I’m a natural-born foodie.
No joke. A month or so ago, I viewed some old camcorder recordings that my mom transferred to a VHS tape (remember those?!) years ago, and there are some hilarious clips of me encountering food—shoveling noodles in my mouth with my bare hands, hogging a bowl of cereal that Farris and I were supposed to share. . .
This love of food has followed me to this day. Everyone who knows me knows that I’m such a foodie. My mom gets a major chuckle out of my hangry complaints, which probably happen more often than I’d like to admit! (Yikes)
Before you finish your thought—I know, I know. Who doesn’t love food? Am I just preaching to the choir? It’s almost like adoring food and wanting to eat forever and ever is a TREND of sorts nowadays. We share memes about it, watch YouTube videos of people just chatting and eating. . . Hey, no judgement from me!
The history of my culinary passions
It isn’t just food itself I love; it's also the process of cooking and creating it. Everyone might like food, but not everyone likes making it.
I've loved to cook since I was a five-year-old girl with an Easy Bake Oven.
Oh, the dear memories I hold of popping single cookies and little circular tins of cake onto the Easy Bake Oven’s conveyor belt, all so that a LIGHT BULB would cook it. The feeling of pride and satisfaction I received when I saw my cooked creation come out the other side made me feel accomplished and adult-like.
When I got older, I would watch hours upon hours of cooking videos on YouTube—everything from the basics to extravagant dishes. I used to bring cookbooks to sleepovers to read as though they were novels (probably why I stopped getting invited—HA!). I took some culinary courses in high school and enjoyed every minute of them.
I also lived on my own for years, and I cooked for myself almost daily instead of spending money eating out at restaurants or picking up fast-food. This gave me the opportunity to experiment with ingredients and have fun making a variety of dishes.
I genuinely enjoy learning about cooking processes and techniques, about which ingredients pair best with others, discovering different ethnic styles. . .
And of course, the culinary world is just another prime example of how creativity can manifest in our everyday lives, which is what my blog is all about. The act of cooking is the process; the finished, consumable product is the reward.
The best part? We get to gobble it up afterwards.
Cooking is nothing short of a wonderful art-form.
So. . . What ARE the "F.A.R.R.A.H. Reviews" anyway???
The "F.A.R.R.A.H. Reviews" is my way of, well, reviewing restaurants. (Duh, right?)
They are formatted so that I may critique my experience at a restaurant
based on aspects of dining with the most significance to me.
via a consistent method.
There are millions of restaurant reviewers in the world, and the way I wanted to stand out was with my rating system. It is not an abstract scale, such as the commonly used stars, forks, or other symbols.
Rather, the method by which I review restaurants involves examination of certain criteria that I genuinely consider when deciding if my hopes and standards were met.
I took those categories (ex: taste, speed, prices) and morphed them into words that begin with the first letters of my name, given that the critiquing process is already so personalized. (I promise I didn't do it to be pompous LOL).
I believe that going to a restaurant should be an experience. I never expect each of those six nails to be hit on the head every time I go out, but generally speaking, I consider all those factors and weigh them against each other to determine my overall takeaway from a restaurant.
The significance of each point varies circumstantially; sometimes one becomes more relevant or important than the other. For example, at a dinner theater (this is on my mind because I recently attended a production of Mamma Mia! put on by our local Chanhassen Dinner Theater, which was fabulous), the quality of the food is not necessarily as important as how interesting the show was.
And to me, the subjectivity is the beauty in all of it.
What is my goal with my food reviews?
I plan to start with local restaurants in the Metropolitan area of Minnesota—the Twin Cities and neighboring suburban counties. Ideally, if my blog takes off, I can forfeit my other jobs to devote all my time to what I do on here and can then branch out and travel for my F.A.R.R.A.H. Reviews. (What a dream that would be!)
It would be such fun to visit restaurants all across the United States!
Though I do visit chain restaurants from time to time in my own free time—and have even worked at one for over three years!—my heart truly lies with privately-owned businesses.
I love supporting small businesses, and I want them to thrive because more times than not, succeeding small businesses equate to dreams coming true.
I like to imagine myself, one day, possibly operating my own café or restaurant, and I would pray for the support of locales and visiting tourists. So the more traffic I can funnel to small businesses, the better.
Plus, there is something so charming and special about going to a restaurant and knowing that nowhere are there others exactly like it.
Also, I get to eat, and that is reason enough… Am I right?!
Why should I get to comment on the food creations of others?
HAH. Good question. Honestly, who the hell knows??
For reals, though, here are reasons why I feel valid in posting restaurant reviews publicly (for whatever they're worth):
We are all critics to a certain extent. When it boils down to it (get it? get it?), we all critique the culinary creations of others by assessing how much we enjoy it, even if only in our heads. Through my perspective, we are ALL eligible to comment on art, which I consider cooking to be. After all, taste is subjective. Even if the most renowned chef in the world says a dish champions all others, I would argue that if the other 99 people in the room can’t stomach it then, guess what? It ain’t that good!
I do know more about cooking than the average Joe. Though I am no expert, and I didn't go to school for it, I have spent a considerable number of hours in the kitchen practicing my hand at the craft and have been credited for making some mean dishes. *insert devilish face here*
I can articulate my thoughts on the food I eat well, in a clear, colorful, and accurate manner. (Aha! Something I DID go to school for!). My goal is that you taste in your mouth what I describe on the screen.
I am nice. I can’t help it. I’m rarely intimidating, even when I want to be. To some, this may be a horrible reason to be a food critic—in fact, they’d argue it’s the reason NOT to be one (because aren’t reviewers supposed to be harsh and nasty and take no prisoners with their words?). Perhaps I’m not a true food critic, then. Perhaps it is better to call me a passive “commentator." I don’t believe in denigrating the hard work of others, even if I believe their creations are royally disgusting because, as mentioned before, taste is subjective. Who am I to claim my word is the truth and is sufficient enough to label something a failure? I am but one voice in a sea of others—a LOUD one, at that, but still just one. I believe the best critiques are the ones that are thoughtful, honest, and respectful.
There is a gracious way to say something sucks.
One of my best friends, Courtney, gave me the idea to create a printable version of the F.A.R.R.A.H. Review—something readers could bring to their local restaurants to complete, or even to do as a group. I thought it was such a creative suggestion that gives people a fun reason to go out and try new places.
Click on the picture, and it will bring you to a PDF you can download. If you do so, please send me a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org! I’d love to read them.
Comment below. Is there a local restaurant you’ve been dying to try? Or is there one you have tried and would rave on and on about? What’s your favorite dish there?
Who knows—maybe someday I can try it!
Until next time...