Florence, Italy, tasted on March 20, 2004 — Since 1953 this boisterous
trattoria has been serving great food at family style tables in the
heart of Florence. I honestly can't remember if some research
pointed us here, or if it was serendipity. But either way, I'm glad
we went. After our trip to the market for pre-lunch and market
perusal, we worked up an appetite checking out all the churches and
Medici hangouts. We squeezed our way into a table at
Mario and recognized one of the waitresses as having been
working at one of the stalls in the market. It turns out she was the
daughter of the owner and was working in the market to learn about
oils and vinegars. This family restaurant sent their daughter next
door to work in the market to broaden her culinary perspective. And
she returns to work at the family restaurant during the
hour. It seemed clear at this point, we'd come to the right place
for lunch. When she later worried about whether we'd ordered enough
food, we weren't just in the right place for lunch, we were in
Given that it seemed to be a pattern for the region, we
didn't hold it against them when the awful bread showed up. As we
expected it was completely devoid of flavor. No
salt. Just terrible. Luckily the bread was quickly forgotten as we
ragu. It was super beefy with an almost cinnamon flavor.
Hearty and juicy. Good stuff. The
"worm" pasta was fresh and slightly
salty in a good way. A nice contrast to the ragu. The
bean puree was super smooth. The savory beans
were not heavy and were served with enough olive oil so they didn't
come out mealy.
Florence is famous for a certain type of grilled
steak served with a lemon. The steak is seasoned beautifully as
well. Trattoria Mario's
Bisteca Fiorentina was no exception. It was
an amazingly juicy perfectly seasoned steak. It was cooked rare with white, tan,
and pink spots all dripping with juice. The lemon made it perfect.
The bitter greens in the
salad were good as a complement.
Next up was the
Piposo di Mauzo
- beef brisket with an amazing sauce consisting of red wine tomato,
olive oil, and black pepper. It was ruby red and warm in my stomach. The
Bianchi however was just ok. Peyman
disagreed and thought it was very good. The potato dish was interesting
- Patate in
Umido - potatoes in a red oil sauce. The sauce was great. It started fresh and bright
and got more complex and savory on the
finish. The fries were soft but not limp. They were fresh tasting and
perfectly salted. We also had the classic
Bucco. It tasted of red wine and cinnamon. Really good flavor.
We wrapped up with
biscotti and vin santo for dipping. I'm not typically a biscotti
fan as they usually come close to breaking my teeth. But this had a
super almond flavor packed into a balanced crunchy/chewy cookie.
In Florence, Trattoria Mario is wonderful. Outside
of Italy it would be mind-blowing. Either way it's a definite stop
for lunch (if you happen to be in Florence). Even if you've never
been there, the combination of the food and atmosphere make you feel
like you're home.
January 23, 2005 — Well we didn't win any awards at the food
blog awards held over at
Accidental Hedonist, but of course it's an honor just to be
nominated. As it was for the James Beard award last year (which we
also lost). Is there an emoticon for trying to sound humble and poke
fun at yourself while looking for pity? No? Oh well. :)
We did get another nomination when our cookbook -
All About Apples - got
nominated in the
Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for Best Photography in a
Cookbook in English in the United States. We're among 19 world-wide
finalists in the Best Photography category, and on February 11, 2005
they will announce the world-wide winners in Sweden in front of
Sweden's King himself. (If anyone's planning on going, please let us
know in case we win so you can accept our award. We couldn't fit a
trip to Sweden into our schedules this year.) It should also be
noted the credit for this award goes to
Peyman who did all the kickass
photography in the cookbook. Additional credit should go to
Jenny who did the great layout
that showed off the photos so beautifully, as well of course to
Scott Carsberg of
Lampreia who's food starred in all the pictures.
Finally on the contest front, we found out today
that we were nominated for Best
Food Blog in the 2005 Bloggies. So, if you'd like to see us win
one of these, then vote for us please. :) However, if we lose, we'll
take our sadness and focus it inward until it turns into some
insecure need to prove that we can win one of these contests one
day. That in turn will result in us working even harder to make this
site great. So, probably best to vote for one of the other nominees
- Simply Recipes,
The Food Section,
101 Cookbooks, and
Cooking for Engineers
- they're very good. :)
OK. Enough self-promotion. Next post, we return to
Mercato Centrale (Central Market),
Florence, Italy, tasted on March 20, 2004 — After we smoked
some cigarettes to properly conclude
our sandwich eating
experience at Nerbone, we got a chance to examine our
surroundings. As it turns out, we were so busy eating our boiled
beef sandwiches that we hadn't properly appreciated how cool the
overall central market was in Florence. We didn't even notice there
was a second floor. Oils and vinegars, cheeses and meats, fresh and
dry produce, the stalls were endless, and beautiful. And many
contained my favorite item of all - free samples. I could imagine
living here and coming every morning to do my shopping. We got
of pictures so you can get a sense of the place.
Florence, Italy, tasted on March 20, 2004 — Buried amid the
seemingly endless stalls in the central market in Florence is a
place everyone wishes was within a block from where they work.
Because if you could eat lunch there every day, you would. It's
Florence's answer to Katz' deli, and it's delicious. It's the panino
con bollito that's bagnato served at
Nerbone in the Mercato Centrale
Panino con bollito is a
sandwich that's bagnato - dipped in the
beef's own juices just
before serving. And it's delicious. The market has so many
attractive stalls from produce to dried fruit to vinegars and oils
and incredible butchers, that it would be easy to miss Nerbone. It's
on the first floor and off to one side of the market. But luckily we
knew not to rest until we found it. We could see the rest of the
market after we got our sandwiches.
The stall is
No surprise. Nobody knew we essentially flew half way around the
world to eat this sandwich. And even if they did I'm not sure they
would have let us through more easily. We had to buy a ticket paying
for our sandwich and then fight our way to the counter to place an
order. After the order was placed we sat back and wondered what a
boiled beef sandwich dipped in it's own juices would taste like.
The bun was thick and hearty, a little baguette-like
with flour on its surface. The beef was
coarsely to a medium thickness. It was placed on the big
baguette. They didn't cover it until they topped the beef with a
couple of dollops of a red and green sauce respectively. And just
before the sandwich was completed the entire bottom was dipped in
the juice from the boiled beef.
I was definitely worried that the sandwich would end
up soggy. It wasn't. Not only wasn't it soggy but the entire thing
defied expectations. The sandwich is extremely warm and filling, and
just as you're enjoying this Florentine comfort food your tongue
happens on some of the sauces and your mouth is filled with sparks.
The red sauce is sharp and hot with the green (mashed garlic, basil,
and onio) is unbelievably bright. The sandwich ends up being a warm,
hearty, comforting, exciting, kickass bite of perfection. Yum, yum,
Tasting - Round I,
tasted on January 15, 2005 — The last three weeks have been
among the coldest I have ever seen in Seattle. The east coast was
warm and we were sitting here
freezing our asses off. I'm not a big coffee drinker so one of
the only hot drinks that's an option for me is hot chocolate.
Needless to say when my friends came up with the idea of a hot
chocolate tasting, I immediately signed up. (Both
DebDu made the suggestion, but I
think credit should ultimately go to DebDu since she actually made
it happen.) I was pretty excited to say the least.
A few days before the event DebDu told us the rules:
- Our goal is to find the best hot chocolate – that means
tasting both mixes and cocoas. It means not making any cakes.
- We’ll use the recipe on the package for each.
- Where the type of
milk is not specified (it’s usually not) or where the recipe
specifies either water or milk, I will use 2% milk. Why 2% milk?
That’s what we typically have in the house & I want to the hot
cocoa we select to taste GREAT as an everyday cocoa.
- I’ll have some palate cleansers –
banana bread &
angel food cake [and
- I will have fresh marshmallows.
As it turns out, it's hard to try ten different hot
chocolates. That said, our palates didn't get too tired as our
favorite came near the end and it was very easy to recognize. The
palate cleansers helped too. There wasn't a spit bucket though it
was required for only the worst one of all - the Washington Huskies
Dawg Gone Good Gourmet Cocoa. Horrible and completely without any
redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Before we get into what happened, I should say that
we came to some conclusions in our quest for perfect hot cocoa.
First, there were many more cocoas we wanted to try (including and
especially Jacques Torres). So we need to do another round of
tasting. Second, a lot of the variables we judged: texture,
sweet/bitter balance, flavor, etc. were partly a function of the
recipe. With an adjusted recipe (other than what they recommended)
some cocoas might have fared better.
Finally, it's important to note that there was some
disagreement when the categories were unveiled. Back when we did
PizzaGanza in March of 2003, there was a category called "Foldability™".
This caused significant uproar as nobody really knew what it meant
and some people decided to use
that column to game the system. In the end we had to make sure that
the winner won with and without that column counted. And sure enough
they did. And as if we were transported back to the center of that
controversy, there was "Dipability™"
staring at us from the
scorecard. Again, nobody knew what it meant so we had to
calculate the results with and without that column. We also at the
last second revised "Richness of Flavor" to be "Quality of Flavor"
so that everyone was in agreement. Our eventual ratings were on:
- Texture and Consistency
- Sweet Bitter Balance
- Quality of Flavor
All cocoas were tasted and rated blind (though the
Hersey's shaped container was kind of hard not to recognize - though
DebDu pointed out that we didn't know whether cocoas were in their
original containers) with the packages only revealed after all
ratings were handed off to our accounting firm for tabulation.
And interestingly enough it was kind of an odd
contest. A lot of the hot cocoas were just mediocre. Some were
interesting as was the Dilettante Ephemere which had a flowery aroma
and tasted a little like almonds to me. And while nothing really
blew us away, two cocoas really stood out above the rest: Scharffen
Berger, and the eventual dark horse winner - McNess. I had more of a
disparity in my scores between the two, but the group overall felt
it was pretty close (one point to be exact). The McNess was the only
cocoa I had that had an absolute firm base of chocolate flavor -
essential in any hot chocolate in my opinion. The Scharffen Berger
wasn't too bad in this category either.
Here are the scores:
all the data from the hot cocoa tasting.
In the end, not only did we have fun, but we
discovered this retro (packaged) and tasty hot cocoa -
McNess. In addition, many felt vindicated that Scharffen Berger
did well after Cook's lllustrated panned it in their Hot Cocoa-Off.
As I mentioned before, we will need to do a second round including
some brands we missed, and then eventually hold the Hot Cocoa World
Championship where we take our favorite brands and apply them to our
favorite recipes. My quest of course will be to replicate
the best cup of hot chocolate I've ever had. Wish me luck.
Rome, Italy, tasted on March 19, 2004 — Wandering around Rome
all day eating made us hungry... of course. We knew when we planned
our trip to Italy that we wanted to get a healthy mix of tiny spots,
markets, homey restaurants, and high end places. Essentially good
food of all kinds. So we asked friends and strangers, did our
research, and got recommendations for where to eat on our trip. One
of the recommendations we got was to go visit
La Pergola in Rome. And
visit we did.
Somehow I screwed up and forgot to confirm the
reservation, but they took us anyway which was really nice as they
were pretty packed that night. Luckily we showed up early. Since
they had to get us off the table a little early to make room for
someone else, they offered to let us eat dessert in their lounge
area... again, very flexible and nice of them to do. Unfortunately
you won't see any pictures of the food we ate as they were slightly
less flexible when it came to us taking pictures. That was slightly
annoying, but in the end we were hungry and had come on a strong
recommendation. The chef, Heinz Beck, we were told, was something
special, and many people consider La Pergola the best restaurant in
Since they wouldn't let me take any pictures, I
grabbed this one off their website so you could at least see the
Situated at the top of the Hilton hotel, the room
was gorgeous. It reminded us of La Rochelle, Hiroyuki Sakai's
restaurant in Tokyo. The room was filled with a rich, warm, wood.
The light shone through crystals, and it wasn't too dark. On our
table were some gorgeous tulips stood up in beautiful small glass
"stones". The atmosphere was comfortable and we were excited for
some good food.
They started us off with some snacks including long super thin bread sticks.
They had a weird absence of flavor. Almost a flavor vacuum sucking
anything your mouth tasted like until they left a barren landscape
for the food to inhabit. I'm a fan of cleaning your palate, but I'll
admit this wasn't super enjoyable. This was quickly followed by some
pleasant rolls. I had sesame and wheat. The little baguette however
was absolutely delicious. Especially when combined with the olive
oil they gave us - Felsina Berardegna's Leccino ("leccino" is the
varietal). I am a fan of middle eastern olive oils as they often
have a deeper and more rustic flavor and texture. The best Italian
olive oils I've tasted have been lighter, more subtle, and typically
more appropriate for finishing dishes. But this oil had a richer
flavor and a nice thickness on the tongue. It was delicious and
especially good with the the mini-baguette which was crusty,
soft on the inside, and had an enjoyable slight saltiness.
First up, was a plate with several mushroom variations.
The first was a mushroom ice cream. It had a super focused frozen mushroom yumminess.
It's so funny how the way we think about food affects how we taste it.
Some people might freak out at mushroom ice cream. But maybe a frozen mushroom mousse?
It was almost milky and nicely savory. Next up was a mushroom tart in melted cheese.
It was warm and delicious.
savory, crispy, juicy and cheesey. Super smooth. There was also mushroom on toast with balsamic
which was fine, and the mushroom geleé was just ok. Finally they gave us
a pork (or veal) medallion on a mushroom dice which was good but not
special. Of the selection, the pastry and ice cream were truly
Next up was Veal Tail "La Pergola". It was covered in
some of the best, freshest, chunky tomato sauce I've tasted. It was so
light and surrounded by crumbly butter drenched croutons around the edge
of the plate. The Emincé of Lobster with Orange Sauce and Basil was
interesting as well. The lobster was pounded flat. It was soft and sweet in
tart (in a good way) orange sauce. There were also deep fried zucchini
flowers for crunch. This dish was quite good.
The next appetizer was Variation of Fish. Five different plates
of seafood with a large variety. Everything was soft and subtle
and perfectly cooked. Really super subtle but definitely not without
flavor. The Terrine of Rabbit and Duck Liver had some truffle and
was good but not special. But this was followed by Squid Ravioli
with Pineapple. I'm not a big squid guy, but I had to dig in of
course, and I was glad I did. Having squid as pasta was very cool
especially as it was filled with a warm pineapple
soup. The squid was not rubbery but rather chewy in a good way. Really
the best squid I've ever had.
We moved on to first courses starting with Ricotta
Tortellini with Pecorino and Broad Beans. These were cheesey perfect
little noodle jewels mixed with bright green broad beans. We also had
the Sweet Pepper Consommé. The soup had a perfect essence - light and concentrated
at the same time.
It was slightly tangy and perfectly clear. I could eat it every day.
Next was Tagliolini with Scampi, Lime, and (yes again) Zucchini
Flowers. (I guess they don't expect people to order basically every
dish on the menu.) The dish had a slight tanginess and a savory gorgeously
cooked pasta. We also had the Saffron Mousse Risotto with Scampi. It was
strong and interesting though the shrimp got a little bit lost. And
in a final dish, the zuchhini flower caviar was smooth and good but not very
interesting. The serving of caviar was generous though.
While we had essentially come in off the street (as we
had forgotten to confirm our reservation) they put on the same show for
us I assume they put on for everyone. The service was a huge albeit
professional spectacle. Our plates came straight from plate warmers -
heaven forbid they should be room temperature when they arrived in front
We weren't done yet as we had two rounds of main courses
still coming our way. The Filet of Veal Poached in Vanilla Sauce with
Topinambur Purée was interesting and sweet. (A topinambur is a jerusalem
artichoke - thank you google.) Our baked lobster showed up with a tiny
amount of actual meat. Given that this dish alone cost 80 euros this
seemed pretty nutty. Eventually they came to us and told us there had
been an accident and they had lost part of the lobster between the
kitchen and the table. Freaky! Peyman
was convinced that our first lobster tried to jump back in the ocean
when he saw a window of opportunity.
In the meantime the Variation of Lamb was fantastic.
We had it three ways including and confit and two rare variations.
Those last two were amazing with savory juicy goodness and dripping
with flavor. We also got a Whole Duck in Mustard Sauce. The duck skin had concentrated seasonings
which exploded in my mouth and the braised lettuce it sat on was fantastic
and crunchy. The mustard seed was great as well -
Alex likened to caviar for meat.
Our whole lobster finally arrived and it was good and tender with a soft lemony flavor on
of the meat. Though that flavor didn't last long on the tongue.
All during our meal there was a Mozart piano
concerto playing on a loop. It was driving Peyman crazy. I can't say
that helped his outlook on the meal, though it didn't bother the
rest of us.
For our second wave of main courses we ate
variations and extensions of the first round. The duck leg they gave
us had an almost chocolatey flavor. They also served s the lobster
claw from that poor second lobster. It had a foie gras surprise
inside and also had a truffle of green cauliflower. Though
interesting, the first editions of these ingredients seemed better
to us. The second wave of duck was chewier than the first, and the
second wave of lobster had less flavor than the first.
We retired for dessert in the foyer on some comfy
seats. Alex felt that their wine choices throughout the evening had
been on target. As for dessert the Ricotta Souffle was interesting
but the Ricotta Flan was very good. There were also tons of
chocolates, fried eggplant chips, and some sorbet that was pretty
ice creamy. We also had 12 different variations of petit fours.
Debbie loved the "golden tea"
they served her. She thought it might be the best cup of tea she'd
ever had. We were stuffed!
I can't say that La Pergola was a slam dunk. It was
kind of a push and pull evening. They were gracious about us not
having confirmed our reservation, but they were kind of pissed about
us wanting to take pictures (yes I realize that 99.99% of customers
don't want to do that). They would serve us a perfect red pepper
consommé, and then a risotto that was not balanced. (Risotto and
consommé are two dishes that are benchmarks - hard to make, but easy
to spot perfection). The head waiter told us he was writing
a book on service, but we didn't always feel comfortable. Though
I did take note that someone brought a baby to eat there. I thought
that was cool.
Ultimately, there is obvious talent at La Pergola.
Real deep talent. And yet it showed inconsistently on the evening we
were there. I would try it again though ostensibly to see if our
visit was a fluke. That said, I'd be happy to go back and just have
a big bowl of that perfect red pepper consommé. I can taste it now.
Rome, Italy, tasted on March 19, 2004 — The Jewish community
in Italy today is small,
around 35,000. Unlike in the United States, many small Jewish
communities around the world have maintained their separateness and
identity. The word "ghetto"
originated to describe the sections of the city where Jews were
forced to live. And here in the Jewish ghetto in Rome is Antico
Forno del Ghetto - also known as the
The burning refers to the "overdone" quality of all
the baked goods. Essentially the cakes,
breads are all "burnt" to caramelize the sugars. This adds a
rich depth to the flavor of all the baked goods. Everything was
yummy. And despite the burnt appearance, the ricotta based
cheesecake was sweet, light, and airy.
Rome, Italy, tasted on March 19, 2004 — We were heading out
of the market on our way to our next adventure, and we walked by
this little restaurant/deli -
Restaurant. We were still a little peckish and had to stop in
and get a snack. The weren't ready to seat us, but our misfortune
turned to luck when we discovered that our only real option for a
snack on the go was some smoked buffalo mozzarella.
Honestly, it looked kind of yucky, but the flavor
was simply wow! It had a huge smokey flavor that was somehow
reminiscent of some of the qualities of bacon, but more raw. The
buffalo milk based cheese was tender with an almost jellied texture.
You would take a bite and it would leave little strings around the
edges of the bite. We also tried the "plain" mozzarella for contrast.
It was delicious, simple, clean, with a light flavor. Smoked
mozzarella - I'm sure everyone else has had it a thousand times -
but for us this was a first, and very exciting.
(Funny postscript on this entry. I forgot to write
down where the hell we were when we ate this cheese. But through
careful analysis of the characters on the underside of the paper in
the photo, and some persistent googling, I found this
site and this
that confirmed the location. I love technology!)
Rome, Italy, tasted on March 19, 2004 — After a long
break, we're finally back in gear describing our whirlwind trip to
Italy. In Rome's
Campo de Fiori market is
Forno Campo de Fiori
- a bakery/pizza shop. When you're done browsing the produce and the
Ronco-style vegetable slicers, this little corner shop is a
wonderful place to stop and snack. Through one door you can try and
slither your way through the throngs of customers clamoring from
some baked item. To the right is another door through which you can
watch the bakers make all the fresh baked goods.
We were really there for the
pizza, so we indulged. And frankly, the pizza was damn good. The
mozzarella was so pure and distinct in flavor. The tomato sauce
was slightly pulpy in a good way and in terms of flavor had a savory
tomato perfection. Could pizza be simpler than simple? If so, this
was. The flavors were super fresh. There were a few variations
including one with
herbs and lots of air pockets. This was my personal favorite.
After we finished our first round, Peyman and Alex
peered through the side door to the bakery area and were treated to
one hot plain pizza - just bread and oil. I will admit that when
you got it hot, it was pretty much unbeatable. It made a big
difference. Though I find that it's impossible to beat most baked
goods when they are fresh out of the oven. DebDu, Peyman, and Alex
were absolutely in love with the pizza here. Debbie and I thought it
was great, though not to the degree that everyone else did. Either
way it's definitely a great place to stop and enjoy yourself.
Food — With all this talk about food books (good and bad) I
realized that it's time for me to admit my addiction. My addiction
to food books. Cookbooks, books about wine, books about eating, it's
all good. I have been bingeing a little bit lately. Here's a list of
the food books I've gotten in the last month:
And a gift from Debbie:
I've updated the book
section of this site though. It's a little easier to read, and
the goal is for it to be a reflection of all the food books in my
I'm overwhelmed. And all my free time is being spent
experimenting with different chicken soups before my parents arrive
in town. I am on a mission to recreate my grandmother's chicken
soup, and I will prevail.
I've been feeling bad that posts have been few and
far between for the last couple of weeks but I know most people are
off enjoying their holidays. And while we've done some enjoying,
we've also taken this short break to put together some big plans for the
coming year. Lots of exciting things are coming this year on tastingmenu.com and we're raring to go.
So imagine my surprise when I saw that there were 26
comments on my write-up of
my reactions to the
book Super Chef. I was even more surprised to see that they were
written by one person. One very pissed off person. Nothing like a
to start the year off right.
Basically this person thinks I'm lazy, uninformed,
and unqualified. And while on different occasions I have certainly
been one or more of the above, It wasn't the case when I read or
wrote about Super Chef. I read the book, and I have an opinion that
I'd like to share. Isn't that enough? It's fine for my critic to say that they
don't like my opinion, or that she doesn't think my opinion is
well-founded. But there were a couple of things they said that bugged me:
This person said that I'm "abusing the Internet
and all your readers with reviews like this." Abusing the
internet? The beauty of the internet is that anyone can express
themselves. And some of those expressions will be ones you agree
with, and some won't be. To say that it's abuse to express
yourself, is kind of wacky. This is the same type of attitude
that has kept the right to express oneself locked up for the
privileged few - newspapers, magazines, record companies, etc.
Many of the people who are part of the privileged few are pissed off that the
rest of us get to express ourselves. My critic sounds like one
of them. This person then thinks they've "hoisted me on my own
petard" as it were when they quote from my site where I say I
have no qualifications. That's the point. I don't need any.
Welcome to the internet. I'm not abusing it. I'm showing what's
great about it.
The other thing that bothered me was how the
critic said that I should ask people in the food industry what
they thought of the book as that "would be a real service". I
imagine it might be interesting to know what they thought, but
I'm not "in the industry" and I suspect that most of the people
who read this site are not "in the industry". It's called
opinion. Some people have more experience in the subject matter,
some people have less. Either way, opinions are valid. Believe
me, if I'd gushed about the book, calling it "a seminal work"
like my critic did (this seems a little bit over the top to me
even if you loved the book), they wouldn't
be complaining that I was uninformed or unqualified. I would
imagine that as long as
my unqualified opinions were positive, they would be valid.
And then in the end the writer admits that they are friends
with the author and commands me to re-read the book, re-review the
book, and begin my new review with an apology and a recommendation
that everyone who reads this site read the book, as well as an
apology to the author. Oh yeah, and my critic says that if I don't
repost their entire screed then I'm gutless. I may often be gutless but
that's not the reason I'm not reposting it. The reason for not
reposting is that I'm lazy. Lazy is different than gutless. Cutting and pasting your endless review
of my review and then reformatting it so it's readable is simply too
much work and I have lots of food to write about. I did start down that path
but it got too time consuming. So, since you're all hot on apologies
I figured I would write one myself and hope that this makes you
I'm sorry that you didn't like my review. I'm
sorry that your seemingly endless self-righteousness caused you
to write a response longer than the original review of the book.
I'm sorry that you feel my comment service sucks. And finally, I'm sorry
that I just don't agree with your characterization of what I
wrote. But that's ok. I don't want you to re-read my review,
post a retraction, apologize, or even admit who you are (instead
of posting your anonymous criticism - which btw is really
annoying as it makes it tough when I need to use pronouns). It's
your opinion. I'm sure some people agree with it, and some
people don't. And the beauty of the internet is that even
someone like you
gets to post their opinion.
P.S. I wondered if I was alone in that I wasn't
a fan of the book. And I found Publishers Weekly's comments on
the book. Here are some choice quotes that echo my sentiments:
"This plodding group biography..."
"...begins unevenly by failing to
define in her introduction what a "super chef" is"
"A glossary with definitions of terms like
"Fast Food Restaurant" and "Hoisin Sauce" provides a
"Rossant's style is often awkward ( "It was
the height of disco, and a few months after his divorce
Wolfgang met Barbara Lazaroff at a discotheque")."
"...she glosses over unpleasant events"
"...never appearing to pass negative
I noticed you posted your critique of their
review as well on Amazon.com (though there you didn't admit
you're friends with the author). You asked me if I "work for a
living". Yes I do. It appears that your full-time job is writing
self-righteous critiques of anyone who comments negatively on your
friend's book. If it pays well, I might be interested in myself
as I have friends who write books as well.
And finally, I will admit that when I re-read my
review before I posted it, it sounded a lot more negative than I
felt when I started writing it. And I felt bad. Bad for the author
who probably worked hard only to have me say I didn't like it. But
then again, I realized that once I'd taken the time to write down
what I thought it was really how I felt. So should I lie because I might
hurt someone's feelings? Should I lie and tell people who read this
site that I liked
it? What will they think of me when they read it and have a similar
reaction to mine? And while I know the author's friend is trying to
defend her, I think the author needs better friends. Friends who
aren't so defensive. Friends who understand that the appropriate
response to my critique is, "I'm sorry you didn't like the book,
I've found that a lot of people do, thanks for your time." This
would have been better I think.
Whew! I can't tell if this flame I got was the
capper to a fiery 2004, or the beginning to a fiery 2005. Either
way, Happy New Year. On to better things.