Monday, March 12, 2007

Will Eat for Money?

I realize that because of a generous mention by Sam, anyone reading this is probably a foodista. You may even be reviewing restaurants online, and more power to you and your gut if you are. But if you're thinking about going into dining as a line of work, there's something you should know. (Apologies if you've heard this old standard of mine before.) Restaurant reviewing is a lot like prostitution.

You take a normal bodily function, perform it over and over again for money, and put a lot of strange things in your mouth.

Sure, restaurant reviewing is fun for the first couple of years (I don't know about prostitution), but if you must do it for any length of time, here's some advice:

One: Don't do it in the late 1970s. That's when I took up the fork and pen as a way to break into newspapers. Food was barely invented then and I was forced to do battle with salads of hacked iceberg lettuce and glopped protein called "continental cuisine." Most of the latter was previously frozen, so I assume the continent in question was Antarctica. A line I used at the time.

Two: Don't do it in B markets, if you can help it. I dug through the ancient cuisines of Palo Alto and Orlando and, except for some good stuff served on Formica counters, the best that could be said then was that Palo Alto was an hour's drive from Chez Panisse and Orlando was two days' drive from New Orleans. At least I was sort of qualified for the job, having worked at several bad restaurants in my youth, and having a sharp-tongued, super-tasting partner in the detection of culinary crimes. Thank you, Cookiecrumb, for your patience in the misuse of your palate.

Three: No matter where on the time/space continuum you choose to become a restaurant critic, just try going back to your favorite places for your favorite dishes. You can't do it unless you're seriously bankrolled and seriously bulemic. You have to keep moving on, free-ranging (well, forced-ranging) through good restaurants and bad. The worse they are, the more times you have to visit, to make sure you're right about how wrong their food is.

No, if you want to eat well, do something else for a living, something that doesn't eat you.


Beccy said...

I always thought it would be nice to be paid for eating out all the time but after reading that...maybe not.

Beccy said...

P.S. Meant to say thanks for stopping by, it's great to blog meet you.

cranky said...

Nice to blog meet you.

Anna Haight said...

To think I do it for fun! I enjoy your writing and have been following Cookiecrumb's blog for some time. Glad to see you've taken up the blogging pen too.