Although there are quite a lot of people who like to eat, and quite a lot of people who like to write, not many people like both. Eating is a rather sensual and worldly affair, distinct from the interests of literary folk who are often more concerned with deeper, more profound, metaphysical issues. So outstanding food bloggers are rare, and you find that when browsing through the food blogosphere, the same ubiquitous names pop up everywhere (101 Cookbooks is an example: iGoogle has even set it as the default for the recipes tab, and nearly every food blog has placed it on their blog list, puzzling me at first since it was always listed prominently at the very top, then I realised it was because of its numerical beginning!).
I never knew it takes so long to write up restaurant reviews… I say, on average, it takes about 40 minutes to write up a review for one restaurant… it’s probably because I’m trying to remember back to such a long time ago (well, in part due to my procrastinating tendencies..), googling for their online menu, looking through photos in an attempt to treat food as an artwork (and translating that into words!), fumbling over the adjectives to use to describe something as subjective as taste, searching the thesaurus to avoid repetitive and lacklustre descriptions, researching the restaurant/food to get some inspiration for story-telling and finding diplomatic ways to express any criticisms. I guess, particularly for the first point, that’s why it’s smart for people to write down little comments/notes when they’re actually in the scene of the restaurant? But the downside to that is that while I’m there, I want to concentrate on the food and have fun with it, rather than getting bogged down with having to write down things. I guess that also explains why I enjoy writing restaurant/food reviews: because I can recount the pleasurable encounters I have had with food glorious food!, rather than finding ways to critique it, and also because it’s a creative outlet for me.
Well… now I know I’ll never want to become a professional restaurant critic! Yet I find it strange that, as someone who is a proud aficionado of art, I did not start up an art blog.
It’s not that I enjoy food more than art; it is hard to compare things that way. But with art, it invokes such emotional, subjective responses, and in such intangible ways that it is hard, nay, almost impossible, to express with words. I also have many many more encounters with food than with art, and that is also true for the rest of the population, so it gives a lot more room for connection. Food is, I admit, much easier to talk about than art, which requires lengthy investigation into the context, motives, symbolism, etc. of the artwork, rather than the simplicity of food. Lastly, there isn’t much out there about restaurants or particular food types (aside from the occasional magazine/food blog articles), but when you type in the name of an artwork into any search engine, you are inundated with a flood of reviews/critiques; so food gives me a little niche to write about, something that has not been explored as much, something that is flexible and subject to change.
Well, that’s enough of my ponderings… better get back to study! (four exams in the coming week…)