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The opposite of a chowhound

I've always wondered who is the opposite of me, someone who loves food and understanding and appreciating food.

I think the answer came to my house as a houseguest this weekend. A teenaged boy. He enjoyed the (homemade coconut cream) pie I made and then asked what kind of pie it was.

His Dad said what kind does it taste like. Kid responded "It tastes like pie. I eat pie. I never cared what it tasted like."

Well, at least the pure coconut flavouring got his attention for the first time in fourteen years.

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    1. Umm...average American? A friend once told me he wished he could buy Purina People Chow.

      6 Replies
      1. re: mwhitmore

        mwhitmore: i think your friend must be my next door neighbor.
        my neighbor said practically the exact same thing to me last week. . . . . . .

        1. re: mwhitmore

          Only an American would articulate this kind of exceptionalism. Trust me, a lack of interest in food (particularly within the obsessive parametres of the chowhound) is a global phenomenon.

          Actually, wait, I take that back: Plenty of douches over here who love to pile on the Americans, often revealing their own profound ignorance. The things I could say about some people I know...

          1. re: Lizard

            Of course this happens in all industrialised countries at least. But I think the posts referenced (US) Americans, simply because they and the people involved in the anecdote were such.

            1. re: Lizard

              "American exceptionalism"? I just read this - but did you use that phrase before Obama's Syria speech on 9/10? That's quite prescient.

                1. re: fara

                  Myself, I only lay claim to a more modest "Northwest-Indianan exceptionalism," mainly on the view that I make better breads than anyone I know and better non-commercial pizzas, as well.

                  But I freely admit to lacking imagination in desserts....

          2. How about a Cold Fish.
            My mother is this way. Even her favorite quote on her facebook page is "I eat to live, not live to eat". Who puts that on FB?
            Her thing with food is maintaining a certain (very average) weight. And dry salads, cottage cheese, boiled chicken breasts are all in the mix. Yuck.
            I can visualize COLDFISH, the website and message boards, and it ain't pretty.

            4 Replies
            1. re: alliegator

              My grandmother was like that. Whenever she was in the kitchen near food, even if just pouring a bowl of cereal for her husband, she had a look of distain on her face. Holiday dinners were awful, once cocktail hour had come to a close.

              1. re: tcamp

                So was my grandmother! My mom must have learned it from her.
                I thank my lucky stars that dad was in charge of the kitchen and made separate dinner for us.
                Oddly enough, my brother and I have grown into to the complete opposite. Adventurous eaters, and decent cooks.

                1. re: alliegator

                  Lucky for me, my mom didn't turn out the same. She met my dad, who liked food, and she learned to cook using recipes from the LA Times and Sunset Magazine.

              2. re: alliegator

                I love this! I'm to use that one, flipped around - I Live to Eat!!

              3. I've noticed that with most of my friends, they just don't care about food as much as I do. Since I travel a lot for work, I will also say this is the same for a lot of my co-workers, as well. When traveling in a new city, I do my research and try to seek out the best meal I can depending on time, money and logistics. My coworkers would just as well go to whatever place is directly next to the convention center we're at without knowing much else about the restaurant. Actually, I take that back, they care about cost of food and that is it. My coworkers hate paying for food!

                A lot of my friends are the same way, but luckily I do a lot of my personal traveling just with my best friend, and she basically gives me free reign to pick all of our restaurants knowing that it's important to me and I'm good at it! :) she appreciates it, but just says she couldn't imagine ever putting as much research into choosing a place to eat as I do.

                13 Replies
                1. re: SaraAshley

                  i friend of mine who went on a business trip to Brazil was faced with coworkers who wanted to eat all their meals at McDs.
                  they used to call McDs The Embassy.

                  my friend was practically the only one in the group that would even TRY any local food.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    Oh geez! I'm afraid I would just have to venture out without my coworkers in that case, which I've already had to do on many occasions.

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      My husband is one of these :( At his previous place of employ, he often traveled to Guangzhou. And enjoyed dining at his American hotel with his coworkers. They called it the fort. The fort and work were the only places these dudes would go, trip after trip.

                      1. re: alliegator

                        Mine too. He's on a long contract in San Diego, there almost every week from Sunday-Thursday, staying right downtown. He has eaten at Yard House many many times already. Nothing wrong with Yard House but it's like c'monnn go try some of the awesome restaurants. He has a pretty decent per diem for food every day too. He said "I'd rather buy cheap food and use the money to drink". LOL!

                        1. re: juliejulez

                          Yard House?! Jeezus, that's one of Mangator's favorite's. *smacking palm into head*
                          I would love to have these must take trips to just find a moment to enjoy some local grub. When I think of all the fabulous meals that were never eaten, I die a little inside :(

                          1. re: alliegator

                            I know :( I will say, if SO's boss is in town with him, they tend to go to more "adventurous" places, because his boss does the research and says "we're going here". They did indian food a few weeks ago and I was shocked. I was even more shocked when SO said he liked it :) But, ever the non-chowhounder, when I asked him what he had he said "I don't know, something with lamb in it". LOL

                            1. re: juliejulez

                              Haha, now that's funny. Bummer that you'll never be able to make it for him.

                    2. re: SaraAshley

                      That happens a lot on business travel. One of my best recent trips was with 3 guys who actually liked food. One guy in particular. They were totally up for seeking out interesting spots for lunch and/or dinner and let me take the lead. No room service for us on that trip. Made a rather unexciting destination quite fun!

                      1. re: tcamp

                        That's great! I have a few co-workers that also share my love of food, and one in particular, and I always enjoy when I travel with those co-workers. It's so much nicer than traveling with my co-workers who turn down any place that is not less than $20 per entrée when we are getting a very generous per diem for food!! Of course as chowhounds, we all know you can find some very chow-worthy food for less, but I think you get my point! :)

                      2. re: SaraAshley

                        For several years I worked with a consulting group and the same dozen of us were traveling 3-4 days a week all over the US and Canada. The whole group basically ate to live. If they wanted a fancy meal it would be an inexpensive steakhouse, or Chili's, maybe Red Lobster once in awhile. The rest of the time it was McD's, BK, Wendy's, etc. And it wasn't about the money. We had an incredible per diem and stayed in 4 star hotels. It drove me crazy because these were highly intelligent people with diverse backgrounds who were a joy to talk to. And the only time we got a chance to talk to each other was during breakfast or dinner, and I don't really do breakfast, especially if I have to do mental work. I'd rather spend the time prepping, relaxing, or meditating before a long, hard day. I would have to go by myself for 1/2 the dinners so I could explore all the interesting and new foods in whatever town we were in, usually a conference town like Atlantic City, La Vegas, Scottsdale, Orlando, etc. The other 1/2 of the dinners were boring. A mediocre steak and baked potato just doesn't do it for me. By the time I was in my last few months with the firm I was eating every meal by myself because I couldn't even stand the smell of the places the others wanted to go to eat.

                        1. re: JMF

                          I know exactly what you are saying, I worked for the Federal govt. for a long time, we would have around 3 events a year we would have to travel to. We usually went to Vegas because the hotels offered incredible savings for flights and lodging, roughly 1/2 the cost to go anywhere else, It was the same as you, generous pier diem and plenty of time for meals but I broke away from my co-workers and enjoyed meals, I was labled stand offish, weird etc. could care less. I shared a room one time with an extreme tight wad, he went to a store somewhere and got bologna wonderbread and a small jar of mayo,stuffed it all in fridg. he ate that for 4 days straight. I know exactly where you are coming from! I could go on for hours on this.

                          1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                            Bologna man, IMO, is exactly what I think of when I envision the opposite of a chowhound.

                            1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                              As a poor student, I will admit that I would do this. However, instead of bologna, Wonderbread, and mayo, I'd do rotisserie chicken, a french loaf, and a chunk of manchego.

                        2. My late father-in-law. He did not want to eat anything with flavor. Well, he would eat asparagus but he was happiest with nursery food. Bland bland bland. Luckily that did not affect my husband. My mother-in-law was a very frustrated cook.

                          1. I think the opposite of a chowhound is a person who does not care about foods: no curiosity whatsoever.

                            Nothing wrong with this. We are all different. We have different priority. I am like this with cell phones. I don't care any cell phone as long as I can call. I show very little interest (no curiosity) of any cell phone tech news.

                            "Live to eat vs Eat to live"

                            A bit extreme and a bit exaggerated, but one is a chowhound and other is the opposite of a chowhound.

                            53 Replies
                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              "Nothing wrong with this" is probably not a popular opinion here - I think threads like this exist so that CHs can feel sanctimonious.

                              Including me.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                Funny you mention cell phones. It's an interesting analogy. I also have a flip phone dating from about 2006, which I've simply replaced batteries on a couple of times. WhenI call my cell provider, they literally cannot believe that I'm using that phone, and they try to tell my why I should get a Smartphone.

                                So what's interesting to me is this potential contradiction: I am actually somewhat dismayed when I'm "stuck" with a group of people, usually people I actually like, who just can't be bothered to make a bit of effort to find quality chow.

                                Now, how is that different from how the Smartphone people feel when they try to wrap their minds around why I'm not on their bandwagon. (For me, getting emails 24/7 sounds like a circle of Hell in Dante's Inferno.)

                                1. re: Bada Bing

                                  < I also have a flip phone dating from about 2006, which I've simply replaced batteries on a couple of times.>

                                  Hey, I also got my first cell phone in 2006 and the only reason I got it was for moving from Georgia to New Jersey -- a way to contact my mover. I finally replaced it with ANOTHER flip phone simply because I want to go to "pay as you go" to save money -- I pay per call, not per month.

                                  <I actually like, who just can't be bothered to make a bit of effort to find quality chow....Now, how is that different from how the Smartphone people feel when they try to wrap their minds around why I'm not on their bandwagon.>

                                  Exactly. I often cannot believe why some people do not take foods a bit more seriously. Eating is so simple and it can be so enjoyable. But then I always take a step back and realize that I am not in the forefront in so many other areas: smart phones, nice cars, audio systems, 3-D TV, oh yes, fashionable clothing. I am actually semi well-dressed among my peers since we are scientists, but we are all seriously behind when compared to other people.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    Hey now, my husband is man of science, and is impeccably dressed. Because I buy all his clothes :D
                                    But I agree with your main point. We have to eat that meal, it's our fuel. So why not learn about what you're shoveling in there, and enjoy it as an fun activity rather than a must do?

                                    1. re: alliegator

                                      <Because I buy all his clothes :D>

                                      Ha ha ha. Don't overdress him or he will be made fun by his peers. :)

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        Made fun of especially if he's a urologist, you mean?

                                        1. re: Bada Bing

                                          A buddy of mine is a urologist. Anyone who makes fun of him won't ride in his Ferrari or his twin engine airplane.

                                          1. re: Bada Bing

                                            If anyone makes fun of him (and they do), he explains that his wife picks his stuff out. And the response is "Oh, you have a wife? Wow".

                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        Scientists are known for that. Dr Angela Merkel had to be seriously "relooked" as Chancellor, and still, it is obvious that she is usually uninterested in such matters.

                                        But what shocks me here is the obviously educated people who not only don't care about food in a "foodie", "gourmet" or "chowish" sense, but also basic nutrition. People with such an educational level certainly know that a steady diet of fastfood is extremely unhealthy, no?

                                        1. re: lagatta

                                          Most of the educated un-CHers I know eat meals that are at least arguably healthy, but still low-quality food: non-fat bottled salad dressings, red delicious apples and other insipid fruit varieties, non-fat yogurt, reduced sodium canned soups, and so forth. They heed the nutritional warning du jour (no saturated fat, no trans-fat, low carb), but eat bland foods and take no more pleasure in eating than a car takes in being fueled.

                                          1. re: MrsBridges

                                            I have to take exception to most of what you wrote above. I consider myself fairly intelligent (tho I didn't finish college, I was 16 when I started and burned out), read mostly non-fiction (biographies and history), keep up with current events and can converse on a variety of subjects. Due to weight and other health issues, I MUST eat low-fat, low sodium food as much as possible, but do cook for myself whenever I can. That means preparing lots of fresh veggies (my Saturday morning visit to my local farmer's market is sacred) and simply prepared food but with quality ingredients. Processed food is for when I don't have the time or energy to cook, and that often happens as I have a stressful job and work lots of hours OT (and I'm management, so no extra pay for extra hours). I take great pleasure in eating delicious food but bland--NEVER. At least, not until I am completely unaware of my surroundings and on a tube, g-d forbid.

                                            And in fact, my paying job is all about food--(sales) for a catering company, working with our culinary team to create delicious menus and facilitate serving it to thousands of people a day. No exaggeration.

                                      3. re: Bada Bing

                                        Except you could read chowhound whenever you want on your iphone

                                        1. re: fara

                                          Unless you don't have an iphone.

                                        2. re: Bada Bing

                                          I'm on my second cell phone and both have been flip phones. The only reason I bought the second is because the first one stopped working and it was not the battery, plus, back then they were giving away flip phones with a 2 year extention. Now, there is such little demand for flip phones they sure as heck are not free anymore, at least not Verizon.

                                          I have been teased a little for my ancient phone, but I don't care. I mostly don't want the much larger expense of a smartphone with the big data plans that I don't really need.

                                          Also, I only talk on my phone. I have instructed people to not text me but to call me and if I feel like talking to them, I will answer. Also, no voicemails, I don't want any voicemails. When I see a number I recognize, I'll either answer or call back when it's convenient to me.

                                          i suppose I sound like a curmudgeon but it does cut down on the number of needless phone calls I get. Of course these instructions are not for my busines calls.

                                            1. re: monavano

                                              I'm only a luddite with cell phones. For example I was operating an all digital recording studio in 1994 when a lot of other places were still splicing magnetic tape.

                                            2. re: John E.

                                              Hey there curmudgeon, I have text disabled on my flip phone. It has been impossible to text me 'Happy Thanksgiving' at 5 am for several years now.

                                              1. re: foiegras

                                                I once got what I considered to be a super sad, wrong number text.

                                                The content? "Happy Father's Day!"

                                                I could only hope it was a misdial and not that the dad didn't bother sharing his new phone number!

                                                1. re: foiegras

                                                  Please, exactly how does one disable recieving texts on a flip phone?

                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                    I contacted my provider to have it done ... voila, no more bothersome texts.

                                                    1. re: foiegras

                                                      I don't get any texts anyway but it's good to know I can block them if it does become a problem.

                                                      I do, sort of, send texts. I send them to a few family members when necessary using e-mail. I send a text to their phone using an iPod Touch and they reply using their phone.

                                              2. re: Bada Bing

                                                Bada what is this cell phone thingie you speak of? :)

                                                1. re: Bada Bing

                                                  For the record,smartphones are not about email. They are about the apps; like the chowhound app, and dozens of others.

                                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                    I have a smartphone and the only apps are any that came on it.

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      I am close behind. Other than United Airlines, Hilton, Flight-tracker Pro and Flashlight, I have only the ones that Verizon provided, and have tried (unsuccessfully) to delete most of those.


                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                        So are you sitting at your DESKTOP and reading this??? If your on a laptop or tablet, it wont be long...what are you going to do when you end up in a strange town and don't know what to eat? Or at the ethnic market and you want to know whether you should pay that much for salted pig tail?..And do you write anew shopping list with pen and paper when you go to the store, after asking everyone what they need?....but seriously; I used to carry a pager for work (yes, I am a drug dealer of sorts), but got rid of it as soon as I could find a way to have ONE thing to both receive pages AND return calls. Does that make sense? Of course it does! To me, for that to evolve made sense too. I think there are apps out there that would make sense to you too. An mp3 player? A boom box? A transistor radio? But whatever; to each his own.

                                                        What is the opposite of a luddite? ;)

                                                        1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                          Well, I am on my laptop, and reading things well.

                                                          When I travel, I do far less such reading, except for my Kindle.

                                                          My wife has many more apps on her smartphone, but has found that most, but a very few, are really useful to her.

                                                          I am not saying that I will never change - never say never, as you will almost always be wrong, but my life just does not dictate that I do much more on my smartphone.


                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                            Hunt, we've been out of the country for two weeks and the only thing I've been using my smartphone for is a nighttime clock :) Since we're retired, there's no office I need to stay in touch with. And as I mentioned on FB, since Hilary didn't call me a single time to help negotiate world peace, I figure Kerry won't either :) I love my 'toys' but find I'm capable of stumbling around (in Rio) and finding good food all on my lonesome!

                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              I SO hope I can retire and travel like that one day.

                                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                We put in our 40 years and are really enjoying travel especially. And eating and cooking when we travel :)

                                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                                Welcome to RETIREMENT!

                                                                I can now stay "disconnected" for long periods of time. While I enjoy many Internet boards/forums, like Adobe Premiere, and Photoshop, I do not NEED to be active, while on vacation.

                                                                Unfortunately, my wife has very different needs, as she is the Regional Coordinator for Emergency Preparedness, and is directly responsible for 6 hospitals, 60 clinics, and about 15K employees. That is why the poor lady has to keep her cell phone with her, 24/7, and even while dining - though she's very quick to excuse herself, and move outside, when the emergency calls do come in. I do not envy her.

                                                                Going way, way back, First Lady Hilary did invite her to DC, to share her knowledge, and observations, regarding National Healthcare. Unfortunately, upon our arrival, she was told that all decisions had been made, so go home. She had meetings with Congress, so we stayed, and "HillaryCare" failed. Next week, she's back in DC, but might not have anyone to talk to? Time will tell.

                                                                Over the years, I have had instances, where I wish that I had Internet connection, but as I normally book each trip, to the Nth degree, months out, those are few, and far between.

                                                                Enjoy Rio! Never been, but I hear that it is wonderful.


                                                            2. re: Shrinkrap

                                                              "What is the opposite of a Luddite?"

                                                              a Huxleyite? a Fordite?

                                                              1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                When I end up in a strange town and don't know where to eat I go into a strange restaurant with a sense of expectation, and if it's fulfilled, I report it here on my lower case desktop.

                                                                I check my desktop before going out for any purchase - what's the sense of going out of my way to get there and compare prices at point of purchase.

                                                                If I'm at an ethnic market for the first time I'm usually on a treasure hunt, not a mission. Unless I'm there on a mission based on a prior treasure hunt.

                                                                By any road, if I overpay a couple of dollars for items for lack of a smart phone or tablet, I'm probably ahead of the game when I factor in provider cost.

                                                                Finally, the opposite of a Luddite is a Mill Owner. The Luddites reacted to threats to their livelihoods but were not necessarily opposed to progress.

                                                                My hobby used to be programming and I spend many enjoyable hours in front of my computer. But when I'm walking, shopping, visiting or watching TV I'm doing those things for their own recreation and avoid the distraction.

                                                                I understand as well that appage and texting in general are activities on their own as well.

                                                                1. re: DockPotato

                                                                  You go, DockPotato! I am looking up ALL that!

                                                                  When I'm in a strange town, I like some internet access, and not always at the hotel rate. I will rethink that.

                                                                  "I check my desktop before going out for any purchase - what's the sense of going out of my way to get there and compare prices at point of purchase."

                                                                  You are right. I don't have my desktop when I travel, and if I didn't go out of my way, and just happen on it, I won't compare prices. I just buy it. I'm glad I can. Right now I have a mess of dried cherries and various hardneck garlic from Utah. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

                                                                  Perhaps I will not use my tablet or smartphone on my next trip; sounds like you do fine without.

                                                                  One of the best things I've gotten from the internet, including being able to access it from my phone, is how different each community can be. I have lived in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, DC, LA and No. Cal. I wonder if that influences how you think about smartphones.Do you think it might influence how you think about food?

                                                                  My MIL is sending me scotch bonnets, pigeon peas, and salted pig tails hundreds of miles, because I cannot get them just outside of Napa and San Francisco.

                                                                  What is appage? please!

                                                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                    "What is appage? please!"

                                                                    Well, you can google it and you won't find it because I made it up - right here.

                                                                    I now define "appage" - again, right here - as the use of apps, possibly a dependance on apps to the exclusion of serendipity.

                                                              2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                So are you sitting at your DESKTOP and reading this??? If your on a laptop or tablet, it wont be long......but seriously; I used to carry a pager for work (yes, I am a drug dealer of sorts), but got rid of it as soon as I could find a way to have the one thing to both receive pages AND return calls. Does that make sense? Of course it does! To me, for that to evolve made sense to. I think there are apps out there that would make sense to you too. But whatever; to each his own.

                                                                What is the opposite of a luddite? ;)

                                                                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                    No, my laptop is a custom 17" unit, designed specifically to run Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects.

                                                                    Wife has several tablets, but I have not warmed to those, even the one, with the add-on keyboard.

                                                                    While I am retired, I still do a bit of "work" on my laptops, as well as my workstations.

                                                                    I just do not wish to be "tethered," while on vacation.


                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                              I was so resistance and against using cell phones. I refused for a long time. I was even lectured by an interviewer (from a small company) that I should get a cell phone if I want to get a job -- which I thought and still think is BS. For a real estate agent, probably true, but it is not true for a scientist.

                                                              The only reason I have a cell phone now is that I cancelled my real landline phone, and that is because Verizon was being a jerk -- twice..

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                I've lost contracts for not having one, and these were not "this afternoon" contracts, they were for things due in a couple of weeks, which I could have done in half a day. That is becoming very oppressive. So far I don't have one, but I will certainly eventually cave.

                                                                I have a hard time hearing well on cellphones, though I expect the technology will improve, and then I'll just have one in lieu of the landline.

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                  I got told here on chowhound that I really needed a cell phione. A smart phone at that with a gps because I couldn't figure out where this one restaurant was. When I finally manage to get over to the town where the eaterie is located I'm gonna go old school and ask strangers for directions. Woot.
                                                                  Chemical I canceled my landline because Verizon was being a jerk too. Thank goodness for magic jack.

                                                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                You folks actually talk on your cell phones?

                                                                Mine is actually a "cell watch" because its main use is to tell time.

                                                                1. re: DockPotato

                                                                  Wow, has this turn into a "Let's see who rely less on cell phones?"


                                                                  I bet the next person will write "What is a cell phone? Never heard of it"


                                                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                        I have one- I only use it to fan the smoke from the fire to send smoke signals.

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                      There's only about 3 people who know my cell phone number...and I'm not one of them.

                                                                      1. re: al b. darned

                                                                        Ha ha ha. I actually have a very hard time to remember my phone number. True story. Once a girl (who I just met) asked me for my phone number, and told her that I don't remember, but I can give her my email address. I don't think she was very happy.

                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                          This is a particularly interesting side conversation. I too am very non-cell phone. Have one, cheapest thing I could get with the cheapest pay as you go plan, because I just don't get it or need it. It's outgoing only, for if I'm stuck in a snowbank in my car in the dead of night and need assistance. And the odd 'text me when your plane lands' kind of thing.
                                                                          Anyway..I'd be curious if a larger proportion of CH-er's felt this way about various other 'norms' that others society at large spends money on, and if it's because we'd rather save our money for great dinners and quality ingredients! Different priorities sums it up for sure. I once mentioned (in a conversation with someone whose house is worth 3x what mine is, and whose monthly combined household cell phone bill is probably close to $200) that we don't think twice about spending $100+ going out to dinner if we get the opportunity to go sans kids, and that our 'break the bank' dinner on our vegas trip was just over $300 (which, I thought was fairly reasonable considering we did a wine pairing!). She'd asked for vegas resto rec's, and what 'break the bank' was for us, btw...I wasn't just throwing this out there to rub in or anything. Anyway, she was appalled. Me, I'm appalled by spending $200+/month for cell phones. Yep, different priorities.

                                                                          To answer the OP question, though, to me the opposite of a CH'er is a food whore. Will eat anything and everything, no preference as to where it comes from or how it's prepared or even how it tastes. To each his own... I'll openly admit that I'm a beer snob (or maybe I should start calling myself a beer hound!) but a coffee whore. I'd rather go drinkless than drink bud light, but I'll drink just about any coffee and frankly can't tell much difference between many of them.

                                                                          1. re: 16crab

                                                                            I have a brother who has a family cell phone plan that exceeds $325 per month.

                                                                2. For me a chowhound is a person who enjoys food and finds pleasure in all types of food whether it be fast food or slow food. I also would add adventurous to that description too.

                                                                  The opposite is the picky eater who find reasons not to be adventurous.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: dave_c

                                                                    Or people who really don't care about what they eat, and I don't say that with judgement, but as a simple statement of fact.
                                                                    I've tried to expose my neighbor and my in-laws to the joys of flavorful food made with [mostly] fresh ingredients, but it just doesn't stick. They still make dinners out of Chef Boyardee, frozen mixed veggies (boiled- no herbs or spices- topped with butter-flavored spread) and "pastries" bought at the local mega mart (with the brightly colored glutinous fillings).
                                                                    Okay, as a busy mom, I also pull out the Prego, but I tweak it with lots of oregano, basil, red wine, cracked black pepper, and LOTS of garlic, and yes, I serve it over pasta from a box, versus rolling out fresh pasta myself, but it's freshly cooked which is nothing like the stuff from the can (and I top it with freshly grated Parmesan, not the stuff in the green shaker-top container).
                                                                    But my neighbor dresses much better than I do, and her house is always clean, while mine has books (naturally, most of them food-oriented) stuffed into every corner...and my kitchen is almost always in use, so making it spotless is pointless.
                                                                    Their family goes to Hawaii every year (where they eat at Souplantation and Chili's). I just shake my head and take my family to Julian, CA so we can go to Jeremy's-On-The-Hill and have their INCREDIBLE lobster bisque (every time you put a spoonful in your mouth, the conversation,,,nay, the whole world stops...as the flavors encompass your senses and fills your entire being. Then you swallow, heave a sigh, and pick up the conversation until the next spoonful, when it all starts again).
                                                                    It just takes all kinds...although I still don't understand why anyone would pick Armani over monkfish liver, or just about anything baked from scratch.

                                                                  2. "I think the answer came to my house as a houseguest this weekend. A teenaged boy. He enjoyed the (homemade coconut cream) pie I made and then asked what kind of pie it was."

                                                                    And so it begins perhaps. Ten years from now the kid may be the hottest pastry chef in town or own a diner known for its pies. Fourteen is not that old.

                                                                    You did your part.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: brucesw

                                                                      Actually, my fourteen-year-old is quite the foodie. At 7, I served her a stew, which she took a bite of, then said "Mommy, this has rosemary in it, doesn't it?"

                                                                    2. A certain relative of mine gets absolutely no joy from food, no enjoyment from a meal, thinks the greatest thing in the world would be to take a pill three time a day and forget all the fuss and muss. sort of the ultimate 'fuel not food".

                                                                      He can taste the difference between good and bad food. He just doesn't care. if it tastes lousy, just eat it even faster and wash it down with lots of water. The only thing he is picky about is texture. Except for foods that are supposed to be mushy (oatmeal,etc) he hates and wont eat mushy food. Anything else is OK. A n y t h i n g.

                                                                      1. Reminds me of a CNN thing done some time ago by Anderson Cooper who is both a picky eater--in that he eats very few things and almost always the same things day after day--and also, it emerges, someone whose tastebuds just don't register much information.

                                                                        They did some audience test where everyone was to lick a test strip, and most people found the taste to be strongly off-putting, bitter, horrible. Cooper and a few other people literally couldn't taste a thing. No wonder he finds eating to be a chore and a seeming waste of time.

                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                          <Cooper and a few other people literally couldn't taste a thing.>

                                                                          That is probably genetic

                                                                          1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                            wait, you mean this is the first time they realized cooper was tasteless? really?

                                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                              It would be interesting to see an anchors and pundits taster-testing. Is there a left or right correlation? Gender bias? Do people who rock the tight t-shirts lack tastebuds?

                                                                              I'm most confident that Nancy Grace would not come off well.

                                                                                1. re: NanaMoussecurry

                                                                                  These days, vampire movies and vampire TV shows are very popular.

                                                                            2. re: Bada Bing

                                                                              That is both a genetic thing and also a non-taster/taster/supertaster test. It's a paper with a chemical compound called PROP, which some people cannot taste - the body requires an active gene in order to taste it. We did it in science class in 10th grade.

                                                                              1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                So according to the supertaster test, the opposite of a supertaster is a "non-taster," which isn't a very good antonym. Maybe "taste-short" is better.

                                                                                1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                  There is also "taste-blind", but this particular test only pertains to one common bitter taste that receptors can't recognize. Guess I'd rather be bitter-blind that, say, sweet-blind.

                                                                                  1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                    Bitter-blind could be fatal. A lot of aversion to strong bitters is to avoid poisons.

                                                                                    1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                      Ruth Reichl, in her first autobiography, referred to her mother as "taste-blind, and unafraid of rot." There were some amazing stories about that. But I don't think she was referring to being bitter-blind. Well, maybe she was, because her mother regularly poisoned people, though not intentionally.

                                                                                    2. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                      on dictionary.com the following are listed as antonyms for super:

                                                                                      bad, inferior, insignificant, ordiary, poor, unexceptional, second rate.

                                                                                      some of those seem more like medians than opposites, inferior is kinda awkward huh?

                                                                                      how about "undertaster"?

                                                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                        I believe that is the official term ... see my post below.

                                                                                      2. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                        How about an "anti-taster"? or "chowless"?

                                                                                    3. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                      Yes, remember reading about that ... the article said he was an 'undertaster.' Maybe more people have it than I think ... or maybe (as I said when a majority of my coworkers wouldn't try free chocolate samples at a local most fabulous artisanal chocolate shop) they simply don't know how to enjoy life.

                                                                                    4. Go to North Dakota sometime, a whole state full of them.

                                                                                      1. A hungry person with a mouthful of lidocaine.

                                                                                        1. I am a chowhound. I love trying new foods, exotic foods, holes in the wall, etc.

                                                                                          My opposite would be, unfortunately, my wife. Actually, either my first or second wife. Both VERY similar with regard to tastes and textures.

                                                                                          I made burgers tonight. Wife complained "it's pink!". It was at worst a greyish pink.. mostly gray, really. Yes, she likes all her meat well done.. then complains that she can't get a juicy steak at a restaurant. Oh, and the burgers were dry tonight.. sigh...

                                                                                          With 2 kids, I don't get out on my own much. Thank goodness for the occasional Chowhound gathering. I can't be adventurous at home because I will be the only one eating it.

                                                                                          And wife recently admitted that she really doesn't like pork that much. Nothing spicy, either. If it's the least bit spicy, it overwhelms her.

                                                                                          At least she likes Chinese food.. but only "Chicken & Broccoli". Feel my pain, people.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: MarlboroMan

                                                                                            My sister visited San Francisco for the first time a few months ago. I couldn't convince her to go anywhere that wasn't plain, midwest style American or fast food.

                                                                                            I got her to O'Doul's. But that IS midwestern style American!

                                                                                            Sigh. Her idea of Chinese food is indeed chicken fried rice. That's it.

                                                                                            1. re: MarlboroMan

                                                                                              Conversely, I have quite a few Chinese-Singaporean friends here in Singapore who will *not* touch any food that's non-Chinese! We have anything and everything here in Singapore - Indian (Keralan, Tamil, Gujerati, Punjabi, Bengali, Andhra-style, Mangalorean, Mughlai, Sri Lankan, Nepalese, etc), Asian (Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Thai, Indonesian, Malay, Vietnamese, Burmese, etc), Latin American (Mexican, Costa Rican, Colombian, Venezuelan, etc.), European, American (Daniel Boulud, Mario Batali and their ilk have branches of their restaurants here) - and these friends of mine had *never* stepped into any one of these places, nor tasted any of these excellent choice of foods.

                                                                                              1. Someone who is indifferent to food.

                                                                                                These creatures do exist. I don't know how and was most distressed being a house guest in one's home.

                                                                                                After being served the same meal brought home in containers from Walmart for the fourth night in a row, what does one say?

                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Seeker19104

                                                                                                  "After being served the same meal brought home in containers from Walmart for the fourth night in a row, what does one say?"

                                                                                                  I think I'd go with: "How 'bout I take everyone out for dinner tomorrow night? My treat. Sky's the limit. I certainly owe y'all* one."

                                                                                                  *I'm assuming that, like watchin' NASCAR, eatin' Walmart take out for consecutive days would alter one's speech patterns and accent.

                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                    they will be SO excited when you take them to applebees!

                                                                                                    and when you drag them kicking and screaming to ChezDuChez they won't like it. Where's the ketchup? Do you have diet dressing? What is that? I don't eat real cheese! They could at least give me gravy with these potatoes! I only eat American food, don't they have spaghetti?

                                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                      Although I find the humor in your point, don't you think that after four consecutive nights of Walmart-to-Go, Applebee's would be a welcome step up. I mean, they have a bar, no?

                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                        MGZ - I have been known to stop in the bar for a quick smoke and a shot when dragged there by family (I gotta use the uh facilities)

                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                          Been there, indeed. Walk in the bar, lookin' over your shoulder. Hands already diggin' a twenty outta your pocket . . . .

                                                                                                          "Gimme a coupla fingers of tequila, man, I'm here with family. . . ." Droppin' the twenty on the bar, you grumble, "This enough?"

                                                                                                          "Yeah, that's fine." He answers, somewhat confused. "You want me to open a tab?"

                                                                                                          "Nah, I'm just 'takin' a break from hearin' about how expensive Arnie's braces were - AGAIN."

                                                                                                          Drink goes down in a single swallow. Bartender tops it off and cashes out the Jackson. Returning with your change, he states, "That second one's on me."

                                                                                                          As you get up, you utter, "God bless you, my child." Leave a "too big" tip and head back to the sideshow, fortified for talk of the new "Tar-Jais" or how great the deserts are here. (I'll leave out the fact that you're plagued with a lousy feeling, deep down inside, that at some point during your visit, your Brother-in-Law is gonna pull you aside for a "heart-to-heart" over a couple of Coors Lights).

                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                            And there you have the story of my life.

                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                              MGZ! hey! you've been there! I'll look closer next time, usually I'm just counting the acceptable seconds away.

                                                                                                    2. re: Seeker19104

                                                                                                      At least she tried to provide a meal- I finally figured out my friend in Florida had no intention of making sure I ate. Once I figured that out, we were at the grocery stor (for wine and cat food and cat litter), I got some lettuce and salad stuff, and she said "I like self feeding guests!"

                                                                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                        Sounds like my mom. I drive to visit her (and other family members) a couple times a year. It's a 11-12 hour drive if I don't dawdle. Clearly, I would like dinner when I arrive around 6-7pm. She never has anything and just says "oh! I wasn't hungry..." I bring my own meal now. And she gets offended. At least I eat...

                                                                                                    3. I have a friend or two that can't differentiate between under and overcooked, seasoned/not, proportions (sauce-pasta, for example), flavor combinations, properly fried vs soaking in oil, etc. he doesn't even tell the difference when he eats good sushi versus crap sushi (Like dry rice).

                                                                                                      But he still enjoys food.. maybe ignorance is bliss?

                                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                        I have a friend like that, known her since high school. Lucky for her parents since they are terrible cooks.

                                                                                                        1. re: YAYME

                                                                                                          So are his parents lol. Never before have I eaten food cooked in such quantity (cooks 1-2 boxes of pasta at a time, along with several cups of fried rice, and another carb, this is for 4 people), swimming in oil yet devoid of seasoning. Even her filipino dishes have no flavor. And who fries minimum 10 whole fish at a time? Whats worse is they demand a sit down dinner. Which is fine except by the time shes done frying the fish and cooking everything else, the fish is limp and cold. I just don't understand.

                                                                                                            1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                              I have no idea. A preference for leftovers perhaps? Can't bear the thought of dirtying a can opener by opening just one can?

                                                                                                              They've got a refrigerator and 2 freezers in the garage and 2-3 shelves stacked to the ceiling of canned and dry goods. So I think some of the reasoning may be apocalyptic.

                                                                                                              "We made chicken last night because we had frozen chicken that just turned a year old that needed to be used up." Next day: buys more chicken, places in freezer

                                                                                                              I think they also like to keep 1-2 weeks of leftovers in the refrigerator for when guests show up. Like me :(

                                                                                                              1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                                Nothing a few years of therapy couldn't fix ...

                                                                                                                I had a professor who had a Great Depression-related thing where he had to be able to walk into the kitchen, open the doors, and see a pantry/cabinets full of food. His wife mentioned it when I was at their house ...

                                                                                                                1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                                  Maybe they come from a large family.
                                                                                                                  I have a huge number of in-laws, and with them it's always quantity over quality, even when there's only 3 to feed.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Michelly

                                                                                                                    Not the case here. Even then, my father was 1 of 8 children, my mother 1 of 6 and neither cook like that.

                                                                                                                    Their cooking and eating habits are just the beginning of the odd things they do (eg, going against dentist advisory to pull a tooth).

                                                                                                                  2. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                                    sometimes people who grew up hungry or in an impoverished country go overboard when they get the means together to keep enough food around so they'll never, ever have to starve again. Kinda easy to see how they feel when that's the case

                                                                                                              1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                Cooking for him must be pretty easy :)

                                                                                                              2. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                                I just had a convo w/ a friend of the SO's about this. He basically said he can't the difference between say, a cheap supermarket quality steak, or a prime steak. He also doesn't believe me that organic chicken tastes better than the cheap stuff at the grocery store. He just doesn't care. He only eats one meal a day too.

                                                                                                                I didn't feel nearly so bad for serving him overcooked chicken the first time he came over a few months ago after hearing his views on food.

                                                                                                              3. My boyfriend in college, an engineer, was strictly a "food as fuel" guy. His parents gave him one of those new-fangled microwave ovens (seriously it was a long time ago!) and he was delighted that he could make scrambled eggs in it, and melt cheese on bread for a sandwich. Ugh.

                                                                                                                If I wanted salt and pepper, that's SALT AND PEPPER, FOLKS, I had to bring my own.

                                                                                                                1. Those who go on hunger strikes. A chowhound would find a different way to make a point.

                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                    The 'hounds' version of civil disobedience being: "Until our demands are met, we're going to consume nothing but well done steaks and screwtop white zinfandel from chain restaurants."

                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                      That's right. There's always the setting yourself on fire thing.

                                                                                                                      1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                        Do you realize just how difficult it is to properly prepare "The Self"? The overwhelming majority of the World's most hardcore culinary enthusiasts consider it the "ultimate" dish. A lifetime of proper food and drink intake must be considered. Similarly, a variety of exercise and sedentary rest must be undertaken and properly balanced. All so as to have the proper flavor in the flesh and the proper balance of lean meat to fat.

                                                                                                                        Moreover, when it comes time for the actual cook, one must have made ALL decisions in advance. Fuel, ignition, timing, etc. I mean, there is only one, single shot at preparing this plate. There is no turning back, no chance for a do-over, no reseasoning. And, most of all, remember, . . . each and every one of the sides must be prepped and completed in advance!

                                                                                                                    2. Perhaps the opposite is someone who can enjoy food but neither raves nor is a pita about it.

                                                                                                                      1. The opposite of a CH'er is a Y'er.

                                                                                                                        1. There are those that live to eat and then there are those that eat to live.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                            I'm neither. I love cooking and good food (and wine, and coffee...) but it is not my purpose in life.

                                                                                                                          2. a close relative is a sports fanatic. a huge sports fan. talks about sports all the time. if the conversation is about something other than sports he sits quietly for a short while then gets fidgety and will eventually just get up and walk away. usually to the room that has a TV and watch a sports program. he also eats only steak. do not serve him vegetables. since we were little kids we all remember him crying over a plate of vegetables after he ate his meat and wasn't allowed to leave the table until he cleared his plate. he is a huge meat eater and sports fanatic. food means a steak. a steak on a plate. plain steak. and sports on TV.

                                                                                                                            I don't understand him and he doesn't understand me as i sit in the kitchen helping cook, clean and chat about food. all kinds of food and all kinds of food related topics. it's all about the food for me. if i do watch TV, it will be whatever food related program is on. no sports, no "news", no sitcoms (except for the Britcom "Chef", LOL), just food. did I mention all i care about is food? i don't understand him and his sports thing...

                                                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                I don't have any friends who are sports fanatics like that, but I can relate to you. I cook all day (right now I'm processing about 100 lbs of home grown tomatoes) and watch Cooking Channel for inspiration. I grow as much as I can, shop wisely and use Eat Your Books daily. But that is in my world. I can actually carry on a conversation with friends that doesn't include food (most of the time) and watch a regular movie occasionally. I am known as a "foodie," but I don't beat people over the head with it. Having said that, it's quite amazing the response I get from Facebook friends to frequent photos I take in my kitchen or garden. There are a lot of closet foodies and gardeners out there :-))

                                                                                                                                1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                  I have an uncle with a wife, four kids, and their four spouses. All 10 are picky eaters, but in completely different ways. So cousin #1 will not eat any meats with cousin #2's wife will only eat meat. Wife won't eat anything that was previously alive in her presence, while cousin #3 loves raw foodstuffs, the rawer the better.

                                                                                                                                  The intersection of what they all can eat at the same time is the null set. And they love to hang out and eat together. Hence it is pointless to take them to a restaurant that has even the slightest hint of specialization, constraints on what's available, or where everybody eats the same thing (prix fixe, set menus, etc.) This limits them to broad-range, middlebrow places that I wouldn't be caught dead in. Coincidentally, they were all rather fat, until they all decided to go on a diet together. They actually manged to slim down quite nicely, so there is some upside to groupthink.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                    I'm also convinced of a substantial correlation between sports nuts and Purina People Chowers. I have lots of in-laws like that. DH's older sister and her husband watch nothing but sports, read about nothing but sports, and involved their children in no activities but sports. Their approach to food is commensurately dull. Their usual offerings are pre-bagged salad with an assortment of supermarket brand non-fat dressings, and mediocre pizzas or subs. Once they attempted to make mashed potatoes from scratch, and ruined them because they did not know how much milk to add. The lesson they learned from this? Use only instant mashed potatoes from a box. They always seem baffled when they come to my house or my other SiL's house and see actual food preparation.

                                                                                                                                    Buffalo Wild Wings is specially designed to meet the needs of a sports-obsessed anti-foodie. The menu is unimaginative and there are sets of THREE huge-screened tvs, each showing a different sports event, in every direction. It reminds me of the television walls in Fahrenheit 451. Which makes sense, because the sports-fanatics are almost invariably anti-intellectual.

                                                                                                                                    I just can't imagine a life devoid of good food and intellectual stimulation. Mass of men living lives of quiet desperation indeed.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: MrsBridges

                                                                                                                                      I went to a BWW only one time in Dallas, it was scary. Customers also play interactive stupid games on those screens, and the wings sucked.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MrsBridges

                                                                                                                                        I agree wholeheartedly. my sentiments exactly. I couldn't have said it better myself. as someone once stated somewhere here on this sites boards in reply to a comment about the same, "steakhouses", McDonalds for adults...

                                                                                                                                        1. re: MrsBridges

                                                                                                                                          My brother in law has gradually been turned into a total Hound (he's not on here, but he loves cooking and eating good food.)

                                                                                                                                          You'll also never meet a more rabid Packers fan.

                                                                                                                                          Though, now that I think on it, Packers football is pretty much his only sports thing. Maybe Nascar. I'm sure he watches other stuff, but the Packers are his only sports obsession.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: MrsBridges

                                                                                                                                            I would not paint all sports fans with the same brush. I just got back from a weekend away with my father. We drove 250 miles to my brother's house to watch his son play the home opener for his college football team. (He's a 6'3" 315# noseguard. They won by 32 points.)

                                                                                                                                            On the way home today my father got a bit annoyed as I drove by several (perfectly good) restaurants until I found the local restaurant with the most cars in the parking lot.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: MrsBridges

                                                                                                                                              Nice mention of Fahrenheit 451 !

                                                                                                                                              1. re: MrsBridges

                                                                                                                                                I feel your pain, Mrsbridges. I hope there's someplace with something decent to eat closeby.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                                Well, is your close relative "houndish" about steak?

                                                                                                                                              3. It's the people who live on protein shakes, except when someone else forces them to eat actual food.

                                                                                                                                                And I would like to see all of Purina's employees eating People Chow. Very interested to see the developments ...

                                                                                                                                                1. The opposite of a Chowhound to me is a Soylent drinker.

                                                                                                                                                  Soylent = a liquid drink that has all the proper nutrients you need. As a Silicon Valley tech nerd, I understand the mentality the Soylent maker and followers have... One of my friends does Soylent instead of food because he says he would have to spend 2-3 hours a day eating or preparing food and he would rather spend that time doing other things.

                                                                                                                                                  (Good first timer read on Soylent here: http://greatist.com/health/soylent-me...


                                                                                                                                                  On the other hand, I love cooking and eating. Cooking is like my wind down time after work, to relax and stop thinking about work. Eating is a family/friend activity where I can share good conversation and flavors with people I love!

                                                                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                                      LOL -- "Soylent Green is PEOPLE!!!" screamed Jim Broadbent's character in Cloud Atlas, too, -- and recycling "people" was part of the plot in the movie.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bobabear

                                                                                                                                                        I'm a CH but I also think Soylent is an okay idea. Normally, I don't have time to make every eating experience a delicious adventure. Would I opt for a glass of Soylent vs. something grabbed from the vending machine? Why not?

                                                                                                                                                        Just screams of Aldous Huxley and Robert Heinlein, though, doesn't it?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                          What Heinlein book had anything soylent-like in it?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                            Not completely positive ...maybe Tunnel in the Sky? or maybe my recall is faulty and it's something from Huxley..Brave New World or After Many A Summer Dies The Swan?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                              Soylent would kill many a swan (and goose), I'm sure ...

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Harts52

                                                                                                                                                                Not in Tunnel in the Sky, but they do serve up young girls and plump young babies in Farnham's Freehold about the reversed slavery.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                  That's the only Heinlein I found completely unreadable. "I Will Fear No Evil" came close, but I struggled through it.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JonParker

                                                                                                                                                                    I will fear no evil is great. It broke many gender idealization boundaries and was a new look at humanity for that era...

                                                                                                                                                        2. Perhaps your heading should have read, "Nascent Chowhound Discovered".

                                                                                                                                                          I agree with others who applaud you.

                                                                                                                                                          1. If you start from the premise that cooking good food is a act of love, such a person is a sociopath.

                                                                                                                                                              1. This is a really interesting topic! To me, the opposite of a chow hound is someone with just little interest in food. I realize a person like this is possible but it just... doesn't compute to me!! I am utterly in love with food and I'm unafraid to admit it, but it gets a little weird to meet someone who's the "opposite of a chowhound". Like, what do we talk about???

                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jaeie

                                                                                                                                                                  I have a lot of interests other than food, so I'm usually not at a loss ;) But Gastronomos' sportsfan might be a problem.

                                                                                                                                                                2. An example of someone who is not a Chowhound is someone who only thinks about to prepare (or purchase) for the evening meal an hour or less before it is time to eat.

                                                                                                                                                                  I am always thinking ahead about what to prepare or at least what prepared and frozen meals I plan to reheat.

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                    And also, where and what to eat when traveling or in an unfamiliar section of town. I once traveled on business with someone who thought I was quite eccentric to give more thought to where to eat than whatever was the next place on the street with a backlit sign indicating the probable presence of food, after hunger became apparent.

                                                                                                                                                                    The exception to this approach was Cracker Barrel. That he believed was food worth waiting for.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Megan Fox:

                                                                                                                                                                    "I Could Survive a Week Without Eating."

                                                                                                                                                                    "I'll starve to death before I'll cook for myself."


                                                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kholvaitar

                                                                                                                                                                        I have survived many years without having heard of Megan Fox.
                                                                                                                                                                        I wish I had the opportunity to survive many more years without having been made aware of her.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kholvaitar

                                                                                                                                                                          I see she refuses to eat with restaurant silverware. That could be limiting ... perhaps she simply takes her own everywhere (during the weeks she is eating).

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                            I don't know who she is either, but she looks like she could gnaw her way through a wildebeest without utensils.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                YES! I laughed so hard I started to choke and I have tears in my eyes.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Kholvaitar

                                                                                                                                                                            She'll get over the public toilet thing in a few decades, or she'll wet herself... Not very sexy, that.

                                                                                                                                                                            I have no idea who she is, and have no desire whatsoever to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                                              I sentence her to a year in any third world country.
                                                                                                                                                                              She won't last long.

                                                                                                                                                                          3. The people eating at the Olive Garden in Times Square come to mind.

                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                              Seriously. I went on a band trip to NYC in my senior year of high school - we played in Carnegie Hall - and one night we ate at the Bubba Gump Shrimp in Times Square.

                                                                                                                                                                              We also had dim sum one night, so that was better. But still. That's a NYC dinner wasted.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: speakhandsforme

                                                                                                                                                                                Performing in Carnegie Hall would dwarf any meal, and eating doesn't require as much practice...

                                                                                                                                                                            2. I just remembered that when I was a kid, I was a budding Chowhound amongst my friends who didn't get it. I always wanted to eat at, as I put it as a kid, "restaurants with tablecloths and real forks and knives."

                                                                                                                                                                              My friends, of course, wanted McDonald's and Subway!

                                                                                                                                                                              I think our meeting ground was diners. Which I also loved so all was well!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. 1) Waiter friend of mine at a 5Diamond-5 Star Old school Hotel, said he didn't care. If he was hungry and passing a 7-11, stop and get a can of Chunky's Soup(cold) and a spoon....
                                                                                                                                                                                2) My Brother-in-law's mail order bride from Romania Insists that she organize trips abroad, with her Father-in law's generosity ( read: credit card). I suggested to BIL to check out Chowhound.com to find out where to dine out. Her response was.......WE'RE going to museums and gallerys, PLACES with culture ! She grew up in a Cold War apartment, dreamed of a better ( gold digging) life in America. and thinks Panera Bread is the Bomb....I suppose if I grew up on cabbage and turnip soup every night.....

                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: 3MTA3

                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow mail order bride must provide a lot of easy laughs for you and your SO.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: 3MTA3

                                                                                                                                                                                    Hmmm... maybe talk to her about the culture of fine dining?

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I say there are two camps 1) us and 2) them. I don't mind having one of 'them' as a house guest - easy to please!

                                                                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TSAW

                                                                                                                                                                                      I only pay attention to "them" when they're obnoxious about it. I was at a shower for my nephew's fiancée a few weeks ago. When my fiancée opened presents of cooking equipment, my nephew's stepmother and all of her ilk started full force with the unfunny comments: Why cook when you can open a box and shove it in the microwave? The only thing I make for dinner is reservations. My only cookbook is the yellow pages. All said with brazen, crass, boastful voices. When the bride-to-be commented that she was eager to try out her new immersion blender the next time she made soup, there were hoots of derision from that quarter. I guess this is the adult female version of the lunkheads who brag that they never study and beat up nerds. I'm very introverted, and I have limited enthusiasm for social gatherings under the best of circumstances, but this was really straining my tolerance. It took all the restraint I had not to call them out for being selfish, crass bimbos. I settled for telling the bride that I recently used my immersion blender to make carrot soup, and it came out very well.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MrsBridges

                                                                                                                                                                                        You handled that well. I am sure the bride noticed the comments as well. I don't know how close you are to your nephew and his soon to be wife, but you could be a positive influence in her life with regards to cooking and food. Maybe she has a mother and father who are Chowhounds.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MrsBridges

                                                                                                                                                                                          I think part of this could be the resentment of an earlier generation of women about expectations related to traditional tasks.

                                                                                                                                                                                          There's a whole generation of nurses who chose their jobs so they could avoid typing, so now there's huge resistance from nurses to using software that involves ... typing. I think it could be analogous to that.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I know several women who after raising their children claim to have never cooked again.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                            I would guess that those women who claimed to stop cooking after raising their children never enjoyed cooking in the first place. I have an aunt who would be in that category.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I used to work with a guy who had a very limited palate. He was the youngest of ten children. His sibling closest in age to him was 12 years older. His mom pretty much stopped cooking when he was about 8 years old. They lived on fast food, take out, and frozen pizza. The only kind of potato he would eat were french fries. He got married and his wife's goal was to get him to have a better diet. I wonder what happened with that?

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                              I think foigras's resentment theory explains other women I've known who viewed cooking as drudgery. The women in the shower scenario above, however, just seem to have wildly misplaced priorities. They are all kid beauty pageant moms (that should explain a lot), and they love to spend tons of money on flashy jewelry (if I downed a shot every time one of them used the word bling, I would have had to crawl out of the place).

                                                                                                                                                                                              Reading the contributions to this thread, I'm starting to divide the anti-CHers into two groups: people who see food as a practical necessity rather than a rich sensory experience, and people who have low standards. The former group makes an effort to eat tolerably healthy food in moderate portions, but without much attention to how it's prepared. The latter group "abuses" (not sure if that's exactly the right word) food by eating too much of low-quality food without much attention to health.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MrsBridges

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, that sounds about right ... the gym rats and the Walmart shoppers. I also think that some people recognize that food can be pleasurable, but their vanity outweights their desire for the pleasure of food.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: MrsBridges

                                                                                                                                                                                              Non-foodies is one thing, rude jerks are another.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Well the only thing I respect about Megan fox is her choice of partner- I'm a child of the 90s I guess. Although she is not ...I am actually more bothered by people that "love food" but to them this means raving about Applebee's or panera. My ils are like this. And the most frustrating thing is they do like good food but are just too lazy and provincial to experiment where they live. When they visit us, they request some of the better Palestinian and Korean places we brought them to previously.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. the opposite of a chowhound is a chowostrich.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I have a neighbor who eats 2 meals a day from McDonalds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I am getting the picture of someone who has no taste buds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Kelli2006

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chicken or egg? McDonald's has so much fat, sugar, and salt that I think it probably at least temporarily destroys someone's sense of taste, when eaten regularly ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                                    My personal opinion is that eating is something that they must do, so the find the easiest way possible to fulfill that need. I don't think that she likes to cook he'll eat almost any fast food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I like to cook/bake, but there are days when I am busy with a project or just not in the mood, so I'll make something quick and easy, so I can get back to what I was previously doing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Philistines!
                                                                                                                                                                                                  I used to work with woman who literally ate to live. She would get exasperated by having to interrupt her day to eat lunch. Seriously, it burdened her.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  She was a really dull person overall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Philistine" is one of my favorite words. It casts a comprehensive net over people who don't get food, or literature, or art, or any type of music not manufactured for the masses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MrsBridges

                                                                                                                                                                                                      My mom loves to use this word. A cultural thing?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I love non-chowhounds. They make me look better than reality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of the worst family meals I ever had was at a friends house. His mother was head dietician at a hospital. Years later, when we met up again, in the middle of BBQ and bayou in east Texas, we go to a Denny's like place for dinner. They were amazed at the omelets I made the next morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                                                                                      My limited experience with dieticians tells me they treat food as work not pleasure

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I think that the opposite of a Chowhound is someone who is unadventurous. So many people won't even try unfamiliar food when there is no risk involved--other than having an unpleasant taste in your mouth momentarily and then (if it's really that bad) you can discretely spit it out into your napkin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        How many of us have had the experience of encouraging an eater who lives in a culinary strait-jacket, to try a taste of something we have ordered, only to be strongly rebuffed?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's not the guy/gal who lives on steaks and bologne sandwiches I object to, it is the guy/gal who is so fearful of experiencing a momentary bad taste that he/she won't even try something new.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I'm going to nominate my mother in law, the troll put's salt on everything. I can't stand people like this, without tasting anything she reaches for the salt first and coats EVERYTHING.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bread and butter and salt, salad salt, soup salt, entree salt, everything get's an initial heavy dose, then a taste then another heavy does or two. It drives me CRAZY.......

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've actually told my wife I don't like taking her to any "good" restaurants, I resent paying for a good meal for her to just destroy it. Sorry.......had to vent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I guess she would be in her element swimming in the Great Salt Lake or the Dead Sea, although it sounds like you would prefer that she be at the bottom of either one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and I guess she won't be visiting the Great Lakes anytime soon...a currently popular T shirt at souvenir shops on the coastline here is "Lake (insert name of Great Lake), UNSALTED

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I wonder how long she's going to last, with that much salt ... maybe she was Lot's wife in a former life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    She's close to 80 and one heart attack under her belt. Believe it or not she smoked regularly till the heart attack about 5 years ago. {{scratching head}} sometimes it makes you wonder.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Codmother, with an offer you wish you could refuse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. I haven't read all the responses, so sorry if this has already been said - but to me, the opposite of a chowhound is my friend who eats purely for sustenance. He cares only about nutitional value - he's also a gym rat - and he seems to get no pleasure whatsoever out of eating. He also won't eat anything other than straight-up American or Italian food (his family is Italian, otherwise that would probably be too exotic for him too). I really can't imagine what it would be like to be him!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. One of my cats purrs while she eats. She really loves her food. As she was nom-noming I thought that we had this love of food in common.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                    a person who is not conversant with a particular activity or skill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For example, "this Béchamel sauce wouldn't appeal to muggles"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I often thing my dogs are foodies ;) There is almost nothing they won't try, especially if it's cooked. When friends have brought me curries, when they smell the food heating, they get up and pace around in excitement, knowing they'll eventually get a taste of whatever's cooking. Something about those Indian spices gets them going ... even though they are Scottish dogs. And they don't mind heat either. Once one of my dogs was chewing on some woodwork & I got some of that hot pepper spray for it ... she considered it a condiment. Yeah, should've know that wouldn't work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I do like your use of muggle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. My food-loving friends and I refer to such people as "fuellists," as in, food is simply fuel for the body, who cares what it tastes like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I can only add that I hate it when non-CH's are called picky eaters. I am a picky eater - I will only eat high quality well prepared food (unless I am starving, and even then...). They are limited eaters who will not eat outside of a small circle of foods they have known their whole lives because it scares them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I looked up aficionado, connoisseur, etc. Then I looked up antonyms. There was one that appealed to me that I thought we could appropriate. The word is clodpate, Now if we simply repurpose that to clodpalate i think we might have something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I really like Euclid and Minerva, but they are such clodpalates, its hard to enjoy a meal anywhere with them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, the date last night was great but s/he is such a clodpalate s/he wouldn't know the difference between chicken picata and KFC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Love it! I have friends whom I love dearly, but they are such clodpalates ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think an old uncle of mine drove a 1948 Clodpate in the middle 1950s.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                what? has nobody checked out clodpalate.com? it's a very active site.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sigh, the site was down for maintenance this morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Honey Boo Boo's mama. Ever see her make "sketti"? Melted bout two pounds of butter in the microwave, and emptied a bottle of ketchup in it. That was the sauce. The sketti they cooked in way too little water and checked for doneness by throwing a strand against the kitchen cabinet to see if it stuck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm guessing it was actually margarine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm surprised they didn't top it with sugar or maple syrup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Watching that made me feel a bit unwell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    yeah, the tuna casserole is pretty sketchy too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh God- I don't think I can bear that. Does it involve a couple of pounds of mayo?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        no, surprisingly it didn't. maybe you should send her the suggestion. The stuff looked vile enough as it was - and I have a sentimental fondness for tuna casserole. The mayo might help this odd "no-bake" casserole.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh jeez, I watched that, wasn't as horrible as sketti, but it WAS underspiced by a mile. It freaks me out that she's giving cooking lessons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My stomach just turned. :/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My sister keep trying to get me to watch this show, but I don't think I could bear something like that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kontxesi - before watching, take some thorazine or other somatic drug and get someone to hold a drool cup beneath your slack jaw. you won't remember anything, but then you didn't want to anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          makes 'Bridezillas' look cerebral.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What can you say about a show that is supposedly in English, but it's so bad the show has to come with subtitles?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There are many TV programs, that are supposedly in US English, that I wish had subtitles. I actually turn on the CC options for a few.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Though from the Deep South, I find that some programs, such as "Duck Dynasty," need translation for me. Such is life.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I would say - the Expedient Eater. This is the type of person who essentially looks for the food most immediately in view when hungry. What food it is, of what quality, doesn't matter because from their point of view, there is *no* meaningful difference in food, either in terms of type or quality. Many such people assume that everything is made to a commodity standard and - such that there are differences at all - differences come down to "features" - e.g. such as whether the hamburger comes with a sesame seed or a plain bun. And there are some identifiable subtypes:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Meal Deal Finder: Since quality is all the same anyway, it follows that the only meaningful distinction is price. This person therefore looks for the cheapest possible option at every point. There is also a tendency with this group to have unrealistically low expectations about what something should cost in general.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Eats to Live Utilitarian: Already identified here, this person has other priorities besides food - next to which eating is an annoying distraction. It will be said that these people have a reasonably coherent argument for their outlook; it's a matter of priorities and if food isn't one of them, then OK, fair do's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Oblivious Novice: For this group, it's not their fault, really, they've just never been exposed to food of a sufficient standard to allow it even to occur to them what's possible. Hence they just take whatever is in view, and since this is their pattern, it makes it unlikely they'll experience anything better. Such people can do with some exposure; for some it will be a "conversion experience" (It's these types of people that in the main, form the clientele of chain restaurants and who appear to others as the stereotypical "ugly tourist". One moment of "Try this..." may be all it takes to effect a radical change)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Couch Potato: Energy minimisation is this person's only priority. They're not interested in anything that requires effort over and above the least possible. Thus at home, if a dish prepared in a good way requires even a minutes' more time, they won't undertake the effort, and away, if a restaurant requires even so trivial an investment as making a booking or walking 5 minutes further, it's too much work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            However I wouldn't put the unadventurous eater - the "Xenogastrophobe" in the category of "opposite". Some people who are very unadventurous are nonetheless quite discriminating within the foods that they know; it's just that they don't venture outside this circle. This can make for disappointments when abroad but such a person can nonetheless value food in general.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm strongly of the conviction that a lot of it comes down to what you were exposed to as a child. This has a way of setting expectations, that can be difficult to break down as an adult. Many people were exposed to a constant stream of very mediocre food, and when they were given something or taken somewhere "special" it actually wasn't that good, just, maybe, an incremental step above what they had more usually. Such people will naturally have a very low ceiling on what they think are the limits of the possible. They won't realise how good food can be - and many of them certainly will have very low limits on what they think to be "reasonable" prices, because they don't believe it can get better than X limit, and thus never spend enough to experience anything sufficiently great that it's really noticeable. Others will have had parents so obessed with food, and possibly so adventurous, that the majority of many days were in their opinion frittered away with needless food-based activities, possibly with very mixed results if adventurousness got the better of skill in cooking. For them they may well crave something like a "normal" life - accessible foods that don't consume half the day in preparation - so that they can get on with other interests. You need to have had childhood experiences that on the one hand revealed the possibilities for flavour, and on the other didn't get in the way of other goals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              there's a lot to your position, yet, in your last paragraph I have to make a comment, I was raised with a low food bar (is it Limbo time?!!) and I generally eat at a low purchase point. yet (speaking metaphorically I blew OUT of that pantry with the fervor of a gay farm kid from Nebraska who lands in the West Village. and while I usually eat on the cheap, I have been able to find all sorts of great and wonderful things within that budget.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              which I suppose sort of proves your point in an 'exception that proves the rule(s)' kinda way

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Having read all the replies, my follow-up question would be: how does one become a chow hound vs. a clodpalate?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Is it genetics, taste buds, the way we grew up?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You see, my husband was a clodpalate. He found eating to be a chore and only ate a limited variety of foods. Upon eating with his family, I quickly realized why. Meat is always bland and overcooked, veggies always boiled until they are grey and sprinkled with some 'parm' out of a green container with some margarine thrown on top. I had my work cut out for me but 16 years later, he's now appreciating food. There are still some things that he won't touch with a 10 foot pole but he now enjoys food and looks forward to meals. Lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I still don't get why his family doesn't enjoy food though. They are physicians and frequently have access to the best restaurants when they attend conferences, etc. but whenever I inquire how their meal was at these places, they shrug or complain that it wasn't good. I don't get it. It's one thing if you've never had good food, but yet another when you've had 10 course tasting menus but still prefer KFC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Anyways, all this long tirade makes me wonder about the nature vs nurture debate with respect to chowhoundness

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: CookEatSleep

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The most common reason for an averse reaction to a luxury restaurant is that people were disappointed by the service. Most people, especially if they're dining at a really top restaurant, want to feel as though they're being treated as a member of the family and when that doesn't happen, it tends to completely colour their subsequent experience of the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The second most common reason is a different perception of what constitutes a reasonable price-quality-quantity tradeoff. Many people, paying considerable amounts at top restaurants, expect massive portion sizes for their money and if that doesn't materialise then again their experience is coloured by what they see as meagre portion size.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Those reasons certainly aren't mine. I'm curious, not critical, what you base this on please.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mostly on lots of reading of reviews on Chowhound, Tripadvisor, etc. etc. - and counting replies. I have also read, though I can't remember where, a survey that showed this (I saw the original report, incidentally, not a secondhand account of it in a magazine or book)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ### BEGIN OFF-TOPIC RAMBLE; UNINTERESTED PARTIES CAN STOP NOW ###

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    However, I would strongly caution against reading anything "scientific" into this, and in fact, as a scientist, I think that expecting to apply "science" to social phenomena is using entirely the wrong tool for the wrong job. People's behaviours aren't deterministic and thus narrow cause-effect attributions taken as absolutes in social dynamics are almost always faulty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But I also do think that there are statistical patterns to human behaviour, which allow us to make useful generalisations. No such general statement has *any* particular validity in any particular case, but across all the cases, it may capture something about human behaviour that reveals our common nature.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My point is that questions of human behaviour are not propositions to be established - in the mode of scientific or logical debate - but ideas to be discussed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ### END OFF-TOPIC RAMBLE ###

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not everyone (or indeed, necessarily *anyone*, in particular) is or need be looking for particularly congenial service or attractive price points, but these do seem to be the factors that most often cause ambivalent attitudes towards top restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: AlexRast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't want to be treated like family --- I'm not there to make a new friend. I do not, however, want to be treated by the maitre d' and/or wait staff as though they are royalty and I am a plebe. I also don't want to be told "that's not shell in your crab appetizer, that's cartilage." Like that should make it more acceptable and I needed to be corrected for mislabeling the totally I edible crap in my food. Oh yeah, that made me happy to be there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A think a third reason is that they order the closest thing to food they know, and then are disappointed that it isn't different enough. Many of us can taste the difference between KFC and a beautifully roasted chicken, but not everyone and not always on the first try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bigley9

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm going to take a strong position here. If in your experience the difference between KFC and "beautifully roasted chicken" is subtle enough that people might miss it, then you've never actually had really good roast chicken. I mean this dead seriously.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Really GREAT food of any type is so instantly and unmistakeably better than *anything* of a commodity grade that people notice the difference immediately. Indeed, that's what greatness *is*: a difference in quality so quantum and so unmistakeable that you can't fail to notice the difference. That's actually one of the problems with the modern food supply: increased standardisation, even at the high end, has meant the reduction of a lot of foods to generic prototypes with very little difference between things. That's what happens when the market values consistency and reproduceability over excellence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I never tire of one of my favourite examples. I have a nephew who from a young age, took a liking to chocolate. As it happens I'm a chocolate expert, so I can get him essentially anything. Particularly at that time, Amedei Chuao (this was in the days when they had exclusive supply), had strong claims to being the best chocolate in the world. When he was 3, therefore, I gave him a bar for Christmas. I wasn't around to see the reaction. However the next year, visiting once again, I gave him another. So this is a year later, he's 4 years old, and he'd not had a chance to have it again since, and had been 3 the first time. AS SOON as he got it out of the wrapping paper, his exclamation was "Oooh. The GOOD chocolate!". Real quality, when you find it, can't hide. That's what you need to put in front of people, in order to "convert" them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am curious; you gave him "a bar"; should I assume bittersweet or maybe semi sweet? I am thinking 3 and 4 year olds(and my husband)are pretty sensitive to bitter vs sweet. I am curious about what the average toddler thinks is "good" when it comes to chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is precisely my point. Amedei Chuao is a bittersweet; 70%. Good chocolate *isn't* bitter. The perception that strong bittersweet chocolate is bitter is a distortion caused by the fact that *low-quality, commodity-grade* bittersweet chocolate *is* bitter. The bitterness comes from excessive tannins and other compounds, prevalent in West African Forasteros (the most common type of bulk chocolate, although not the only one).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Think of it this way. Many people think they don't like bittersweet chocolate because it's "bitter" or "too harsh". Yet experts rave about it - so there must be something great in good bittersweet chocolate. Most people don't like very strong, certainly not excessive bitterness. So it *can't* be the case that a good chocolate would be bitter - a flavour that's unpleasant is just unpleasant, full stop. Thus if all the dark chocolate you've ever been exposed to has been bitter, it's a fairly safe bet that you've never had a good dark chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There's no mystery to good food - no evanescent characteristic that the experts "get" and others just don't sense. Good food is good because it *tastes* yummy. To everyone. Something that fails on that basic criterion isn't good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ah! I am going to have to try that (chocolate) with my husband . When we first met, he had one dried up can of something in his refrigerator. More than 20 years later, he spends more time scouring restaurants and menus than I do. BUT he is much "pickier" about what he will try. I have gradually gotten him to try things with semisweet chocolate, and he can talk about the right "snap" and melting point, but he still prefers milk chocolate, and in general, "less strong" flavors. I will have to get me some of this chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Would this one be right?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's a great story and I have known children who recognized good food. That said, there are differences between people's palates and some people just don't taste a difference between mediocre preparations and very good ones. I had someone tell me they weren't paying $8 for a hamburger because it was a frozen patty and the chef obviously didnt care about the food (based on the burger being frozen, they had tasted it) It was/is a La Frieda specialized blend and delicious (and well prepared). Some folks really cant taste food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bigley9

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Agreed. You have the undertasters, who are apparently physically incapable, and then there's another group ... not sure if they don't care, don't want to get it, or what.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't think you need to be a member of any elite to taste what's good, but there are acquired tastes, and there are also those who are incapable, for whatever reason.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. My mother will often buy a large cut of meat and give me half (when she finds a good deal.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        When she makes her half, it basically just gets cooked. Cut up, put in a pan, heat up and wait till done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        She always shakes her head in puzzlement when I tell her what I've done with my half, which really can be anything.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Violatp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Viola - yes there's a time and a place for a crock pot, but when looking at a nice chunk of beef or pork it isn't ALWAYS one of them (and use some damn garlic and bay, some red wine maybe? if you are, fer cryin out loud)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Way back when, we moved from New Orleans to Denver, CO, when the food scene was just short of taking off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I typified the differences between the residents as: "In New Orleans, people live to eat. In Denver, people eat to live."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For me, the anti-Chowhound is a person, who eats to live.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I'd say that anyone who eschews food on the "low-level" (street food or local markets, especially when travelling) wouldn't qualify. That said, I'd also put people who automatically discount anything expensive as "overpriced" in the same category.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I would have to say that, as much as I love them, my in-laws would be the "opposite of a chowhound" poster children.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's not that they find eating the chore, or don't like to eat, as some people have related here, because nothing would be further from the truth. They enjoy a good meal, enjoy going out to eat, and enjoy entertaining where food is central (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.). It's just that their tastes a very pedestrian, and also bland.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A slice of raw onion on your hamburger? "We'll pass." Horseradish on your roast beef sandwich? "Just Mayo, please." The slightest bit of spiciness in your chili? "No, thank you. In fact, we will pass on the chili altogether."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We're going out for sushi. Would you like to join us? "Definitely not! How can you eat raw fish?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The list of blandness goes on and on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Though far from a CH, their daughter (my DW) is a bit more adventurous. In fact, it was she who introduced me to sushi. Up to that point I referred to it as "bait." Wasabi with your sushi? "Yes, please." Horseradish on your roast beef? "Yes, please." "This cocktail sauce for the shrimp cocktail doesn't have enough horseradish in it."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Okay, so she doesn't really care for the spiciness of chili peppers, but overall the broadness of her food horizons belie her upbringing. (Fortunately)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm the exact opposite of my parents. They think I'm a weird food-freak and I think they have zero taste buds! We're not sure how this happened. One time, after taking them to a tent style Moroccan restaurant, which we loved, they barely ate and then left and went to McD's! They boast about that story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My MIL likes her chicken, fish...ALL proteins well done, but she is sending me me pigeon peas, salted pig tail and scotch bonnets, so it's all good.