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Oct 27, 2011 07:35 AM

Chowhound cliches


I need to start this by saying that I love Chowhound. I have found some brilliant recipes and some hidden restaurant gems. I respect the reviews here more than the ones I read anywhere else.
However, after years of reading posts, there are a few things that happen so often, it's both amusing and irritating.

(1) "Hi, New City people! I just moved here from Old City [in a completely different part of the US]! Where can I find really good/authentic [regional specialty for which Old City is known]?" Bonus points if the 'hound expresses irritation at the New City's restaurant's lack of proficiency in making Old City's regional specialty food. I.e., "The allegedly Maryland-style crabcakes in Colorado Springs were NOT up to my standards!!"

(2) Whenever someone asks about where to find a specific prepared food, someone inevitably tells them that they can make it themselves. I.e., "Which store has the best selection of stilton?" "You know, with a little perserverance, you can learn to make all kinds of cheeses yourself, and will find that the commercially prepared versions pale in comparison."

Anyone have anything to add?

  1. When someone posts a recipe someone inevitably replies:

    "This recipe is horrible!
    I didn't have any cinnamon so I substituted nutmeg; we don't like milk in our house so I used half apple juice and half water; my son is allergic to eggs so I used an egg substitute; my husband doesn't like chocolate so I used a strawberry flavoring instead of cocoa powder. I also added nuts and dried cranberries because I had them in the cupboard and I wanted to use them up. Oh yeah...I used wheat flour instead of cake flour because that's all I had on hand.

    I would never make this again!"

    7 Replies
    1. re: ttoommyy

      C'mon over to the "what are you baking" threads, ttoommyybbooyy, we'll have none of that there!

      1. re: ttoommyy

        I see that kind of thing more on other sites than here. The food network recipe postings are really notorious for that kind of ridiculousness.

          1. re: cowboyardee

            And I for one am thankful for them. It's like Cake Wrecks but instead of looking at pictures it's reading posts.

            1. re: cowboyardee

              I totally agree. I always laugh at all the substitutions people make. I am a good cook and occasionally will add or leave something out due to preference or lack of ingredient, but I'm generally pretty good at sticking to a recipe. With the number of substitutions and deletions some people make, they aren't even talking about the same recipe anymore.

            2. re: ttoommyy

              Yes! It was supposed to be chocolate chip cookies, but I ended up with meatloaf. So disappointing!

            3. The "sour grapes" reviews come to mind. A 'hound has a bad experience early in the evening, be it inattentive service, no butter with the bread, or a kitchen unwilling, for watever reason, to make a substitution. The resulting review almost universally becomes an exaggerated exercise in "everything sucked."

              6 Replies
              1. re: MGZ

                That's actually much more typical of Yelp. ;-)

                1. re: MGZ

                  Oh yeah, love those, not. Lots of times too it is 1st time poster, which makes me wonder, and if we're really lucky they will type in all CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <------yes it was just for the affect. :)

                  1. re: MGZ

                    I especially like the ones that end in "Don 't we deserve to be comped?"

                    If you complain REAL loud, maybe they'll make your mortgage payment next month, too.

                    1. re: EWSflash

                      Or people who come up with any excuse, for you Quine, TO LEAVE A CRUMMY TIP. I HATE CAPS TOO.

                      1. re: James Cristinian

                        i don't hate caps. sometimes a person is just making a point and with ch, there is no other way of using different font underlining bolding or coloring so caps is all ya got

                    2. re: MGZ

                      I'm not into commiseration,..but sometimes everything does suck.thatsjustlife.

                    3. The endless pontificating about cast iron.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: arashall

                        And what colors of enameled cast iron cookware are prettiest/ugliest.

                        1. re: cheesemaestro

                          Guilty. I do realize it's trivial and everything. But I have such strong feelings about it!:)

                            1. re: buttertart

                              I don't know that "need" is quite the mot juste in this case.

                              1. re: buttertart

                                see so disagree.

                                guess that's what opinions are for

                          1. re: arashall

                            LOL oh the immortal one "Why all this hand wringing over cast iron seasoning?" Way to go, make sure it lasts forever by making that a thread.

                            1. re: arashall

                              Aah, and speaking about endless pontification. What a real Martini is (and for that matter a cocktail glass vs. Martini glass)

                              1. re: TroyTempest

                                There was a tread some time ago about the tags some bartenders will assume, such as Mixologist and Cocktailian. and went into infinite detail of the differences and who it applies to.

                            2. Don't forget
                              "what do you MEAN you eat that? It comes from a can! It has CHEMICALS! It's MASS-PRODUCED! I just don't understand how anyone could dare to call themselves a hound and eat that crap"

                              and the ever-popular
                              "it's only authentic if it's made from the hair of unicorns, carefully marinated in the tears of virgins and wrapped carefully in the skin of a dragon's wing. Anything less just isn't worth eating"

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: sunshine842

                                OMG Sunshine842....thanks for the laugh needed it !

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    You mean the underside of a dragon's wing, preferably nearest the armpit--otherwise it just isn't authentic.

                                    1. re: mlou72

                                      and it MUST be the LEFT armpit, dammit. LOL

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        Unless it was a free range organic french dragonfly raised by a right handed pregnant pescatarian nun.

                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          and if it's not, WHY not, you IDIOT?

                                          LOL-- nearly snorked coffee up my nose on that one.

                                          1. re: Veggo

                                            Always good to bring the voice of reason into the conversation.

                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                        +1 nanny nanny boo boo, I still say +1

                                        1. re: sunshine842


                                          tears of virgins

                                          do virgins cry......sorry but loved that line, hats off sunshine, you made me smile

                                        2. The endless "can I take my (invariably self-proclaimed well-behaved) toddler to (insert high-end restaurant)?" posts, coupled with the competitive parenting posts about whose small child loves what ethnic cuisine the most--in fact there's a post up now about "foodie kids." Sigh.

                                          31 Replies
                                              1. re: MandalayVA

                                                There's the corollary of "my kids have NEVER eaten xxxxx ...." meaning fries, chicken nuggets, cake, etc. Let's fill it in w/ all foods that have made Paula Deen famous. They can love deep fried samosas but not deep fried apple pie.

                                                1. re: MandalayVA

                                                  This reminds me that I need to go out to the backyard and dig up the kimchee for my kids' lunch. We're not Korean, just awesome. Gotta run.

                                                  1. re: rusty_s

                                                    is your pot glazed or not? and if not what were the base minerals in the soil used for it? mine are iron heavy (have to hike down an old wagon trail and sift the tailings for the right stuff around here)

                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                      "I need a way to store my Vanilla beans from Madagascar, but please don't bother posting unless it involves a storage system that hangs it vertically from the ceiling in Murano glass to retain optimal freshness,I've already discounted any other storage options and will be forced to start another tread if my request is not followed to the letter as my time is precious."

                                                    2. re: rusty_s

                                                      Made from an heirloom cabbage only available in Korea until I smuggled seeds into the country the last time we visited. USDA be damned.

                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                        Yeah, everyone is so amusing. But I've gotta say even I am going to think twice about posting tips because they might seem 'cliche' and, though delicious, something to have a snort over rather than try.

                                                        Why put down people who have a passion for food.

                                                        Seriously, I just think if it isn't a discussion about food tips ... stifle it.

                                                        I don't post as many 'dumb'; questions anymore because of the site wits who always chime in. Yeah, I can report them, but it is really a drag after a while.

                                                        When I first was attracted to Chowhound it was it was fun and irreverant discussing how to eat deliciosly.

                                                        Now it seems putting down the way people post is the fun irreverant thing to do.

                                                        I remember so many Site Talk posts thanking Chowhound for existing because the poster's friends and relativs didn't understand their passion and made fun of them. It was a place that was safe to epress what you l.iked about food, however you wanted to express. it.

                                                        Now Chowhounds feel it is ok to make fun of Chowhounds

                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                          Can't you just handle a few, not very mean-spirited digs at ourselves?

                                                          Really, it's not the end of the world as we know it here on CH.

                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                            No. It is not digs at ourselves, it is digs at other posters.

                                                            Chowhound is now the Burger King of food websites.

                                                            Burger King did one thing and one thing well ... the Whopper with its char-broiled taste.

                                                            Now it tries to copy every other fast food restaurant and does it badly.

                                                            Chowhound did one thing and one thing well ... it was about food ... about deliciousness.

                                                            A thread like this would have been gone in the past, or at best there would be a few pleas about getting back to discussing the chow and not the chowers.

                                                            Yeah, loosening up to this degree does hurt the site. Its a thread about nothing at all except dumping on other posters. Most of us are not professional journalists, so to me it is mean-spirited in that it might discourage posters.

                                                            There's currently a sweepstates of a smartphone if people go to facebook and 'like' the site.

                                                            In the past, no one needed to offer incentives to like the site. It attracted the attention of thousands and the press just because it did its one thing right ... keep the discussion about food.

                                                            I can't remember the last time Chowhound has been mentioned in the press recently.

                                                            A few digs ... almost 400 so far. Too bad posts about food can't get that response

                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                              You are definitely right. And I still remember what my teachers said many years ago that "There are no stupid questions."

                                                              Also, you're right on the money where if one posts a question about a restaurant or food there may be nary a response, but you start a thread on making fun of other hounds and the thread balloons to about four hundred strong. Where's the justice in that?

                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                This place curdled for me when, as a response to a thread making fun of other people's kitchens and cooking habits, Chow elevated it to "article" status.

                                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                                  Most of us seem to be enjoying this thread a lot, and it's clear that you (and others) are not. I'll suggest what my mother always said to do when unhappy with something: " vote with your feet."

                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                    No. That is not the asnwer.

                                                                    The best thing to do is take the courage as Jay and Keven have to vote with your posts.

                                                                    Sad ... the Chowhound I fell in love with never made people too afraid to post about anything.

                                                                    This thread is a disgrace.

                                                                    Many people are enjoing this thread? No it is the same group of people topping themselves over and over.

                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                      Yes, many people. Three don't seem to like it, but dozens do.

                                                                      1. re: rworange

                                                                        So the ability to laugh at ourselves and make light of the very things that every one of us is guilty of posting at one time or another is in your opinion disgraceful? You take yourself and this site way too seriously Madam. Life is too short.

                                                                        1. re: Duppie

                                                                          I have posted many of these (errors? foibles?) in the past so I am definitely making fun of myself. I've said some of the most asinine things in the interest of hubris.

                                                                          one will get called out on occasion or deleted and at first I thought oh sh!+ I've messed up, but then it turned out to be no big deal. in the long run if I repeatedly post idiotic things, I'll just be ignored. so maybe seeing threads like this may help more recent posters realize it's no big deal. although as someone pointed out posters generally don't visit Site Talk at first.

                                                                          one needs a thick skin just walking out the front door in RL these days, while I don't like seeing other posters trashed on specific threads, we all need to have (and/or eventually develop) a modicum of teflon (or cast-iron - hey there's fodder for a new thread "Your CH Persona, Non-stick or Cast Iron and Why?").

                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                            >>> so maybe seeing threads like this may help more recent posters realize it's no big deal. although as someone pointed out posters generally don't visit Site Talk at first.

                                                                            As I have said, if the topic of this thread was "Stupid cliches I have posted and wish I had not" ... different thing.

                                                                            But this thread is all about what annoys us about other posters.

                                                                            What is the value in that?

                                                                            Will it inspire people to write better and avoid the pitfalls?

                                                                            Or will it inspire people to stop posting so they won't be ridiculed either on their home board or on Site Talk.

                                                                            It doesn't seem like a laughing with us situation, rather a laughing at us type of thing.

                                                                          2. re: Duppie

                                                                            Aagin, until I brought it up, it wasn't "I post this stupid cliche", it was others post these stuplid cliches and we are sick of it. Aren't THEY dumb.

                                                                            From my first post, because predictably I could tell these would be the responses


                                                                            Cliche #5

                                                                            YOU as a poster don't have to open, read, comment on a post that has nothing to do with eating better but is just fun, fun, fun. YOU are no fun. How dare you try to ruin our good time.

                                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                                              While its a cliche, it is also a fact. You don't have to read it. Just ignore it, you'll probably feel better that way.

                                                                    2. re: kevin

                                                                      What can you expect? A serious question brings out a few serious answers from people who know. A frivolous observation brings out the comedian in all of us. We all seem to be TV critics as well.

                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                        IMO, the most effective use of Chowhound is discussing roasting meat and produce rather than other posters.

                                                                    3. re: rworange

                                                                      Excuse me, but there is no FOOD thread with over 400 posts? You must be joking.

                                                                      Apart from that -- if CH has become the BK of websites (whatever that may mean), perhaps it's time to move on? Or at least move on from site talk, since you dislike this thread so much?

                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                        The 400 post threads are the chat threads and with few exceptions actually about food.

                                                                      2. re: rworange

                                                                        rw, if you're not enjoying the post, then stop reading it, and please, please stop dumping all over it for those who are enjoying it.

                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          Thank you, sunshine842, my feelings exactly.

                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                            Folks, this sub-thread about the thread is becoming a cliche all on its own. Please let it go.

                                                                2. re: rusty_s

                                                                  You are awesome! Kimchee is a great snack to take on airplane trips for the kids too! When we travel by air, I always take kimchee,and spicy fish soup for my chowpups to nosh on. One time some fat passenger complained about the smell, I told her too bad, that's her problem--MY kids don't eat pretzels and other commercially produced airplane food garbage!! She proceeded to get airsick, no doubt from all the junk food she most likely scarfed down in the terminal before the flight, lol!

                                                                  1. re: Marge

                                                                    I just found some packets of dried kimchi that you could sprinkle on your pretzels or eat with the airline beer.