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Greatest Quote Ever


Sneakeater
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You know, this article doesn't really pertain to food -- it pertains to journalism. Notice the headline, Great Moments in Journalism: There's No Way We Could Do Better Than "Ooh la la." The mention of food is pretty incidental. It's a string of little articles about bad journalism.

To write about food and not know what foie grass is, is kinda like writing about -- I dunno -- about cars and not knowing what a transmission or a turbo charger is...

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OK, since we're finding our way(s) into understanding Ms. Hale's delemma, how about a round of penance. 

I just had to google "al pastor."

Me too :rolleyes:

Yankees. :biggrin:

The review sounds awful. On the other hand, I'm sure I've written some howlers. Hopefully not that bad, but it's part of the job.

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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But "I would have accidentally ordered goose liver pate as an appetizer"? Is Chicago on another planet in the eyes of Hoosiers?

All bird livers aside, yes Chicago is on another planet from the rest of Ilinois and definitely from all of Indiana.

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nope, butter is a fat. it may flow (that means it's fluid), but liquid means water-based, which means (to bring this back to cooking) that it can't get above 212 degrees, and therefore provides a gentle cooking medium.

Huh??? Since when does the word 'liquid' mean water-based? Direct from Merriam-Webster on-line-- "a fluid (as water) that has no independent shape but has a definite volume and does not expand indefinitely and that is only slightly compressible ." Note that it states 'as water', not that liquid is water.

"Fat is money." (Per a cracklings maker shown on Dirty Jobs.)
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Same duck story as Vervain, although fortunately I only embarrassed myself in front of my much-more-culinarily-experienced wife, who corrected me before I got to the waiter.

(Years later, an associate accompanying me on a business trip to Germany did the same thing as Vervain, despite my insistence he'd been given the duck he ordered.)

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OK, since we're finding our way(s) into understanding Ms. Hale's delemma, how about a round of penance. 

I just had to google "al pastor."

Me too :rolleyes:

et moi aussi :sad:

Oh I do hope there isn't going to be a vocabulary test by the end of this string. I don't think I'd do all that well without my reference books and Google! :wacko:

Emily
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Oh I do hope there isn't going to be a vocabulary test by the end of this string.  I don't think I'd do all that well without my reference books and Google!

You'll be given a list of dishes characteristic to 20 different world cuisines (e.g., French: pâté de foie gras.) Give a concise description of each dish. Those below the passing mark are herewith declared officially "unqualified" to write about food. Those who fail again upon re-examination will have their accounts terminated. :rolleyes:

Unlike some other threads (rhymes with "loony"), I don't feel the issue here is minimum knowledge or qualifications. It's more about different groups finding opposite conclusions "obvious" and then, sadly, using that as a form of belittlement (implicit or explicit.) The reviewer is as guilty of this as we are. As Megan says, the tone is clearly, "of course, no one likes goose liver pate, so thank goodness I didn't order it by accident, because, obviously, it would have been gross." It's probably fair to say that the reviewer thinks her readers will be sympathetic to this. And it's probably fair to say she'd know her readers better than we would. What makes this unfortunate is the opinion of others that foie gras is "one of the most delectable foods on earth."

BTW, setting the bar at "enharmonic modulation" is way too high in that 1) I suspect many practicing music critics would fail it 2) I can't imagine a music review that'd be helped by mentioning it, and 3) it goes against my assertion that one can be a fine music critic without musical training -- I'm looking at you SE.

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poaching implies cooking in liquid and, as we all know, butter ain't one.

Ummm.... last time I checked, it sure looked to me like melted butter was a liquid. I would think that, just because butter isn't a liquid in all its permutations, doesn't mean it can't be considered a liquid for certain uses.

what butter is:

"The fat breakdown of ghee is 65% saturated and 32% monounsaturated (the other 3% is polunsaturated, linoleic and alpha linoleic fat). The breakdown of butter is 63% saturated and 26% monounsaturated (again the remainder is the other types of fat). So, in other words, there is not a significant different in saturated fat content."

Karen McLaughlin, M.Sc., RD

www.adrianvasquez.net

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Oops! Having completely missed the fact that an entire page of posts had intervened between the ones I replied to and my reply, I see that this discussion has gotten past the initial heat to the point where some light had been shed, including some useful information about the reporter. Still, now that the full text is available, everyone participating in this discussion can reach their own conclusions about whether we were too hard on her or not.

Fat Guy's subsequent comments on his own development as a food writer suggests that maybe we have been. And his point about how editors think is worth keeping in mind. What most J-schools teach their students is the mechanics of their craft, not the substance of what they will cover. (I still remember to this day the advice the managing editor of The Kansas City Star gave me as I was about to head from their newsroom to college: "You already know how to write news stories. Major in something you want to write about." So political science it was. Funny--I've written about just about everything but politics for pay since.) The substantive stuff, it's assumed, they will get in their electives or pick up as they go along once they're working.

So to the extent that I haven't given Ms. Hale the benefit of the doubt, I apologize. But she was not well served by both the editor who threw her into the shark tank and her lack of preparation for the swim.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Jeez. The point isn't to be be hard on her. The point is, she wrote something that's unintentionally very funny. Maybe it's too bad it happened, and certainly it's her editor's fault more than hers. But that doesn't change the facts that (a) it's public (i.e., specifically written for public consumption) and (b) it's funny. Things that are public and funny are fair game for quotation.

I know that my intentions as thread initiator are fairly irrelevant, but I didn't post that quote to start a diatribe against ignorant food writers (and I intentionally omitted the author's name). I posted that quote because this particular ignorant food writer wrote something I found amusing, and thought that others here would find amusing. And I still find it so.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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But "I would have accidentally ordered goose liver pate as an appetizer"? Is Chicago on another planet in the eyes of Hoosiers?

All bird livers aside, yes Chicago is on another planet from the rest of Ilinois and definitely from all of Indiana.

Keep in mind that a pate can be made of goose liver, and not contain a gram of foie gras. Long as we're getting uppity on this woman's review, we could keep our own jargon straight -- "foie" and "foie gras" are two different items.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Jeez.  The point isn't to be be hard on her.  The point is, she wrote something that's unintentionally very funny.  Maybe it's too bad it happened, and certainly it's her editor's fault more than hers.  But that doesn't change the facts that (a) it's public (i.e., specifically written for public consumption) and (b) it's funny.  Things that are public and funny are fair game for quotation.

I know that my intentions as thread initiator are fairly irrelevant, but I didn't post that quote to start a diatribe against ignorant food writers.  I posted that quote because this particular ignorant food writer wrote something I found amusing, and thought that others here would find amusing.  And I still find it so.

Yer right. It is funny too.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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It is hilarious.

And I'm awfully glad the food police weren't there to witness some of my early attempts at dining on the unfamiliar (although maybe they could have advised me not to try to eat the leaves of the artichoke).

Edited by H. du Bois (log)
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I broke down and paid to read it. My favorite line: "Next Time: I would be braver and try a fish entree." That, and the fact that she ordered beef medium well, tells me that she is not a food writer and has no pretensions of being one.

I have a question: given the somewhat stilted format of the review -- rather than being written like a traditional review, it has a variety of headings ("The Service" "The Price" "Next Time") each winning its own few sentances beneath -- I wonder if the premise of the review is to send "regular people" to the restaurants in order to show a more populist view. Or, did she get a plum (ha ha) assignment for doing good work elsewhere, while the regular reviewer was on vacation?

I tried to find the menu on line but could not. I'm still wondering if it read "foie gras" or "pate foie d'oie," which is a more obscure phrase (I was a waiter in a French restaurant: everyone knows "pate;" "foie gras" and "canard" are more obscure; and only French people know what "oie" is.

Finally, has anyone considered e-mailing this woman to get her side of the story? As long as journalistic principles are being discussed, giving the other person an opportunity to respond seems just.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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it's public (i.e., specifically written for public consumption)

Dude, I promise that if I find anything embarrassing in your history of 1,500+ public posts here I'll go easy on you. You do the same for me, okay? Please?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I have a question:  given the somewhat stilted format of the review -- rather than being written like a traditional review, it has a variety of headings ("The Service" "The Price" "Next Time") each winning its own few sentances beneath -- I wonder if the premise of the review is to send "regular people" to the restaurants in order to show a more populist view.  Or, did she get a plum (ha ha) assignment for doing good work elsewhere, while the regular reviewer was on vacation?

I've been reading through some past restaurant reviews in the Indianapolis Star (a perk of having university connections and a research librarian husband :biggrin: ) and, yes, almost all of them use the headings. But the other reviews seem to be from more food-experienced people. That being said, the articles feel more like reports than reviews: I went (once) with a couple of friends and this is what it was like which, I would guess, is the newspaper's editorial stance. Personally, I've got no problem with that.

I don't think I can paste in any entire reviews (legal issues?), but here are a few bits from one in particular:

Foodie-licious -

New Broad Ripple eatery serves with a flair -- and for a price that's worth it

Indianapolis Star, The (IN)

July 21, 2006

Author: SHARI RUDAVSKY SHARI.RUDAVSKY@INDYSTAR.COM

Estimated printed pages: 3

My parents are New York foodies who follow chefs' comings and goings the way some fans follow sports teams. So whenever they visit Indianapolis, I strive to introduce them to a new gastronomic experience that involves neither a pork tenderloin nor a chain restaurant.

The arrival of a Broad Ripple restaurant that billed itself as preparing mostly local foods in creative ways sounded like the perfect place for their next visit. But just to be sure, I wanted to check out L'explorateur for myself.

The Food

With no appetite-distracting bread in the offing, our dinner began with an amuse-bouche of a quarter-sized crisp risotto croquette with a basil flourish.

Next was a salad of grilled baby romaine topped with a scattering of diced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and a piquant dressing ($7). The ingredients melded marvelously with each bite, with the lukewarm lettuce anchoring the taste.

Still, I almost regretted not ordering the chevre and vidalia onion tart ($8) on my companion's plate. The sweet caramelized onions danced against the goat cheese in our mouths and the tart was gone before I knew it -- and before I could snag a second bite.

* * * *

A dessert of a grapefruit sorbet with tarragon spritzer ($7) offered a tart and cool ending to the meal. (We passed up the other option, a "beetsicle" with beet-flavored ice cream.)

But at first the tarragon spritzer, served in a small black cup with a short black straw, had us flummoxed. We experimented with using the straw to drizzle syrup on the sorbet but then, with a hint from the waiter, switched to sipping on it for a refreshing end to the meal.

The Atmosphere

Almost as much attention has been given to the setting as to the food. Clean crisp lines and plenty of natural light give this restaurant an airy feel.

The Service

Dishes arrive via a parade of sorts, with as many servers as there are diners, marching out, each carrying a plate. Once they reach the table, they hover, and, in sync and with a flourish, deliver the dishes simultaneously in a rather pretentiously choreographed dance.

* * * *

Edited by Vervain (log)
Emily
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see folks, writing about food is harder than it looks!

[edited not to be so flip about a sad situation]

there is a strain in modern newspaper editing that holds that readers want to know what regular people just like them think. this may have something to do with the fact that you don't have to pay regular people as much as you do specialists. the way it usually plays out, it also betrays a tragically low regard for the readers (if those are regular people, my god!). the first time i ran into this was about 25 years ago at a paper in texas, when the publisher started writing movie reviews after our designated critic panned what the publisher thought was the greatest movie of all time: smoky and the bandit II (i'm not making this up). it rarely works any better than that.

see, i think "regular people" are a whole helluva lot smarter than that, and i think that they want to get even smarter. and so they really do want to read things by people that educates them or that gives them an alternative point of view to what they may already know. but then again, that's why i'm a columnist and not a publisher.

Edited by russ parsons (log)
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