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Opinions of the New Cheese Board

It's been a little over a month since a new board (category) was added to CH for discussion about cheese. The board was created based on the request of numerous CHers who wanted to have a forum dedicated to this food in all its aspects. I took on the task of presenting the request to the moderators, who, after some evaluation, granted our wish.

As one of the main contributors to the new board, I thought it might be time to ask how others feel about it. My own opinion is that it has a lot of potential, but is off to a slow start. We are seeing only a few new threads a week at this point. (The board includes a lot of threads, but most of them are older ones that originated on another board and were moved over, without necessarily engendering any new discussion.) A few observations/suggestions:

1. I'm not sure how many people are aware of this new board. It seems to me that some kind of notice (a "sticky" that lasts for at least a few weeks?) should be placed on the boards where most cheese-related threads used to be found: General Chowhounding, Home Cooking and Food Media.

2. A couple of cheese "experts" (Delucacheesemonger and I) said that we were willing to contribute content. I've tried that in a couple of threads: one on the various kinds of rennet used to make cheese and another on cheeses that contain fenugreek, admittedly a rather narrow subject. Neither got a lot of responses initially, although the rennet thread has more posts now. I would be happy to continue to develop threads on specific "academic" (and other) topics, but am not sure what will grab the attention of others.

3. Perhaps a monthly "Ask the Experts" thread would be worth considering. This would be a thread in which people could ask any question they have about cheese and get an answer from a knowledgeable person. I'm thinking along the lines of the sushi thread that silverjay started a long time ago, except that there would be a new thread begun at regular intervals to prevent the original thread from winding up with 1,000 responses.

What are your thoughts about the cheese board? Did you know about it before you looked at this thread on Site Talk? Are you following discussions on it, but haven't contributed yourself yet? Do you have ideas for encouraging more participation or for improving things? What topics would you like to see discussed?

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  1. I voted for it, and was not aware that it happened until recently. I hope it proves to be educational for those of us who want to learn more, and not a forum for elitists to praise local artisanal cheeses unavailable to the common person, and not another snotty wine board. But I'm in.

    1. Does any other single food have an entire board dedicated to it?

      Have not noticed a "pork" board for instance.

      See this as part of the reason for limited activity. I wonder if the cheese board should be a sub board of another. Wine and home cooking come to mind.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pedalfaster

        There are dedicated boards for wine, beer and spirits, although cheese is the only solid food to have its own board. The rationale for so honoring cheese is that cheese, unlike most other foods, is vastly complex, much more so than pork, the example you gave.

      2. I enjoy it, but am anything but an expert, so have been reading other's posts and learning.

          1. re: knucklesandwich

            Another vote for dropping it. Different boards for different foods is a bad precedent to set.

          2. I think that a great way to get people more interested would be to have a few dish focused threads that highlight restaurants such as a Best Mac and Cheese in the Bay (I love that there is a ramen Best of list on Chow and this worked for my blog) or Best Cheese Souffle, something accessible, fun and other people can try out on their own.

            I plan to post up a thread with cheeses that I discover at the Fancy Food Show this weekend!

            1 Reply
            1. I was aware of the requests/creation of the board. That said, haven't visited it until today.

              I had similar concerns as veggo: that folks who like Cracker Barrel Xtra Sharp (some of us never grow out of childhood faves lol) might be sneered at/ignored. Also, didn't feel like I had a lot to contribute although I've yet to meet a cheese that I couldn't assimilate; I'm plain-spoken. But in reading through a few threads, I see welcome, and open-minded intelligent-but-not-elitist chat. So that's a strong positive.

              Still... if someone handed me a fabulous 3# hunk of cheese that I've never used before, right now I'd probably still go to Home Cooking to ask for suggestions/recipes, or cross-post. Simply more eyes on the question.

              So how to get more eyes? Ask the expert is maybe a nice idea (for me, cap at 200, I glaze over after that). But I'd hate for peeps to get told to look back at Thread #4 for their answer. Maybe "Cheese of the Month" - an expert sets a few intro posts on background, process, etc. and discussion follows. Or even better, "NameOfCheese Recipe/usage challenge of the month" -- could integrate that expert post to start. We all love to cook and the monthly recipe/cookbook challenges do well.

              2 Replies
              1. re: DuchessNukem

                I like the Cheese of the Month idea. Maybe a Cheese of the Week, since there are so many to choose from. However, I would not want to go through the same kind of laborious nomination and selection process used to determine each COTM (Cookbook of the Month).

                1. re: cheesemaestro

                  I like the cheese of the month idea, but it should be a category of cheese (for example, "cheddar" or "California") with reports of various versions people have tried.

                  I think what we need is a concerted effort to start new discussions to build the "community" -- for example, I asked to split off a digression on Quebec cheeses from the "favorite cheese" thread. It didn't go anywhere (perhaps too specialized, since most posters are in the US and Canadian cheeses aren't widely available here), but that's the idea: to create more specific threads rather than long, general threads.

              2. hi cheesem, first of all, thank you. Thank you for taking the steps to garner a CH board dedicated to cheese. I've enjoyed the new posts and older posts that were moved over to this new area that I wouldn't have otherwise read. Delucacheesemonger, thank you as well.

                I think there are challenges, namely, overcoming the decision to separate general cheese discussion from cheese recipe/uses/menus.

                This decision makes an established board like HC harder on a new board like Cheese to get off the ground. I recommend allowing recipes on the Cheese board. Picture this, you're at the Cheese board discussing wonderful blue's but you're not allowed to talk about how you use them in your favorite X recipe. For that, you must now leave the Cheese board for the HC board to discuss using blue cheese in X recipe with a whole different group. Kinda wonky.

                On the Wine board CH's aren't only discussing wine but making recommendations for how to pair wine with food. This allows for a full discussion not just a recommended wine list.

                On the Vegan board discussion includes all aspects of the vegan lifestyle; including recipes.

                IOW, by limiting the parameters of the Cheese board-we limit the discussion..like leaving half the cheese wheel on the table..and what cheese lover does that?!

                3 Replies
                1. re: HillJ

                  Thanks for your thoughts, HillJ. I just wanted to clarify something. We say the following on the Cheese Board FAQ:

                  "Discussion of recipes that simply involve cheese, but where the focus is on the cooking techniques and other ingredients are best in the Home Cooking category, but there may be instances where you want to have an in depth discussion on the perfect cheese to use for a recipe that will work well here."

                  So, people are certainly allowed to talk about recipes on the Cheese Category, especially if it's in reference to how you use a certain cheese. There are no super strict rules, so there shouldn't be any notion of "not allowed."

                  That said, I personally find that the following logic makes sense: If I were looking for the best recipe for coq au vin (a dish that involves wine), I wouldn't ask it on the Wine Category, but rather on Home Cooking. But if I wanted to ask, say, for a great white wine that I could both use in my coq au vin and drink during dinner, I might want to post that on the Wine Category, where the audience would be more suited to answering my question. It's basically just thinking about what I want to get at, and where I anticipate the discussion leading.

                  Cheese is definitely a bit more blurry, since sometimes it's a very major ingredient in a dish, but hopefully this comparison is still helpful.

                  1. re: Dave MP

                    Thanks DaveMP. I appreciate your comparison and your clarification although I see very limited recipe discussion on the Chesse board at present and so far have seen no recipes actually posted on threads within the cheese board. For me anyway, this lack of inclusion, and I was thinking "not allowed" due in part to the italic sentence under the Cheese board title was limiting discussion to a certain extent. As you say, Cheese is definately a bit more blurry and my preference would be to allow recipes to fully appear on the Cheese board rather than jump back and forth to the Home Cooking board. Perhaps the Wine board was not a great comparison but the Vegan board participants have the ability to discuss recipes in greater detail and the Home Cooking board has a host of recipe topics and recipes to discuss without concern of limitation. HC remains a very healthy, popular board and I don't believe Cheese, Wine or Vegan boards are taking away from the HC board.

                    When the Cheese board was announced as launched it was highlighted in the announcement that recipes should not be posted on the Cheese board.

                    Thank you very much for hearing my perspective and adding your perspective.

                    Just my food for thought in helping the Cheese board succeed.

                    The reason I voted YES to a Cheese board was to learn more about cheese. If inviting professional cheese makers to the Cheese board is up for consideration, I'd welcome that as well.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      3. Perhaps a monthly "Ask the Experts" thread would be worth considering.

                      Yes please.

                2. I'm intimidated. I read but I don't post for fear of making a fool of myself. That was true of the Home Cooking board for a long time as well. And is unquestionably true for many of us on the wine board. It takes lurkers a while to feel comfortable before sticking a toe in.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JoanN

                    I hear you and also others who feel the same way. However, I would encourage you to chime in. You shouldn't feel that your thoughts or questions are stupid or that you'll make a fool of yourself. I've read enough of your posts on CH to know that is unlikely to happen. There was a time when I knew nothing about cheese. We've all been there.

                  2. I am vey appreciative of this new board and only noticed it a couple of days ago. I know for certain it will be one of my first stops every time I visit CH because I love love love cheese and want to learn more about it. I go to a grocery that puts out about-to-expire cheeses weekly at half price and I make it a point to pick up items there as often as possible. It is much less scary to try a new cheese at half price, and I have found some amazing new favorites that way.

                    I don't feel I have any knowledge to add to this board because I am still learning, but I am eager to read the posts so I can learn more.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jlhinwa

                      As you work your way through these new cheeses, please be sure to post about your finds, likes and dislikes here and let others benefit from your tasting trials.

                    2. Cheesemaestro, I think for people like ourselves, who have made a (long) career out of cheese, it's hard sometimes to understand why everyone isn't as fascinated by the intricacies of controlled milk spoilage as we are.

                      But it's a new board, about something that you are passionate about, that is clear. But....

                      There is an intimidation factor with cheese. Here we need to be helpful without being condescending. We don't want to become the board that, even unconsciously, sneers at more "pedestrian" choices- often the only choices available. Getting people to try special, artisan, hard to source cheese is fabulous, but if it's all that's presented, people without options will tune out. Sometimes you want to know what's great in a toasted cheese, you know? (Answer- Kraft American on Texas Toast, gently pressed, cooked in butter, medium heat)

                      So, my goal for this board would be this- get people to eat and try more cheese. Period. Give consumers here a hand in dealing with the sometimes harrowing process of going to a cheese shop. Baby steps.

                      Now, to a small bit of crabbiness: cheesemaestro, you've "corrected" me when I'm not wrong enough to make me not want to post anymore, and I've been a cheese professional for over 15 years. How do you think a newbie feels when similarly scolded/spoken down to?

                      Embrace all of it. If people want to make technical posts about make processes, good for them/you. If people just want to know what crumbles on salad, that's equally good. Remember that most people don't have access to small batch local producers.

                      But when someone asks me my favorite blue, I'm still (for now) going to say Chiriboga, which is knicker-dropping good, for a person that has tasted 100s of blues.

                      One bit of snobbery I will stick with: If a person doesn't like blue cheese, and their experience is with pre-pack crumbles, they are right to not like "blue cheese", because I don't like that stuff either.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: cheesemonger

                        There is an intimidation factor with cheese. Here we need to be helpful without being condescending. We don't want to become the board that, even unconsciously, sneers at more "pedestrian" choices- often the only choices available. Getting people to try special, artisan, hard to source cheese is fabulous, but if it's all that's presented, people without options will tune out. Sometimes you want to know what's great in a toasted cheese, you know? (Answer- Kraft American on Texas Toast, gently pressed, cooked in butter, medium heat)

                        So, my goal for this board would be this- get people to eat and try more cheese. Period. Give consumers here a hand in dealing with the sometimes harrowing process of going to a cheese shop. Baby steps.
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                        This is so insightful. And, for me, another reason why I'd like to see cheese based recipes included in complete detail in threads (as a natural part of food discussion) to make the entire idea of cheese and cheese buying choices more approachable. ie: Okay, I just went to X cheese shop for the first time and spent $15.00 on this delightful cheese, how will I use it in a recipe, what recipe, what do CH' recommend?....

                        1. re: HillJ

                          I'm not intimidated by cheese but am enjoying reading the board nonetheless.

                          1. re: southernitalian

                            I suppose the 'unsure' factor figures in for some and not for others. So far, I'm mostly reading here that being unaware that the Cheese board existed was a basic factor.

                            More PR :) is a simple fix.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              As someone said upthread, as long as the "cheese elitists" don't take over, it will continue to be an enjoyable thread and I'll keep learning from it. I used to post on the wine thread but then stopped after being stung a few times. I continued reading it for a while, primarily to laugh at the wine snobs. Now I don't even bother to read it.

                              1. re: southernitalian

                                I can't think of a single reason to let a fellow CH throw my own game in enjoying and learning about anything on this website. Snobs? Who cares. We're here to share, learn and eat great chow-cheese! I can understand a personal hesitation being new at anything means stepping out and listening right? But worry about the snobs taking over the fun-no way.

                        2. re: cheesemonger

                          Thanks for your detailed and helpful comments, which raise a lot of issues.

                          First, the intimidation factor. The fact that there is so much to say about cheese is what led to giving it its own board. If the complexity weren't there, we wouldn't be having this discussion. The challenge is to make the board interesting and useful to people, whatever their current level of knowledge and experience with cheese. I'm not a cheese snob. I don't dismiss supermarket cheeses, even processed cheese foods like American cheese and Velveeta. I also understand that some people have little experience with artisanal or hard-to-find cheeses, but I still think that this is a place to talk about them for people that are familiar with them or have an interest in learning more about them. Still, I don't think that I, or anyone else, ever said that that they should be the be all and end all of the cheese board. Like you, I hope that the discussions will serve the purpose of getting people to try more cheese and step a little out of their "comfort zone." That said, the burden is on ALL OF US to make it happen. This includes the lurkers who are reluctant to contribute for fear that they won't be taken seriously. We can't discuss what is a great cheese to put in a toasted cheese sandwich unless people are willing to bring this subject to the table.

                          Second, on your "small bit of crabiness": I'm not sure how to take this. I don't feel that I've ever dismissed a post of yours out of hand, or been mean spirited or condescending. I apologize if I came across that way. On the other hand, there is room for disagreement, even among cheese professionals. If we can't ever present an opposing point of view on the cheese board, then we aren't fostering discussions, but rather lectures. Those of us who consider ourselves experts on cheese can sometimes find it difficult to accept that someone else doesn't agree with us, but "expert" is a relative term. There is always someone who knows more than we do, at least on a particular topic. I've been challenged or disagreed with many times on CH. Often, I've learned something from the challenge, and other times I've felt that the other person is flat out wrong or is just being ornery. Passion about a subject engenders heated discussions. On balance, this is a strength, rather than a weakness, of CH. What isn't acceptable is for someone to engage in a personal attack on another poster, but I think the mods do a good job of controlling that.

                          Beyond this, it is easy to misconstrue someone's intent on an impersonal medium like the Internet. For example, someone recently wrote about Bleu de Termignon in the blue cheese thread. Another poster responded indignantly, asserting that the first poster was elitist, unfairly denigrated other good blue cheeses, and wasted words on a cheese that the vast majority of people can't get their hands on anyway. I thought that this was an overreaction, but it illustrates how easy it is to take offense to what someone posts on a web site.

                          Chiriboga Blue: I entirely agree. It's an eye-opening cheese that I would encourage people to seek out.

                        3. Thanks everyone for the thoughts so far. We'll definitely take these ideas into consideration in the upcoming weeks, but in the meantime, I hope the great cheese discussions continue.

                          I agree that the Cheese Category is off to a relatively slow-start, but I'd urge everyone not to get discouraged. Gradually, I think more and more people will come to realize the Cheese Category exists, and more and more readers will join in on the discussion. For those who are already participating, I hope you continue to start new discussions, and keep the topics varied enough that it will draw in new participants.

                          Thanks again to everyone involved with the cheese category thus far, and looking forward to reading more!

                          Dave MP

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Dave MP

                            Discussion of recipes that simply involve cheese, but where the focus is on the cooking techniques and other ingredients are best in the Home Cooking category, but there may be instances where you want to have an in depth discussion on the perfect cheese to use for a recipe that will work well here.

                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                            The Cheese Board FAQ Sticky.

                            So mentioning that melting brie into a homemade cheese sauce is allowed discussion but actually sharing that recipe is not.

                            2nd question, where does experiencing cheese dishes in a restaurant or cheese shop events figure in to this board? Do they?

                            1. re: Dave MP

                              Let's not leave it to chance that 'hounds come to know that this new Cheese Board exists. What can Chow management do to promote it?

                              I noticed a little bit of a bounce when I cross-posted to the SF board. Also when one of Sarah Perry's blog posts made an announcement.
                              http://www.chow.com/food-news/132059/...

                              What other ways do we have to get the word out? Perhaps make an announcement in the emailed newsletters.

                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                Once is never enough on a site so chock full of information. The post on CHOW came in the very early days of the Cheese board. You make some very good suggestions re email newsletter and cross promotion. I'd also enjoy learning more from you ML, I haven't seen you on the Cheese board.

                            2. I just noticed it recently. If there were announcements I completely missed them - and I'm on CH a lot. If the announcement was on Chow then that's why I missed it.

                              One way to make it easier to discover would be to bring back the old drop down menu. The new format hides so many boards from view now. Same with the limit for saved boards.

                              Most people are creatures of habit and out of sight means out of mind...Make it less work for folks to discover/find/visit the boards and it will be easier for the boards to flourish.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: meatn3

                                I didn't know about it until this post either. Now a Saved category.

                                As you state, it is far easier to ignore non-Saved boards than before.

                                1. re: tcamp

                                  I also didn't know about this board to Save it until I saw this thread. Agree that the new format lumps all the non-geographic boards at the bottom where one is less likely to find them.

                                  Having said that I am kind of afraid that Cheese could end up like Beer (also one of my saved boards, and annoyingly the first one that shows up on my saved list because it's done alphabetically) - a board that has interesting discussions, when it has discussions, but only has discussions periodically. Beer has half a dozen hard-core experts/brewers and a bunch of fans of beer (like myself) which doesn't make for a good balance, really. Home Cooking has a much more evenly distributed base of expertise - thus the massive participation there.

                              2. I voted for it, although I was a bit skeptical.

                                In the early days, I went out of my way to post responses to try to keep the board at the top of the turnover list-- and my original intent was to make some posts about some not-mainstream cheeses that people might like.

                                Most of the cheeses available in my area are young and raw-milk. Not that I'm not in love with them -- I am -- but I'm very conscious of the fact that they're overwhelmingly not available in the states, and if you do manage to find one, it's a king's ransom to buy it. (So there goes basically the entire Brie family.)

                                I'm not geographically in a position to talk about what's on the US shelves --haven't had a good view of the US shelves in several years now.

                                I threw out one non-main-stream, raw-milk-but-aged, suggestion right after Christmas...I won't say it went horribly, but we'll just leave it that it didn't go particularly well, and left me with little motivation to try again, especially since I also have to research any of my favorites to see if they're reasonably available, and what the prices are.

                                And I'm not an expert -- by any stretch of a vivid imagination. I love cheese, I'm fortunate to live where they make a lot of really good cheese, and I really enjoy finding out more about the lovely things sitting in the cases. I really just don't have the chops to get very in depth about rennets or fermentation or anything technical.

                                So...I'm pretty much limited to responding if and as I have an answer that I think will help someone.

                                1. I've found it difficult to "cut" it over there. (Get it? Get it? Cut the cheese?) I'm sorry I couldn't resist.

                                  1. http://cheeseforum.org/articles/

                                    If "what to talk about" is a culprit in populating discussion, this Cheese forum expands ideas.

                                    1. ooh! I didn't know about this board until now. I'm excited to check it out. I'm not an expert, but I'm always willing to learn about and try new cheese. I volunteer for tastings in the Houston area :-) That said, I'm not in the trendy part of town, and have to choose from what is available at my grocery store most of the time, and my budget is not endless, so I join the others in the request to not be too condescending of "pedestrian" choices and questions.

                                      1. A monthly or weekly, if many interested, 'Ask the "Experts" ' seems to be a helpful topic. Could be very didactic or far less threatening dependent on type of advice needed.
                                        Glad to try to help.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                          Thank you for lending your considerable expertise to this forum.

                                          I've had issues with the idea of "Ask the Experts" topics on chowhound before. The whole point of this site is peer-to-peer interaction, and fortunately, this mostly occurs at a pretty high level of knowledge. I am leery of anointing "experts" even when the designation is well deserved because it flows against our culture. When there have been "Ask the Expert" threads in the past with guest authors that have been called "experts", invariably other posters chime in who know more about certain aspects of the chosen topic. And I've felt that they're entitled to though others disagreed. I had suggested at the time that the more appropriate title might be "Ask the Author" or "Ask the Pro" to make clear who hold the floor and to set some ground rules to avoid behavior that verged on rudeness to the guests.

                                          Now that there is a Cheese Board for discussing this subject dear to our hearts, I don't see a need to set aside one thread for asking cheese questions specifically directed at "experts". I would hope that you and others who become regulars will scan the new topics and contribute as you have time. One of the beauties of this site is the random "expert" who might show up for just one anonymous post that conveys a piece of information that may not exist anywhere else in the online world.

                                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                                            Whatever such an opportunity is called I hope the idea can be expanded to bring a bit of CHOW Obsessives (for instance) and CH knowledge together.

                                            I recall that past Ask the Expert threads didn't work for some but was enjoyed by others. I also remember feeling like a CH-traitor for actually admitting that exchanging with planned guests would be an interesting alternative. I still think its a fun idea on occasion.

                                            One topical board with daily threads can serve all of us who enjoy cheese. Not interested in a guest cheese expert, don't open that thread. Like talking to fellow CH's, plenty of threads to follow. I'd like to think there's room for all of it (and I understand booking guests takes work!). An expert won't stop anonymous pieces of information from getting posted.

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              Let me try to clarify, as I don't think you're tracking what I tried to say.

                                              I am opposed to naming some posters and their discussions as "experts". Because once you do that, every other discussion on the Cheese Board is "non-expert" by definition, and I refuse to denigrate the collective wisdom of the participants on this site.

                                              I am not opposed to a guest speaker thread, but call it "Cheesemonger of the month" or "Cheese book promoter" or whatever it is that has brought that individual fame. And unfortunately, I have seen "experts" who crowd out broader participation on this site. On the SF Bay Area board, we've had an unwritten rule from the early days of that community that when someone calls out an individual "expert" in a post to answer a question, that individual ignores it and does not reply. There are many reasons behind that but chief among them is to be respectful to the community and their assembled knowledge and not be exclusionary.

                                              Lastly I'd also like to make clear that what I'm saying is not directed personally at Delucacheesemonger or cheesemaestro who have put in so much time to make the new board happen and share their experience so freely. On the contrary, I am grateful for their time and thought leadership here. My beef goes back to the earlier Ask the Expert campaigns from a couple years ago and a desire to learn from what worked and what didn't.

                                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                Given your lengthy reply, I'd have to say no MW I didn't misunderstand you the first time or now but appreciate that you've taken more time to help me understand your comments further. I believe my reply "whatever it's called" was meant to convey that whatever the opportunity to bring in a guest is called, should it go forward, doesn't matter. You may feel and a portion of CH's may feel that way but not all CH's feel the way you do. I don't.

                                                Nor did I think for a minute that you were taking anyone who has enjoyed the Cheese board so far on some personal directive. Not at all. Many of us voted on the launch of a CH Cheese board from the moment it was suggested and I hope the board prompts many more experienced views and recommendations. You can bet I'll be asking more than answering threads about cheese!

                                                I've read your thoughtful replies long enough to know better, meaning your helpful supportive replies. So, even if we seldom agree I respect your input enough to connect.

                                        2. I didn't know such a board existed until now. Thanks for the heads up.

                                          1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/886669

                                            I have a question about posting Cheese events on the board. This OP, focused on one specific event in CA would normally be posted on the SF board, yes? But it's a great idea to be able to post cheese events, no matter the location for global CH's reading along.

                                            Events, workshops, seminars, etc. that might influence CH attendance, are they going to become a part of the Cheese board irregardless of location? And if so, could their inclusion be added to the list of acceptable Cheese board discussions that currently appears under the main title board heading.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              Your comment about where the thread about this cheese festival should be posted mirrors that of other posters. Should recipes containing cheese, especially when cheese is the star ingredient, be posted on Cheese or on Home Cooking? If someone wants to know what cheeses are suitable for vegetarians, should the thread be on Cheese or rather on the Vegetarian/Vegan board? Etc. Some threads would get the most useful and the most number of responses if posted on BOTH boards. However, CH's policy is not to allow the same thread topic to be active on multiple boards simultaneously.

                                              Here's what I would suggest. Post all threads about cheese on the Cheese board. If there is a second board whose participants will also be interested in the topic, start a thread on that board containing a short message about the active thread on the Cheese board. Provide the link to that thread and ask people to post their reponses on the Cheese board, if they would like to contribute to the discussion. I don't know if the mods and others would agree with this, but it's what I think would work best.

                                              1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                Your comment about where the thread about this cheese festival should be posted mirrors that of other posters.
                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                True, I've posted a few separate "what's appropriate for the cheese board" questions myself. And no decisions so far while we are all discussing how we're all enjoying the new board.

                                                Continuing to get the word out about the new Cheese board appears to be #1.

                                                I think your suggestion is good but I wouldn't go forward cross referencing and taking the time to do so without approvals from those in the position to tell everyone reading along-GO for it!

                                            2. Did not realise the creation of the new board until just know. But I am a creature of habit and really go to anything besides the recent Chow discussions and the few regions I feel confident interacting with.

                                              So I am looking forward to participating on the new board and am resilient enough to take the slings and arrows of righteous indignation when I wax poetic about Merkt's et al.

                                              1. Hot Damn. This is why I love Chowhound. :-)

                                                I had no idea about a new Cheese board until I happened to hit Site Talk amongst my Favorites (a.k.a. "My Categories") list and saw the thread.

                                                It has now been added to my Favorites list (sorry, I just can't call it "My Categories"). I'm definitely not an expert in cheese by any means, but I knows whats I likes when I likes it. I doubt I'll have much to offer, but I like the idea of having a place to come to ask about various pairings, or "what works best with..." questions.

                                                Thanks to the cheesiest Hounds who asked for the board!

                                                1. I've not read all (or even most) of the responses. This post was the first I'd heard of it, and I'm a fairly regular chowhound user, and not infrequent poster.

                                                  Seems to me if Chow wanted us to notice it, the board would be part of their rolling series of photo links when you go to the homepage. And face it, precious few of us frequent the site talk section, maybe once a week, every two weeks or so for me.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                    Aren't the rolling links of photos all CHOW video links? I don't ever recall anything from the Chowhound community appearing on the main page photos at the top of the page.

                                                    You make an very valid point about getting the word out about a new Chowhound board.

                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                      Who goes to the homepage? I try to avoid anything to do with Chow.
                                                      Why not a temporary sticky across all boards for a week or a month?

                                                      1. re: bbqboy

                                                        I go to the homepage, and I don't avoid anything to do with Chow. We all tend to believe that the way we use something is the way everyone does. Just as we tend to believe the food we enjoy is the food everyone enjoys. Too often not the case at all.

                                                        But I think the idea of a sticky across all boards is a good one.

                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                          Oh, I didn't mean to imply that everyone should or does do as I do. I usually click on my profile to see if there are new responses to threads I'm involved in, then scroll thru my list of saved boards.
                                                          Interesting question though-how much of the Chow/Chowhound website do you peruse and use?

                                                        2. re: bbqboy

                                                          Ditto. Avoid Chow, ignore homepage.

                                                      2. I think the creation of the new Board could have been better announced. It IS hard to find things on this site if you have to look through layers of menus. the site could do a better job as a whole in showing what discussion options are there to both regular users and visitors. I thought that blob of board names we had a year or so ago was silly, but now I wish it would return

                                                        Now that I have started looking at the new Board Im glad we have it and have saved it so it will come onto my normal menu for reading. I cant imagine what basis anyone would have for objecting to addition of a board here if it is food related and finds participation

                                                        1. Looking forward to learning more about cheese as it is one of my favorite foods. Please leave the board!

                                                          1. So............. today, and this topic, is my first inkling of the Cheese Board. I rarely miss a day of at least some perusal of my 'favorite' boards, but those are mostly the 'Topical' ones, and I access them directly through my 'personal discussions/profile page. I almost never go to the main board index and I have never really paid much attention to the CHOW part of the site. Given those parameters, where would I have seen anything about it?

                                                            I DO recall 'sticky' posts, in the past, about new boards, that showed up at the top of board pages but it seems as though the way I access (through my own specific activity only) I don't see those any more. Does this make sense?

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: Midlife

                                                              It does. And they don't seem to do sticky posts anymore.

                                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                                The Garden, Special Diets & Veg/Vegan boards (all fairly new) didn't get much special attention either when they launched and no one asked "how we doing?"

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  to be fair, though, the cheese board started to see quite a bit more activity when this thread was posted. No such thing as bad publicity, etc., etc.

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                    Oh, I also join the choir for publicizing the Cheese board, sun, and you are right we usually see a bump in activity when anything new is posted or reposted (including older threads). What I was referring to was a thread like this one asking how the new board is doing.

                                                                    I recall Stickies on the announcement of other new topical boards too but don't recall a thread specifically asking how the Vegan, Gardening or Special Diets boards were doing.

                                                                    Before each of those boards received their own topical coverage the threads related to each appeared in many different places on Chowhound.

                                                                    The overwhelming response to this question appears to be "I didn't know the board existed" and do you see any more PR announcing the Cheese board?

                                                                  2. re: HillJ

                                                                    I DO remember seeing stickies or something else that made me aware of those three boards, but not this time.

                                                                    1. re: Midlife

                                                                      Announcing yes, Midlife. Asking how the boards are doing, no. I don't recall ever reading a thread asking how the Gardening board is doing (as example).

                                                                2. I just discovered this board (2/13), by accident...and I'm on CH quite a few times a week. Never saw any notice. I'm sure there are still many on CH that are unaware of the Cheese Board and would add to the discussion.

                                                                  There a 2 popular threads (Best Blues & Best Cheddars) that are continually being added to, and both have over 130 posts. So, cheese IS a popular subject.

                                                                  There is a certain intimidation factor, so I usually keep my questions about cheese very generic. I do this NOT because of anyone's elitist attitude on this board, but because I know so little about "good" cheese. Lurking is a good way of learning.

                                                                  I wish there was a weekly/monthly thread on the basics of cheese that was started by one or more of the "experts". Subjects such as the basics. How to properly store different cheeses. About the "ripeness" of a cheese. What to look, taste & smell for? New cheese finds? Specific cheeses named and discussed. The subjects are endless.....

                                                                  Thanks to all who contributed to the Best Blues thread....I'm still working my way through that list!

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Phoebe

                                                                    Those are all good questions and would make good topics for discussion. Is the intimidation factor or something else keeping you from starting a new thread that asks one or more of those basics with an appropriate subject line? Otherwise, I'd just suggest kicking one off and see who chooses to contribute.

                                                                  2. I've had the board bookmarked and on occasion lurk. My thought was that it would be like the Wine, Beer boards with experts who'd talk on a much higher level than the average person with little knowledge. I don't even lurk on those boards because the information is over my head. Being a new board, the cheese board could start at the beginning in introducing posters to new cheeses, how to use them, etc. It would be great to have a cheese of the month, some information on it, what to do with it and people could try it and post their experiences. I think that would make it less intimidating and bring it down to the level of those who want to learn more but don't know where to start.

                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                      When the word expert was suggested (cookbook authors, authorities on the topic of cheese, shop keeps) a few CH's commented that they were turned off to the idea that folks other than CH's would be contributing to the boards. Professionals with consider cheese knowledge under the guise of a CH moniker seems to be what's acceptable.

                                                                      When how cheese is used (as in a recipe) was suggested, I was told keep those posts on Home Cooking. But how to pull together a cheese plate, which cheese melts best for x recipe, fondue and preparing for a cheese-based recipe have been overlap discussions btwn both boards. DaveMP confirmed it's bound to happen.

                                                                      As a reader of the Cheese board, I can see there are about six individuals with a good deal of cheese knowledge and experience contributing and answering questions on the Cheese board. Their s/n's are seen in that role easily thread to thread. It's been helpful to have them moving the discussion along. Even more helpful in correcting misnomers.

                                                                      The intimidation factor won't change if we don't just throw ourselves into asking more than we know right now. Bringing the discussion down to a less intimidating level seems counter productive though. I want to elevate my game and because of that lurk more than post on the Cheese board.

                                                                      If lurking could demonstrate how popular a board is, we'd know the true value of the Cheese board.

                                                                      Continuing to promote the Cheese board would be nice too.

                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                        I was thinking of it along the lines of "Dish of the month" or "Cookbook of the Month" on HC, not necessarily started by an "expert" but people who have more knowledge could add to it. For example (just picking a cheese out of the air), cheese of the month, Manchego, Spanish sheep milk chese, semi soft, used for xxx, tastes like...., look for (characteristics). Then people could try it, talk about their experience with it and ask questions about it. I know so little about cheese/wine/beer that it's hard even to ask a question. I want to explore from the basics and need more hand holding. But, that might be just me and others have a higher level of comfort. The type of question I'd ask would be like asking, "What's a good dessert to make?" on the Home Cooking board--so broad that it would be hard to answer.

                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                          chowser, those are points I'd enjoy seeing as well. And your analogy is what I was thinking when I asked similar questions.

                                                                          Why not begin a new OP with one of those questions on the Cheese board and see where it leads. Can't hurt.

                                                                          There are individuals with knowledge already answering questions about cheese on the Cheese board; including what to look for, etc. Blue cheese for instance has been discussed at length. Very helpful.

                                                                          It's the point made by DaveMP not to include full on recipe questions about cheese that I was told to avoid on the Cheese board but rather ask on the HC board.

                                                                          Keeping the recipe for using a cheese separate from the discussion about the cheese seemed unnecessarily but like I said, I was told to keep them separate when I asked.

                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                            This would work for me, chowser. Pairing it with appropriate beers or wines, general uses for it, various characteristics.

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              Does a question like that get posted to the Cheese board, Home Cooking board, Wine or Beer board?

                                                                              What if where to post is part of the hesitation to contribute new OP's..

                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                The Cheese board. Pairing cheeses with beverages isn't cooking, so the Home Cooking board seems an inappropriate place to post such a question. In my experience, beer and wine experts know less about pairing with cheese than cheese experts know about pairing with beer or wine. One is likely to get better (and more) suggestions on the Cheese board than on the Beer or Wine boards.

                                                                                1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                  Maybe you could suggest adding a Sticky post to the Cheese Board to clarify some of these useful points & tips to CH's enjoying and reading along. It would be helpful to have some of the parameters and suggestions posted in a spot where more people will read it and understand which should also help encourage more participation on the Cheese board.

                                                                                2. re: HillJ

                                                                                  From our perspective, could likely be any of those, and unless we really strongly think something would be better off elsewhere, we would leave it where the user has started. As a personal rule of thumb, I try to start things where I think the people reading will have the most expertise related to the core of my question.

                                                                                  If I was planning a wine and cheese event where I really wanted to showcase wines, and wanted some ideas on what to pair with them, I'd ask on the wine board. But if I was planning a wine and cheese event where I was focused on introducing people to fascinating and interesting new cheeses, I would ask on the cheese board.

                                                                              2. re: chowser

                                                                                While we (and by 'we', I mean Dave MP) started the Dish of the Month and then, in some cases, handed it off to regular users to run, Cookbook of the Month is and always has been entirely user-driven. So if people think a Cheese of the Month is a good idea for the Cheese board, then it is absolutely fine to start that as a project on that board -- you don't need our blessing or even really much of our help, though we'd be happy to offer advice or feedback on your plans.

                                                                                The usual path is a nomination thread around mid-month, then a voting thread, then discussion threads that go up the first day of the month. There's probably still time to do that before the end of February, if someone wants to get started for March.

                                                                                1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                                  I think that a Cheese of the Month (or more frequently) is a good idea, but I don't see the need to follow the nomination process used for Cookbook of the Month (COTM). The reason that COTM has a nomination/voting thread each month is that it's important to determine if enough people already own a particular cookbook or can get it in time, and if they have enough interest in trying out the recipes. I'm not sure what the rationale would be for people to vote for one cheese over hundreds of others that they could learn more about. It just seems like overkill to me.

                                                                                  On another topic: There are numerous posts in this thread from people who were unaware that the Cheese board exists and discovered it either by chance or by seeing this thread on Site Talk. I have to believe that there are still many people who don't know about it. Is there a way we can spread the word, now that CH seems to have eliminated sticky posts?

                                                                                  1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                    My feeling is that the nomination and voting process gets people involved in a low key way and hypes up interest in the subsequent discussion, but it absolutely could be handled in a more top down sort of way if someone wanted to take the idea and run with it.

                                                                                    For a user, my best suggestion would be that when you find a thread where something from Cheese is really on point, post a link to it, and say 'hey, we were discussing something very much like this in the Cheese category here: '

                                                                                    I'm not suggesting that you go out searching for these and spam a whole bunch of threads. But, cheese related subjects come up in a lot of places, so if there's something particularly on point from the Cheese category, you could do a cross-link that would share the information as well as alerting people who are talking about cheese to the presence the Cheese category.

                                                                                2. re: chowser

                                                                                  One thing that could be cool on the Cheese Board is (not exactly a Cheese of the Month but similar) Is to have threads about seasonal cheeses - those that are particuarly good at different times of year.

                                                                                  I would be particularly interested in knowing what cheeses are coming into the markets that I should be looking for and discussing them.

                                                                                    1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                      I was thinking that, or cheeses that pair well with foods that are in/coming into season.

                                                                              3. Thank you for adding an "Announcement" about the Cheese Board to the General Topics and Home Cooking boards.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                  I add my thanks, although I'm not sure I would have noticed the announcements, had you not posted about them. A stronger color, such as red, would make them stand out. Light blue doesn't draw the eye to them.

                                                                                  1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                    Tiny print too....can't have everything :)

                                                                                2. We've published this story about the Cheese Category: http://www.chow.com/food-news/135182/...

                                                                                  Feel free to tweet it, share it on Facebook, etc....it's hopefully a good way to get the word out.

                                                                                  1. just stumbled on this thread - i added the Cheese forum to my favorites a couple of months ago - and visit occasionally. However, after reading these [very thoughtful] posts, I'm considering going back and deleting the post I just wrote on the Cheese forum! I'm not sure it fits there!

                                                                                    I love cheese - it's just about my main protein source [not exactly proud of that, but there it is], and am always looking for REASONABLY priced cheeses and ideas for using them. It's unlikely that I'll ever make my own cheese, but I'll always be interested in everyone's opinions about a variety of cheeses - from the experts to the novices.

                                                                                    As for availability, I'd like to see some info on suitable substitutes for cheeses that might be a little hard to find. Here in northern NJ, we like to think that we have EVERYTHING, but we don't. We also have a budding cheese industry here, and i'd LOVE to be able to read a bit about these small producers. Heck - ANY small producers. I'll pass the info to Mr Bill, the specialty cheese guy at my local ShopRite [yes, the local grocery store!], who is always willing to listen and try to get new items in. He's actually gone up to vermont and made his own cheddar to sell in the store!