“Nobody can make things as awful as experimental young chefs who think they’re being clever!” – Ruth Reichl, The New York Times.
Though this statement does hold some truth, I disagree with it. Yes there are young as well as elderly chefs out there who think that their being clever at cooking up something new, but then it finally is up to who that person really is. There are people out there who have a habit of lying to themselves in order to feel good. This isn’t really getting them anywhere, chef’s who won’t accept that their food is bad, I leave them to their prison of solitude.
Then there are chefs who create something absolutely brilliant, only to be scrutinized by the people around them either due to envy, or due to sheer lack of imagination. I know a few who are keen on not budging from the main stream of thought. Things have to be done either their way or no way. Which leaves no room for creativity or further development of skill.
It’s unnecessary evil.
Now, it’s finally up to me to decide what is good and what is unnecessary. What surprises me in a good way and what I’ve got to forcefully swallow to keep the people around me happy [the latter takes place more than usual at family gatherings]. So how do I make this choice?
I keep an open mind about anything I eat, and more than often it has delighted me and kept me amused. I make it a note to praise the chef after the meal is done with. There are times when the food is unpleasant, at first, though with a few more bites I tend to see what the dish is all about. I tend to try to know more about how the dish came out to be what it is, what the chef was thinking about or feeling at that time.
A reason I do this is because I relate to people just as much as I do with the food I eat. I have my own list of maniacal combo’s such as Chocolate flakes in Coco-cola or apple juice, Jalebi’s with butter chicken and salted Gulab Jamuns [Residing in India, you may come about a few Indian delicacies, I’d be more than happy to clarify your doubts in the comments]. This may repulse almost everyone but the items listed above form a small portion of my comfort food. Especially after working a night shift and there’s no milk for your cereal when you return in the morning. So I am experienced in the field where people try to share their comfort food with others only to be rejected.
So I say that drawing a line between what is acceptable and what is suitable for oneself should be clear. Will everyone be open to eating what’s prepared just because I am? Some dishes are just indigestible and repulsive. And as hard as I try to find out more about the dish, where it comes from, it’s just too hard to see a brighter side to it. I try to see a way around it, knock off what’s unnecessary and add what’s needed.
I see absolutely no reason for a critique to be rude, other than to entertain their readers. If the experience is good, its worth a mention or else leave out what’s unnecessary. If it’s bad, just leave out the review, pick another restaurant. Everyone has a right to their opinion, especially critiques. But are they just abusing that power?
“It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.“- Albus PWB Dumbledore, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling.
Learn to forgive. Learn to be wise.