Cookware Board denizens
- greygarious Apr 8, 2014 07:21 PM
On some other topic recently, someone characterized the Cookware Board as the Chowhound equivalent of the high school A-V club, which I thought was clever, and, maybe, appropriate. I realized that my mind is full of assumptions breaking the Board down even further:
I envision the LeCreusetphiles as the Sex in the City girls, unable to resist a high-priced shoe store or the latest pricey handbag. The Kitchen Aid stand mixer fans are a subset of this clade.
The knife collectors are almost all males, into sports generally, and especially hunting and fishing. Sometimes they get roles on Criminal Minds.
The collectors of naked cast iron are bearded, beefy guys with plaid flannel shirts. And girly calendars on the walls of their garages.
Those with a passion for All-Clad, deBuyer, copper pans, etc., are type-A, driven types for whom cooking is more engineering than craft/art. Not gender-specific, and quite ambitious but a bit insecure despite being capable.
The large appliance mavens are the CH version of the Tool Time guy:
"More power!" This applies to their entertainment electronics too. They can be younger than the pan and cast iron collectors, and are mostly males.
With the exception of the LeCreusetphile category, the other afficionados don't necessarily enjoy cooking, or do it regularly. They are often more interested in the prepping and other component tasks than in consuming/enoying/appreciating the final results.
Anyone have any idea what the actual demographics of kitchen equipment fans are, either on Chowhound or in general? Or do you have different stereotypes to share?
There are a lot of ways you could take this metaphor. I'll go with a Breakfast Club version:
The Le Creuset crowd are clearly personified by Molly Ringwald's Claire. They like everything to be pretty and nice. They collect $150 pots like kids collect pokemon cards (or whatever the hell kids collect now), so they probably have money. If they saw you in the hall while they were with their friends, they might not acknowledge you. And they're probably the only ones who can dance (...kind of).
Cast iron thugs have to be Judd Nelson's John Bender. They're big - better to lift cast iron or.. you know... sand it or some shit. They're surly at times, but that surliness becomes more understandable the more you get to know their circumstances (in lieu of John's poverty and abuse, the cast iron-heads have to deal with answering the only three questions there are to ask about cast iron over and again in perpetuity).
The knife guys are Emilio Estevez's Andy. Distinctly male, aggressive when provoked (or egged on by their friends), probably somewhat less cool than they imagine themselves to be.
The Performance Pan crowd are best represented by Anthony Michael Hall's Brian. Now in truth, several of the cookware subcultures have strong, almost undeniable claims to the Nerd character. So its no small accomplishment by the P. Pan guys to take home that particular crown. Thermal conductivity vs specific heat FTW.
Last but not least (maybe least? Nah...), the Appliance-ophiles are left with Ally Sheedy's Allison. Which is fitting enough. They don't speak up very much, and when they do, sometimes no one responds. And in the end, they get a [kitchen] makeover and are never seen again.
You missed the alarmists. These are the folks who are afraid their old-fashioned tinfoil hats will leech aluminum straight into their brains. These folks would truly love cooking if everything wasn't out to get them. They have stockpiled glassware for leftovers, but are afraid to use them, lest the glass explodes. And, since cooking using any pot or pan will kill them and raw foods are rife with bacteria, they are mostly very skinny and tend to flinch at the slightest sound.
You had me agreeing right up until you wrote:
"With the exception of the LeCreusetphile category, the other afficionados don't necessarily enjoy cooking, or do it regularly. They are often more interested in the prepping and other component tasks than in consuming/enoying [sic]/appreciating the final results."
Would you please expound on the bases for this pronouncement? I'm especially curious why you think the LeCreusetphiles are an exception.
I think part of what makes Cookware read so wonkish is the somewhat arbitrary divisions of the topical boards (and the enforcement of the same).
PS: You might want to add the categories of folks who: (a) answer OPs' posts that have lain dormant for >5 years; or (b) can't or won't use the search function.
You do realize that I am trafficking in unfounded supposition here, right? It's just a broad impression; without having done a tally, it seems to me that there's not much overlap of cookware and home cooking board regulars. The "what to cook in my new LC" posts seem pretty frequent but I can't recall similar threads as regards
new chef's knives, blenders, etc. Cookware posts don't seem to mention how the food turned out, other than when cast iron is involved. Maybe there's more collecting than using.
Sure, I realize the fun trafficking, no problem.
My guess is that there is a whole constellation of reasons why there seems to be little overlap between the Cookware and Home Cooking boards, only a few of which pertain to cooking experience or enjoyment (and not all favoring Home Cooking, either). One reason I don't--visibly--haunt HC is that threads there are usually buried so deeply so quickly they're hard to follow. Another is that, frankly IMO, there's a plethora of better, more easily accessed sources available on line for recipes and the tips that go with them. I *do*, however, read HC every day, just as I'm sure there are frequent posters on HC who don't post much on Cookware.
IMO, those "what to cook in my new LC" posts don't exactly seem to be indicative of any high level of aptitude or enjoyment. At least as to the former, prolly the opposite.
This is not to be put on you (because I know you're a fair-minded, thoughtful person), but I'm also fascinated by the theme that if posters discuss technical, equipment-related cooking issues, they're either not accomplished cooks or--worst of all--don't cook, have no interest, get no enjoyment, etc. ( I have read posts where someone actually writes that someone else is wrong precisely *because* they don't regularly post on HC!)
The technical aspects of good cooking are legion, and a large subset of those aspects are equipment-related. A equal(ly fallacious) case can be made that sweating the technical details evinces *more*, not less, enjoyment, interest, aptitude, etc.
As for the paucity of reportage in Cookware of "how the food turned out", there are few single-instance mentions of specific preps that come up on Cookware, be they about knives, blenders or whatever. So for example, when someone solicits opinions on a petty knife, it's difficult to imagine inclusion in the answer(s)a description of how a one-time instance of a specific prep turned out.
I post on both home cooking and cookware forums pretty often. In fact they're my most frequented CH forums. I'm female, I love vintage bare cast iron and cook on it every day, I like enameled CI also. I have a selection of clad stainless and clay pots too. I don't have pictures of anyone in my garage, I'm not overly hairy. I'm not a fashion hound and have nothing at all in common with the women from Sex and the City, I cant stand the kitchen aid mixer.
I grind my own flour and pressure can my own stock and lacto ferment my own sauerkraut. My husband hunts and fishes and we grind our own meat. I'm also a pretty good baker. If I had my choice I'd have both a wood cookstove and Bluestar range. I like the right tool for the job and I like quality products that will hopefully last a lifetime.
I think in reality any generalizations about the various cookware board subcultures are going to fall apart when examined closely. Not least because there is a lot of overlap between the various clans, and also plenty of cookware board regulars who post a great deal on other subjects.
But making semi-baseless generalizations is fun anyway.
I just did a quick skim of the posters on this thread and most seem to be equal opportunity posters, wandering here and there. Servorg, being in LA, has GREAT opps to post on the regional board. If I had an active one, I'd go there also. I honestly can't imagine posting on Cookware if I weren't active on HC. I get an enormous amount of good advice there and try to share when I have something I think is share-worthy. I think your categories are pretty spot on...with exceptions, of course.
This is great -- makes me laugh.
(and I'm reading it in the spirit in which I think it was written -- as a funny post that wasn't ever intended to be particularly serious or scholarly!)