Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bitchin' in the Kitchen

     It has been a while since I posted anything, too much too keep on top of at the end of summer. A family reunion, lots of fun, over way too fast and did I get pictures, well yes, two actually LOL. Canning apples, crabapples, tomatoes and all the variations of. It has been a little hectic.

     This was originally supposed to be a post about something I make at the end of summer, a bit different, something you might not think of. I decided to do a little checking around first to make sure the information I had was current and safe, big booster of food safety for the home preserver. I'd say canner but it wasn't a canning recipe per se. I was referred to a forum that came highly recommended because there were master canners on it who had lots of experience and knowledge to share. Sounds good, right?

     My experience on this forum is now the topic of this post, a less angry one because I have had some time to cool off. Here it is, my first, and probably not last bitchin' in the kitchen.

     I'm not going to name names or identify the forum, it doesn't really serve any purpose. My goal is not to discredit them or the people involved, only to maybe make people think a little before they type or speak for that matter.

     I was quite excited about this forum, from what I had read they were as concerned about food safety as I was and had offered decent advice on other topics I had read. In perusing other threads, I came across something which ran counter to what I thought I knew about a particular subject so I posed a question of my own. Big mistake.

    Rather than the information I was looking for I got referred to the threads I previously mentioned, which I had mentioned in my question looking for clarity and questioning why I would possibly want to do one of the things I had asked about. Thinking perhaps I hadn't been clear, I re submitted the question adding in what I knew about the topic. Now to be fair to all involved, my original query did mention I had been planning to gift what I was preparing, that's why I wanted the clarification.

     The next round of responses weren't quite as nice as the first. One basically called me irresponsible for wanting to gift something which was unsafe, another basically called me thick for being confused, while linking me to a pamphlet online which actually backed up what I thought I knew and ran counter to what they were saying. A quip "maybe a microbiologist could explain it better'  really got my blood boiling. At no point did anyone say "Oh, your understanding is flawed in this respect" and actually respond to the information I had posted.

     Another person asked a related question and got a "no responsible adult" response. Is it just me or is this becoming a little preachy and self righteous.

     Undaunted, maybe I really am a little thick, still thinking I'm just not being clear enough. I resubmit again, cutting and pasting information from the previously referred to articles that don't agree.

     Now I'm taking things out of context  and in other areas the information agrees. That's great, but I wasn't making the other things and I had no question about the other things. I had a specific question about a specific preparation and still two differing opinions.

    By this point, I'm now greatly annoyed and a little tired of being treated like an idiot. Rather than just dropping it like I should have, I copied and pasted the recipe, pointed out the differences and identified it as the continuing source of my confusion/concern.

     The final round of responses before I just abandoned the site entirely were just outright ridiculous. More implying I was irresponsible, the links had been provided for further information not recommendations etc etc etc all done in those annoying inappropriate capitals to emphasize a point. Hard to take very seriously and a big disappointment for me all around.

     After I had cooled down, I got to thinking about the whole rather negative experience and these are my conclusions.

     These people have no idea who I am, whether I'm concerned about safety or not, what level of cook I am, nothing. In an attempt to share what they considered a little wisdom or experience perhaps they were a little overzealous although I suspect I'm being kind.

     Perhaps the forum was not the right one to have posted my question. I really was looking for the microbiologist answer. I wanted the science and the why not just to have recommendations handed back to me that I had stated I already knew. My understanding of the science allows me to evaluate other recipes and preparations I find. It got me thinking, I could have asked my grandmother all about baking bread, she made thousands of loaves but if I had asked about the specific conditions required to optimise the growth of yeast, maybe not so much help. I finally did ask a microbiologist.

     My final thought on the subject, read the damn question before you answer. Make sure you understand the question before you submit an answer. If I'm providing specific information, that is what I want a response on, not your experience or your opinion and never your judgement. If you are providing additional information, make sure it agrees. What is the point of adding confusion?

     At some point we are all "newbies" and Internet forums can be a great place to find information. Is it really asking so much to be treated with some respect and to play nice? I will probably never visit the site again which is a shame. I'm sure there is lots I could learn and/or share but the whole experience has just left a bad taste in my mouth.

     And that's me bitchin'


  1. I am having the same problem with a certain comment system!! But then, you know about that also. Everything was working fine the previous 2 days, not it's all messed up for some people again and I am not getting my email notifications. One last attempt before I am considering abandoning it also! I know the support team was working on it today, so that might be why some people could comemnt, and some couldn't, at various points in the day.
    I know the guy wants to call me an idiot...and I wouldn't blame him at all. Duh, that's why I need a support team!
    Thanks for linking up today!

  2. I've never joined a forum, but now I'd think twice before I join one. I think your bitchin' here is totally valid!
    Visiting from Tuesday Coffee Chat. :)

  3. Forums can be a great source of information. Unfortunately be prepared for the people who just can't stay off their keyboards. even when they have nothing to say.
    Thanks for the visit.


Thanks for your comment, I hope you enjoyed your time in the "Kitchen".