Garlic and Sapphires, by Ruth Reichl, is a fun and easy read, the perfect commuter or airplane book. She talks about all the funny disguises she went through as the NY Times Food critic and each one is paired with a restaurant review. I went through the book thinking, if only I had been reading her reviews, I could have saved myself the anguish of dining at Sparks, or perhaps I would have gone to Daniel years earlier.

Jess reading Garlic and Sapphires

Each time I put the book down, I spent time, sometimes subconsciously, thinking about the similarities and differences between being a NY Times Food Critic and a food blogger. After all, I announced my desire to be a food critic at the age of 6.

So Garlic and Sapphires is all about the adventures Ruth experiences as different people. She placed understandable importance over anonymity. As a food blogger, photos are a big part of what my viewers expect. Assuming that I was ever recognizable, how would I hide my camera (and still get the photos)? Ultimately, I don’t think the restaurant can do much  to change their food. If they recognize that they are being reviewed, they can put their best foot forward but the chef will not suddenly become more talented and the ingredients they have will not get better. Service may very well become more attentive, but servers do not suddenly become more knowledgeable.

Next, Ruth explained that she visited each restaurant at least 3 times before reviewing it. Of course I’m envious, especially to be able to enjoy 3 meals at some fabulously expensive places. Plus, the meals are all paid for! But, the most significant difference is the opportunity to do a really thorough review, detect inconsistencies and rare occurrences. Since we only go to most places once, my experience may be a fluke, good or bad, and I have to just hope my audience understands that.

Towards the end of the book, Ruth discusses her feelings about why she wanted to move on. She missed cooking. That really hit the spot for me and made me realize how amazing it is to be a food blogger. I have the opportunity to alternate between dining out days and cooking days, days where I review products, and days where I just sit and think, and hopefully be able to put it into words.

While there are some significant differences between traditional food critic and food blogger, I’m already living my dream, so thank you for reading.

posted by jessica at 02:38 PM Filed under Celebrities. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.