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Jul 28, 2014 09:42 AM

Musings on the relatively low activity on Southern New England Board

I'm wondering why there is little activity on this Board compared to others.

Are there few people logging on because they don't know about Chowhound or care about the kind of info available or find themselves drawn to other sources for such info?

Is the geography too broad to build an on-line Chow community (I live in CT and have to wade through Cape Cod)?

I can see how it can easily get circular. Few people logging on because there's not much new to see. Few posting because they get few replies.

I assume the folks running Chowhound have data on some of this.

But I wonder what might be done by those of us reading this that might help to ramp things up and make it a livelier, more fun, and more useful scene.

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  1. What would you like to talk about (I'm not being snarky--what are folks talking about on other boards that's garnering good discussion)?

    I think the wide geographic area is part of the issue--I have nothing to add to a lot of threads. For myself, I've been trying to post whenever I try someplace new or enjoy a particularly good food experience. Sometimes folks pitch in with their own thoughts, sometimes not. I also appreciate the RI-based monthly threads on food news; those threads often have many posts.

    1. I think the geographic area is way too wide. The Cape and South Shore should be it's own animal, and RI and CT should each have their own boards.

      It's tough to wade through all the posts to get to what you're looking for and I usually just end up using keywords in the search when I'm traveling to find recommendations. It's not conducive to a board that I would read every day like the Boston board. Unfortunately I don't spend enough time in southern NE to post regularly here.

      1. I used to visit this board daily. Nowadays, not so much. There are a so many food-related blogs out there, a few focused on my immediate area (lower Fairfield County, CT), that have more up-to-date info on the restaurants/cafes/chefs, etc. here and around the area. I agree that the Southern New England board is geographically large, and I also find myself wading through posts to reach a relevant topic. However, it can be useful to read about an area I might be visiting, like RI, the Cape, or other parts of MA. Since Chow was one of the first blog sites I came to love, I just can't give it up.

        1. This has always bothered me about this board and the Northern NE board. I think it has to do with the lack of diversity if you are more than 30 mi outside of any of the major cities. Ask any semi adventurous home cook and they will tell you of 45 min drives just to get keffir lime leaves. Walk around most of their supermarkets and see what is available for fish, ethnic ingredients. You can't blame them because that stuff won't sell. I have had some of the worst Chinese food of my life in some of these areas. Historically, classic New England cuisine is quite drab, and has always been limited by the climate, so the people who have lived here for generations don't have the pallette for some of the more exotic flavors. I have taught a cooking class many times over the years where I make fresh garam masala. Most of my students have never even smelt anything like the spices I am using, let alone taste them. I go on food road trips 2 hrs. to get ingredients. Lucky, in my town of Brattleboro we have a relatively solid group of restaurants and a great coop. But alas.....I am so happy to have my daughter in Boston for college so I can get my fill at The Dumpling House....

          2 Replies
          1. re: jefpen2

            jefpen2...I guess I'm lucky that I can find almost anything I need for any dish I want to experiment with. Kaffir Lime, just down the street at my Asian market. Spices for that homemade garam masala? Patel Brothers has a huge market about 3 miles from my house. I have often wished I could give "Tours of Ethnic Markets in Fairfield County". We have Asian, Latin, Indian, Polish, German, even Russian. It's great! My only problem is that a lot of the labeling is in a foreign language, so I rely heavily on images on the packaging. But, I'm with you about the lack of good Chinese food close to home. There's always Chinatown!

            1. re: jefpen2

              You have apparently not been to western Ma where there are many great restaurants and several Asian markets.

              The geographical area of the board is too wide, I have no interest in most of the area it covers.

            2. I think it's symptomatic of a general decline of the site overall. My home board seems to b experiencing a decline in activity too, and all the geographically adjacent boards have little activity as well.

              I'm afraid the most recent site changes will only exacerbate the problem.

              1 Reply
              1. re: carolinadawg

                Just used the stupid new heart symbol to agree with you. Each change the make is for the worst.
                That said, I am mostly in southwestern CT, but do go to other areas of the state and RI and MA during the year. When I was teaching grad school two days a week in northern MA and staying over in the Worcester area I made much more use of the board. Similarly, after 30+ years I sold my vacation house on the Cape and haven't been to the Cape or Fall River/New Bedford in 2+ years so I don't read posts covering that area.
                However, I just read a post about a restaurant in Warren RI. My daughter works on a small cruise ship that has its home port in Warren. I get there 4-5 times per year and she always says there's nothing to eat in that town. Now I've found a good suggestion.

                My local scene/activity was decimated by the mass defection led by JFood a couple of years ago after the Tri-state metro board was abolished. The defectors formed a new site for CT, but that has faltered as well. I think many of us are just tired of the same old coverage and the non-food annoying tipping threads.

                Besides, I miss Hamden native, the late Veggo and never see a post from Shaogo (paul) anymore.