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Do people ask you random questions…

foodieX2 May 3, 2013 01:49 PM

about food and dining just because you "love to cook", you "eat out a lot", or because you are a <insert your food loving adjective here"?

I had co worker walk into my office today and say "Hey FX2, you love to eat and cook. My wife and I are planning a vacation and we are thinking about Mexico. What all inclusive places has the best food?" I have never been to Mexico, have never discussed vacations with this guy before and pretty much all of our non business conversations had been about local places for good lunches and afterwork drinks/apps.

What the funniest, oddest or most random question have you heard because you are a 'hound?

  1. c
    chileheadmike May 3, 2013 01:52 PM

    Do people ask you a lot of questions...?

    Sorry, couldn't help myself.

    1. jrvedivici May 3, 2013 02:45 PM

      I have 2 observations and 0 actual answers for you.

      I find it incredibly ironic that your post actually answers itself! It's like the self fulfilling prophecy of posts!

      Second, I find it interesting you make your colleagues address you by your Chow handle. ;- )

      1 Reply
      1. re: jrvedivici
        foodieX2 May 3, 2013 02:47 PM

        My I-phone calls me "goddess" but that seemed too personal for the office. :)

      2. i
        INDIANRIVERFL May 3, 2013 02:55 PM

        Many of my favorite experiences have been due to a readiness to speak with total strangers. Usually without a common language.

        I live on a boat. I have taken a variety of ferries in the Med, Baltic and the Channel. So how does this make me an expert on the best cruise lines? And which has the best food? I get this at least twice a year.

        1 Reply
        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
          Sal Vanilla May 24, 2013 11:44 PM

          Hubs and I lived on our boat off and on. When people found out they would ask me about cruise lines and ports of call. So glad to hear another is being asked that strange question.

          I speak to people with no common language better when I have had a few drinks.

        2. r
          ricepad May 3, 2013 07:20 PM

          Yeah, happens to me all the time. What I really don't understand, tho, is that for some reason, a lot of my friends think I've jumped on the bacon bandwagon big time. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love bacon way more than is healthy for me. What I don't get, tho, is the relatively new fetish for bacon in everything. Bacon chocolate, bacon bourbon, bacon ice cream. Now, I love me some bacon, AND chocolate, AND bourbon, AND ice cream. Just not all together. So when they come up to me to tell me about the latest bacon abomination, I smile, and try to tell them sweetly that maybe some things are better off separate.

          (Wow...that turned into quite a mini-rant!)

          5 Replies
          1. re: ricepad
            Dirtywextraolives May 3, 2013 07:25 PM

            Don't knock it til you've tried it....

            1. re: Dirtywextraolives
              ricepad May 3, 2013 07:28 PM

              I have. Not impressed. Waste of bacon, chocolate, bourbon, and ice cream.

              OTOH, I *loved* the Bacon Explosion!

              1. re: ricepad
                Sal Vanilla May 24, 2013 11:46 PM

                Bacon in ice cream is a waste. The fat in the bacon is solid and unmelty in my mouth with delicious porkiness.

                Just give me my bacon straight and keep your fingers clear of my mouth. Ditto that for the bourbon.

                1. re: Sal Vanilla
                  sandylc Aug 19, 2013 10:57 AM

                  I could see eating ice cream, bacon, and bourbon together, though! Might be a pretty nice combo.

            2. re: ricepad
              virtualguthrie Aug 19, 2013 11:58 PM

              You're not the only one and I totally agree. I love bacon I just don't need it in everything and I think it stand better on it's own rather than buried in chocolate or pancakes or whatever else someone thought would be good.

            3. d
              Dirtywextraolives May 3, 2013 07:26 PM

              I do get a lot of questions from other moms at my kids school who I am also Facebook friends. They see pics of my food online and usually want to know what I'm cooking that night....

              I also get questions in line at the store, as in what do you do with that/those for certain items they see on the belt. I welcome any and all questions, as I feel flattered they even care.....

              2 Replies
              1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                pdxgastro May 8, 2013 10:36 PM

                My checker saw me buying 2 tins of anchovies and asked how I use them. I told her about umami. I described smashing 2 fillets into the dressing for my tortellini salad recently. They were on sale for $1.25 (!). I told her to buy a tin and try them. If she didn't like them, she would only be out $1.25. She agreed it was a good idea.

                1. re: pdxgastro
                  globocity May 19, 2013 07:00 PM

                  That sounds delicious! I'm going to copycat your idea.

              2. h
                Heatherb May 3, 2013 07:29 PM

                I don't get a lot of weird questions, but whenever I go to a new town with my best friends, they basically tell me: "You pick the restaurant."

                I may know nothing about the area, but I'm supposed to look at the menus and pick something we'll all enjoy. They completely absent themselves from the process. It's kind of funny.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Heatherb
                  ricepad May 3, 2013 07:30 PM

                  I sometimes travel with a co-worker who tells me she's 'typed' my choices as "food on a dare".

                  1. re: ricepad
                    Heatherb May 6, 2013 10:04 AM

                    LOL. My two BFFs are not adventurous eaters, and I'm really not either. They're just not very invested in selecting something but also don't want to have a bad meal. So it's left to me to eyeball the menus, the locations and interiors and make a pronouncement. Much easier these days with Yelp on my smartphone - I've gotten good at sorting through the more ridiculous and useless reviews for nuggets of actionable information.

                  2. re: Heatherb
                    Crockett67 May 12, 2013 06:19 AM

                    My SO's friends don't, but either he humors me or likes what I choose and so always suggest that I weigh in on where to eat even if out of town. <3 If the friend pushes back, we go there. Nonetheless it's nice that he lets me make a few suggestions.

                    As for work or personal friends, I tend to let them make general suggestions and go from there. So it's not just my suggestion but a little of both.

                  3. f
                    FriedClamFanatic May 3, 2013 07:45 PM

                    It wouldn't be Thanksgiving or Christmas unless I got some inane call from my Sister-in-law over something she was making. Only thing worse is when she's here for that and worrying away over trivial stuff.

                    1. j
                      Jeanne May 3, 2013 08:25 PM

                      This happens to me quite a bit. Jut tonight I got a call from a good friend's 16 year old daughter. She asked me for recommendations on a restaurant down town that a group of teenagers could go to on prom night that is not too expensive. The prom is 2 weeks away, is graduation weekend for 2 major universities here and is Mother's Day weekend.

                      On top of this, most of the restaurants downtown are pretty sophisticated or are beer and food joints frequented by mostly college kids (good but these are young teenagers).

                      Her Mom got on the line and I suggested a gourmet pizza place and a couple of Mexican restaurants downtown - all good and not overly expensive. No - the Mom didn't like this because the teenagers would be really dressed up!

                      Yes, there are places that the kids would enjoy maybe even more - but they're not inexpensive! Ufff.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Jeanne
                        janetofreno May 6, 2013 10:00 AM

                        For my post-prom snack many years ago I went to a burger joint. It was one of the few places open at 2am. And it was in the Telegraph Ave area of Berkeley....anyway, being "too dressed up" was something that never would have occurred to me, and it was something that never would have occurred to me as a mother either. argghh....I feel your pain.

                        As to the OP, it is true that if you get a reputation for picking good restaurants sooner or later you will become the "go-to" person when your friends need to choose. Its kind of the same phenomenon that causes the fastest googler to always be asked the answers to some trivia question or the other. I have a group of colleagues that often get together in some strange city or the other, and invariably I am asked for restaurant suggestions. I haven't told them my secret (www.chowhound.com:-). I kind of like the fact that they think I'm talented in this area, just as the guy who can google quickly will keep answering questions rather than say the obvious, which is "Why don't you google it yourself?"

                        1. re: Jeanne
                          pdxgastro May 8, 2013 10:42 PM

                          Prom mom is missing the point. It's FUN to go to a casual place all dressed up. And it gives the other customers a kick. I walked into a fast food joint with a friend and spotted a Quinceañera party there. The birthday girl wore a very 'particular' dress: it had jungle print fabric within the flounces of the skirt. I wish I had gotten a pic.

                          1. re: pdxgastro
                            melpy May 13, 2013 03:05 PM

                            Yeah, doesn't Chipotle give free burritos to those who come for prom dinner ?

                          2. re: Jeanne
                            mpjmph May 9, 2013 06:34 AM

                            Why on earth would they schedule prom for this weekend? I live in the same area, and I usually plan to get out of town on graduation weekend. At the very least, I plan to eat all meals at home and avoid going anywhere other than the grocery store.

                            1. re: mpjmph
                              Jeanne May 10, 2013 02:30 PM

                              Don't know why they scheduled it for this weekend mpjmph - poor planning, that's for sure!

                              A couple of days ago she e-mailed me and asked me to check out 2 restaurants that aren't down town - one that I've never heard of, Daniel's Restaurant in Apex for pete sake's and it is not "inexpensive", and La Vita's which I've also never been to. I told her what I found and thought - and also suggested an alternative one that is in town but not downtown - Pop's Backdoor. Haven't heard from her since so I don't know what they have decided.

                              1. re: mpjmph
                                Jeanne May 10, 2013 09:30 PM

                                Just had a call from the Mom - they are going to La Vita's.

                            2. ttoommyy May 5, 2013 04:34 AM

                              I get questions about cooking, places to eat locally and in Italy, and general questions about food all the time. I love it.
                              I guess the oddest question/request I have gotten (a couple of times) was to make a cake or cookies for someone and they would pay me. Granted, I did have my own business at one time, but that was over 5 years ago.

                              1. inaplasticcup May 5, 2013 05:29 AM

                                Somewhat tangential, but I tend to get asked where to locate ingredients in markets, even if I'm not dressed in something that can be mistaken for the store's uniform.

                                I guess I must smell like a person obsessed with food.

                                19 Replies
                                1. re: inaplasticcup
                                  MGZ May 5, 2013 06:54 AM

                                  I've had that happen to me too.

                                  1. re: inaplasticcup
                                    Chemicalkinetics May 5, 2013 06:57 AM

                                    You must like to make eye-contact. Once you made that contact, they will ask you anything....

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                      MGZ May 5, 2013 07:04 AM

                                      I have some weird thing where people always single me out to ask for directions. It happens when I'm in my hometown all the time, but it's even happened when I've been on vacation.

                                      "Excuse me, Sir, do you know how to get to Toronado?"

                                      "Hell, I'm from New Jersey. . . . However, . . . ."

                                      1. re: MGZ
                                        Wahooty May 5, 2013 08:01 PM

                                        I am cursed by a similar approachability. I am small, somewhat cute, female, and friendly-looking. Apparently there is something intangible about me that suggests I know what's going on. I get asked for directions a LOT...and usually in places where I can't offer anything helpful.

                                        I also get the "what do you do with that?"s in the checkout line. I inspired QUITE a discussion while buying a Buddha's hand citron this winter.

                                        1. re: Wahooty
                                          Chemicalkinetics May 5, 2013 08:15 PM

                                          <I am small, somewhat cute, female, and friendly-looking.>

                                          Well.....I guess that is not much you can do about being cute and female, but you can always try to look meaner.

                                          <I also get the "what do you do with that?"s in the checkout line.>

                                          That I do get a lot, and I am not small, cute nor females.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                            Wahooty May 5, 2013 08:31 PM

                                            If being approached bothered me, I'd affect a scowl as I walk around. It doesn't...I just feel bad when I don't have the answers people want. :)

                                            I have long accepted that I'm just one of those people that people talk to. I grew up being mortified by my mom talking to strangers at the grocery store...it's karma.

                                            1. re: Wahooty
                                              alkapal May 6, 2013 02:33 AM

                                              my mom did that, too -- and so do i!

                                              1. re: Wahooty
                                                Chemicalkinetics May 6, 2013 08:49 AM

                                                <I just feel bad when I don't have the answers people want. :)>

                                                You keep this going.... One day, they will ask you: "What should I name my baby?"

                                                1. re: Wahooty
                                                  512window May 6, 2013 01:36 PM

                                                  We should form a club! It happens to me all the time. Worst was when my daughter and I were in London and tourists were constantly asking me for directions. I'd have to start with "well, I'm from California, but....."

                                                  Recently, I led an impromptu herb identification seminar at the farmer's market after being asked if a bunch of oregano was sage.

                                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                  Sal Vanilla May 25, 2013 12:03 AM

                                                  I get that too. I tell them gladly. A couple years back I gave the checker my phone number and told her I would help her make tamales if she decided to go for it. (I was buying husks and dried chiles). Never heard from her. I live in a small town. It did not seem weird.

                                                3. re: Wahooty
                                                  jrvedivici May 5, 2013 08:37 PM

                                                  This actually makes sense, I'm male, extra large with a face only my mother loves, and nobody ever approaches me!

                                                  1. re: Wahooty
                                                    mwhitmore May 12, 2013 09:18 AM

                                                    I love it when the answer is easy. "Do you know the nearest pharmacy?" 'Here.' We were standing under a Walgreens sign. PS NOt SSCFFL.

                                                  2. re: MGZ
                                                    rockycat May 9, 2013 06:06 AM

                                                    That's happened to me multiple times in foreign countries. Heck, I'm a tourist, too. I am definitely not small, cute and most likely not all that friendly-looking. I have no idea why this happens.

                                                    1. re: rockycat
                                                      MGZ May 9, 2013 06:09 AM

                                                      "I am definitely not small, cute and most likely not all that friendly-looking. I have no idea why this happens."

                                                      Me neither. On all accounts.

                                                    2. re: MGZ
                                                      roxlet May 10, 2013 02:12 PM

                                                      I must look like I know where I am going because natives have asked me for directions not only in the US, but in Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, Israel, Egypt, the Netherlands and Belgium. I am also known as the person who knows how to find most things in NYC, so much so that a friend of mine in publishing once wanted me to write a book called Ask Roxlet.

                                                      1. re: roxlet
                                                        MGZ May 12, 2013 05:10 AM

                                                        I was reminded of this thread yesterday at the hardware store. I had been doin' a little work around the house and ran into town for a box of deck screws. A lady walks up to me and politely asks, "Excuse me, Sir, I want to get my husband an electric drill for his birthday and I was hoping you might be able to help?"

                                                        "Ma'am, I'm sorry, but I don't work here."

                                                        "Oh, I didn't think so, but you looked like you'd know about such things."

                                                        Maybe it was the baseball hat? The three-day stubble? The jeans? Hell, that's kinda the uniform of every guy shopping in a local hardware store.

                                                        I managed not to laugh. I proceed to ask about what her husband was likely to be using it for, thought about her answer, told her the drill I've used for over a decade, and why I liked it. She wound up buying a newer version of the same tool.

                                                        When I went to check out, the store owner asked me, "Who's she?", as he had observed much of what had happened.*

                                                        "No idea. She told me I look like I know about drills."

                                                        "Yeah, I can see that."

                                                        *Keep in mind, it's a pretty small town.

                                                    3. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                      inaplasticcup May 6, 2013 01:27 AM

                                                      Ha! I don't go out of my way to make eye contact, but I guess I don't go out of my way to avoid it either. :)

                                                    4. re: inaplasticcup
                                                      JulesNoctambule May 6, 2013 09:22 AM

                                                      I get asked to locate ingredients, recommend products and provide recipes all the time in grocery stores! Around Christmas I ended up giving a lady complete directions for crab cakes after she asked me if I knew what panko was, where to find it, and what it had to do with the crab cakes she wanted to make for Christmas day brunch. My husband says people approach me because I have a friendly face and look like I know what I'm doing. I only mind if they're rude about it!

                                                      1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                        Sal Vanilla May 24, 2013 11:52 PM

                                                        I get that a lot too. I just tell them.

                                                      2. MGZ May 5, 2013 06:53 AM

                                                        I routinely get calls from my Mother when she's makin' somethin' that confuses her in some way. Most recently, she called to ask "What's coriander leaf?" - as she must have found a non-American recipe. Mom's sisters have called as well, for similar reasons - "I forgot to start the roast beef. Can I cook it at another temperature than 325 so that it's done earlier?"

                                                        I will admit, however, that it's all good. There is a certain irony to the fact that the woman who first introduced me to cooking now never hesitates to ask questions of her son. (This reminds me, I gotta put together her Mother's Day lunch.)

                                                        Besides, it's way better than being at a cocktail party, havin' someone sidle up to you, and start the conversation with, "Mrs. Jones told me you're a lawyer . . . ." In that case, you're in for thirty minutes of joyless conversation, a one-sided presentation of a miserable situation, and, in effect, givin' away a couple hundred dollars. I mean, do people meet a dentist at a dinner party, pull the guy aside and ask to have their teeth cleaned - "Here', Doc, I brought the tools."

                                                        19 Replies
                                                        1. re: MGZ
                                                          sedimental May 5, 2013 07:42 PM

                                                          Yeah..try being a psychotherapist at a party.....

                                                          1. re: sedimental
                                                            kitchengardengal May 5, 2013 08:09 PM

                                                            ...or a kitchen designer in anyone's house anytime...

                                                            1. re: kitchengardengal
                                                              sedimental May 5, 2013 08:12 PM


                                                              I think being known as a "food nerd" is not really so bad :)

                                                            2. re: sedimental
                                                              MGZ May 6, 2013 04:21 AM

                                                              Funny. I know a psychiatrist and he says he hates to go to cocktail parties because inevitably someone eventually hits him up for a script for xanax.

                                                              1. re: MGZ
                                                                Isolda May 10, 2013 10:44 AM

                                                                A dermatologist I know says that people come up to him at parties all the time asking for recommendations on sunscreen or acne treatments for their teenagers. I just can't imagine doing that.

                                                                Asking a cook about food, sure, because most people love to talk about food, and you're there to eat and socialize. But asking for other professional advice seems really rude to me.

                                                                1. re: Isolda
                                                                  goodhealthgourmet May 10, 2013 02:57 PM

                                                                  The second people find out what I do for a living I get bombarded with questions about food & nutrition.

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                    HillJ May 10, 2013 03:32 PM

                                                                    Then you should stop wearing the ghg t-shirt with the cute girl holding a rolling bin logo....

                                                                    1. re: HillJ
                                                                      MGZ May 23, 2013 12:33 PM

                                                                      Hell, the only time people don't ask me questions is when I wear the MGZ t-shirt with the scary lookin' guy holdin' a filet knife logo. I'll have to get one for ghg?

                                                                      1. re: MGZ
                                                                        goodhealthgourmet May 23, 2013 01:01 PM

                                                                        Ha! With my track record people will probably assume I'm a butcher (or married to one) and ask me about various cuts of meat...

                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                          MGZ May 23, 2013 01:06 PM


                                                                          1. re: MGZ
                                                                            HillJ May 23, 2013 01:38 PM

                                                                            You two are so funny. I don't wear any special t-shirts but my cart full of the "unusual" usually draws attention.

                                                                            Happy to help those who want to know....lord knows folks help me all the time.

                                                                            1. re: HillJ
                                                                              MGZ May 23, 2013 01:49 PM

                                                                              Maybe ghg and I can get you one with a front & back design?

                                                                              1. re: MGZ
                                                                                HillJ May 23, 2013 02:11 PM

                                                                                Sometimes I'm tempted to place a sign inside my shopping cart as I enter the store...something that reads:

                                                                                "Go ahead, ask...it's ok."

                                                                  2. re: Isolda
                                                                    Sal Vanilla May 25, 2013 12:11 AM

                                                                    I never got mad when people asked me for advice on things they think I might know about because of work.

                                                                    If I was a gyno or a proctologist and they wanted me to look at something while I am sipping my martini, I might... no I think it would amuse me. I would not do it though. Or a podiatrist. No feet at parties.

                                                                  3. re: MGZ
                                                                    pine time Aug 19, 2013 11:05 AM

                                                                    I'm a psychotherapist, and hubs once bought me a Freud tee-shirt. Never wore the silly thing except to putter in the garden. We're on a golf course, and I swear, someone pulled his golf cart over to our fence to ask me a med. question (he was an acquaintance, but still)!

                                                                    On planes, I've taken to tell seatmates that I'm a hairdresser. Which is funny if you could see my terrible hair.

                                                                    1. re: pine time
                                                                      Tripeler Aug 20, 2013 07:03 AM

                                                                      What you said about your hair sort of makes sense. My grandfather always told me that when I go into a barber shop, pick the barber with the worst hair because he is likely the one who gives the best haircuts to all the other barbers.

                                                                  4. re: sedimental
                                                                    sandylc May 6, 2013 08:40 AM

                                                                    Hm-mmm....I have some questions for you....

                                                                  5. re: MGZ
                                                                    NonnieMuss May 6, 2013 08:51 AM

                                                                    I once worked in the dental department of a university - in an administrative role - and yes, people will absolutely show you their teeth in social/public situations. Strange how many people wanted to show loose crowns to a secretary.

                                                                    1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                      MGZ May 6, 2013 09:05 AM

                                                                      I figured.

                                                                  6. t
                                                                    trvlcrzy May 5, 2013 08:18 PM

                                                                    I usually get questions like:
                                                                    Have you tried ____ ( something unusual like "lamb intestines", "snails--round type or pointy", etc.)
                                                                    Have you seen actual food you have eaten getting slaughtered?

                                                                    Yes, odd questions...answer is "yes" most of the time...

                                                                    1. b
                                                                      BuildingMyBento May 5, 2013 09:13 PM

                                                                      People that I know ask me why I continue to eat street food abroad, particularly in Bangkok, Indonesia and China, even though it frequently pains me to do so. I should begin to tell them that the water used outside is the same that's used inside... and on the unlikely occasion that a water cooler is used (say at a Hunanese mutongfan eatery), well, there are no guarantees. I could see an Engrish sign hoisted somewhere exclaiming "let's make good hygiene contagious!"

                                                                      People that I don't know, ie at one of the said street cart places, ask me random question all of the time. Though, it's usually because I'm in a part of town that fellow foreigners never venture to. It's somewhat awkward, if I'm eating something rough yet still need to ask the vendor directions to get back. So, I'll just rely on one of my new "chums"- after finding out that I'm not yet married and that my blood type is a non-English letter, I'm confident enough to ask him/her.


                                                                      1. rockandroller1 May 6, 2013 10:35 AM

                                                                        Yes, I get all kinds of food-related questions, like how to prepare something or what something is on a menu if we are out together, as well as asked regularly for restaurant recommendations, both where I live and elsewhere. I like providing this information and being asked; it's something I know a lot about and I'm happy to share. I wish others were more interested in learning about food instead of just ordering the grilled chicken caesar because they don't know what langoustine is or something.

                                                                        1. goodhealthgourmet May 6, 2013 11:11 AM

                                                                          Apparently I give off the same vibe as inaplasticcup - it's not just people who know me doing the asking. Strangers stop me all the time in the supermarket to ask where to find an item, how to select produce, what to do with a certain food, etc. I'm always amused when it's the cashier asking me what an ingredient is or how to use it. The most random encounters are the ones with people who end up unloading their health history on me after asking about the nutritional/health benefits of something they see in my cart. It must be nice for all these people to have me around to help, because I can never find a store employee when *I* need assistance in the aisles!

                                                                          I'm usually the go-to resource for friends & family when it comes to suggesting or altering recipes, tracking down & using ingredients, and pretty much anything else related to cooking & nutrition. But since I never eat out anymore I send them elsewhere (most often here to CH!) for restaurant recommendations.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                            HillJ May 6, 2013 01:48 PM

                                                                            I must admit the minute my eyes lay upon your CH s/n I figured all of the above would be evident, and it was.


                                                                            Doesn't anyone weighing in realize that you are giving off the scent just through your own shopping body language; not your body scent of cheese and good crackers (ha!) but your confidence while shopping! To a newbie that confidence is intoxicating.

                                                                            1. re: HillJ
                                                                              jrvedivici May 6, 2013 02:06 PM

                                                                              Hahahahahaha Proof Positive!! The only time I'm approached is in my true natural environment.......A liquor store !!!!!

                                                                              1. re: jrvedivici
                                                                                HillJ May 6, 2013 02:35 PM

                                                                                I rest my case, young man!

                                                                          2. ttoommyy May 9, 2013 06:05 AM

                                                                            For all of us who give off this "vibe" that allows others to approach us in stores, on the street, etc: speaking for myself, I think my body language invites people to ask me questions. For example: if I see a young couple in the baking aisle of my supermarket dazedly looking at spices and wondering aloud about them, I find myself sort of unconsciously making eye contact with them which in turn gives them a signal that I am approachable and may be able to help them. The same goes for obviously lost tourists here in NYC on my way to work; I think my natural "need" to help is evident in my body language and it inevitably leads to someone asking me for directions.
                                                                            I wonder if many of us don't even realize how approachable we look to others in these types of situations; it's just in our nature to want to be helpful and therefore we exhibit signs to others who are in need of help and these people pick up on them. jmho

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                              hotoynoodle May 23, 2013 07:03 PM

                                                                              The same goes for obviously lost tourists here in NYC on my way to work;


                                                                              here in boston, when i see folks staring at the subway map like they want to cry or holding those damn cartoon maps of the freedom trail upside-down, i ask if they need help whenever i have time, lol. i have been helped by strangers in strange lands too. :)

                                                                              working as a sommelier, i frequently get calls from friends who are at wine shops or trying to decide for a wine at a restaurant dinner, lol. meals out, it falls to me to pick wine, when out with friends -- even those who sell wine!

                                                                              i do get plenty of cooking calls too, often a panicked person of "zomg what now?" and happily it's rarely as dire as they think.

                                                                              when i lived in a mostly latino neighb i was always surprised by how many people at the grocery store thought i could speak spanish. as a little italian girl, sure, i don't look very anglo, i guess, but not too many red-headed latinas!

                                                                              like wahooty, i'm small and kinda cute too, so far from intimidating. i also walk and shop with a sense of purpose. i'd prolly ask me for help too. :)

                                                                              oh, and thanks to you tall men who help me reach products on the top shelf. :)

                                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                                                ttoommyy Aug 19, 2013 10:29 AM

                                                                                "oh, and thanks to you tall men who help me reach products on the top shelf. :)"

                                                                                That's me! I've been helping the "vertically challenged" in supermarkets ever since I can remember (probably high school). I get asked a lot. And I also volunteer to get something whenever I see someone attempting to "scale" the shelves. That's just wrong!

                                                                                1. re: ttoommyy
                                                                                  pine time Aug 19, 2013 11:10 AM

                                                                                  As a tall woman (nearly 6'), I'm always being asked to get something down from a top shelf. But, it's usually from little old ladies, not cute guys. Or maybe Mr. Pine scares away the young guys.

                                                                            2. LindaWhit May 9, 2013 07:20 AM

                                                                              Yes. People ask me for recipes or "how can I use this food item?" or "Have you heard anything about this restaurant?" very often.

                                                                              ETA: If someone is wondering about a certain product in a store out loud to their shopping partner, I also have no issue with telling them its properties and how it can be used. Just happened this weekend in Trader Joe's - about olive oil, of all things. The young woman didn't know anything about it other than her boyfriend needed it for a recipe, and he glanced up and saw me taking a bottle of the Spanish olive oil and asked me about it. They ended up getting a bottle as well.

                                                                              1. p
                                                                                Pwmfan May 9, 2013 08:01 AM

                                                                                My friends know I am food-obsessed so they ask food-related questions all of the time. I'm glad to answer what I can and, even better, I can usually point them to a good refrence. I can't tell you how many of them have thanked me repeatedly for sending them to Chowhound!

                                                                                Evidently I give off the "approachability" vibe to strangers. In the supermarket I regularly answer produce questions, obtain items from upper shelves for the vertically-challenged and heft 30lb bags of dog food into carts for little old ladies. When vacationing I am often approached for directions.

                                                                                My oddest encounter in a suprmarket is one I have shared on these boards previously. I was approached by a rather creepy looking man who asked if I could "help him find this" and handed me a scrap of paper on which was written "KY Jelly".
                                                                                I glared at him and told him to ask an employee. After I thought about it, I went looking for him to see if he was approaching other women. I found him with a teenaged stockboy, both of them staring intently at a large display of jams and jellies.

                                                                                Also in the supermarket, the woman who wanted to buy the shoes off my feet and another who kept trying to pet my (fake) fur coat, but those stories are off-topic.....

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Pwmfan
                                                                                  EM23 May 9, 2013 10:32 AM

                                                                                  I must have missed your "jelly" story on its first telling. Hysterical!

                                                                                  1. re: Pwmfan
                                                                                    Isolda May 10, 2013 10:48 AM

                                                                                    Hmm...I don't know if fruit jelly would serve the intended purpose as well, but it might be a lot more fun...

                                                                                    1. re: Isolda
                                                                                      ricepad May 10, 2013 12:43 PM

                                                                                      But definitely NOT the jalapeno jelly.

                                                                                  2. Kris in Beijing May 12, 2013 07:43 PM

                                                                                    Yes to nearly all of the grocery store stories. I probably have a Help-Strangers-With-Food-Products-Talk weekly.

                                                                                    I also have the Google Girl reputation--former co-workers [from more than 1 job, from more than 1 country] email me itineraries and ask for airfare help. Bootsnall.com

                                                                                    I have former students text or skype me for help finding home work resources [from more than 1 former school, from more than 1 country].

                                                                                    I have learnt that in all of those situations, I can ignore whenever I want, and do as much research as I want, so now it's just fun for me.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Kris in Beijing
                                                                                      pine time Aug 19, 2013 11:15 AM

                                                                                      I do a lot of consulting in my biz, and I'm amazed at what a good hourly rate I'm often paid for my "research" skills. Basically, it's just good Googling. Guess I should keep that a secret, huh?

                                                                                    2. Ashley12 May 12, 2013 10:41 PM

                                                                                      At the farmer's market people come up to me and ask where they can find certain things. I guess it could because I have the approachable look you all have mentioned but also because I look like I know my way around.

                                                                                      The best was when someone asked me where he could find Marcona Almonds from Italy. I had to politely explain that everything at the market is made or harvested locally.

                                                                                      1. tracylee May 13, 2013 01:42 PM

                                                                                        I think I also must give off that vibe that other people mention.

                                                                                        I was once waiting for a scheduled ride outside the Seattle airport with an Asian/American colleague who I'd just met. I looked around, and a guy off to the side of us asked if I spoke Spanish. (I'm clearly caucasian). I do, and helped him figure out the pay phone system.

                                                                                        I do tend to "help out" in grocery stores if someone looks puzzled, or is asking someone they're with about something.
                                                                                        The most recent was a mother/daughter team. We were all pondering the coffee section, when they turned around and said something about not knowing much about the spices. I helped them through stocking up for the cuisines they were going to cook.

                                                                                        1. h
                                                                                          HillJ May 13, 2013 01:44 PM

                                                                                          I'll just take this opportunity to say THANK YOU. If I've crossed your path, tapped your shoulder, looked perplexed and you helped me out-I'm glad you did!

                                                                                          It's good to know people still find joy in helping each other out.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: HillJ
                                                                                            MGZ May 13, 2013 02:34 PM

                                                                                            Did he like the drill?

                                                                                          2. Atomic76 May 18, 2013 01:30 AM

                                                                                            He might have been trying to brag about his upcoming vacation in the form of a question. Kind of like saying, "I'm having trouble deciding on which color Lexus I want, which one do you like the best?"

                                                                                            If anything I usually get the exact opposite problem, people I know won't shut up about every damn restaurant they've eaten at and how some dish they had there was the most orgasmic thing in the universe.

                                                                                            1. alliegator May 23, 2013 12:24 PM

                                                                                              Wow---I can't believe I haven't seen this thread until now. And yes!
                                                                                              I think the absolute strangest thing I've encountered being a food person is a neighbor at my former home who would randomly knock on my door and ask me to taste something and tell her what I think. Sweet lady, bad cook. Things made from pre made mixes, WAY salty stuff, etc...
                                                                                              I tried to gently guide her and took it as a compliment. But when somebody says "Goodyou'rehomeIsawyourcar--trythis". and shoves at you a little plate of awful taco meat, just... ugh.

                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: alliegator
                                                                                                HillJ May 23, 2013 01:40 PM

                                                                                                ..ducking....but I'm probably one of those neighbors! although my neighbors ring the bell or catch me in the yard pruning and say J what smells so good...what's for dinner...as I hand them a beer from the ice chest...ha! i'm like that, sorry allie!

                                                                                                1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                  alliegator May 23, 2013 02:19 PM

                                                                                                  Oh, I certainly don't mind people pounding on my door. I've been a condo dweller for the last four years and enjoy being close with my neighbors. It was just that I felt so stuck in trying to help her "fix" an unfixable little plate of food.
                                                                                                  I've got a fellow fan of food across the sidewalk from me now and I love her. She's sweet and a great cook but loud. She'll yell from her window into mine when she sees the kitchen light on, haha!!
                                                                                                  I love food sharing with her as she's a southern gal, and I'm all about Asian food. We're both learning a lot!

                                                                                                  1. re: alliegator
                                                                                                    MGZ May 23, 2013 02:29 PM

                                                                                                    My neighbors have gotten used to the smell of wood smoke on early spring/summer mornings. Yesterday, I was in the house on the phone with a client when I heard some voices in the backyard. I ignored it, at the time.

                                                                                                    This morning, I noticed a stack of cherry wood by the rest of my pile. During Sandy, a family just down the street lost their cherry tree. I know where to bring the next batch of ribs I do.

                                                                                                    Somethin' cool about community and bein' nice, huh?

                                                                                                    1. re: alliegator
                                                                                                      HillJ May 23, 2013 02:37 PM

                                                                                                      Oh what a nice neighbor! It's fun when you connect with folks like that. If I couldn't food share with friends and family, the occasional drifter ;)
                                                                                                      ...I'd be a sad lady.

                                                                                                    2. re: HillJ
                                                                                                      Wahooty May 23, 2013 06:10 PM

                                                                                                      J, where exactly do you live, and is the house next door for sale?

                                                                                                      1. re: Wahooty
                                                                                                        HillJ May 23, 2013 06:30 PM

                                                                                                        Aren't you sweet, Wahooty. Thank you.

                                                                                                  2. b
                                                                                                    bearmi May 23, 2013 04:24 PM

                                                                                                    "Do you eat dogs and cats?" because I am Chinese! Ha... talk about diversity.

                                                                                                    Btw. the answer is "no"!

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: bearmi
                                                                                                      ricepad May 24, 2013 11:52 AM

                                                                                                      a better answer is, "Only the ones I catch in my backyard..."

                                                                                                    2. s
                                                                                                      Sal Vanilla May 24, 2013 11:59 PM

                                                                                                      I sometimes get people at parties asking me to settle discussions on food (like I am the arbiter on all things food). Like Thanksgiving I was the decider on creamed corn blended or whole kernel. I used to balk mostly because I thought they were asking me because I was gathering a rather large rump. But now I enjoy answering. Whole BTW. Unless you are bringing a hot dish to the convalescent home. Bleck!

                                                                                                      Sometimes men ask me how to make things while standing in the aisle at the grocery. When I was young I think they were flirting. Now, it is because I look like their mom : )

                                                                                                      1. Kholvaitar Aug 19, 2013 06:32 AM

                                                                                                        ... a friend recently asked how I would "twerk" a recipe.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: Kholvaitar
                                                                                                          EM23 Aug 19, 2013 08:14 AM

                                                                                                          A pork butt, I presume.

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