Jenny Famewhore

New New New York Times critic

Posted in New York by Jenny Famewhore on October 23, 2009

Clearly I have been hibernation too long from the food corner of the vast ‘net, because October 14th (my last update prior to entering exam purgatory and a cocoon of uni obligations) coincided with the release of Sam Sifton’s first review as the official Restaurant Critic, successor to Frank Bruni.

I greet this new guy with doubt and suspicion. I should be long past the age where I still believe in things like the tooth fairy and absolutes. But exceptions happen: I believe that Frank Bruni was the greatest food writer and restaurant critic for the NYT.

Frank Bruni to me, in his role as The Critic, was like what J.K. Rowling was to attention deficit children. His words, his invaluable insight on the food and restaurant industry were my magna carta. And the way that his (often blunt) observations slices through all the excess, the b.s., the irrelevance was a literary/psychological art comparable to the Japanese chefs disseminating a piece of toro. I am kind of in love: with his prose (with a hint of New Yawk sass,) with the insidery way he describes his experiences, with the magic he does with words in making them dance with imagery and transforming the mundane into the most vivid tableau.

My American government teacher at Stuy would constantly encourage her students to read the paper daily– it was an assignment I bullshitted my way through, along with cliff-noting all the great classical literature. Two years later, who would believe it, but Frank Bruni single-handedly created my addiction to the New York Times (albeit, the Dining section receives considerably more loving.) Frank Bruni inspired my love of food writing and increased my food literacy. Frank Bruni distends his belly and eats beyond human capacity for the sake of journalism. Frank Bruni rides unicorns along the west side highway and can divide by zero.

Sam Sifton isn’t expected to be Literary God of Food instantaneously (even instant noodle takes 3 minutes,) but this void in my hearts of heart isn’t going to fill itself.

Reading through his 2 reviews and stalking his bio (relationships must start somewhere,) I am pleased to note that we have similarities: he was a Bostonite (Harvard grad, but everyone moves back to NYC!!!) and employs excessive colons and parentheses (like this sentence.)


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