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what is the most life changing thing you have learned on Chowhound?

I learned here of sriracha. It is now a regular and essential part of my life.
What have you learned here that has moved you the most?

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  1. what has moved me the most is finding a community of people who are as crazy as i am about food, cooking, eating, recipes, culture, ethnography, etymology, food origins, humor, and "pickiness" about restaurants, service, dinner guests, party attendees, and food shows on tv -- and with about as much time to waste on chowhound!

    14 Replies
    1. re: alkapal

      What you said!!!

      Also step-by-step help learning to make pasta, baguettes and cheese souffle.

      Finding out about sherry vinegar.

      And, of course, WHAT TO ORDER AT BABBO!!!!!!!! (It's true though. Thanks to CH, when we went we did feel like we had lots of inside info.)

      1. re: alkapal

        Ditto! I have made lots of food-crazed friends, some of whom I have met and have lunch with regularly and it's evolved into genuine friendships.

        Whenever I travel to nyc, the manhattan board folks are amazing at helping me sort out my many food plans and organize it all into something manageable. Thanks guys!

        Finally, I learned of the many wonders of bacon fat here. I now keep a proper can of drippings that I use for many things, including; frying potatoes, eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, etc.

        1. re: lynnlato

          ""Finally, I learned of the many wonders of bacon fat here. I now keep a proper can of drippings that I use for many things, including; frying potatoes, eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, etc.""

          lynn, now *that* IS life-changing! ;-)). it is honor of you that i eat my bacon-grease-fried-egg and grits this morning!

          1. re: alkapal

            Alkapal, I suggest you read "Sex and Bacon" by Sarah Katherine Lewis. For a true Chowhound, it's a life changing experience...

            1. re: alkapal

              I just scrubbed my bacon pan in honor of all of you - including Mr. AlanBarnes! Every Saturday & Sunday is bacon day at our home. And now, thanks to y'all, I have something useful to do with all that lovely bacon fat.

              Yum, alkapal, that breakfast makes me smile. :)

            2. re: lynnlato

              lynn, you need to start with duck fat next!

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                GHG, u need to stop it! Yummmmm.... I love me some duck. And given the fact that I am such a HUGE fan of the bacon fat.... I think it's fair to say duck fat would be a hit with me too.

                My arteries are exploding as I type. EEK.

            3. re: alkapal

              Second that! I'm just sorry I didn't find chow many years ago. I feel like I'm with people like me (for a change).

              1. re: alkapal

                Add me to the "I second that!" bandwagon.

                I can't say that I recall anything has been "life changing", but I've definitely learned a LOT more reading here these past 7 or so years!

                I do have to say that I am the person who my (local to me) family will call and say "Hey, I'm going to be in Norwood, MA tonight - where can I eat? What does that board say is good?" So I guess having family members be willing to eat at CH recommended restaurants based on the frequency with which I've quoted a CH thread is life changing - for them. ;-)

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Ah, but how do you deal with the pressure!?

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    LOL! Oh, if they don't like a place I recommend, I blame it ALL on the Hounds! <vbg>

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      I resemble that statement. How many times have you blamed me, if things did not go, as you had hoped?

                      Hey, I can take it....


                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        Now Mr. Hunt - never blamed anyone specifically - we're all one big happy family here! I blame everyone! ;-D

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          You have allayed my fears! Thank you, thank you.


              2. Learning about regional Chinese cuisines and how to order in a Chinese restaurant.

                But even more fundamentally, taking a partly subconscious collection of nebulous ideas and attitudes about food and making them more conscious and coherent philosophies and principles that shape various aspects of my life.

                Finally, meeting a lot of great people, some of whom are now my friends.

                1. Chowhound for restaurants when traveling. No more garbage-y tourist traps for me! Chows help me find "real" food.

                  1. That I can simultaneously sit at my desk an entire day, accomplish nothing productive, and yet still not be bored for a single moment.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Unfortunately, I second that one!

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        I have at least one forum for every hobby I have and I have a few hobbies. I'm a forum junky

                      2. Perfect steak is made in a cast iron skillet, not a grill.

                        1. all of the above, and then some! ok, maybe not the Chinese restaurant thing...


                          1. All of the above, as well as some killer recipes.

                            1. The joys of vintage cast iron skillets. I now own 4.

                              1. I live in a rural area (Yes, Alice, no Costco!) and enjoy the comaraderie in food I have found in Chowhound. The most life changing is actually meeting, in the flesh, and becoming fast friends and go chowhounding together.
                                On the other hand, it is an anathema to me to have a "Chains" board on this fine site.
                                Carpe Chow.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                  Yea, Alice, them chains give me asthma, too.

                                2. That my white clam pizza needed Texan carmelized lemons.

                                  1. The wonderful world of taco trucks. Never eat a taco where no one speaks Spanish.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. For me, there has never been a real catharsis from any thread on CH. Yes, I have learned many things, but none has ultimately changed my life.

                                      The closest that I can come is from a few recommendations for places, restaurants and inns, that have proved to be fabulous. One, a rec. for Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN, proved to be above and beyond. We booked, and stayed. We were so impressed that we have booked several times afterwards, and have continued to be impressed. This came from a request for fine-dining in the Nashville, TN area, so it has to rank up at the top.

                                      Same respondent also made two recs. for San Antonio, TX, and each proved to be excellent, though neither can compare to Blackberry Farm.

                                      Again, I learn something almost every day on CH, but few shatter my beliefs, or my life.


                                      1. knowing that I am not extremely weird for being obsessed with food, that there are others out there like me.... yes i knew it before, but now i have proof!!

                                        1. I've made a bunch of friends of various backgrounds with similar (food) interests and of similar age and experience. We can say things to each other by email that would be deleted by the mods - albeit nothing we say is inflammatory, slandereous, disruptive, or rude.

                                          My good friends over the past 35 years have been joined largely by work in international agricultural and environmental research and development. My hound friends are a different type of tribe. Very nice.

                                          1. I saw God in a slice of cherry pie.

                                            3 Replies
                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                  'twas funny, miss naked-as-a-jaybird-c.

                                                  win a superbowl -- "i'm goin' to disneyworld."
                                                  have an epiphany and encounter with the supernatural -- "i'm sellin' it on eBay."

                                            1. I have tried many recipes and flavors that I would of never tried before. I actually like curry to a degree, but learning. I like a few more thai recipes that I didn't like before. I cooked an amazing eye roast in a very unconventional way. I have tried some great deserts, a great tapas bar with many good recipes and more to try and hopefully made some friends.

                                              I learned that even though there are many great cooks, we still like junk food at time, simple food, odd casseroles and wierd sandwiches but all in fun.

                                              I learned that some are obsessive with details which at times I just don't get, some use shortcuts at times as I do, some don't, some eat fast food and some don't go near the places, some are ok with chains and some and turned off by them. And then some of us like pot lucks and big bring your own wine and whatever else and some don't enjoy that.
                                              But ... despite our differences which we will always have ... there are great recipes and ideas to be shared and techniques to be learned and recipes to try. And some really great interesting people with amazing stories and background.

                                              I may disagree a lot at times, but I have learned much and appreciate all the sharing and time spent and all the recipes I have collected and think that this is a great group to be part of.

                                              3 Replies
                                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                                    hear hear!! We all have our differences, but are brought together by our common love of food..... it's a beautiful thing

                                              1. Food, drink and company - I realize how much they are an essential part of enjoying our daily experience. I appreciate a lot of the little things I used to take for granted. Every time I read how fellow hound Fujisaka misses Fresno and Central California, I go out and sample some of the dishes and ethnic cuisine he can't get in Colombia. I pay more attention to the effort made by food preparers and also the servers. I've met some really nice hounds at local chowdowns, not to forget the mostly superb and unique food experiences. I find myself looking forward to reading what others are trying and how diverse our online community is.

                                                1. That I like to write about my experiences surrounding food. That there are people who feel the same way, have the same passion and enjoyment in cooking and dining and that I can access them here and actually become friends with a few. That some enjoy reading what I write (and the pictures, I hope). Lastly, there's no demand (and little accolades), for what I do here; it has to be done for fun and the love of sharing it.

                                                  1. Par-boiled crock pot BBQ is not for everyone.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                      Neither is Lutefisk but Sriracha could be.

                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                        Yea, Sam, people can be quite polarized about what tastes good. I think some even want to "go out back" to settle it!
                                                        Certainly BBQ is one of those as is cooking steak. Some have "refined" palates (subjective) and some are newbies to decent food (also subjective). "To each his own" is a common mantra and then there's the "nuff said" signature. I like to express my opinion, but I've found that "nuff said" or "end of story" irritates the hell out of me. It's everyone's right to express and hold an opinion, no matter how gross.

                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                          Isn't it funny? I read "nuff said" or "end of story" as THAT person has decided not to post anymore on a particular subject. I've not interpreted to mean that no one else should.

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            I read that signature as meaning that their's is the definitive answer, the correct answer, and nobody else should utter another word to contradict or say otherwise.
                                                            And, yes, I think they are trying to close the book on the subject... and have the last word.
                                                            I don't think any of my interpretations are appropriate for this forum, unless I'm just way wrong. If they intend to not say more then why not say it more appropriately, like "I have no more to say/offer/contribute", rather than sound like a moderator or "I'm the Decider".

                                                      2. I've learned a TON of stuff on here, not the least of which being that beautifully simple Hazan sauce with the tomatoes, onion and BUTTER. That stuff is just too delicious to be believed.

                                                        Also, that this site is chock full of really wonderful, helpful people. I am one of those posters that has been in the middle of cooking something and will post a really dumb question about it, usually prefaced by the word "help". Replies are nearly instantaneous, and usually not a sarcastic reply in the bunch. Thank you Chowhounders!

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: diablo

                                                          Oh, yeah, definitely re the tomato sauce. Too incredible.

                                                          And ditto re instant advice.

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            LOL . "Have no fear, Chowhound is here"!!!!

                                                            1. re: diablo

                                                              diablo, that is generally the good folks on "home cooking."

                                                              now....if you head on over to this "not about food" thread and ask for *opinions* on a controversial subject -- all $$$$ breaks loose! ;-)).

                                                        2. I've learned when I travel to check the local boards before hand, photocopy certain threads and search out the locations of prospective restaurants on google earth and mark them on my map. I have and want no Garmen or their ilk. I learned to drive around Austin before visiting it thanks to the local Austin board (very helpful folks) and Taco Journalism.
                                                          I learned about the search for the Holy Taco al Pastor, the Holy Hot Dog and good Mexican in New England.

                                                          1. The most life changing thing I've learned on CH is Bonnie's Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe!

                                                            1. The thrill of finding something delicious on one's own.

                                                              1. The thrill of victory (yes! a restaurant I can take my vegetarian brother And my meat and potatos sister in law to, within my budget, with delicious food)
                                                                The agony of defeat (what? I posted and No One responded... sniff, sniff)
                                                                The warmth of acceptance (see, someone else likes the banana runts best too!)
                                                                The cold shoulder of snub-ery (huh, I'm the only one who likes the omelettes at the greek place? fine.)

                                                                But most of all, I've learned that reading Chowhound for 3hrs straight is Far more interesting to me than writing thank you letters, or running spread sheets or proofing articles or whatever other work I should have been doing.

                                                                1. 1. finding out there is no mistake that can't be fixed by calling the pizza parlor

                                                                  2. finding out no matter what I did wrong, someone else made a bigger mess of it than I did, and is happy to tell me how to fix it. And that there are at least 5 other people who think that is the wrong way to fix it.

                                                                  3. (more seriously) finding out about water, fat, and alcohol soluable flavors. along with this other "why it works that way" questions and answers.

                                                                  1. Having Scargod become a good personal friend. Our Chowhound road trip was a male bonding experience. It wouldn't have happened w/out this Chowhound site.
                                                                    Aw shucks,
                                                                    Keg (a closet new age sensitive guy)

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                      That's great!! How wonderful to meet and become good friends this way.

                                                                      1. re: Bite Me

                                                                        I got a couple of photos that say it all about what happens when 2 Chowhounds dine together. Food porn! (I'm the short one.)

                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                          Cute... we need a photo gallery of chowhound meetups & friendships formed!

                                                                        2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                          It's a good thing I am a hardened, insensitive Texan or I might get teary-eyed and get all blubbery. I've met some good people on here. My feminine side is shutting down so I can't say no more.

                                                                        3. That I know doodly-squat about too many things

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Cookiefiend

                                                                            From some previous threads, you DO know "doodly-squat," and just do not recognixe that, in this thread.


                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                              Bill - you are too kind!

                                                                              But it's true - I read things on Chowhound and I realise that I know so little about so many things. Every time I get on I learn something new.

                                                                              But it's okay - the day I stop learning is the day I start dying - and I'm not ready for that!

                                                                              1. re: Cookiefiend

                                                                                I frequent a few fora, that are like that - CH is definitely one. Sometimes, I learn something new by 6:00AM and then feel like I can take the day off.

                                                                                There are so many great contributors to the various boards on CH and they share their knowledge so freely. Learning is what I covet most.


                                                                          2. I don’t know about life changing knowledge, but just today I realized I know nothing about cooking steak! re: these two threads




                                                                            1. Someone here taught me how to make dashi. There was also a recipe for butterflied chicken breasts with herbes de provence and lime that has become part of my repertoire. I've also learned lots about kimchi. I've been on Chowhound for about 10 years now, so there must be loads of little tips I've picked up here and incorporated into my food life. I just can't remember them all!

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Kagey

                                                                                "Loads of little tips...incorporated into my food life"...that says it for me. Sometimes I try to remember where I heard something food-related and then it comes to me...Chowhound! One of the many things that has become part of my food life is the quinoa black bean salad that I think jfood posted from epicurious.

                                                                              2. I love having a place like this to go to when I have "questions." I learned about Ad Hoc's (Yountville, CA) fried chicken here and Ruth Lafler's "Willie's Crisp." Love that -- nectarines and blackberries should be ready about now for me to make it again. Easy and delicious.

                                                                                I mention Chowhound to people who've never heard of it; tell them to go to the site and "waste" a couple of hours a week on it, like I do. (I can't bring myself to admit to them that I "waste" way more hours that I mentioned.)

                                                                                Most of the time, it seems very civilized here.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: walker

                                                                                  "Willie's Crisp"? Since you're both from SF, does that refer to Da Mayor?

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                    My brain never thought of it as Willie Brown's crisp; that would ruin it a little for me. On the recipe it says they got it years ago from Marion Cunningham's column in the SF Chron.
                                                                                    Here's the URL: www.noehill.com/downstairs/recipes_wi....

                                                                                2. More often than I care to admit my wife will say, "Where did you get that (idea) from?" I reply, "Chowhound."

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                    This could be especially useful, if your wife does not read CH much. When the lawnmower explodes, and she yells, "what made you think that jet fuel would run in the Toro?" You can say, "hey, read it on CH... "

                                                                                    I might remember this, and use it to my advantage, especially as I need all the advantage that I can get. When people say that I married "smart," what they really mean is that I married a young lady, who is MUCH smarter, than I.


                                                                                  2. Something else very useful I've learned here: put berries like raspberries in a clean glass jar, lid screwed on tight -- last MUCH longer.

                                                                                    1. The first thing that comes to mind it making stock in a pressure cooker. I've been using my PC for beans and meats for the last couple of years but I think it was here at CH that I learned about it's wonderful stock making abilities. Now my freezer is stocked with rich, gelatinous stock. My kids make fun of me for stocking the freezer with bags of bones. The call me the "bone keeper"

                                                                                      1. I have learned that I was not as open minded about food and entertaining as I thought I was. Over the years thanks to CH I have learned to accept others opinions and criticisms and not take it personally. I like that I can discuss food with people who like Chez Panisse , as well as those who love Popeye's chicken.

                                                                                        1. I've learned lots of little things:

                                                                                          Interesting drink recipes
                                                                                          Tons about wine- in fact, I'd say Jason has raised my knowledge a full five percent
                                                                                          Cappucinos are for breakfast only
                                                                                          That I like to call people out when I think they have no idea what they're taling about :)

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                            """Jason has raised my knowledge a full five percent"""
                                                                                            maybe that's a high gain in your estimation. i found it oddly funny. ;-).

                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                              When you spend hours every week reading and tasting, five percent is a lot. I can understand how it reads as funny, though.

                                                                                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                ivtv, i figured that you are in the trade (obvious from your fabulous screen name and your other posts) and are very knowledgeable, so i guess five percent could be a "lot." i've appreciated and learned from your posts on the wine board, when i dare to venture over there. ;-)).

                                                                                          2. The most life-changing thing, in terms of cooking, was the tip to refrigerate onions before slicing/dicing them, and you get NO MORE TEARS! This seriously works. I was one of those who would literally bawl while chopping onions, and this tip has saved me from oceans of tears over the years :-)

                                                                                            1. How to slice a peach. Slice from pole to pole, then twist sides in opposite direction. Remove pit and section. Voila!

                                                                                              1. I never even *knew* I was Chowhound until I started reading and realized I was visiting the site twice an hour. Suddenly, I realized I belonged to a group of people, and wasn't alone in my obsession with all things food!