‘I hate restaurant critics. I hate restaurant reviews. I hate food bloggers. I hate all foodie commentators with their boring bloody opinions about everything, and their “accurately judged bisque” and their “uncertain seasoning” and their “muddled flavours” and their “distracted service”. It’s all bollocks! Do you hear me? It’s all total rubbish. You know nothing. Nobody cares. Your wretched evaluations are subjective, ill-informed, prejudiced, pointless, perfectly irrelevant and of no interest to anyone. You are boring. You are fat. You are pasty-faced and stupid and wear ugly shoes. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.’
I happened upon this rant by Giles Coren in a May issue of the UK Times Magazine. I think it’s the best thing he’s ever written (and about as close to writing like AA Gill as he’ll ever get, shame). And I found myself nodding (and grinning) in agreement.
Which brings me to an interesting piece on the Mail & Guardian website about the contention between food bloggers and bona fide (i.e. they get paid) food writers — the ‘contention’ part coming mainly from the food writers’ corner. It really irks them that bloggers get invited to promotional events.
Yes, I get it. I think food blogs, for the most part, are pretty annoying. Not only that — 95 percent of them are badly written, unattractive, or both. I especially loved this excerpt in the MG piece, taken from some unfortunate blog somewhere:
‘I have quite literally never tasted anything as good as the Persian love cake. I can see why it so aptly named — I wanted to do more than just love it. As Josh Groban profoundly stated, It raised me up so I could stand on mountains.’
The thing is, food bloggers are only annoying ... if you let them be. That is, if you choose to be annoyed by them. In fact, the more seriously you take them (er, us), the more annoying they (we) get. So just stop taking us so bloody seriously, okay? In fact, I recommend you stop reading this post right now and go read something we can all be acceptably sanctimonious about, like the situation in Libya. Or Julius Malema. Or hipsters.
You might have stuck around to find out about the picture I posted. It’s a delicious chickpea salad recommended to me by a colleague. I served it with a pomegranate molasses and cumin marinated roast chicken, and it went down a treat. (Not that I can speak with any authority on the matter, mind you.)
Chickpea, feta and coriander salad (From Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros)
Serves 6 as a side
400g tinned chickpeas 250ml olive oil 1 large red onion, chopped 5 garlic cloves, very finely chopped 1 or 2 red chillies, seeded and finely chopped 250g crumbled feta cheese 4 spring onions, green part only, chopped 25g chopped coriander 30g chopped parsley Juice of 1 lemon
1. Rinse chickpeas and place them in a bowl. 2. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil and fry the red onion gently until it is cooked through and lightly golden. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a few more seconds, until you can smell the garlic. Take care not to brown the garlic. Leave to cool completely. 3. Add the feta, spring onion, coriander, parsley and lemon juice to the chickpeas and season. Add the onion mixture and the remaining oil and mix through.