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Mar 19, 2012 05:49 AM

downfall of chow

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed a SERIOUS decline in content on in the past few months? I don't know if there has been a big staff change recently or what, but I think I am done with chow. From the extremely distasteful call for "lesbian BBQers" to the ill informed articles about beer, I end up leaving the site shaking my head most times I visit now.

Anyone else getting disappointed?

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  1. OMG! Seriously?!? "From the extremely distasteful call for "lesbian BBQers" Was that a Chow article or a ChowHound post? I never gave Chow any cred in the years I have been a ChowHound user. But please post that link! Unthinkable! OMG!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      It was a Chow article. They ended up removing it within a few days after the backlash of disgusted replies. I'm still surprised they never offered an apology about it.

      1. re: Quine

        Here is the text pulled from my RSS reader.


        Seeking: Lesbians Who Grill
        from CHOW » Food News by John Birdsall

        Are you an openly gay woman? Do you spend weekends with grill tongs taped to your hands? Do you live in the San Francisco Bay Area? If the answer to all three is yes, we want to hear from you. is casting for a new video series for LGBT Pride, called "Grilling with Lesbians." We’ll visit with a whole range of lesbian backyard-barbecue aficionados, women of all ages and backgrounds, from committed amateurs to chefs who spend their Sundays sweating over a Weber. Candidates have to be unusually passionate about the craft of grilling, funny and vivacious in front of the camera, and willing to host’s video team at a typical backyard get-together with friends, wives, ex-lovers, kids, dogs—anyone and everyone in your adopted family.

        Tell us about your passion for the grill by answering these seven questions:

        1. What is it about grilling that you love?

        2. When did you realize that you loved to grill?

        3. Tell us about your grill. What kind is it? What's the brand? How big?

        4. What’s your favorite grilling recipe and why? Ever won any awards for grilling?

        5. Typically, how many times a year do you invite friends over to grill for?

        6. Why do you think so many lesbians are passionate about grilling?

        7. Recall the best barbecue you’ve ever been to during Pride. What made it so awesome?

        Please respond by Sunday, March 4, to Video Producer Jenny Stewart at Send us a picture of yourself, and/or links to videos (if you have any) of you doing your thing at the grill. And remember: Though we expect you to take your beer-marinated chipotle pork loin very, very seriously, we want you to have fun with your answers.

        Image source: Flickr member John Kannenberg under Creative Commons. Use of this image implies nothing about its subject.

        1. re: logandj

          Like I said (earlier) be careful what you delete. Copies of that posted contest appear/remain/have legs all over the place.

      2. Downfall? I hope you're wrong hollymayberry. I enjoy this site. The downfall of CHOW could be the end of the line for Chowhound. But, I agree there have been articles and ideas that play well at the home office but clearly (based on comments under the stories) fall flat across the reading food globe. Our sensibilities differ, our p.o.v. vastly different.

        The challenge to appeal is one every information site deals with. Doing better by readership is something that can be ongoing if the owners listen.

        However, this site does allow and welcomes input from all members and that (at least in my book) counts for something.

        1. Yah, please supply a link to the call for lesbian 'cuers. I cannot *wait* to read that one, and have been quite unsuccessful in finding it.....

          10 Replies
          1. re: linguafood

            That thread has been deleted, lingua. Mention of that is in the 2nd reply upthread...

              1. re: buttertart

                I also saw the story when it orginally ran. Read the comments and realized the article was pulled later. Which on the one hand demonstrates that readers remarks are considered by staff @ CHOW but also begs the question how do you yank an advertised online contest once posted?

                All contests have rules, so a word to the wise at CHOW. If you pull an advertised online contest leave a written statement in its place. Ghost copies will remain on the Net.

              2. re: linguafood

                I saw it while it was up. It was pretty much what it sounds like. In fairness to chow, it didn't come off as though it was trying to be particularly controversial - the idea was to celebrate lesbians who like to grill in honor of gay pride month, and not (it seems) to make any kind of bigger statement or generalization. It was a very strange and arbitrary idea for an article though (obviously).

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  Strange indeed.... what's next -- gay men who love to bake cupcakes?

                  "Quiet days in cliché".

                  1. re: linguafood

                    ..... I resemble that remark.. sic

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      i'm a straight woman who grills and I know straight men who bake/decorate cupcakes. Their ad came off as sexist. If they would have worked on the phrasing of what they were looking for, it likely wouldn't have seemed so bad. I applaud them for trying (though unsuccessfully) to follow in the footsteps of JCP and Ray-Ban with being more inclusive in their advertising.

                      1. re: clgontarz

                        Except there hasn't been a need for a celebration of "straight pride" month since heterosexual couples have traditionally been able to walk down the street holding hands or give each other a kiss goodby at the train station without worrying about anyone bashing them for their PDA.

                  2. Chow is what it is. A cross section of a diverse group that have an interest in food. Some of us like to make it and some of us like to eat it and some of us are afraid of it. The good thing is you can choose which articles or threads to open or respond to.

                    I like to share information to help others as well as maybe learn something from members here. That's what message boards are all about. Sharing of knowledge. Sure I cringe at the posts about misplaced fear of cooking utensils. Never saw the lesbian BBQers but I like BBQ so why would I care if it was lesbians or macho straight men getting together to make it. Just teach me something I don't know and I'm happy

                    And on that note you should be happy. If this site is not for you go forth and seek one that is.

                    16 Replies
                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      The OP's comment was about Chow, not the Chowhound boards. That said, an attitude of "America, Love it or Leave it" makes no more sense in the context of this site than it does in the context of the country.

                        1. re: carolinadawg

                          >>an attitude of "America, Love it or Leave it" makes no more sense in the context of this site than it does in the context of the country.

                          Actually, it makes a lot of sense on the Internet. There's no reason you can't continue to follow the Chowhound boards, if you find them useful, while avoiding Chow editorial, if you find it useless. That may even be the opinion of most visitors to this site, according to Alexa ( ).

                          1. re: squid kun

                            Totally true. While I am finding the link unfathomable. While I have been a participating poster on for a good few years now, I seldom stray into ChowLand. I'd rather fall down a rabbit hole. I have taken offense at seeing "stories/article" published there that were Copy and paste of a post I created and comments made to it, posted, without credit. It happens to others as well. Plagiarism call-outs go without notice by TPTB.

                            It is what it is, Chow posts plagiarized stuff and "shock" Lesbian BBQ while Chowhound suffers from "Citizen watch" moderators. I say switch the mods to Chow stuff and BOTH places improve.

                            1. re: squid kun

                              "If this site is not for you then go forth and find one that is" isn't the same as "Ignore Chow and enjoy Chowhound".

                            2. re: carolinadawg

                              Please forgive me I don't know the difference between Chow & Chowhound boards...somebody please explain. Thanks.

                              1. re: cstout

                                Chowhound is all unpaid contributor discussion content. Chow is professionally created and paid content.

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    The gray area is Chow Digest, which summarizes content on some of Chowhound's regional boards plus General Topics and Home Cooking:

                              2. re: scubadoo97

                                My point was to draw attention to what I have perceived as a decline in quality content over the past few years (esp. months) on Chow. As a result I have sought out other sites that aren't disappointing me.

                                In re. your comment about the BBQ...I think you didn't understand...there is nothing against who is barbecuing or what there sexual preference is. My disgust was for the way that Chow promoted and proposed an offensive article/contest. I am sure whoever came up with the idea is kicking themselves and upset that it wasn't perceived how they meant it to be...nonetheless it slipped into publication when it shouldn't have.

                                1. re: hollymayberry

                                  Yeah I didn't get you drift at first because I rarely venture into Chow

                                  1. re: hollymayberry

                                    Some article have been disappointing but there is some worthwhile content. I happen to enjoy the video stories and the idea of chow tips. The advertising pool keeps this site alive. So I'm absolutely behind you all when you suggest disappoint and ask for quality programming but I can't write off the entire site and the people working behind it.

                                    Quine, as for using your work without permission. I hear ya and I understand the frustration. But, you also know that once you hit the save/send button on this site the "work" becomes the property of the site. So be selective about what you share if you feel strongly about your words.

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      I do care about plagiarism. I do care about the fact that someone copies my work and others and turns around and "sells it". If it is good enough to steal and good enough to have a value when 'fenced". Then let us submit our own articles. But that happens when the next time pigs fly to see the cow jump over the moon.

                                      1. re: Quine

                                        Like I said, Quine. Understood. The only way to guard against it (right now) is to refrain from submitting your work freely if you wish to be paid for it.

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          People stealing content on the Internet? Can that be true? What is the virtual world coming to... ;-D>

                                          1. re: Servorg

                                            Ha. I was confining my reply to posting on this site.

                                2. Decline of Chow? Never. Where else would I learn how to recycle jeans into a garden apron?

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: beevod

                                    My thoughts exactly, beevod. And remember this is free advice!

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        oh, come on! There are values to be had throughout CHOW. The strongest one: they keep Chowhound alive.

                                        My observations of late is in streamlining the navigation, it's much harder to find topics; especially older ones. The comment section is mostly one sided by posters. Writers/reporters/staff don't reply frequently enough. Deletion reporting is haphazard. But content (which should be king) is up & down...and frankly mostly a teaser of news pieces appearing everywhere or culled from the active threads of CHOW.
                                        Room for improvement? Always. But worthless, nah.

                                        And, like I said, they keep Chowhound possible...and free to enjoy.

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          I was referring specifically to the "apron from a pair of jeans" tip.