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Definition of a Chowhound

n
nemo Sep 9, 2013 01:32 PM

Would someone, please, direct me to this site's definition of a chowhound. Thank you.

  1. Jacquilynne Sep 9, 2013 03:56 PM

    You can find the old Chowhound manifesto here: http://www.chow.com/about which includes this definition of a Chowhound:

    We're not talking about foodies. Foodies eat where they're told. Chowhounds blaze trails. They comb through neighborhoods for culinary treasure. They despise hype. And while they appreciate ambiance and service, they can't be fooled by flash.

    Other members of the site, however, may disagree.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Jacquilynne
      c oliver Sep 9, 2013 06:57 PM

      I no longer mind the word "foodie."

      1. re: Jacquilynne
        jrvedivici Sep 10, 2013 09:33 AM

        I now somehow feel as if I'm inadequate, I didn't realize I was suppose to be a trail blazer. Oh the weight of responsibility this adds.

        1. re: jrvedivici
          MGZ Sep 10, 2013 11:14 AM

          Shit, Bro, just keep followin' the breadcrumb trail I leave.

        2. re: Jacquilynne
          drongo Sep 10, 2013 10:59 AM

          Original Chowhound Jim Leff said this (long after he sold the site): "... I also see untold thousands of giddily obsessive food crazies who've made chewing the very center of their existences, and who endlessly scamper after the usual spotlit shiny big things. And who need everyone to hear about it ad nauseum. I was hoping to galvanize intrepid, iconoclastic chowhounds, but what I mostly see out there is more and more materialistic, hype-following foodies." http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/0...

          1. re: drongo
            c oliver Sep 10, 2013 11:16 AM

            That quote from 2009 certainly seems to describe that sector of CHs, and I think it's small, who put notches on their belts for certain dining experiences. But there's room for all us here.

            1. re: c oliver
              MGZ Sep 10, 2013 11:19 AM

              What's a belt?

              1. re: MGZ
                drongo Sep 10, 2013 12:13 PM

                The thing that holds up your pants.

                And next is: "What are pants?" :)

          2. re: Jacquilynne
            cowboyardee Sep 10, 2013 11:36 AM

            No offense intended, but I always thought that was an awful distinction. Especially when you consider two paragraphs down, where it claims that chowhounds would prefer to 'grow weak from hunger rather than willingly eat something less than delicious.' You can't blaze trails without risking eating something awful now and then.

            At the same time, I really like the idea of spotlighting those great little finds doing great work in the food industry but passed over by the mainstream food media. I like the idea of searching out and appreciating the under-hyped work of those who don't follow the most marketable current trends. At its best, Chowhound helps to do this. But if we're to be truly honest about food, we have to admit that some trends result in excellent eating, and that many people like said trends not because they mindlessly follow hype but because they like the food.

            1. re: cowboyardee
              c oliver Sep 10, 2013 12:16 PM

              I haven't read the "manifesto" in quite some time but I found it rather elitist in its own right.

              1. re: c oliver
                Servorg Sep 10, 2013 12:20 PM

                "I haven't read the "manifesto" in quite some time..."

                Makes us all sound like a bunch of commies...next thing you know Rush will be coming after us.

                1. re: Servorg
                  c oliver Sep 10, 2013 12:31 PM

                  Yeah, and that's another thing. Never like the word "manifesto" either :) Rush should make VERY sure he's never in spitting distance of me!

                  1. re: Servorg
                    grayelf Sep 10, 2013 03:45 PM

                    Being Canadian, Servorg's post had me looking around for Geddy and the boys.

            2. i
              INDIANRIVERFL Sep 10, 2013 10:20 AM

              Anybody that can reply to a Chowhound thread.

              I do enjoy the Manifesto's definition.

              1. cowboyardee Sep 10, 2013 11:38 AM

                Chowhounds like food.

                And they like arguing about food on the internet.

                2 Replies
                1. re: cowboyardee
                  Servorg Sep 10, 2013 11:42 AM

                  "And they like arguing about food on the internet."

                  I vehemently disagree with that! Drop the word "food" and we will have found common ground...

                  1. re: cowboyardee
                    jrvedivici Sep 10, 2013 12:14 PM

                    Who said I like to argue? Why would you post something like that? Do you have any facts to back that statement up?

                    I'll be right back I have to check on my artisan pizza in the oven, but when I return you better be prepared to defend this!

                  2. s
                    Steve Sep 10, 2013 07:27 PM

                    The original explanation that Jim Leff gave included an anecdote about going to a dry cleaner/tailor and getting into an impromptu conversation about who had the best.....

                    Does anyone have that 'full' version?

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Steve
                      squid kun Sep 11, 2013 02:05 PM

                      No dry cleaner, but here's a fuller version ... http://web.archive.org/web/2000051006...

                      1. re: squid kun
                        s
                        Steve Sep 11, 2013 07:03 PM

                        Thanks so much for this. No, it doesn't contain his personal anecdote, but it's still good to see after all this time.

                      2. re: Steve
                        Jim Leff Sep 16, 2013 09:09 AM

                        Sorry so late...I've been on the road....

                        http://www.chow.com/food-news/53716/a...

                        1. re: Jim Leff
                          Gastronomos Sep 16, 2013 10:10 AM

                          "And I’d bet my last bogatsa he’ll find GREAT ones."

                          :-)

                          1. re: Jim Leff
                            s
                            Steve Sep 16, 2013 01:56 PM

                            Thanks so much for this blast. Great writing, as always, adore your blog.

                            http://jimleff.blogspot.com

                            1. re: Jim Leff
                              k
                              klyeoh Sep 18, 2013 12:08 AM

                              Beautiful :-)

                              1. re: Jim Leff
                                Mr Taster Sep 18, 2013 12:21 AM

                                How did that beautiful piece from 2006 not receive any comments?

                                Further evidence of the sharp divide between Chow and Chowhound.

                                I've left a comment.

                                Mr Taster

                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                  Jim Leff Sep 18, 2013 01:55 AM

                                  Thanks, but to clarify, that essay has been on the site since launch. That's just the latest place for it.

                            2. g
                              gfr1111 Sep 12, 2013 04:00 AM

                              When I first discovered Chowhound, my understanding was that it was a site for food aficionados who had a decided lack of culinary pretension. A Chowhound would eat at a street food cart, if the food were exceptional. Conversely, the Chowhound would eat at a four star French restaurant in Manhattan, if the food were exceptional. The food was the thing--not the cost, not the decor.

                              Spending time seeking out such food, rather than waiting to randomly encounter it, also seemed to be part of the definition.

                              Being willing to go where no man or woman had gone before was also part of the definition. (My apologies to Star Trek fans.)

                              I think that that is still the same standard today. Where else can you find a website where the writer will direct you to the food cart at the corner of 5th and Main, open only between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., for the most amazing chili crab (and then explain to you what chili crab is)?

                              14 Replies
                              1. re: gfr1111
                                Mr Taster Sep 16, 2013 05:13 PM

                                >> I think that that is still the same standard today. Where else can you find a website where the writer will direct you to the food cart at the corner of 5th and Main, open only between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., for the most amazing chili crab (and then explain to you what chili crab is)?

                                All over the place! "Foodie" blogs, websites, YouTube posters, and TV shows abound (albeit to wildly divergent degrees of quality.)

                                The 2013 culinary landscape is vastly different from the late 90's landscape, in which Chowhound had its roots. Back then, Chowhounds were the freaks for being so obsessive about their food. In 2013, obsessiveness is de rigeur-- even if some of these obsessives really have no idea what they're talking about. (Thinking you're an expert without having done the work to actually qualify as an expert is also de rigeur these days... I'm thinking about a post I recently read about some Seattle 20-something hipster farmers market vendors who had no idea you could make pickles without heat and vinegar).

                                Chowhound's original manifesto (as opposed the neutered, corporatized version) had a great deal more pizzazz. Years ago, I compared the two in detail, here:

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/532567

                                The original manifesto unapologetically called out foodies as automatons who blindly followed Zagat. It also said that no media outlets serve Chowhounds. Sure, there were things like Gourmet magazine, but that catered to a moneyed demographic of a "certain type". Aside from a few intrepid alternative weekly writers who would profusely gush about cart vendors and taco trucks, the mainstream food writing scene had its feet planted firmly in the Expensive, the Fancy, and the Surprisingly Ordinary.

                                I suppose you could draw the argument that "foodies" have evolved-- although they now blindly follow Yelp reviews instead of the Zagat guide. But to Yelp's credit, at least there are reviews of actual quality holes-in-the-wall, and other places that would have been otherwise ignored by media outlets in the late 90's.

                                Mr Taster

                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                  Servorg Sep 16, 2013 05:21 PM

                                  Where else you do you find he detailed back and forth about those places than run the gamut from nose to tail and taco stands to fine dining, other than on Chowhound?

                                  Yelp is your basic "stovepipe" conversation, with each contributor cocooned in their own review box. I think that the wild/wide ranging conversation on CH makes this a very unique and enjoyable site, even without considering the breadth and depth of many of the contributors.

                                  Blogs tend to be even more isolated. And you just never know, reading one blogger or another, who is getting what to publish what they do.

                                  Here you may not know about undisclosed individual relationships, no doubt. But you get so many dissenting and dissecting and diverging opinions that you don't run the same risk of being sent on a "conflict of interest" wild goose eating contest.

                                  1. re: Servorg
                                    Mr Taster Sep 17, 2013 11:54 PM

                                    >> Where else you do you find he detailed back and forth...other than on Chowhound?

                                    Servorg, your response is addressing a point that only you have made.

                                    My reply was in direct response to a specific question that gfr1111 asked, which was, "Where else can you find a website where the writer will direct you to the food cart at the corner of 5th and Main, open only between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., for the most amazing chili crab (and then explain to you what chili crab is)?"

                                    In September 2013, the answer to that question is, "all over the internet." Which is what I said.

                                    In September 1999, the answer would have been, "Chowhound". Which is also what I said.

                                    The internet's changing culinary landscape was the whole point of my post.

                                    If either you or gfr1111 wants to redefine the parameters of the question to make a separate point- (i.e. "Where else but Chowhound can you have a discussion with others that finds these obscure goodies") that's fine-- ask away.

                                    But to conflate gfr1111's question (which deals in monologue) with your point (which deals in dialogue), is a big ol' whopping logical fallacy, which falls somewhere on this list:

                                    http://carm.org/logical-fallacies-or-...

                                    It's probably either a non-sequitur or a straw man fallacy, but it's late and I'm too tired to think about it anymore.

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster
                                      Servorg Sep 18, 2013 06:24 AM

                                      I would say it's not "...a big ol' whopping logical fallacy..." but more of a positive corollary to your post.

                                      It's one of the things that sets CH apart from those other "monologues" going on, and still makes CH stand out on today's virtual world, despite all of the examples you list of where to find recommendations on places to eat from your computer or smart phone.

                                      And to tie the hands of CH behind its back by narrowly defining its mission, and what STILL sets it apart from all those other sites, is damming it with faint praise (and doing it a disservice which begged for more fully fleshing out its enduring attributes) - at least in my book.

                                      Which brings to mind another enduring asset of CH (if you'll pardon my illogical "fallacy" one more time)...we can all chime in and add our two cents, no matter how anyone of us may see it as stamping on our "tender bits" at times.

                                      1. re: Servorg
                                        Mr Taster Sep 18, 2013 09:44 AM

                                        >> I would say it's not "...a big ol' whopping logical fallacy..." but more of a positive corollary to your post.

                                        Servorg, now you're using a logical fallacy to attempt to redefine "logical fallacy", so that you can continue to make your point.

                                        I know that being contrarian is your schtick, but you've got to choose your battles more carefully ;-)

                                        Mr Taster

                                        1. re: Mr Taster
                                          Servorg Sep 18, 2013 09:51 AM

                                          "I know that being contrarian is your schtick, but you've got to choose your battles more carefully ;-)"

                                          I guess that is your logical fallacy then? Because obviously I don't (and this is hardly a battle in any case - but simply an out of the box way of looking at the subject at hand). ;-D>

                                          1. re: Servorg
                                            Mr Taster Sep 18, 2013 10:09 AM

                                            >> Because obviously I don't

                                            Wow! You're being contrarian again :)

                                            Time for this part of the conversation to disappear in 4...3...2...1....

                                            Mr Taster

                                            1. re: Mr Taster
                                              Servorg Sep 18, 2013 10:13 AM

                                              I'm not opposed to what you wrote. So I don't think I'm being contrarian. I just saw it as incomplete so added my two cents. Really no different than almost any other thread of any length here on CH that I know of.

                                              ADD: Since hounds can riff, spin, add or tangent off of what has been posted I don't think I'm being "off topic" as far as this whole thread is concerned. YMMV

                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                Gastronomos Sep 18, 2013 10:58 AM

                                                "One man gathers what another man spills"

                                                1. re: Gastronomos
                                                  Servorg Sep 18, 2013 11:05 AM

                                                  The Dead are raised again...and I'm grateful for it.

                                                2. re: Servorg
                                                  Mr Taster Sep 18, 2013 11:33 AM

                                                  >> ...I don't think I'm being "off topic" as far as this whole thread is concerned.

                                                  That's true. That's also not the point.

                                                  Feel free to reply if you must, but I'm going to go away now.

                                                  Mr Taster

                                                  1. re: Mr Taster
                                                    Servorg Sep 18, 2013 11:38 AM

                                                    "Really no different than almost any other thread of any length here on CH that I know of. "

                                                    1. re: Servorg
                                                      Servorg Sep 18, 2013 03:07 PM

                                                      I just came across this post by DaveMP, who went from being a regular everyday hound to a member of the inner core and paid Chow team contributor. This quote below says it like I wanted to, but is much better than I could ever do: Full post here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9172...

                                                      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      "Our release last week marks the first time that we have full discussion-functionality on CHOW content, and eventually we'd like to do away with other commenting systems, and have this Chowhound functionality on all of our content. It allows users to interact with each other more easily, allows users to keep track of their own comments and conversations, and creates richer discussion than a regular commenting system."

                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                        Gastronomos Sep 18, 2013 03:15 PM

                                                        "I had a hard run
                                                        Running from your window
                                                        I was all night running, running, running
                                                        I wonder if you care?
                                                        I had a run-in
                                                        Run around and run down
                                                        Run around a corner
                                                        Run smack into a tree

                                                        I had to move
                                                        Really had to move
                                                        That's why if you please
                                                        I am on my bended knees
                                                        Bertha don't you come around here anymore"

                                2. The Dairy Queen Sep 18, 2013 04:33 AM

                                  I've been posting here for more than a decade, but still only aspire to be a Chowhound. I know sometimes I let laziness get in the way of my eternal quest for deliciousness, instead opting to eat something less delicious because it's easy or convenient or familiar. And I know sometimes I'll eat somewhere simply because I've read so much about it, elsewhere or here on Chowhound. And on my travels about town there are little pockets of potential deliciousness, --carts, trucks, counters, hole in the wall shops and restaurants-- that I let go unexplored because I'm too busy or, weirdly, too intimidated.

                                  But, on my best days, I'm inspired to take the extra 20 minutes to make the drive across town, or stop into that funny little shop to try something I've never tried or heard of --asking questions, sometimes despite language and cultural barriers, about what it is, how to pronounce it, what's in it, how it's made, and what else is really good that I need to try-- and then come back here and excitedly post about it, especially when it's really great. And I have learned to never be cowed into agreeing with the masses that something is delicious when I know it isn't. It's those days that I know that I have it in me to truly be a Chowhound.

                                  ~TDQ

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