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Stephen Shaw Leaving eGullet.org

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#1 DonRocks

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 11:54 AM

I just received a PM alerting me that Stephen Shaw, aka, "Fat Guy," is moving on from eGullet.

People may find it odd that I'd have a touch of sadness in learning of this (I've never met either Stephen or Jason Perlow, eGullet's other co-founder, and most people think I left eGullet in something of a huff (which, I suppose, is true, but it was more "out of necessity" than "in a huff."))

Regardless, donrockwell.com would not exist had it not been for eGullet, and indirectly, had it not been for Stephen and Jason. To the best of my memory, it all started right here, with this post, written on July 27, 2003. Less than a year later, I had become DC & DelMarVa Forum Host, and a year (and 1,116 posts) after that, donrockwell.com was born.

It's been awhile since I browsed through my old eGullet posts, but it's comforting to know that they're still there. It would be easy enough to find them - just sign onto eGullet, click on my profile, and then click on "View Content." The other internet forum I was active in, probably also logging many hundreds of posts, was eRobertParker.com, previously the "Mark Squires" board, which has since become password-protected and closed to the general public. That irritates me, quite frankly, because had I known that one day all the writing I did would be essentially wiped out, I would have never written anything to begin with. I haven't seen my posts in years, but to this day I confidently stand behind my position in the "debate" I had with Pierre Rovani over the 1993 vs. 1994 white Burgundies.

Just know that the posts on donrockwell.com will remain in perpetuity, as a permanent document chronicling the history of DC area restaurants. Your words here will never be lost, and at the risk of repeating myself, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank every one of our members for being the backbone of the website.

This post has drifted a bit, so let me end by saying that I wish the best for Stephen Shaw, our own Jason Perlow, and also Steve Klc, without whom I would have never become an eGullet Forum Host - it was Steve alone who coaxed out and nurtured the writer hidden inside of me. I haven't forgotten what he did for me and I never will.

Cheers,
Rocks

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#2 thistle

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 04:05 PM

I love egullet, too-although now, DR.com is my first viewed forum, I also hit up Chowhound, Yelp, & egullet(on egullet, I'm lbnoble)- the more food input, the better...what's so funny to me, is how I start to feel how I know these folks behind their screen names, kind of strange, knowing someone mostly in a virtual sense. I don't post nearly as much as I lurk, but I have learned so much from so many people I will never meet...thanks, everyone....

#3 JPW

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:37 AM

I'll never forget when I found out about eG. There was an article in the WaPo food section about the controversy of Rick Bayless consulting for Burger King in 2004(?) that mentioned eG. I think that I was on the site for almost a day straight. As time went on things changed (as they always do).

I'd say that the vast majority of my friends in DC are people I met through eG and that migrated over here after the infamous new "Events Policy" kerfluffle and Don founding this site.

Just did a quick check, and there have been 8 posts in the DC forum at eG since the beginning of June.

Joe
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#4 DonRocks

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:46 AM

I'd say that the vast majority of my friends in DC are people I met through eG and that migrated over here after the infamous new "Events Policy" kerfluffle and Don founding this site.


Reading comments like this brings teats to my eyes (quite literally, sometimes), and makes everything - no matter how bad things may seem at any given moment - worth it.

Okay, I see the typo, and it's just too funny to fix.

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#5 DonRocks

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:12 AM

I'd say that the vast majority of my friends in DC are people I met through eG and that migrated over here after the infamous new "Events Policy" kerfluffle and Don founding this site.


Posts like this mean the world to me, knowing that I've taken my own misfortune and parlayed it into other people's happiness.

And, I had my first-ever non-Peter-Smith Primanti Brothers experience two days ago in Monroeville, Pennsylvania: The Pitts-Burger Cheese Steak ($6.29), described as "the original Almost Famous sirloin beef patty sandwich that feeds the spirited fans of Pittsburgh." Plenty of Higgs bosons here, with a pounded (grounded?) patty, a distant cousin of beef sausage with an almost kubideh-like impression, in there, somewhere, buried amongst the rubble of good, vinegary cole slaw (mandatory for its acidity), thick, red slices of ripe tomato, grilled strands of onions, lots of melted mild Provolone, and of course, the disaster heap: a mound of hand-cut french fries - the whole thing somehow crammed between two thick, burly slices of Italian white bread.

Just as this sandwich could not have been any less healthy, neither could it have been any more perfect for the situation - Matt and I having just checked out, thrown our suitcases into the car, filled the tank; and staring down a multi-hour ride down the Pennsylvania Turnpike, through Breezewood, onto I-70 (a respectful "can't do it, Bubba" issued to the Park-N-Dine), and onward into the blast furnace now known as no-AC/DC.

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#6 DanielK

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:31 AM

I'd say that the vast majority of my friends in DC are people I met through eG and that migrated over here after the infamous new "Events Policy" kerfluffle and Don founding this site.


Seconded.

#7 qwertyy

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:56 AM

I'd say that the vast majority of my friends in DC are people I met through eG and that migrated over here after the infamous new "Events Policy" kerfluffle and Don founding this site.


What "events policy" kerfuffle?

#8 MC Horoscope

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:00 PM

I thought Mayhaw Man did some of the most memorable writing in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the breaking of the levees.

#9 B.A.R.

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:48 PM

What "events policy" kerfuffle?


e- gullet changed from a .com to a .org in the hopes of accomplishing something I was never too sure of. One of the things they cracked down on when switching to a .org was any organization of off-line or group activities. The site was to be only about discussion of and education about food.

The DC chapter was a really cool and vibrant forum, and had grown as a community. It pissed many off, Rocks left, and everyone followed him.

At least that's what I remember, but that was 7 years an 100 bottles of gin ago so I can't be too sure.

Brian Reymann
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#10 Barbara

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 01:13 PM

What "events policy" kerfuffle?


When eGullet changed its corporate structure in 2005, the decision was made to put the kibosh on the whole "On a Whim" thing and disallowed the casual, social aspect (except with permission from the top dogs and adding a fee on top of whatever else was being spent), which rather dramatically affected folks here and in NYC. Among the things forbidden was the "I'm going to be in town on such-and-such a date and would like to meet fellow eGulleteers", etc. I dragged Dame Edna to a meeting at Tonic in MP to try and figure out what to do. Met lots of folks that cold, February evening; but it initially spurred a list serve for all of us to keep in touch with one another--since doing that through eGullet wasn't going to really be possible--and then a couple of months later, Don started this website and we all moved over here en masse. I stopped spending much time over there, especially after Fifi died--she was a moderator in Texas and was helpful to me with a particular issue.

Completely agree with MC Horoscope's comments about Mayhaw Man and his writings after Katrina. Brought it all home for me.

ETA: I was typing this while B.A.R. was doing the same.

#11 DonRocks

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 01:23 PM

e- gullet changed from a .com to a .org in the hopes of accomplishing something I was never too sure of. One of the things they cracked down on when switching to a .org was any organization of off-line or group activities. The site was to be only about discussion of and education about food.

The DC chapter was a really cool and vibrant forum, and had grown as a community. It pissed many off, Rocks left, and everyone followed him.

At least that's what I remember, but that was 7 years an 100 bottles of gin ago so I can't be too sure.


Thing is, though, now I can understand eGullet's need to try ... something. Despite all appearances, there's no such thing as a free party. However, what they tried (and the way they implemented it) was a bad idea - I was "that poor girl" at the airline counter when all the flights were canceled, getting screamed and cussed at by irate customers. I really didn't want to leave eGullet; I just didn't see any alternative - I had completely devoted myself to them, but everything just came crashing down within a matter of days and there wasn't anything I could do to stop it.

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#12 B.A.R.

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 02:29 PM

e-gullet was amazing when I first stumbled upon it (2002 mayb?e). Just a huge wealth of very informed writers and business insiders. It is a shell of its former self.

Brian Reymann
I'm in the business but content here solely my own and is not associated with my employer at all.

Sometimes, I try to disassociate myself from my own opinions.


#13 hillvalley

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:18 PM

I got a bit nostalgic when I read the email; we had a good run over there.

How do you know you're a well-adjusted foodie?-babka
Will schmooz for schmaltz-qwertyy
 
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#14 Waitman

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 10:14 AM

it was a lot of fun for a long while. And, as Don's (wildly unsatisfactory) replacement as DC-DelMarVa Admin, it gave me a moment of status in the on-line food world.

Sadly, they started to take themselves too seriously and, in an effort to cater to culinary purists, they drove people who merely enjoy eating and talking about food away.

"Don't go braggin' about how cool and clean your kitchen is. 'Caus if your kitchen's so cool and clean, ain't nothin' cookin'!"

-- Jesse Jackson


#15 Anna Blume

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 12:59 PM

Shaw and Perlow built something pretty amazing and for a few months I felt thrilled and fortunate to have stumbled upon egullet during that golden afternoon of its heyday and to participate in what was indeed, an international community that counted the likes of Ruhlman, Bourdain, Wolfert, and new to me, Russ Parsons and Dorie Greenspan, among its members.

Once name-recognition became less of a new, exciting thing, it was easy to enjoy the contributions, wit and knowledge shared by fellow, plain ol' ordinary members. I learned more about baking, was intrigued by reports from Japan from a (then) former midwesterner and loved Mayhaw Man (right?)'s instigation of the whole pie vs. cake debate. Andrew Fenton's silly experiment with fermenting hot dogs was a blast, too. Never thought I'd write a villanelle about the subject. And I'm proud to have prodded along a courtship between two members I've never met, though the now husband, express-mailed a cake from Bouchon as a thank-you.

Sadly, the problems with egullet quickly became apparent to someone as willful and stubborn as myself since part of the transformation of the Society ( :rolleyes:) was a more rigid managerial style that seemed to operate from the top down and sent lower-tier administrators after those more intent on having fun than edifying its membership. PMs from management that were warm and welcoming at the beginning of my tenure ultimately became ones of censure and control. Posts were deleted and some of the writing I am most proud of--such as a story involving praying manti and Christmas cookies--got deep-sixed before I could try to retrieve it.

While many of you spent much time in the DC forum, I retreated from the most trafficked forums above to the International section below where an enthusiastic, encouraging group collaborated for over a year in cooking our way through Italy, turning to a new region each month. There we were pretty much left alone for a while and truly enjoyed the perfect synthesis of education and pleasure.

Unfortunately, further reorganization of eGullet's management put international forums under the supervision of a handful of (mostly) US-based management and we lost the local, up-to-date expertise of those living in the countries or regions under discussion.

One of the best things the site did for many of its members is precisely what it has done for Stephen Shaw: effect a move into a new, professional life.

#16 DonRocks

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 04:09 PM

mongo, remind me never to tick you off. :P :unsure:

(Why have I never seen this before? This is brilliant satire.)

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#17 Barbara

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 06:38 PM

mongo, remind me never to tick you off. :P :unsure:

(Why have I never seen this before? This is brilliant satire.)


Gosh, I haven't thought about Mongo Jones in years. Wasn't he expelled from eGullet before everything hit the fan? Seems to be still nursing the old wounds.

Oh, and I forgot that we all moved over to mouthfulsfood.com before DR.com was started. It was a bit of problem because if you just searched for "Mouthfuls" you were directed to a porn site. :wacko:

#18 JPW

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 11:24 AM

I had forgotten all about mongomania. That was a collection of highly disturbed hilarious people.
I still poke my head in at Mouthfulsfood from time to time, mainly for Florida Jim's wine tasting notes.

Joe
skewing old


#19 Tweaked

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 12:56 PM

I have the menu from the first eGullet Corduroy dinner framed and hanging up on my kitchen wall.

Meat is Murder...Tasty Tasty Murder


#20 DonRocks

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 01:28 PM

I have the menu from the first eGullet Corduroy dinner framed and hanging up on my kitchen wall.


Is this the one where Melissa McCart "won" a signed copy of my newspaper article? :rolleyes: :lol:

Given the whole recent Black Blowup, and my related Administrative Announcement, I recently revisited this tantalizing topic (I'm using a lot of alliteration, alas) about Anonymity and Pseudonyms. I encourage everyone to read that eGullet thread - it is discussed there in depth. I agonized over this decision in 2005, and rethinking it now, I see no convincing reason to change our policy of allowing pseudonyms, as long as members register with their real names. That having been said, I think Facebook is really stupid to even consider allowing pseudonyms, now that they've already got half of the world as members happily using their real names.

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