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TDG: Introducing The Chocolate Curmudgeon


Fat Guy
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without getting into the validity of either point, it does occur to me that what so many people are objecting to about steve's piece is exactly what he was objecting to in Regina's pieces. 

Russ, I see no reason why you should feel the need to state other people's opinions. Let's hear yours. Why so cryptic?

As for the argument you're summarizing without explicitly embracing, I've got to say it's complete an utter nonsense. The implication is that two parties to a conflict are equally culpable just because they use the same weapons. No, Russ. Sometimes one party is justified and the other party is not, as is the case here.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Russ, I think that's precisely what others have been saying here. It's good to hear it from a food writer rather than a group of 'civilians.'

I've been wondering whether John Thorne would have been as ready to participate in a Q&A had he read such a piece first.

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I *loathe* Regina Schrambling's pieces in the LA Times. While I think the food community, like all other niche communities, is as bitchy and cliquish as they come, she deserves this. I was glad to see that he pointed out her two most gratuitous pieces of bilge, the inexplicably stupid turkey piece and the worthy-of-an-editorial-assistant-of-limited-talent-TV-Dinner piece. Her articles are a waste of space. The LA Times has two fabulous food writers--Russ Parsons and Emily Green. Why Regina Schrambling has been brought into the mix is beyond me. I like what the new editor has done with the section, EXCEPT for her bizarre devotion to Schrambling.

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i trust that steve klc is feeling appropriately chastised.  or maybe he's feeling confused, like i am.  or maybe he's rolling chocolate truffles in cocoa powder and licking his fingers.  :rolleyes:  this, IMO, would be the best way to handle the whole situation.

No Stella, Steve K stands by 100% of what he wrote and so does his editor (that would be me). I'm sure he considers this piece an incredible success, as do I. I appreciate all the enthusiastic commentary here and hope we'll do many more pieces that elicit this kind of response -- and we've added first-time readers who said they never read us, no less. This is great.

So is your goal of these new pieces to create train wreck threads on the board now? Isn't this why we got rid of OTC? I honestly dont see the value added.

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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Steve K stands by 100% of what he wrote

This is great.

I'd like to say that I understand Steve KLC's article perfectly well. I enjoyed it. I liked the tenor, the tone, the humour and the damning comment on one who specialises in damning comment.

Any why not?

eGullet is not solely a forum that allows Chefs the opportunity to bite-back at those who self-indulgently shred and tear at their work, but I fail to see why it cannot embrace this function amongst it's whole. All this angst because some identify Steve KLC's article as vindictive? Wow.

Curiously, I can't quite figure out why it appears to be ok for many of the responses to the article to damn Steve for his damning of the damnable. Other than it being one more of the many things that make eGullet such a compelling place to visit.

Another curious element in this thread included someone criticising another for ageism. But only for the aged. Not ageism applied to youthfulness. The cool responses of 8th graders to attack appear to be unacceptable.

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I don't see you giving any counter-examples, Wilfrid.

I am surprised you aren't embarrassed to reveal the narrowness of your cultural purview. If by "degree of engagement" you meant word count, then there's nothing to discuss. If eGullet has anything, it's word count. I thought you were making both a quantitative and a qualitative judgment. If so, I only hope someone from the New York Review of Books is looking in and learning something from us. You've also given me a great idea: public gatherings where an author can talk about his book to a large audience of readers, then take questions from the floor for an hour or two.

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I just scrolled through the first four pages of this thread again. Essentially, eight members made similar, substantive complaints about Klc's piece (in no order: Laurie, Toby, Ruthcook, Suzanne, Maggie, Retired chef, Stella and Robert Schonfeld); they each put it their own way, but were raising much the same points. No edited journal would have published every one of those contributions, because they are duplicative.

Seven members defended Steve, again making similar points about Schrambling's own aggressive style. Dave came out somewhere in the middle, I think, and G. Johnson raised a slightly different issue about the lack of citation in the article.

The rest was the usual backchat, much between Fat Bloke (with his fifteen contributions) and Plotz, and more or less successful attempts at humor. Certainly, none of that would have been published by an edited journal.

If you reduce this thread to its substance, it may be exemplary for a food web-site, but to suggest it is pioneering new ground in the interaction between writers and their readers is just nuts. Steven, if you didn't waste your rhetoric trying to bolster such a fatuous claim, I wouldn't have to waste my lunch shooting it down. Still, as long as we're keeping Soba out of mischief.

Edited by Wilfrid (log)
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Couple of points:

1. "Authors" on TDG engaging with "readers" and how unusual that is?! The author is also a poster, and he happens to be around to be engaged. This self-congratulation, we're a publication that responds to readers' comments, makes me laugh.

2. The belief that this site is the primary font of knowledge for food writers is getting a bit much. I saw this on CH and it used to bug the hell out of me and here it is here

"Regina doesn't see fit to date her blog entries or mention when her articles were originally published -- unlike any serious blogger or writer, on food or otherwise. So we're left to speculate whether she jumped on the "bash Otto pizza" bandwagon after reading all about it better (and in more depth) on eGullet. Our thread began on January 7th; her comments are credited with the representative journalistic precision of "mid-January."

Let's not get too big-headed. I'm sure lots of people have made conclusions on Otto's pizza without reading eGullet.

3. I'm wondering why Steve K's article wasn't more balanced? There's stuff of hers that Steve likes, but he offers details in a post (an after-thought, apparently) not the article:

"And actually, since no one else has done it yet, I found that even more troubling because her work right after 9/11 was some of the most endearing and heartfelt around--see if you can track down "As a City Craves Normalcy, Restaurants Seem to Be a Start" and ""When the path to serenity wends past the stove" from September: "The food is not really the thing. It’s the making of it that gets you through a bad time…cooking lets you cede control…there’s a reason they call it following a recipe.  Sometimes it just feels calming to know a cake needs exactly one teaspoon of salt and no less than half a pound of butter …whoever said cooking should be entered into with abandon or not at all had it wrong.  Going into it when you have no hope is sometimes just what you need to get to a better place.  Long before there were antidepressants, there was stew." That's just good stuff.)"

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As for the argument you're summarizing without explicitly embracing, I've got to say it's complete an utter nonsense. The implication is that two parties to a conflict are equally culpable just because they use the same weapons. No, Russ. Sometimes one party is justified and the other party is not, as is the case here.

with all due respect, that does seem to be a point about which reasonable minds are quite actively differing. i think what you're seeing is a "jerry springer" moment. while rants do thrill some of the crowd, they also seem to others to be gratuitous. as a publisher, for that is what you are, that is a decision you will have to make.

in my experience, the harsher the criticism, the gentler the language should be. the most devastating critiques i've read have also been the ones couched in the most sympathetic tones.

i think that holds true for all writers in all mediums, whether it is the new york times or the e-gullet front page.

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I suspect you are wrong. Who here has developed sympathy for Schrambling, and why? I would just love to hear the reasons.

I was feeling sympathetic, until I checked out her website and read some of the crap she's written. Her article about Madrid in particular really steamed me. After sneering at American tourists, she has the nerve to complain several times that her server didn't speak English. Her snide comment in the TV dinner article about working mothers didn't endear her to me either.

And who cares whether she has a microwave?

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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You can do better, Wilfrid.

Main Entry: pa·tron·ize

Pronunciation: 'pA-tr&-"nIz, 'pa-

Function: transitive verb

Inflected Form(s): -ized; -iz·ing

Date: 1589

1 : to act as patron of : provide aid or support for

2 : to adopt an air of condescension toward : treat haughtily or coolly

3 : to be a frequent or regular customer or client of

Number two above. Thanks to Merriam-Webster.

Edited by Wilfrid (log)
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Steven, if you didn't waste your rhetoric trying to bolster such a fatuous claim, I wouldn't have to waste my lunch shooting it down.

Main Entry: su·per·cil·ious

Function: adjective

Etymology: Latin superciliosus, from supercilium eyebrow, haughtiness, from super- + -cilium eyelid (akin to celare to hide) -- more at HELL

Date: 1598

: coolly and patronizingly haughty

(Same source.)

:raz:

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The belief that this site is the primary font of knowledge for food writers is getting a bit much.  I saw this on CH and it used to bug the hell out of me and here it is here.

Yvonne, I'm one who thinks the Chowhound management types (and a lot of users) are quite ridiculous and paranoid when it comes to this issue. At the same time, I do not see any institutional tendency at eGullet to make those kinds of claims. If I did see that tendency, you wouldn't have to wait for me to step in and refute it, as I have in specific instances where it has been alleged. I believe Steve K's point there was illustrative: by failing to date content, readers are left to speculate. That's all.

I do think this is an interesting subject worthy of its own thread on the media board. Perhaps you'd like to start it and propel us in the definitive discussion. Or you could try to make those points on Chowhound . . . just kidding. :laugh:

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The belief that this site is the primary font of knowledge for food writers is getting a bit much.  I saw this on CH and it used to bug the hell out of me and here it is here.

Or you could try to make those points on Chowhound . . . just kidding. :laugh:

I did make my points on CH when I defended Jonathan Gold

http://www.chowhound.com/boards/sitetalk/m...sages/3994.html

I was posting as Mr Reader.

Back to eGullet. The thinking behind Steve K's comment seems to be that if Schrambling's report was written AFTER the eG thread on Otto appeared here, then we can assume she was influenced by what was on the thread and instead of thinking for herself she simply and lazily regurgitated some eG's views. Schrambling's only way of being original and eGullet-influence free, according to this logic, is to write a review of Otto BEFORE the eG thread. This seems not right to me. And why insinuate at all? Isn't it a smear on a person's character to suggest that they jumped on the bandwagon "after reading all about it..on Gullet" and imply she might've used, in some way, the thinking presented here as her own views on her website when we have nothing to support those views?

["Regina doesn't see fit to date her blog entries or mention when her articles were originally published -- unlike any serious blogger or writer, on food or otherwise. So we're left to speculate whether she jumped on the "bash Otto pizza" bandwagon after reading all about it better (and in more depth) on eGullet. Our thread began on January 7th; her comments are credited with the representative journalistic precision of "mid-January"]

Spelling: Schrambling and grammar.

Edited by yvonne johnson (log)
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I'm not a foodie, nor am I a member of the eGullet "community." But I have to say your article about Regina Schrambling smacks of character assassination. I'm wondering what private score you're trying to settle here. Regina may piss a lot of people off with her Dorothy Parker witticisms, but her writing is always intelligent, stimulating and independent. When I read her articles, whether they be about Arthur Avenue in the Bronx or TV dinners, I know she's not trying to suck up to anybody. She's not worried about snagging freebies, an invite to the next cool restaurant opening or even a good table at the hot spot of the moment. Regina's always brutally honest and speaks her truth, regardless of the consequences. I'm sure that rankles a lot of people in the clubby New York food community. But it makes her a trusted friend of the reader (remember him?) and of the discriminating consumer.

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Youse guys make it possible for me to pass the time counting down the minutes to quitting time.

SA--I thought you didn't go home until midnight.

You mean, when I'm busy.

I haven't been busy for a little over a week and a half. I expect that this state of affairs won't continue for very long though.

SA

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[he LA Times has two fabulous food writers--Russ Parsons and Emily Green. Why Regina Schrambling has been brought into the mix is beyond me. I like what the new editor has done with the section, EXCEPT for her bizarre devotion to Schrambling.]

But how can you leave out Charles Perry--a true scholar, a great writer and so witty, too. I've seen Gold in action, and he's a sight to behold. He does everything but wear a Tshirt saying "I'm a Critic, Grovel".

I think Schrambling's pieces for the LATimes have been awfully lame. The TV dinners piece was just silly--doesn't she go to the frozen food aisle? But the letter to the editor who nailed her on the accompaning recipe was great. The LA Times varies between sublime and foolish, but at least they got rid of Rose Dosti.

While I'm new to egullet, I think that all forums, except fot the NYTimes, which employs full time posting nannies, have personal vendettas and feuds. That' s what's fun--and far less nasty than Usenet newsgroups. I like to see people take apart the high and not-so-mighty.

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