Everybody’s a Critic

Invited by great friends and even better company to a St. Paddy’s Day dinner—more an excuse to get together than any sort of nationalism for this motley crew—I decided to try a new recipe. My mom, a Bon Appétit maven, admonished never to use an event as a recipe’s debut, but events are motivational for me, so…

I found the recipe on the New York Times cooking site, one of my go-to sources and was intrigued. The ingredients by themselves were neither exotic nor too many in number. I’ve recently purchased a digital scale—yes, people, this is what basic cooks do who want to venture into new territory and subscribe to the fussier food fixing—so I was ready. What I didn’t do when I chose this Chocolate Whiskey Cake was read the comments.

My selection process: title (ah writers, the importance of a title) and photo; sentence or two of blurb; ingredients; step-by-step; and finally…and maybe… the comments. Everyone’s a critic. People love it and rave, then proceed to describe the changes they made. People like it just fine, but make suggestions about changes they plan to make, despite the success of their first effort. Then there are the haters; they go to town.

My husband tells me, when I am quick to do to Yelp or Google to scan reviews, that it is generally only the disgruntled who write them, so naturally they’re skewed. I can appreciate that though now a user of both Uber and Airbnb, I know that operators actually strongly encourage (beg for) positive reviews. A colleague and I had an Uber driver tell us that we were the best passengers he’d ever had as if that would prompt us to return the accolades.

The Chocolate Whiskey Cake crowd was generally positive, and I did find a suggestion that was echoed by one or two others, nothing rogue, merely: “Much better the second day.” Since today’s the 16th, I guess I’d better get to it.

12 thoughts on “Everybody’s a Critic”

  1. Okay, the cake sounds yummy. Chocolate and whiskey, what could go wrong? And your husband is right about the critics. My husband reminds me we don’t know these reviewers so can’t assess their ethos.

  2. Another great food slice, and thanks for sharing the recipe too. So many of our lives special moments are tied to food traditions and celebrations. Hope this does taste better the 2nd day. Happy St. Paddy’s day!

  3. I had to quit reading the comments on recipes for the same reason! I don’t know why people feel they need to modify every recipe. I understand, “I left out the raisins!” or “I added raisins.” but some people seem to change the whole recipe and I wonder why they don’t just write their own recipes.

    1. I think dessert and chocolate are synonymous and am always hard-pressed to try something that doesn’t include it.

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