Being a food critic

Daisy Carrington hates it when people question her food knowledge

The Knowledge

You’d think a food critic would be thick skinned. I have an opinionated job. If I didn’t express my feelings about a restaurant, I’d be fired. Of course, for every opinion I share, I get 10 in response, and not always favourable at that. You’d think by now I’d be used to it, but I’m not, and I’m not sure I ever will be.

So what is it that makes me so sensitive to feedback? I’m not so bothered if it’s constructive, but if a friend, family member or reader for suggests that I don’t know my stuff, at least where food’s concerned, I get riled. Last Christmas, my dad yelled at me when I tried to take a lamb chop he was cooking out of the oven. As the man who taught me how to love food (and how to prepare it), he was understandably annoyed. ‘Damn it Daisy, I know how to cook!’ he fumed. I scowled and threw up my hands. I mean, it’s not like food is my job or anything (to my slight satisfaction, the lamb chop eventually came out dry and overcooked).

He really should have known better. He should have remembered my obsession, at the age of eight, with trying every type of offal (you know, brain, tongue, tripe), or how furious I became as a child when I would cook a meal only to find an adult sneaking in an ingredient when I wasn’t looking. It was evident that when I grew up, I’d think I always knew better when it came to food.

You see, I live for food. I wish I didn’t. I wish I could give up this obsession. I wish I didn’t spend 80 per cent of each day wondering what I should plan for my next meal, or continually deplete my savings buying fancy kitchen gadgets, or feel compelled to make Facebook updates about the exquisite Saudi peaches I discovered while shopping at Lulu’s hypermarket.

Last week I was supposed to be doing the laundry, but I passed a cookbook on the way to the washing machine and became engrossed in the recipes. An hour later, I realised I never loaded the machine; too enamoured was I with the list of ingredients in an Italian semi-fredo. It’s a passion, and it’s a burden. I’m Daisy Carrington, and I love food.

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