to talk about chains or moms & pops, hot dog stands or Per Se, packaged foods or growing their own heirloom tomatoes, that's all up to the users who are doing the posting.

                                      We don't guide the conversation based on profit motives -- I'm not sure what that would even look like if we tried.

                                      -- Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

                                      1. re: Jacquilynne

                                        "We don't guide the conversation based on profit motives -- I'm not sure what that would even look like if we tried."

                                        I'm not sure either, but everything I've imagined it would look like is funny as hell.

                                        1. re: Jacquilynne

                                          I agree with Bob - that would look pretty odd (I am imagining a bean counter standing over your shoulder, clicking away on a calculator as you try to moderate!).

                                          I didn't mean to insinuate that there was some nefarious plot to shape Chowhound based on some specific idea of profits. However, it does need to attract sponsors to survive, and to do that, it has to be sufficiently large enough. If the site were too restrictive (i.e. if it were not broadly appealing and were too narrow in its mission), it would attract a much smaller set of users and thus attract less revenue.

                                          My point: some users might really dislike that some sections of Chowhound even exist, but the logic of Chowhound's structure means that they might just have to.

                                          As for your moderation - keep up the great work. I really enjoy Chowhound b/c you and other moderators do help to keep it honest and friendly. Thanks!

                                          1. re: Jacquilynne

                                            As an analogy, are you saying that you had so many muddy boots dirtying up the foyer that you needed to have a mud room? Create a detention hall so the good students wouldn't be disturbed?
                                            I don't have a problem with that, per se, but would like to hear the mantra repeated and reinforced (by management and Hounds), that we are here for "the deliciousness of food" (not the food of convenience).
                                            There is the occasion when the best of Chowhounds may have to eat at a chain place (think airport travel), but I don't want to see Chowhounds supportive of quantity over quality or availability over effort.
                                            I even wince when some post of "all you can stuff" buffets because you get so much for your money! So my feelings about why this site exists, and its primary focus goes beyond issues about discussing chains.

                                            1. re: Scargod

                                              "...that we are here for "the deliciousness of food" (not the food of convenience)."

                                              And the question remains, "Delicious to who?" (and does convenience obviate delicious food?)

                                              Jacquilynne appears to be saying that's up to individual hounds. Sounds like the right call.

                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                Gotta go with Servorg on this one. There are foods that I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would put in their mouths but I'll defend to the death their right to eat and LIKE them.

                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                  Hell no, “convenience” doesn't obviate delicious food! Don’t obfuscate the issue. You know what I mean; we are talking McDonald's and the like that are on every other corner, like convenience stores; like pernicious, purveyors of poppycock. I intend to pass by the 7-11 stores and go to a quality grocer.

                                                  I'm not trying to dictate deliciousness! Isn't there a general (even overwhelming), consensus among Hounds that, you can do a lot better than chain restaurants?

                                                  There’s a reason for chains: homogeneous, repeatable, predictable, consistent, mediocre food from the same menus across a broad area. This has its pluses; it also has its minuses. There is no creativity, uniqueness (except relative to another chain), no thinking outside of the box (except Jack in the Box :) ). You get your food from “Sysco” and that’s it.

                                                  I don't think wanting bland, predictable food is in any part of the Chowhound's credo. There's no searching out deliciousness when it comes to chains; they are in your face with signage and advertising. They hurt the mom and pop places where you can find deliciousness. They stifle creativity.
                                                  Bring it on “Big Boy” (hamburger chain).

                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                    >>> There’s a reason for chains: homogeneous, repeatable, predictable, consistent, mediocre food ... There is no creativity, uniqueness (except relative to another chain), no thinking outside of the box.

                                                    While I don't have the time to search for them, there are plenty of posts about chains where the owner makes dishes not on the menu. There's a soft-serve place whose name escapes me in the Bay Area that does this. And there are regional differences in even the most hard-boiled chain ... McDonald's lobster rolls in Maine and the different world-wide regional items.

                                                    I read that lobster roll is ok. . .

                                                    A good majority of the independants get their food from Sysco. And who cares if they make it taste delicious.

                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                      You are right and Limster is correct. There are exceptions and there are some items worth eating. I was generalizing.
                                                      This is what's left of my Chili's chili. It bears no resemblance to what they started out with (I think I used to eat often at one of the first ones, in Dallas). This was full of big chunks of tomato. It was almost flavorless. I have no need for chains and food that passes the corporate taste testing panel to fit in with the average persons taste.
                                                      Then there is the definition of what's constitutes a chain. Even a two or three restaurant chain can have trouble with consistency and quality.

                                                    2. re: Scargod

                                                      (Not specifically replying to Scargod, but more a general point re: this thread.)

                                                      In my experience, generalisation with respect to chains is precarious at best and incorrect at worse. Like restaurants, chains come in many forms and (obviously) have many branches. The assumptions that (1) all chains are bad, and (2) all branches of a given chain are equally bad, are not tenable.

                                                      There are chains that are better regarded than their independent peers (e.g. Din Tai Fung that spans Asia and N America and is regarded as the benchmark XLB in their respective cities by many chowhounds). Variations from branch to branch are also not unsual (extending the Din Tai Fung example, I liked the XLB at the branch in LA better than the one in Tampines Mall, Singapore.)

                                                      A critical part of the chowhound credo is to think for oneself, to eat critically and to decide based on empirical experience. Sweeping generalisations run counter to that credo (especially where there are precedents that do not fit those generalisations).

                                                      1. re: limster

                                                        As in our past conversations about this topic, I would suggest that international chains, especially those that serve XLB, might not fit the same patterns as US fast food chains that serve, say, hamburgers. The great majority of US homes will produce better hamburgers than the chains. They will rarely produce better XLB. Whether or not Chinese homes produce better XLB or not, I do not know. If better food is produced by skilled artisans, then XLB is certainly a measure of someone at least somewhat skilled and practised, where a big mac is a measure of how quickly an entry level worker can flip a thin patty of meat - ostensibly, a hamburger.

                                                        I do agree that ultimately, each of us makes up our own minds about anything. But to say that therefore other peoples opinions here at chowhound are irrelevant, defeats the purpose of the site entirely. We're sharing ideas and opinions so that each of us can make a learned and critical decision about what we eat. The existence, somewhere, in the world, of "good" chains doesn't change the overall negative effect of chains in suppressing independents, and at least here in America, driving general food tastes towards mediocrity and the general wasteland of the lowest common denominator. And I still stand by the statement I made earlier, that I would prefer that more of my local neighbors with food ambitions get a chance at starting their own, creative places, than having their kids flip burgers at a chain. The economic model here, is that chains are rarely if ever, an improvement over what actually could be, if chains weren't so omnipresent.

                                                        1. re: applehome

                                                          To clarify - I was NOT trying to make the points that:
                                                          1. some chains are good while others are bad.
                                                          2. It's all relative, some guys will like KFC, other won't and that's cool.

                                                          The key point I wanted to make is that generalisation about anything, without a logical or empirical basis, is bad. And especially bad when there are obvious precedents that run counter to those generalisations.

                                                          Generalising about chains is just one example. Chains, like independent restaurants, will need to be considered on a case by case basis, because not all chains everywhere are alike. If 99% of them are bad, saying that 100% of them are bad is inaccurate (and deterimental to our state of chow, which often goes for the top 1% or better). (Another example: I like Little Q in Quincy, MA more than Little Lamb in London, both of which are branches of chains that originate in China and serve hotpot.)

                                                          It's not about each one of us making up our own minds that I care about here. It's that minds are made up based on actual experience that is important. I feel that this is particularly important at CH, where we thrive by the quality of informaiton, and furthermore, where we often discuss outliers (e.g. the most delicious stuff), where averages do not apply.

                                                  2. re: Scargod

                                                    It seems to me that, since chains are, by definition almost, available in regions through the U.S. and, in some cases, the world, that there would be a specific board on which to discuss them. Particularly since it appears that the food tends to be mostly homogenous across regions.

                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                      Yeah but - if CH is about "deliciousness" -

                                                      Why can't you get that everyones idea of "deliciousness" is different?

                                                      Why is it so impossible that Mcdonalds fries are delicious? (They ARE!)

                                                      Applehome said: "This site is about learning and expanding your understanding of food."
                                                      But yet will not "understand" that - yes Kraft mac and cheese can be "delicious"

                                                      It's called "Chowhound" Not "FoodSnobbery Hound"

                                            2. Self-righteousness has a lot to do with it. Many people operate under the misguided belief that they are "educating" those who need to know and do better, poor babies. I especially love those who post to the Chain board with such titles as "Help! I'm going to XYZ--Will I Live?" Um, yeah, you'll come out of it alive.

                                              It's really an unnecessary self-shame and disclaimer to put out there.

                                              In terms of supporting independents vs. chains, how about supporting both? As an immigrant to this country, I know several of us who have been able to achieve the "American dream" vis-a-vis chain franchising. And do I feel less compassionate about people who lose their jobs at a chain vs. those who lose their jobs at an independent? Absolutely not, esp. in this environment where all jobs are precious (speaking of jobs, the minimum wage I earned while working @Arby's during high school greatly contributed to my being able to pay my college tuition later on).

                                              When my family first came to this country, McDonald's was a wonder to us. We ate there at least twice a week (and we survived!!! And today, we're all healthy!!!). Today, we are fortunate that we can afford to have lobster every day if we wish, and we live in NY City, where there are so many excellent food options available, but sometimes, nothing beats a good old McD's Filet-O-Fish.

                                              I've dined at Le Bernardin one night and at Popeye's the next. Life is not all black and white. Quite frankly, with almost a billion people in this world going to bed hungry each day, I thank my lucky star that I never have to suffer from such fate and I am privileged to be able to decide what I want to eat or not--at a chain or elsewhere.

                                              17 Replies
                                                  1. re: gloriousfood

                                                    Excellent - truthful and thought-provoking.

                                                    1. re: gloriousfood

                                                      Standing O, gloriousfood. Thank you--you nailed it!

                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                        KE, If everyone went to chains, there'd be no O'Rourkes.

                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                          I don't know about that, Passa. I'd be willing to bet many people who are avid O'Rourke's supporters also eat (however frequently or infrequently) in chains--I am one. I come from "mom & pop" roots--Nanny and Poppy had a deli; Uncle Al had a restaurant. My parents owned a small (non-food) business. But I'm not ashamed to admit, the following chain foods are, in fact, delicious to me:

                                                          Ruby Tuesday's - triple prime burger and fries with extra garlic mayo, DELICIOUS and cooked RARE the way (uh-huh, uh-huh) I like it. Please don't knock it till you've tried it.

                                                          Dairy Queen - hot fudge and caramel sundae with whipped cream--it's been almost 40 years of enjoying them and I don't intend to stop eating them EVER. Do I make my own ice cream and gelato? You bet and it's wonderful! But I will always have room in my heart and tummy for DQ.

                                                          Arby's - is it the same as a roast beef sandwich I have deemed perhaps the best RB sandwich ever at Tastings in Mystic? Not even close, but it's its own kind of comforting deliciousness with me. Don't forget the curly fries!

                                                          Dunkin' Donuts - can't beat coffee and a donut here from a comfort food perspective. I love Illy and Lavazza at home--AND beans I made a special trip for from a local roaster about 45 minutes from my home--but I am hooked on what I fondly think of as a "hot coffee shake" from DD: small, hazelnut, decaf, light, two sugars. It is coffee comfort to the extreme--a little somethin' sweet in a cardboard cup to brighten the day. Mmmm!

                                                          For those reading outside of New England, O'Rourke's is my favorite diner in the whole wide world and a place of note in the North End of Middletown, CT, my hometown. O'Rourke's has been part of my life since I was little. As an older consumer making dining choices, it is my ONLY go-to spot for breakfast OUT and it's incredible. They also serve fantastic steamed cheeseburgers and homemade soups for lunch (but not on the weekends!). O'Rourke's burned down a few years ago and local supporters loved that little diner so much they held fundraisers and gathered donations to help rebuild.

                                                          O'Rourke's has such a following that, depending on when you show up for breakfast (or lunch), you may have to stand in line outside on the sidewalk and wait. This won't always fly with what you have planned for the day. For the most part, I do stay away from chains, but I can't tell you there are days I don't just FEEL LIKE breakfast from Mickey D's. It is comfort food--pure and simple. I don't do it often, but I certainly don't feel any less "chowish" when I do...nor should anyone else. I know pancakes are in a league of their own at Brian's (O'Rourke's). I'm happy with my homemade ones, too. But sometimes, you just have a particular craving for something and there's nothing wrong with that.

                                                          I don't think good chow is so black and white that ANY chain-based item is intrinsically bad. That is a strange perspective to me.

                                                          It's the same with using Campbell's soup to cook. I know it's "dirty cookin'," but as much as my culinary skills and tastes have developed over time, I won't ever pass up a portion of what I call "white trash casserole"--you know, green beans and cream of mushroom with cheese and fried onions on top. Do I eat it all the time? No. Is it a healthy side dish? Not really. But is it any less delicious to me or so many others? No way, man...same for all those chain dishes.

                                                          Live and let live.
                                                          Deliciousness, like beauty, is in the eye (mouth?!) of the beholder.
                                                          My barometer of deliciousness is far more often in the independent world than it is in chains, but there's room for both--it's not an all or nothing proposition.
                                                          I'm a food lover, not a food fighter. Keep smilin', keep chowin'. Can we still be friends? ;)

                                                        1. re: gloriousfood

                                                          I would disagree that it's a lovely post - it's a very judgmental post - something we should strive to avoid.

                                                          It's one thing to state a position or a philosophy of our beliefs on food and on what we think Chowhound ought to be in regard to that view. It's one thing, then, to follow up on that perspective by practicing what we preach - i.e., offering advice for improving or simply adding to another poster's understanding of a particular food. But none of that is derisive. I rarely see someone offering advice with a negative tone, only one intended to help.

                                                          But I very often see these extremely derisive responses to these suggestions - these anti-snob posts, that really try to put down other posters for having the POV that it's all about improving one's knowledge and understanding, and that we're here to help each other.

                                                          Let me be derisive for a moment - that is the "know-nothing" party of Chowhound. It happens in politics, at work, in all kinds of social situations. Those that want to help are held to the standard of those that do not want help. The status quo is maintained, and we all go about life with our blinders on, nothing learned, nothing gained - we just come here to discuss happy thoughts about our childhood Mac'NCheese and Big Mac experiences.

                                                          If you post here, expect responses. Expect some responses to be helpful, others to be not so relevant to your specific need. But someone reading the thread may gain significant insight for a response that the OP never got. That's the real idea of hidden jewels - you never know where you're going to find something relevant to you.

                                                          So let's not praise judgmental posts - in either direction. Helping others is not an assumption that those that "need help" are idiots. It's simply a contribution of ideas to the discussion - at a place where we all like to discuss our ideas.

                                                          1. re: applehome

                                                            I'll have to agree to disagree with your POV. You state that you "rarely" see someone offering advice with a negative tone, but I definitely do not see it that way. I quite often see posts with an elitist, condescending tone toward someone who is asking a polite question or stating something that they like at a particular restaurant. The horrors of daring to suggest a tourist go to a place for tourists! Gasp! But I digress....

                                                            My original question was "why post on the chain board if you don't like chains". I understand that you might feel that a chain board might be ironic on a "chowhound" website. That is your opinion and I respect that. I disagree, but I respect it. You also state that you no longer go on there, which is the right thing to do if you were to feel that way. However, many people still frequent those boards posting nasty comments when they should simply ignore and let those that they find inferior enjoy our chain talk.

                                                            That's all I'm saying....

                                                            1. re: jessicheese

                                                              Since I haven't been on that board recently, I really can't say that there are no judgmental posts with condescending tones towards Chain food lovers. But in my time, averaging out the site overall, I have seen far more derisive responses to suggestions, than derisive suggestions. I've always felt that people are too thin-skinned, and take advice as being derogatory, even when it was never intended that way.

                                                              But I completely agree with you that people should never post derisive, condescending, or judgmental posts here. If someone has a good suggestion for a better product, a better place to eat, or something different to try, they should certainly be able to phrase that in such a way as to simply provide a suggestion - "Have you tried...?"

                                                              We're always saying that we need to critique ideas and not people, which is true. But even criticizing ideas can lead to personal attacks when they're taken the wrong way. It's simply a matter of all parties being sensitive and sensible. Some folks may find it ironic that I'm the one saying these things, as I do often get carried away.

                                                              I don't agree that everybody who disagrees with Chains being a board here should simply ignore it, as I have grown to do. In fact, if I had the time and energy, I would read through it more often, looking for places I might be able to provide a relevant comment or help someone get into new foods. It's clearly less appreciated there, but if you believe in a philosophy of food that includes the original manifesto of chowhound, it's part of being in this community - you get advice and you give back, as appropriate. And besides, I might actually learn something - which is, indeed, my constant goal.

                                                              1. re: jessicheese

                                                                It begs the question why post nasty comments on any board?

                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                  Precisely! I don't see why there's a need to (post nasty comments on any board).

                                                              1. re: gloriousfood

                                                                I don't think that self righteousness is correct anymore than whether you should eat or not eat at chains is the right answer. I haven't told anyone what to do or where to eat. Perhaps some have.
                                                                Is Obama, any Chef on TV, or any Chowhound self righteous if they try to elevate people's understanding?

                                                                Servorg has tried to beat it into my head (and others), that this is Chowhound and if you don't like it go somewhere else. This discussion is ALL about Chowhound and people's opinions. People's view of deliciousness is extremely varied. Some think fat, fried in fat, served on fat is the cat's meow.

                                                                You have a great story to tell and that is appealing. That doesn't change the fact that much of McDonald's food is unhealthy. I ate at many of the chains as I grew up. Saying, "See, I'm not dead yet at 62" means nothing. It's not factual. My view, my palate, my preferences have changed. I obviously eat all kinds of things that interest me (not all healthy), but I do not make a habit of unhealthy foods. Fried foods, fast foods and such do not entertain me. I recently ate cheap tacos in the morning and then a fancy meal that night. So what? I didn't have to eat either at a restaurant chain.

                                                                I am not saying there's no place for chains, fast food and all other restaurants to coexist. I'm not against "comfort food" or anyone eating wherever they want. I just wish there was less interest in it on Chowhound. I don't consider most of it Chow-worthy.

                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                  I don't disagree with you, S-god. Did I read on this thread that so much discussion on Chains is about TJ, Costco, etc. so I can see 'hounds going there. I also made a decision to NOT take my MIL to Macaroni Grill in Reno based on things I read on the Chains board. And I have never mentioned the soup and salad at OG, not out of shame :) , but because I never thought it added to the Chow pool. On the other hand, when I or we are making the 7 hour, 400 mile drive from Lake Tahoe to Oregon, we either pack sandwiches if I have the time or inclination to do it OR we do drive-through McD's. Either way I don't want to stop at all except to gas up. And, of course, the occasional six pack of White Castle burgers :) I think the reason I cook as much as I do is the dearth of good and reasonably priced restaurants in our area(s). When in SF and NYC it never occurs to us to go the fast food route.

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    Hey C, I have been driving 500 mi, 10 hrs +- down to my folks regularly over the last 22 yrs,. w/ young kids at times. The only time we stopped at McDucks et all was to use the facilities. We found memoriable locally owned fast food /diners along the way that are still favorites. I fully realize that traveling out west is different w/ a higher concentration of fast food chains. In April , Scardude and I traveled I 40 and at 6 am in Holbrook, Ariz we needed to search and ask around for a locally owned breakfast diner amid a plethora of interstate exit fast food joints, we were wolf hungry but, were rewarded w/ excellent green chile and pork omelets w/ biscuits and gravy. A memorable meal. Although we drove 4300 miles in 8 days, we never once considered corporate fast food. What a movable feast.
                                                                    Ain't we great as he beats his chest?
                                                                    Life is about choices, no (wo)man is a burger entire unto him(her)self.

                                                              2. If CHOW/CH didn't see a benefit in a Board about Chains, the staff wouldn't offer it. Not to mention the ADVERTISING.

                                                                Applehome, pls make time in your vast pool of knowledge to acknowledge that the owners and supporters of this site enjoy including everyone.

                                                                32 Replies
                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  Which is precisely why I no longer troll the Chain board. Nevertheless, the site has evolved, or from my perspective, devolved, and become less focused on discovering deliciousness. It doesn't matter that some consider Chains to be delicious - I understand and acknowledge that. They are simply, not, discoveries.

                                                                  1. re: applehome

                                                                    But isn't it a discovery to find something truly delicious at a chain?

                                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                                      Let me first delineate what I consider to be a chain. I don't consider 2-3 (or even more) places owned by the same guy in a region or around a city to be a chain. Those are just advancement opportunities for the exec's proteges. I only consider a business to be a chain when it is multi-regional, when it directs all its kitchens from a central organization, when it procures, markets, and makes decisions based on sales and profits. This leads to the focus on the lowest common denominator marketplace - the wider the audience, the more bucks. That marketplace may be targeted at a fairly high level (e.g. - Cheesecake Factory), nevertheless, it is the LCD for that marketplace they are shooting for and requires managing to make a profit.

                                                                      Such a place can't serve the best version of anything - it has to take shortcuts and mass-produce as much as possible. It has to make enough money to feed their stockholders, not just the owners and staff. If you find something that's good at such a place, just imagine how incredible that item would be if it were made by a nonna, slaving all day over a hot stove. The chef that's making his/her grandmother's no-shortcut recipe? That's the place I want to find. It's not going to be a chain.

                                                                      1. re: applehome

                                                                        "The chef that's making his/her grandmother's no-shortcut recipe? That's the place I want to find. It's not going to be a chain."

                                                                        Sure, I'd like to find that too. But, I suspect (and based on some of my travels to parts of the U.S. outside of major cities), that posters in some towns and rural areas don't have that choice. FWIW - I believe that even Jim has posted about finding deliciousness (actually finding deliciousness) at at least one chain, as you define a chain.

                                                                        I also would think that, if the chef making his nonna's recipe all day long doesn't shoot for making a profit, well, he's not going to be in business long, is he?

                                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                                          I agree with you, MMR. We live part of the year in a small community with few noteworthy residents. When we go to Costco, it's about 30 miles away and there's an Olive Garden a couple of minutes away. They have an AYCE soup and salad that I'd stack up again almost anything of its kind. Fabulously crisp lettuce, a few vegetables and lovely vinaigrette and freshly grated cheese done at the table. There are three soups offered but the only one we've had is a sausage, potato, kale in a light, slightly milk'ish broth.. It comes with bread sticks that, for me, are a total non-event although my husband eats them. I'd glad blindfold anyone and serve them that meal and would be shocked - do you hear me? - shocked if they didn't like it. I've never had anything else there but that one's a keeper. Do I eat there when in SF or NYC? No. But only because my choices are so vast then.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            So how do ma&pa places get started in places away from NYC and SF? If one starts, how do they compete with the chains when folks are so conditioned to believe that chains are perfectly acceptable? Do you make an effort to see if any new places have popped up, and do you offer them your patronage? If they suck, they deserve to go out of business. Somebody else will eventually pop up and maybe they'll be better at it. That's the normal cycle of a liberal or free market economy. That cycle is completely warped when corporations bring in their marketing and advertising powers. They keep the independents from making a stab. Talented, capable people will not go up against these behemoths. From my perspective, you've settled for good enough at Olive Garden - it is therefore your own fault that there will never be anything better there.

                                                                            1. re: applehome

                                                                              There are a number of locally owned places in OUR town. My point is that when we drive 30 miles to Costco, it's a convenient place to eat and we get good soup and salad. We are the types who definitely support local restaurants ALL THE TIME. We go to places where the scaredy cat old farts here won't step into. That's WHY so many of those places DO go out of business here. This is a quite white, entrenched into conservative ways, with AYCE buffets, quantity over quality, being the desired-by-many preference. Anything here that is anything other than basic Mexican in the "right" neighborhood is going to struggle. And don't you dare get on your high horse and start using words like "fault" and trying to blame me. If you read any of my posts, you would certainly know that you're out of line with that, my friend.

                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                OK . I apologize for personalizing it to be your fault. Diners get the level of food they seek - if there aren't good places to eat around them, it's because the majority are settling for lower standards - including chains. But that doesn't mean you, personally - you might me trying your hardest to encourage better places, and yet, when all around you, people are stuck in the mud, so to speak, it's hard to raise the overall level of available food (or any product).

                                                                                And yet... you praise chains. Olive Garden, in particular, is a poster child for corporate cooking and the lowest common denominator. They invent recipes with Italian sounding names that can be spooled off their line cheaply, with little chance for complete mess-ups (sauce drenched chickens, that even if cooked dry are "edible", or soups that only have certain ingredients so they can sit on the steam line all day long without becoming mush, or cream soups with enough flour to choke a horse, so that the cream doesn't separate).

                                                                                Ok - so you have no Little Italy or Boston North End to help people understand better Italian cooking. But if you're settling for something out of necessity, why praise mediocrity?

                                                                                1. re: applehome

                                                                                  "But if you're settling for something out of necessity, why praise mediocrity?"

                                                                                  Maybe, just maybe, because they didn't find what they ate mediocre?

                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                    I agree. I'm not a fan of OG, although I do enjoy other Italian chain entrees. But I've had that white sausage soup and it's damn good, IMO. How can you judge the taste simply because it's from OG? That's just as bad as those whom you judge for not trying a Ma & pa place because they're not familiar with it.

                                                                                  2. re: applehome

                                                                                    I've only had their soup and salad. I've had it perhaps once a year for seven or eight years. It's a one minute drive from Costco. It's good. I've never had anything else there and don't intend. When I want Italian food, rather than soup and salad, I cook it at home because we have nothing good here. It's part of why the house here is for sale - do you want to buy it ? :)

                                                                                    And we're both right about people being stuck in the mud. We have a great little place here called the Laughing Clam. Super fish tacos and many other great dishes. We are friends with a couple who say we're the only ones who will go there with them. Their other friends I guess think it's too "out there." But it's not my mission to get them out of their comfort zone. If they want to go to a Mexican resto where there are no Mexican customers, god love 'em. I'll stick with my chicken wings from a street vendor in Guatemala!

                                                                                    Apology accepted :)

                                                                            2. re: MMRuth

                                                                              "I also would think that, if the chef making his nonna's recipe all day long doesn't shoot for making a profit, well, he's not going to be in business long, is he?"

                                                                              Without the overhead of profits for shareholders, the solo operator can stay in business making better product, using less shortcuts. Even if he charges more, most people who have any sense of food quality about them will be happy to pay a reasonable price increase for better food. And I would think that Chowhounds might possibly fit into that category, and that we would want to encourage that guy, as vs. the corporate money machine. But hey - what do I know?

                                                                              1. re: applehome

                                                                                I may be wrong about this, but, my impression is that most Chowhounds do want to encourage the solo operator making wonderful food, etc. I don't have the sense, though perhaps I don't troll the Chains board enough, that posters who post on the Chains board dine 24/7 at chains, to the exclusion of home cooking and/or eating at more "independently" owned restaurants.

                                                                                Hypothetically, let's say you live in rural area, and the only places to dine out are chains. Is it correct that you would advocate eating at home 100% of the time (assuming more deliciousness can be found at home), and 0% of the time at chains? What if, in fact, the food at such chains is simply empirically more delicious than that cooked at home? And, if one is travelling through such rural area at lunch time, and one is hungry, and all there are are chains, should one forgo eating and slaying one's hunger until, hopefully, somewhere 200 miles down the road one can find an independently owned establishment?

                                                                                I realize things are not necessarily as cut and dry as that, but I'm trying to understand your position more clearly.

                                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                  I have traveled a lot in my RV, my motorcycle, and my car, and have had great success finding non-chain places off the beaten path - almost universally excellent, or at least, a better experience than any chain. I've traveled all over Europe while stationed in Germany - of course, no chains (at least, back in the 70's, there were none). I travel to known destination places - the G&R Tavern at Waldo, Ohio for their bologna sandwich, for example. These are never chains. A destination foodie place is never going to be a chain, because chains are ubiquitous and the same everywhere.

                                                                                  Every example you site is about eating to live. I'm hungry... must eat... must compromise my taste ethics in order to survive. That's not what chowhound means to me. If you're hungry, by all means, pull over and get something off the big boy menu. But write about it on chowhound? Instead, search for a half an hour (if you have the time) for something unique. If you find a place that is really special, write about *that* on chowhound.

                                                                                  I truly believe in Julia's line about making every bite count. Eating well supercedes social interaction, wealth, and even health, although truly eating well promotes the latter. There is nothing, nothing at all about chains that belongs in that philosophy. Combined with my innate socialistic tendencies (some say anarchist - as far as being anti-organized entities like corporations or churches), chains are anathema to me. They're not even evil necessities in the sense that I truly believe that if they did not exist, there would be a ma and pa or two in its place, and people would be just as happy eating there and supporting their neighbors who enjoy cooking creatively for others - not flipping burgers for $10.50/hr.

                                                                                  Of course, I have to compromise. Don't worry... I'll stay away from the chain board.

                                                                                  1. re: applehome

                                                                                    Hi applehome. Like MMRuth, I am not trying to be antagonistic, I'm just trying to understand your position better. Say you are driving down the highway and you are absolutely starving. The only places to eat are chains. (I know you say you can always find a mom and pop place by pulling off the interstate and doing a little exploration, but for purposes of my hypothetical, please assume the only restaurants within a 200 mile radius are chains.) Is your position (1) pull over and eat at a chain, but don't bother posting to chowhound about it because a big mac isn't a delicious discovery; (2) do not eat, regardless of how hungry you are, on the theory that it's not like you'll die if you have to drive another 4 hours; or (3) something else?

                                                                                    1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                      I'll repeat - pull over and eat, for God's sake. Eat at mickeyd, eat at bk, eat whatever and wherever you want to eat. But do you really need to post here about it? If you did have the time and did take the effort to drive around an exit or two for a bit and found a really special place - a diner, a Mexican family run place, something out of the ordinary - then that's what I think you ought to take time to share with the rest of us.

                                                                                      I'm sure that we all have different tolerances for fast and just plain old bad food. Some people will never search at an exit, just drive through the first place they see - who cares what it is, it fills the stomach. Others may drive around for 30 minutes, others may sniff around even longer, looking for something different and unique. But regardless of the actual level of tolerance, I think that all of us, as chowhounds, understand that these fast foods are simply not as good, not the quality, not the creativeness, not the taste and smells, that we could have if circumstances were otherwise. So why waste time, effort, bandwidth, creative juices, talking about them here?

                                                                                      Even at home, you get rushed, you get tired, you decide on ordering pizza or Chinese, or maybe making something quick and easy out of a box (I don't know what, since I have no boxes in the house - although I have plenty of quick "scratch" recipes). We all end up breaking Julia's rule about making every bite count once in a while for all kinds of reasons. I end up having to go to TGIF for an office party... whatever... But these things are annoyances, things that take us out of the high standards we set for ourselves as foodies and chowhounds. Why write about it here? Why the need for a separate board to discuss these things? (Don't get me wrong - as long as we're discussing these things, we might as well have a separate board - but why are we discussing these things here at all?)

                                                                                      But even more to the point of this thread, what's wrong with commenting about better options when people do decide to post about these fast food and junk food options? To me - it's about what this site is. Yes, it needs to be a big umbrella, it needs to include people that are absolute experts in all kinds of foods and drinks, and it needs to include people just starting out on the journey of food discovery - people who may be still eating at mostly chains, but have the inkling that there is better food out there, and may have had an opportunity, through work or friends, to have tried something beyond their norm. They ask questions or post about what they know, and those that know more answer with help and advice. And they immediately get called snobs. That's my biggest gripe here. If this site isn't about learning, it's about nothing. If some people tend to help a little caustically - a little too hoity-toity, get over it. Yes, we all have opinions, and we need to respect each other. But we should all acknowledge that the goal is to learn about better and different food options. For all my supposed tolerance (I am an Eastern liberal, after all), I simply don't understand the desire to chat about ubiquitous, lowest common denominator chain food and Kraft Mac'NCheese. It's just not that good, and it's always the same. You're only given a certain number of bites in this life, and the more you spend on that stuff, the less you're spending on the stuff our dreams are made of.

                                                                                      1. re: applehome

                                                                                        Dear applehome,

                                                                                        Giving credit where it's due:
                                                                                        << If this site isn't about learning, it's about nothing.>>

                                                                                        I'm clapping for you here. I agree 100 percent. I frequently tell people I learn something new every day here on Chowhound.

                                                                                        <<If some people tend to help a little caustically - a little too hoity-toity, get over it. Yes, we all have opinions, and we need to respect each other.>>
                                                                                        And here's where we part company. This site is "fun" for me. I also frequently say, "I'm a food lover, not a food fighter." As I conduct myself in life, I try to conduct myself here, though I am an anonymous person posting under the picture of a black cat.

                                                                                        I have friends who are not as "food-centric" or "chowish" as I am. Given their interest over time, I've introduced them to things like Penzey's seasonings and how to make their own tacos, fajitas and Spanish rice without using a mix. But I don't want to fight about it (with people here or with my friends). I am happy to teach or share ideas with people who want to learn. But it's like that old expression--you get more flies with honey. I dunno--I don't want flies, but I do try to "talk" to people here as though I was talking to them person to person. And, I've gotta say, if someone in real life got up in my face in a caustic way about anything (especially food), I wouldn't stick around for the conversation. I'm not sure how in one breath you say "get over it" and in the next sentence you say "We need to respect each other." I agree with the concept of respect, but don't see how that's what's happening when people are getting so caustic...about FOOD.

                                                                                        For the record, I don't post very much on the Chains board. One chain that continues to haunt me is one about "Does anyone remember when Pizza Hut was good?" because I saw it out of the corner of my eye when it was new and was possessed to answer honestly: NO.

                                                                                        Now, seriously, it's Friday. Go get something delicious and have a nice day. I really mean it! I have to go pick myself a salad from the deck. I'm getting hungry and my chowish ways dictate having a green lunch.

                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                          Just had rare tuna over greens from the garden with wasabi, avocado, capers and green chile dressing with toasted cashews (and a good, buttery chardonnay). MY GREEN LUNCH!

                                                                                          Since we talked recently, I would like to reply that you thought me a bit daunting, when you first read my posts. I replied, that I took a "let the chips fall where they may" attitude. If people read a number of my posts, I hope they will realize I'm not an asshole; that I strike a balance in my posts. Possibly a Texan curmudgeon persona, but nothing worse.

                                                                                          Thus, I agree with you that I would not put up with a contentious person in my face (in person), but this is an Internet forum; some niceties and "Southern hospitality" goes out the window. Still, constant caustic sarcasm is not helpful. I'm not into confronting people who post (positively), and want to chit-chat about chains, nor am I am interested in confronting or reforming them. I just wished they would share their orgasmic, chain food experiences on Yelp. When they do want to post here I don't see why someone is out of line to suggest a better place where they could have a heightened experience (in a nice way). For me, I'm not interested in speaking to or reforming those people. Though I can't say I know about Applehome's posts on the chain board, I am not into proselytizing.

                                                                                          Perhaps I'm saying, "I wished our umbrella were not quite so large".
                                                                                          (I'd like to think) A Chowhound is more discriminating.

                                                                                          1. re: Scargod

                                                                                            That exact lunch is available at several local Florida chains; is that where you got the idea? :)

                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                              Great comeback! My own creation! Never had or heard of anything like it.
                                                                                              I'm telling you, you need to come visit your old stomping grounds! I might even be nice to you. Bring your Royal Taster....

                                                                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                I'm glad you are in a part of the country where you enjoy a wide range of unfettered choice. I lived 8 years in Texas as you know, where a man eating tuna on greens may be challenged to defend his manhood. Heck, even eating lamb chops in Texas is considered non-manly. But eating dainty quail and dove breasts was OK, because we killed them, deader'n Dick Cheney could.

                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                  And to think that you now enjoy pimiento cheese sandwiches. Though, I don't recall ever seeing one at a chain restaurant.

                                                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                    I bought a new loaf of Pepperidge Farm yesterday; it has no other purpose. I do like the cayenne / chipotle powder kick in my pimiento cheese. And with a fresh batch of gazpacho, I'm in limp-wrist heaven for a couple days. But I have another goat leg in the freezer.....

                                                                                        2. re: applehome

                                                                                          >>> Why write about it here?

                                                                                          Because it is delicious to someone

                                                                                          >>> But even more to the point of this thread, what's wrong with commenting about better options when people do decide to post about these fast food and junk food options?

                                                                                          I just posted about cottage cheese I find interesting and got someone who never tried it telling me how sodium laden it was and how I could do so much better by making my own cottage cheese from scratch. Sheesh.

                                                                                          You can like ... oh say, the McRib ... or not like it and comment why or why not ... if you tried it. But did your mother teach to to correct people ... really strangers ... about what they eat?

                                                                                          What is wrong with it? When that poster went after me on my Carvel Ice Cream cone ... which I devoured with the glee and enthusiasm of a child ... it took me back to childhood ... despite years on Chowhound I wanted to stop reading the site. It turned a sunny experience into sheer gloom.

                                                                                          And that is what is wrong with it ... driving away the people who might most benefit from staying. If someone is seeking deliciousness, they will find it on this site on their own.

                                                                                          1. re: applehome

                                                                                            ... and somewhere in there, I have my answer. ;-D Thanks. I understand your position better now.

                                                                            3. re: applehome

                                                                              >>>> Nevertheless, the site has evolved, or from my perspective, devolved, and become less focused on discovering deliciousness.

                                                                              That is selective memory. Here's a 1998 post begging

                                                                              Fast Food for Everyone

                                                                              "Burger King and McDonalds restaurants would like to
                                                                              offer a vegetarian burger option, but they need our
                                                                              help to do it! Please call your local Burger King and
                                                                              McDonald's Restaurants .... Ask everyoneyou know to call."

                                                                              And of course there was the snarkly reply.

                                                                              I'll bet if search wasn't such a pain, I could find posts that far back about what to buy at TJ's, In-N-Out, White Castle love, your favorite chain, etc,etc and the discussion would be exactly the same as today ... polarized lovers and haters.

                                                                              The only difference is that there is a separate board.

                                                                              Hmmmm ... good thing I checked the chains board. Seems like McDonald's may be trying to remove the orange soda ... what beverage WILL I pair with my Filet O Fish now?

                                                                              1. re: rworange

                                                                                You're right about my White Castle and Popeye's weaknesses. It's a good thing there aren't any of those chains around me, so I can go about being on my high horse about not eating at chains. Even so, if they were around, I'd still always search for better alternatives - and those would indeed be finds to be shared here at Chowhound. I don't know that even if I ate at WC every day, I'd bother posting here about it.

                                                                                I can't prove that the ratio of chain posts to others is greater now than before. You're absolutely right that the segregated board has been a very good thing. I only comment on these posts these days when they're not on the Chain board. I do feel that posts for the home-cooking parallel - prepared foods - has skyrocketed. I haven't done an extensive search for Kraft Mac'nCheese to prove it, but just going by my irritation index these days, I'd say that a) I'm becoming more of a curmudgeon every day, and that b) there must be more and more things to be curmudgeonly about. I think these things are related to approaching 60, more than any other correlation.

                                                                                Please - eat away at McD's, and be happy. Ignore me - I'm sure you do. the only thing I'd ask of you is to periodically contribute something truly rhapsodic about anything, since I enjoy that so much - I think it's certainly about time for a paean on the FiletO'Fish. If it's the pedestrian and everyday absolute sameness I detest, you (and others that do so) can bring to light the not so pedestrian aspects of chain food.

                                                                                1. re: applehome

                                                                                  Do you read rworange??? Far, far more prolific in praise (and criticism) of local restaurants, guides for visitors, etc.

                                                                                  1. re: applehome

                                                                                    >>> You're absolutely right that the segregated board has been a very good thing.

                                                                                    Yep, separate but not equal.

                                                                                    One of my passionate chain posts

                                                                                    The umami of McDonald’s double cheese burger

                                                                                    Didn't like the French Laundry much ... I appreciated it ... it just didn't ring my chow bells ... (under my old nom de chow, Stanley Stephan)

                                                                                    I've eaten and posted at over 20 of the 25 Portuguese eatieries in this list ... reviews attached

                                                                                    There are less than a handful of these SF Bay Area Eastern European eateries than I havent tried and posted about

                                                                                    Ditto on these Bay Area Yucatan restaurants

                                                                                    Tried most of these Oakland taco trucks

                                                                                    Pan de Muertos roundup ... tried every one of these

                                                                                    Love me my pumpkin pie

                                                                                    Yah want passion ... read my hot cross bun threads ... don't get me started because it might cause me to become a roomate with Ms. Boyle

                                                                                    Best Christmas baked goods

                                                                                    Cupcakes I have loved and left

                                                                                    There are sixteen more lists here with my having tried about 80 percent of them

                                                                                    Visitng SF. Eat like a local not a tourist.

                                                                                    I have a bunch of lists I'm still working on.

                                                                                    That doesn't mean I don't love my Filet O Fish, or McShamrock shake ... or ... McRIb

                                                                                    I will also dump on chains too. I don't love everything at chains or every chain. However, I eat at them less and less.

                                                                                    I'm not saying I didn't have Chowhoundish tendencies before joining the board a few years ago.

                                                                                    I've had food adventures I would not have had ... exploring delicous food I never imagined.

                                                                                    I broke one bariier recently and had Lao soup with pork blood cubes and then went on to have an outstanding Mexican pork blood sausage called moronga at a little restaurant I've done quite a bit of cheerleading about ... it deserves to live ... mom made that moranga 15 years in Mexico before moving here and in MEXICO she was know for the excellence of it.

                                                                                    San Pablo: The Mexican marvel that is Mom's Cuisine
                                                                                    San Pablo: Mom's Cuisine - This weekend ... run, make a special trip ... don't miss the home made moronga
                                                                                    San Pablo: Mom's Cuisine - La cocina de mama ... gelantinas artistica
                                                                                    San Pablo: Mom's Cuisine - the barbacoa crawl part 1 ... mmmmm .... lamb tacos

                                                                                    There a few hunderd other reports out there of places I've tried.

                                                                                    Passion ... there are the elogies to places I adored and did my best to bring to the attention of Chowhounds ... Bizou, Lola's (sob), Mr. PolloMex, etc. etc. Even the loud microphone of Chowhound can't save some of the great places.

                                                                                    The thing is ... I ate so much better because of the many, many people who simply posted what they loved. After a while that great food starts to call out to you.

                                                                                    One of the posters who most influenced me was Morton the Mousse. He's passionately into organic food ... me not so much. I'll eat anything delicious. I had one poster on my case because I like Carvel Ice Cream and the opinion of that poster was the ingrediants were crap. They are. It just tastes good to me.

                                                                                    All Mordon does is post about what he likes and why he likes it. He has never once called me out for some of my trash eating. And it is those posts about why he thinks organic food is delicous and better that make me more and more of a convert ... make me think about it.

                                                                                    And despite all the arguments ... I still love Carvel chocolate ice cream ... Fudgy the Whale ... not so much these days.

                                                                                    I also love this Argentine gelato which is hand made daily. ... Oakland: Lush Gelato - Argentine "helado" ... Wow, seriously, wow

                                                                                    So a great many of those posters on the chain boards, might also participate on other boards.

                                                                                    Or maybe someone who is attracted to chain talk, starts reading other parts of the site and moves further and further away from chains ... like me.

                                                                                    At one time I thought Olive Garden was excellent. I say this without any irony. I still have soft spot for a few things there. They make an excellent grasshopper, one of my mom's favorite drinks ... and when she died we stopped by after services and had grasshoppers in her memory. So not all is bad there. Nice grasshopper.

                                                                                    It is not disdain that will change anyone's point of view. '

                                                                                    The only thing to change someone's taste is reporting about deliciousness.

                                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                                      Wow! I have another hero!
                                                                                      Maybe to prosletyze in the hopes of someone spending more on locally owned places that have a vested interest in the area and the profits stay there.
                                                                                      I think a lots of you feel guilty and know you should make the effort to hound for local joints, but just don't want to hear it.
                                                                                      Get a (Chow) life!
                                                                                      Go applehome!
                                                                                      Give me a Whoper (Burger King made them change the spelling!) at Fat Boy's Drive in Brunswick, Maine over a Whopper any day. Curb side service too.
                                                                                      My head is on the block,

                                                                                      1. re: rworange

                                                                                        <<It is not disdain that will change anyone's point of view. The only thing to change someone's taste is reporting about deliciousness.>>

                                                                                        Nicely stated, rworange.

                                                                                2. I would like to add to the "Why don't you make it at home" sidebar to this.

                                                                                  The only time I'll offer that advice is if you can't find it here. Or, if what you can find is almost but no quite, entirely like old socks.


                                                                                  1. People do this because they can be as obnoxious and pretentious as they want and still maintain their anonymity. This is the internet after all.... You know these people mean SERIOUS BUSINESS too and actually know what they are talking about, not just regurgitating quotes from Anthony Bourdain and the like...

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: MattInNJ

                                                                                      If you think people here can be as obnoxious and pretentious as they want , you haven't read all the " Moderators are Nazi's" post.
                                                                                      Maybe Jacquilynne would share the average number of post deletions a day with us?
                                                                                      Is it over a hundred?

                                                                                      1. re: Bobfrmia

                                                                                        "Maybe Jacquilynne would share the average number of post deletions a day with us? Is it over a hundred?"

                                                                                        I think to properly phrase that question "Is it over a hundred" on CH it would rather have to be "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" ;-D>

                                                                                        1. re: Bobfrmia

                                                                                          Over 100? Are you kidding? I've had 8 or 10 in a day, many times. But it remains a beautiful love-hate relationship, with wild make-up text.

                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                            But, Veggo, You're the ONLY ONE who gets deleted! Ever! Only you!

                                                                                            [insert sideways grinning moron icon here to indicate joke being made]

                                                                                      2. http://www.chow.com/media

                                                                                        there's always the entertainment factor :)

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                          That WAS entertaining--thank you, Hill or J, whichever one of you it is tonight. ;)

                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                            Glad you enjoyed it!
                                                                                            lol, J's in Cali on biz. Leaving me time to read!

                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                              Should have let me know. So few people ever come to Cali.

                                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                I hope to visit Cali. Not the abbreviation, the real deal. And I'll raid your fridge at night.

                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                  It's just a short flight straight south from you!

                                                                                                2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                  Nice of you Sam. I'll let J know.

                                                                                          2. ok, initially i totally agreed with you. if you're a chain hater - don't bother reading the chain chain. BUT then i started thinking. i love certain chains (in and out, king taco, taco bell, panda express, gyu kaku, cheesecake factory, cpk), i hate others (fatburger, quiznos, red lobster, olive garden, jack in the box) and i just have kind of here or there opinions about others (like i like carl's jr., but hate the $6 burger and i like "good" mcdonald's but they're hard to find and so i usually get cold kind of eh too salty food).

                                                                                            so, i would say my overall perspective is anti-chain. but i admit i love some chains and frequent chains somewhat often and feel like i have a relevant opinion. so, i try to write when relevant. and i try not to say anything when i have nothing to say other than "don't eat there!!!" but sometimes the advice not to eat somewhere is the best advice.

                                                                                            i feel your pain, but don't know what the answer is.

                                                                                            1. Given the large Trader Joe's following discussing their shopping experience on the Chains Board, I'm not so sure the front & center topics discussed are in ffact fast food dining. Pull the TJ/Costco/BJ's/Aldi posts from the pile and you've cut back a signifcant portion of the discussion.

                                                                                              Regardless, I don't see how people discussing what bring them to CH, within Boards offered here, can truly blind any of us to the deliciousness we seek.

                                                                                              Heck, go the the library...there are aisles and aisles of book and reference materials offered to every taste--thank goodness--we don't have to define our preferences in such a cut & dry manner.

                                                                                              1. The anti-chain stance seems to boil down to "I don't want to read about chains, therefore, no one should write about chains." Wouldn't it be a lot less trouble to just...NOT READ ABOUT CHAINS?

                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: small h

                                                                                                  And BINGO was her name-o! Exactly!

                                                                                                  1. re: small h

                                                                                                    Boy did you miss a lot of reading material. The anti-chain stance actually boils down to, don't be surprised if you post about chains here and people respond with suggestions. Which is actually a non-sequitur, because the reality of chowhound is, if you post here, don't be surprised if people respond with suggestions.

                                                                                                    1. re: applehome

                                                                                                      If the approach of "chains are the anti-Christ" (which I read in this thread) is the model for an attempt to bring converts over to their side of the "food purity argument" being set up (that seems to have been established as a dogmatic hurdle which others must clear in order to get into the "purity club") then someone needs to point out (guess that's me) that the results are very likely going to end up 180 degrees off from what has been purported the "purity club" members want.

                                                                                                        1. re: applehome

                                                                                                          I got it. What didn't you understand?

                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                            1) Where did SO get that chains are the anti-christ on this thread - I read it nowhere. I did a Ctrl-F and didn't find any instance of the word anti-christ. Assuming SO is creating this out of whole cloth (as it were), what's the intended metaphorical meaning? It's a religious reference, one based on dogma. The anti-christ is a false prophet - so are chains false prophets? (More likely, false profits - apologies to Kellog Allbran.) All I see here are rationally crafted explanations of why chains are not good at producing great food and are not good for local entrepreneurship.

                                                                                                            2) I have no idea what a purity club is, although I can assume that it has to do with authenticity (which is where I've posted about such things as purity alarms going off in the past). How does authenticity, or purity relate to anything that's been said about chains? We've all agreed a million times that authenticity is one factor or descriptor of food, and really does not necessarily correlate to good food. Chains, on the other hand, are all about profitable and mediocre or bad food. This has nothing at all to do with authenticity, but rather with mass-production and loss of quality in order to maintain a constantly higher profit margin.

                                                                                                            3) What, then is the "food purity argument" vis-a-vis chains, and what does it have to do with being a dogmatic hurdle to get into this nonexistent and purported purity club?

                                                                                                            4) Why would the results of this argument, whatever it is, result in 180 degrees off from the purported purity club, whatever it is purporting - presumably purity, however that's intended to apply here?

                                                                                                            You see my confusion. I hope that there is no intentional malfeasance in using the term purity club in reference to historical associations with the term purity and actual clubs of that name or intent. That would be a tragic association, indeed.

                                                                                                  2. This is a good discussion.
                                                                                                    To answer your question, I guess it is just WRONG for a chowhound to dine in chains, maybe hypocritical.
                                                                                                    People like to go to the restaurants they are familiar with though. They like to know what to expect, especially families with children. How in the world can you know where to go for a good meal in a town where you have never been unless someone has helped out with information in advance? With the chains, you know.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: Lewes17266

                                                                                                      With chains, you know what you're going to get, not necessarily that you're going to get a good meal in a town where you've never been. Maybe it comes down to how adventurous a person is when he/she travles, on whether they'd choose a chain or just pop into some local restaurant. I've had some terrible meals that way and some great meals but those great meals make venturing worthwhile. CHers make it easier to sift the wheat from the chaff which I think is one of the purposes of the site. It helps you find the worthwhile ones. For non-adventurous types, they can hop into a chain, no matter where they are, and get the same thing, no matter where they are. I've driven across the country numerous times and have said that I could eat at the same restaurant, shop at the same store, sleep at the hotel and not know I was in a different place. It's like the Accidental Tourist. Chains are perfect for people like that. I'm not putting it down--they suit those personalities.

                                                                                                    2. It really seems like everyone's had their say here, and now everyone is just repeating themselves in an increasingly unfriendly manner, so we're going to lock this thread, and ask that people return to talking about delicious food, whether you find it at chains or mom n' pops.