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Is Chowhound's original manifesto still relevant? Did you even know it existed?

Chowhound founder Jim Leff originated this site with a wonderful splash screen outlining exactly what Chowhound was, and why it was created.

https://web.archive.org/web/200206050...

At the time (late 90s-early aughts), the so-called "foodie" revolution had not happened. Chowhound was a relatively small, intrepid band of curious food enthusiasts trying to figure out where the best food could be found. No media was paying attention to us.

After the corporate takeover of Chowhound in 2006, the Manifesto was removed from the opening page of chowhound, neutered, and eventually relegated to a far corner of the site.

So, my questions to you, both old and new members, are:

How does Jim Leff's manifesto reflect or fit your current understanding of the Chowhound website?

Did you know the manifesto existed?

If you were previously unaware of the manifesto, does this change your understanding and interpretation of what the site is all about?

Is the manifesto still relevant?

Please state how long you've been contributing to this site so we have a sense of where you fit in Chowhound's timeline.

Mr Taster
since ~2001

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  1. Honestly, I'd really enjoy reading Jim:Leff's opinion on this.

    Here's my metaphor:
    When a founder (wasn't it co-founder?) comes along and shares his brainchild with a group of people and that simple idea grows up into an overactive teenager do we expect the same relevance? When that teenager becomes an adult with independent ideas now presented with the opportunity to fly the coop or grow or both...does the community then demand they never grow up or move on? Does the community have that right?

    The new owners inherited a brainchild but don't have the benefit that comes with child rearing. They won't ever act like they did.

    I've been around since 2004, my husband recalls much earlier CH/JL days.

    IMVHO, this brain-child you miss is aging in a different playground .

    1. No, I didn't know it ever existed and I don't know the history of the site.

      Yes, that's my understanding of the intent and why I think this is an interesting and valuable community. It's how I approach the site and food in general.

      I probably discovered CH about 4 years ago. I read and comment manically a few times a year (usually beginning about a month before Thanksgiving) and engage on other recipe-based food sites the rest of the year. But I still frequently pop by and see what's up year round even if I have long stretches of not contributing.

        1. I was not aware of the manifesto being a CHer only since 2008-ish (lurked before posting).

          Paragraph 5 is what I am all about. I think it is totally still relevant. I am not a foodie but I will turn to foodie resources now and then to assist my quest for perfect eating.

          1. I was a lurker for years before signing up. I can't remember how long.
            I always thought the manifesto was rather silly. I don't think it is relevant anymore. It might have been relevant before the "food as a hobby" concept really took off. When it was considered "weird" to talk so much about food.

            All kinds of people sign up to participate in the forum, not just the narrowly defined "chowhound" as defined by Leff years ago. I think it makes for a richer experience now.

            Of course, the manifesto certainly has no relevance overall to this big corporate site.

            12 Replies
            1. re: sedimental

              Most people still think it's weird that I talk so much about food :)

              1. re: sedimental

                I don't get everyone talking about how weird others think they are when they talk about food. Since when was talking about food NOT popular? My family always enjoyed discussing food, from my great grandmother down to me. And it wasn't just within our family. Whenever guests came over there was much talk about the food, recipes swapped, techniques shared.

                My friends and I love to talk about food. Whether it's a new recipe we found, or a great find at a restaurant, grocery store, etc.

                I find it to be a great conversation starter at business lunches.Who is the cook in your family? What types of food do you enjoy making most? Tell me about some of the best restaurants in your city?

                Maybe I'm just surrounding myself with like minded people, but I don't think anyone's ever thought it is strange that I talk about food so much!

                1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                  The difference may be cultural: my family considered talk about food, other than "good steak, Ruth," unnecessary and maybe a little bit ungenteel, like talking about your body in general.

                  1. re: Dempsey

                    What IS your family's cultural background? Clearly not French :)

                    1. re: c oliver

                      We were Protestant, Scots/English, Presbyterian, farmers then academics, and topics of conversation were politics, books, science, crop yields (and therefore weather), and sometimes the neighbors. Never religion, food, or money (except when it impinged on politics.

                      I would have liked a little dash of French!

                      1. re: Dempsey

                        I have the same background almost..Scots/Irish Episcopalians..and we never discussed food, politics, religion or money.

                        In fact we didn't talk much. LOL

                        1. re: sal_acid

                          Talking seems to be minimal in my husband's family. Farm, people in town, what's in the paper followed by long periods of silence.

                          Never about food unless I ask how to make something. Now it is often about food because they think I don't get it just because I'm not used to their food every little thing needs to be explained.

                          My family can plan the next meal while eating the current one!

                          1. re: melpy

                            This is one of the really good parts of the Internet and sites like this one. It allows those who have no outlet within their own families or communities to come and share and interact with other like minded individuals (anonymously if they wish) about something that really interests them.

                            1. re: Servorg

                              Really good point! We just returned from a ten day, escorted tour of Israel. We, mostly I, were THE only ones truly interested in food. The cooking of it and the eating of 'good' food. A family of five from East Texas were interested solely in quantity. One 70 y.o. widow cooks almost nothing, going out to eat (anywhere) and bringing home leftovers. Etc. And the tour came with all breakfasts and most dinners included at our hotels. All mediocre, except one, buffets. Bob and I could only joke among ourselves. The one morning I commented "was that dinner just the pits?" I was met with strong disagreement. So, yes, having a "soft place to fall" when it comes to discussing food is a luxury.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                There's a stupendous Israeli restaurant called Etzel Itzik in N. Miami if you are ever in that area. A five-star Chowhound delight. You'll see what you missed.

                                1. re: Steve

                                  We actually had a super dinner in Tel Aviv - thanks to a CH of course. Part of the problem was that our days were quite long and I was sick part of the time so it was 'easier' to just go along. Good to know about the Miami place. Thanks, Steve.