Rantings From A Food Critic

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Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

I’m not your typical food critic. I don’t go to restaurants, scare the employees, order several dishes from the menu, and then write my opinions in the most sought after review columns.

Nope. Not me.

I’m the worst kind of critic. I HATE FOOD.

Hate is a pretty strong word, don’t you think? I dislike food – intensely.

I get very little joy out of food. I eat because I have to eat. People have told me they wish they could be like me. No – you don’t. Really. Trust me.

It’s super hard to come up with meal ideas when you don’t want to eat anything. I’m never in the mood for anything. I mean – NEVER.  I never crave anything either. (Except chocolate and caramel.) Not even when I was pregnant. The task of preparing meals for the Noodges and the Coffee King is daunting. I never know where to begin since I don’t care about the result. Food is for survival purposes only.

Obviously, I know which food groups are good for you. I use chicken, fish, and poultry as my base and build from there. But to say I’m in the mood for herb crusted chicken blah, blah, blah with a side of green yada, yada, yada won’t happen.

When I was a kid, my Italian mother would stand above me and shout, “but what’s there not to like? It’s only sausage and potatoes!” My Pop-Pop, (Italian grandfather straight off the boat) often asked when I refused to eat anything with tomato sauce, “What kind of an Italian are you?” The kind that likes cannolis, Italian cookies, Italian bread, and pretty much anything my professional baker Pop-Pop could make.

It wasn’t until I was in my forties that I discovered the source of my problem. I’m a supertaster. I have too many taste buds. (This is a real thing. I’m not making it up.) Lots of foods like broccoli, coffee, anything sour, taste really bitter to me. You should’ve been there when I accidentally ate broccoli rabe at a conference luncheon and needed to spit it out – immediately. It wasn’t pretty. What tastes like normal food to others taste terrible to me. In fact, I’m not sure I know what “normal” tastes like. I prefer to stick to anything bland. Macaroni with butter is an all time favorite of mine. On those Sunday dinners growing up, my grandmother would pull out some of the spaghetti for me and put butter on it before she dumped her homemade sauce on the rest.

So, tell me. What’s your favorite dish? What’s on the menu tonight?

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4 thoughts on “Rantings From A Food Critic

  1. You know, my father-in-law is the same way: He eats out of “biological necessity” (his words), not enjoyment of the act itself. But I never knew there was such a condition as “super-tasting”! That’s interesting…

    People in L.A. hate me, because they’re all such foodies who want to check out the latest tapas bar or trendy eatery (and we have no shortage of the sort here in Tinseltown), but those places are my idea of culinary hell. If you told me tomorrow that every meal for the rest of my life would be taken in either a Greek diner or a British pub, I would pretty much die and go to Heaven on the spot! Just give me a Coke and a club sandwich for lunch, and a beer and a burger for dinner, and I swear I’d never need anything else for as long as I lived! So, the irony is, whereas everyone I know chooses a fancy restaurant to go to on their birthday, I’m the one that goes out to a dive bar for mine! (And everyone pretty much loathes me for it…) Haha!

  2. I totally like your father-in-law. It’s hard to find a kindred spirit like me. He and I should go to lunch some time. Ha ha. The first time I read about a supertaster was in Oprah’s magazine. I tried to find the article for this post, but she’s got her stuff locked up tight. Couldn’t find it. When I read that article, years ago, I called my mother and said, “I have a condition. You can stop yelling at me now.” Wink.

    You really are living in the wrong town. You’re a New Yorker through and through. Your neighbors would hate me too. I’d much rather go to pub (not a fan of the diner, sorry) and order my boring grilled chicken wrap with mozzarella cheese, no mayo, than any fancy restaurant. When I do go out to dinner with friends, I always tell them I’m not a daring eater, and I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a meal. It’s a waste for me. There’s a great Irish pub in Metuchen I enjoy. You’d probably like it.

    1. Irish pubs are my favorite! You can throw a rock and hit a good one in the tri-state, but here in California they’re hard (though not impossible) to come by.

      And the other thing that annoys me — and I blame tapas-bar culture for this — is sharing plates. I’m happy to let you sample a bite of what I’m having, but I just wanna eat my own goddamn meal, and you eat yours! Sharing is for kindergartners! Haha!

      1. The big joke in my house is I don’t like sharing my food! If someone takes a bite, it’s usually accompanied by my professional eye roll. My son has inherited my distaste for sharing food as well.

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