Monday, November 30, 2009

Who is China Millman (and why do we care)?

I love to eat out. The presentation, the preparation, the decor of the all goes into it. I know what I like and what I don't like.

So why do we as humans need food critics to tell us these things? Everyone always rolls their eyes and says "Boy, I would love to have that job..." and I will admit, that has to be a pretty sweet gig.

You can definitely wield some power and alter the fortunes of a restaurant with a good or bad review. But your role should really be to open the eyes of the reader to a restaurant or an experience that they otherwise may not see or know about.

Which brings us to the pedantic food critic of the Post Miss China Millman. In a previous post, I railed against the "pretentiousness" of wine snobs popping up in Pittsburgh, so I don't want to go to the well too often with that word. Instead, I'll settle on "out of touch elitist" for my thoughts on Ms. Millman.

As the food critic, I would think she is the de-facto figurehead of the Food section, right? And as such, you would think she would be prominently featured in the Thursday Food and Flavor AND have an article in on Sunday, plus maybe a restaurant review? You would think so, but you would be wrong.

Instead, most times we are treated to such fluff as her Care Packages for College Students with ridiculous earthy tree-hugger ideas that no "normal" college student would like to see from home. Care package = money, chocolate, popcorn, and more money.

Or her screed on how we should tip at a MINIMUM of 20%. Whaaaaa? I am a "rounder-upper" when I go and I usually settle at 20% (unless the service is so-so, but only a handful of times in my life have I ever gone below 15%). If the bill is $36.70, I'm leaving $7 (not $7.34+).

I enjoyed her articles when she went to Greece, but even then she injected her ridiculous viewpoints into the article.

She should be part foodie, part travel guide...even if she doesn't leave Pittsburgh. I want to feel like I'm at the table with her, but not having to listen to her talk.

As for China herself, a food critic is not to be seen or known, lest they get favorable treatment when they review a restaurant. This has always bothered me. I like to solve puzzles. So using my bachelor's in Google Search-ology, I found this link with a possible picture of Ms. Millman:

This is from a Harvard newspaper in 2002, putting young Ms. Millman at approximately 25-26. I've always pictured her in my mind as a late 20-something, slightly sullen, prone to coffee shop mopey-ness, so this sad panda picture fit my thoughts to a tee. I also expect her to live somewhere trendy, like a Shadyside or East End, but that's not something I would ever publish online if I found out.

There's a difference between solving a puzzle and stalking. A thin line.

So if you see this girl out and about at a fashionable restaurant and she seems to be intently studying her plate, while contemplating how to convey her thoughts to the commoners, give her a big "HI, CHINA MILLMAN!!" for ol' DBS here.

1 comment:

  1. Who needs a food critic when you have this handy little tool: