An interesting post from Eating Ice Cream in the Dark, viz then things they want people to do before they post an online review:
- Poach a perfect egg.
- Make mayonnaise.
- Whip cream by hand.
- Make veal stock.
- Butcher a chicken.
- Fillet a fish.
- Grill a steak to medium rare.
- Bake a yeast bread.
- Identify a wine’s varietal by blind taste.
- Host a dinner party for ten without hired help.
The Cod agrees. These are things you should do, and often. But as prerequisites for sharing your opinion about a meal you have spent your time and money to eat? Not so much. At first, the entire post struck me as huffy, and generally assy, viz "
It seems everyone has become a critic. It’s nearly effortless to pass judgement, publicly, on every dining experience... I ask for very little. Before you post your next Yelp! review, complete the ten tasks I have listed above.
Heaven knows, The Cod is no fan of Yelp, but geez. It is not necessary to perform the task in order to be able to evaluate how someone else does the task. Only novelists can review novels? Only currently active gymnasts can score gymnastics? Nuh uh.
But! The conclusion goes a long way toward redeeming the post.
"Maybe your next meal won’t revolve around criticism, but instead a shared sensory experience. The table will become a place for conversation, intoxication, and rest. Your dining experience will be enriched by what you have learned. I promise."
I read this as "if you cook, you will have a deeper enjoyment of what others cook for you." This is totally true. One of the best recent dining expereinces I've had was sitting at the bar at Farm 255 and chatting w/ Whitney Otawka about making bearnaise. Turns out the way my mom taught me, and the way Thomas Keller taught her are quite different. That's not a conversation I can have if I've never made bearnaise myself.
It might just be me, but conversations between a professional and passionate amateur always remind me of Lance and Kilgore in the chopper.