Sunday, March 15, 2009

Damn the Menu Writers

There's another food blog out there whose writer I greatly admire. She writes with quiet humor and subdued eloquence and we all know how hard it is to be restrained. 

But something bugs me. She describes what she makes for herself as if it's on a menu. Case in point: broccoli soup with chive-spiked creme fraiche. Who says this about their own food? You see it on menus all the time, pompous, huff and puff nonsense about essences, birthplaces, and elite methods of preparation. But this about your own food?  If I traveled down that road, it would sound something like this: Kids, tonight we're having macaroni in the shape of the elbow in the style of Kraft with a melange of peas aged for 3 months in a factory in Akron. 

Pretension abounds in the food world and I blame the menu writers. More effort goes into making the food sound good than goes into making the food. How many times have I had a meal where the salt and pepper part of the equation - arguably the most important part - has been left out completely, but the menu's use of adjectives is perfectly seasoned? 

Here's what should be allowed on a menu: the name of the restaurant, although this is up for discussion since I presumably already know this; the dishes in plain speak (I don't need to know the origin of every hard-to-find ingredient); the price (need I cite the economy here?); and finally, absolutely no cute italics or wink-wink quotation marks. 

Is that so hard? 

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