I want to be a culinary chameleon and just enjoy every end of every spectrum possible. I’ve drunk really expensive Bordeaux and I’ve also drunk the best banana milkshake in Brooklyn, and I feel whole for experiencing that spectrum.

Jim Leff on Open Source

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“I eat to live. I live to eat. I eat to eat more.” Those are the words of a true chowhound.

If your desk drawers are bursting with takeout menus, if you have the stamina to eat at five different restaurants in one night, if you have the willingness to eat boatloads of bad food in the quest for that one tasty treasure, consider yourself a chowhound.

Most of us who reside somewhere between “eating to live,” and “living to eat,??? might not recognize that there is a difference between a “foodie” and a “chowhound,” but the ultimate chowhound, Jim Leff, offers a distinction

Foodies eat where they’re told. They get excited about the hot new restaurant/cookbook/ingredient. They’ll go to unfamiliar neighborhoods to eat, but only with their Zagat securely in hand to guide them to The Accepted Places. Chowhounds, by contrast, are iconoclasts who spurn trends and established opinion and sniff out secret deliciousness on their own. The places they find and frequent today will show up in newspaper reviews in two years and in Zagat in four (by which time the restaurants usually will have grown crowded, overpriced, and lousy)

Jim Leff, Chowhound,”

Part of being a chowhound is not merely enjoying food but knowing where and how to find it. Many chowhounds claim that if a stark space has Formica counters and fluorescent lighting then it promises to be a gustatory paradise. If spices are growing in the window chances are you’ve found an invaluable eatery. If you are on the road, the yellow pages is your passport to the wonders of local cuisine.

Jim Leff of Chowhound.comwill be joining us this hour to discuss how you can find the best tamales and gumbo and strawberry shortcake in your corner of the world.

What edible traditions have you seen come and go? What delicacies would you put on the endangered species list? What new food is on the horizon? As franchises dominate the world will the chowhounds become extinct? What gustatory gems have you uncovered? Does the food court near you have the world’s best hot pretzels? Does your corner bakery offer the best cornbread in town? What edible wonders are you pursuing?

Jim Leff

Jim Leff didn’t know it at the time but he actually wrote one of the first food blogs What Jim Had for Dinner. This is now part of his popular website, known as the Zagat guide of the 21st century, Leff is a food critic who has eaten everything from every corner of the world.

Barry Strugatz

is a writer, director and filmmaker by day but he’s a 24/7 chowhound.

Ali Berlow

is a writer, home cook and weekly commentator on WCAI/WNAN, the Cape and Islands NPR stations.

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