Like many people, I have a rosy image of the life of a food critic. Former New York Times food critic Ruth Reichl's books don't glorify her life, but they don't make the job itself sound too bad (if you can stomach the pay and lifestyle). This essay by novelist and freelance food writer Ann Bauer exposes the other side of professional restaurant reviewing: when the "scene" displaces meaningful relationships and food becomes a job rather than a passion. The article begins:
There's a scene in the 1971 film "Klute" in which Jane Fonda, playing an aspiring actress who supports herself as a prostitute, is in bed with a client, pumping away, moaning, calling him "baby," and then for one second her face changes, becoming ordinary and harried and mid-afternoonish, as she checks her watch behind the guy's head. Fonda was heralded for her performance, for showing with a single gesture how the high-class call girl must engage simultaneously in two activities. How her mind and body could be entirely divorced from each other. How sex becomes work. I get it.
It's well worth a read and the approximately 4 seconds you will spend looking at an innocuous Bose ad to get past the first page of the article if you're not a member of Salon.com.