I haven't sweated Chowhound's dilution over the years. I never expected the site to last anywhere near this long (we're coming up on twenty years!), so its mere survival strikes me as pretty freakin' dayenu.
But when I see clots of site regulars indignantly and mindlessly railing about how there's nothing good to eat in some locale, when they haven't invested the least effort into sniffing out off-radar treasure - or even considered doing so! - it drives me crazy. How did it become comfortable (much less fashionable) to be diametrically anti-Chowhound on Chowhound.com?
I just interrupted some site "veterans" moaning about White Plains, NY (one of the best - and broadest - little food towns anywhere) by offering a litany of superabundant treasure they've missed. It won't go well, of course. They'll try one or two places, order cluelessly, eat naively (the Sichuan food's too oily/spicy!"), and happily resume their prejudices and false assumptions. Or perhaps not even that (consider how this played out). The only outcome beyond imagining would be for these guys to go out and jubilantly bask in all these great places. If that was their shtick, they would never have gotten to this point in the first place!
I've been making this point forever: the stuff that's pushed at you is the product of devoted pushers, not devoted creators. The best course is to resist the misdirection and proactively hunt for your own treasure; suss out the geniuses, kooks, and hold-outs who do earnest, loving, inspiring work. They're hidden, and uncovering them is your task, not anyone else's. If the only options on your plate are the shiny, obvious, talked-about and passively-received options, you will miss the greatness - and, just as sadly, you'll miss the chance to support the greatness, which is often plied from a precarious foothold. Cream does not often rise!
But, alas, once you've fallen in love with your prejudices and false assumptions, truth feels like poison. People would much rather be idiots than feel like idiots.
- ► 2016 (202)
- ► 2015 (130)
- ▼ September (7)
- ► 2013 (165)
- ► 2012 (209)
- ► 2011 (193)
- ► 2010 (175)
- ► 2009 (239)