The Food Commandments

Back in the early months of the blog I issued the Whisky Blogger Commandments. These were met with universal acclaim, made me highly popular, were wholly adopted and ended all problems in and with the whisky blogosphere. I have now decided that it is time to heal the ills that plague the food world in the United States. You might be a food blogger, you might be a cookbook writer, you might be a restaurant reviewer, you might be a features writer, you might be a chef, you might simply be someone who likes to talk about food at parties under the impression that this is something that appeals to normal people: no matter who you are, the following apply to you and will help you become a better person. There is no need to thank me (not that we prophets are accustomed to being thanked).

1. Thou shalt try to make everything as tasty as possible; but not tastier.

2. Thou cannot “elevate” a samosa; thou can only make it worse.

3. If the owner/chef of the restaurant thou are writing about is thy major source of information on the genre of food they serve then thou shalt not write about that restaurant or that food.

4. Thou shalt do thy research and cite thy sources—whether thou are writing a recipe, a feature piece or a restaurant review in which thou holdeth forth like an expert, thou shalt do thy research and cite thy sources.*

5. Thou shalt not behave as though a dish thou has just come across didn’t exist before thou just came across it. Relatedly thou shalt not then make one inconsequential change to it and pass it off as an original take.

6. Thou shalt not garnish things with raw haldi, yea not even if you are a popular recipe book writer who doth live in Brooklyn.

7. If thou make masala chai by pouring hot water over a teabag and 2 cardamom pods and adding cold milk then thy audience is free to call it “chai tea”.

8. Thou are not a true gourmand till thou can eat dal off a banana leaf with the side of thy hand.

9. Thou shalt try to remember that thy city’s food scene is not represented only or even largely by the kinds of restaurants and chefs that get nominated for James Beard awards.

10. Thou shalt stop telling people curry doesn’t exist, thou silly person!

*My world was rocked today (Jan 7, 2020) by the discovery that writers at The New York Times are apparently not required to research what has been written recently on subjects they are writing long pieces on. Accordingly, I have added the requirement to do research to Commandment 4.

One thought on “The Food Commandments

  1. I am far from a “cookbook writer” – instead call me a “cookbook giver” – having given away long out-of-print copies of Schlerman in the Kitchen

    I can’t say I’ve “talked about food” at parties – but I have bent an ear or two at work about cooking.

    While still in my tender thirties I recall one nice lady who confessed to intimidation by the simplest of dishes – namely to roast a chicken.

    “It’s easy” said I – then gave the method in under fifty words. The skeptical look indicated that I was not convincing.

    On Friday I whiled away the last few minutes at work – describing the essentials of “French Onion Soup” – the “onion soup” that takes a little extra effort and time to carmelize the onions.

    As for the lowly Samosa, a google search came up with a new (to me) restaurant in town – off we go!


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