When you tell someone you’re a food editor, you usually get bombarded with a flurry of totally irrelevant questions. “Do you get to eat out for free all the time?” “Do you go to all the Michelin-starred restaurants?” Like pretty much every other profession, food editing is often misunderstood. It’s difficult to fully comprehend someone’s job until you spend a day — or a year — in his or her shoes. Food editing is just like any other job in that way: it’s full of nuance and variety, and no two people’s jobs are alike.
We digital food editors at The Huffington Post love our jobs — we feel lucky to be able to read and write about food all day long. But we think it’s high time someone set the record straight.
Here are 17 common misconceptions about food editors:
1. We’re all restaurant critics.
We are not, in fact, all restaurant critics. Many of us have never critiqued a restaurant in our lives, nor would some of us want to. Restaurant critics are a specific subset of food editors, and we commend them for the tireless nights spent eating out, sometimes at more than one restaurant in a night, even if they’d rather have a cooked meal at home. We applaud them for their careful attention to detail while others are sitting back and relaxing, and for their appreciation and deep knowledge of dining culture.
2. We’re obsessed with trying all the newest restaurants.
We like our old favorites just as much as you do. Just because something is new and trendy doesn’t mean it’s good, and even if it is good, we’re not necessarily champing at the bit to go there. Sometimes a quiet, neighborhood standby — even a cheap and not necessarily outstanding one — is just want we want.
3. We refer to ourselves as “foodies.”
We HATE that word!
4. We’re really picky about food.
We’re food editors because we love food so we’re definitely not picky. We want to try everything and we’re just as in love with the “low brow” stuff as we are the foie gras and caviar. (Actually, not all of us even like foie gras.) We’re also always interested in trying something new, so if the food isn’t prepared how we typically see it, we’re not judgmental. Finally, because we think about food all day, we’re often relieved if someone else is responsible for cooking or choosing it. (Except we may be picky about a hot avocado.)
5. We always want to pick the restaurants.
The previous point segues nicely into this next item: we definitely do not always want to choose the restaurants. We want to visit other people’s favorites or suggestions. We don’t always know best (although sometimes we do!).
6. We’ll judge your cooking.
Please don’t be nervous about cooking for us. Just as we’d love you to pick the restaurant, we’d love for you to cook for us. We do not judge your cooking. We repeat: we do not judge your cooking.
7. We’re all amazing cooks.
We read and write about food for a living; we don’t cook for a living. So here’s a little secret: we’re not all amazing cooks! Sure some of us are — some of us are world-class chefs and can whip up a 32-layer crepe cake with no problem. Some of us, however, are just ok cooks. We can whip a good, quick meal and we have a few solid dishes in our repertories, but we may not necessarily be a better cook than you.
8. We judge your food order.
Just as we don’t judge your cooking, we don’t judge your food order when we’re out to eat together. Bone marrow is not for everyone, and if you don’t want to eat it, we do not fault you. Our motto: “Live and let live, eat and let eat.”
9. We think certain food is beneath us.
Wrong again. We love an occasional trip to McDonald’s and we’re huge fans of instant ramen and boxed mac and cheese (even if we like to dress it up at times). We’ve made cookies out of the cookie dough you find in ice cream, ya dig? We’re not food snobs. We’re food editors!
10. We watch food TV.
Some of us might, but others of us don’t. Some of us even hate food TV.
11. Our drunk food is different than yours.
Nah. Our late-night, booze-induced pig-outs aren’t fancy. We order pizza and fall asleep, we devour questionable fried food and we make a lot of grilled cheeses.
12. We take photos of every meal.
If we took photos at every meal, you’d know that we eat more like you than you might think. While we’re no stranger to the occasional food Instagram shot, we’re not pulling out the smart phone every time we sit down to a meal or cook up something at home.
13. We’ve all had a Cronut™.
Some of us, in fact, have not had the pleasure of trying a Cronut™. Some of us are smart enough to know it’s a big waste of time, especially when Dominque Ansel’s DKA is far superior.
14. Pinterest is our social media platform of choice.
Pinterest is lovely and all but not all of us are into it. We like the broad spectrum of social media platforms, but you won’t find us posting as much as you might think.
15. We know where all the best restaurants are in every single city, everywhere, even if we’ve never been there.
While we appreciate your faith in us, we don’t necessarily know of all the best steak houses in St. Louis or where to go for the perfect, quiet date night in Chicago. We can direct you to Google, however.
16. Every meal is an indulgent one.
We eat soup and salad and we drink green juices. If we ate all the rich and indulgent food we wanted to every day, we wouldn’t be able to think straight enough to actually do our jobs. Most of us keep it pretty tame for the majority of the time, and really indulge on certain occasions. It might be a nightly or weekly indulgence, but it’s definitely not three times a day.
17. We get free meals when we go out.
We wish! Sadly, it just isn’t so.
Food editors, what other false impressions do you find people have about your job?
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