Cookware seems to generate more digression and drift than other HO discussions. Why? Probably because of several things.
Cookware can be discussed in terms of measurable performance (even though it is objective, someone will always disagree with it), aesthetics, value, necessity, and so on.
*. Cookware is used for (drum roll) making food and is prone to wobbling off course when people pull in their own cooking experience.
*. Cookware often veers into opinions based on interests, techniques, and collections that are not widely appreciated.
*. Cookware brings up issues of provenance, construction, materials, etc. that are polarizing.
I may well be a regular offender, but it seems that when someone tries to get us back on topic it rarely goes anywhere good.
Maybe we need a Cookware Discussion and Drift thread!
Oh, I think drift is natural and welcome, especially in cookware. Discussion of a pan can be excruciatingly dry if also discussing the food in the pan or its implications is verboten. At one point, Chowhound attempted to strictly enforce such a prohibition, and it came off as uselessly (impotently?) heavy-handed. Very few Hounds actually ever visited Site Talk unless there was a fresh leak of sewer gas.
The irony abounds. First, you posted this OP here, where a very large % of posters willingly fled CH. Second, you didn’t post it where the doctrinaire CH moderators would’ve required: “Culture, Chains, and General Discussion” (aka the Gulag). Third, is this digression thread itself off-topic?
I think discussion without any digression or drift is dry and impersonal. With some, it’s more friendly and social. And people tend to vote with their feet–if a thread can’t be brought back “on topic”, there’s a case to be made it’s played out.
One good thing that CH did was let moderators move good digression worthy of its own thread to… its own thread.
Now, total thread hijacks, I’m not in favor of. So who wants to hijack this thread by asking a real cookware question?
(Keyrock the unfrozen caveman lawyer; your world frightens & confuses me)
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow flying between a less expensive PIC plate and a Control Freak PIC placed 1 mile apart, and which plate is the better performer for cooking said unladen swallow?
One huge mistake is the topic “cookware.” A lot better would be practical kitchen cooking systems–far more indicative than pots and pans.
One way to help is actually the way you’ve structured this thread: a good introduction with purpose. I think you still need to get more specific and focused to keep discussions substantive–while allowing the personal stories.
I agree with many people’s views and they all capture many important aspects. I think why cookware drift is because of two things. First, cookware themselves often are not the end-all be-all. Someone want to know if they should buy a carbon steel pan or a stainless steel pan. We buy a specific cookware with certain expectations. So these expectations need to be discussed. Or I buy a carbon steel knife but do not know how to keep it sharp.,etc, This is different than I go to restaurant A and I have an amazing experience, here are some photos of the dishes…etc. A restaurant review or a recipe discussion can be an end-all be-all discussion.
Second, it is a matter of perceptions too. When someone talks about their daughter going to college, somehow it just seems less of a jump from when the previous discussion was about growing tomatoes than was about copper core triple layer sauce pan. They are both a jump/drift, but one just seems a little more smooth.