Inspired by The Awl's fantastic -- and surprisingly somewhat difficult -- "Edith Wharton? Or Girls Review?" pop quiz last week, we created our own little take-home exam that may or may not shed some light on the state of food criticism today. Quotes from current food and restaurant reviewers are lined up alongside quotes from that great writer and critic Dorothy Parker. Can you pick out who's saying what? Turn the page to take the test ...
- "They are all bright and brisk and determinedly young. They skitter from place to place with a nervous quickness that suggests the movements of those little leggy things that you see on the surface of ponds, on hot summer days."
- "Everyone is gorgeous here and making a lot of money. Or just acting like it."
- "I should have stayed at home for dinner. I could have had something on a tray. The head of John the Baptist, or something."
- "His father, a dapper onetime salesman at New York men's clothier Paul Stuart, owned the Cellar, a supper club on the Upper West Side. At the end of the last set he'd send loyal customers into the night saying, 'You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.'"
- "There is a palpable sense of stasis there, accentuated by the area's most striking landmark, a carpet showroom with an immaculate 1950s façade."
- "I can see myself stopping by for dessert in the afternoon sometime. That's when you can best appreciate an apple strudel."
- "Once I was coming down a street in Beverly Hills and I saw a Cadillac about a block long, and out of the side window was a wonderfully slinky mink, and an arm, and at the end of the arm a hand in a white suede glove wrinkled around the wrist, and in the hand was a bagel with a bite out of it."
- "His soul can't rise above food. Purely physical, that's all he is."
- "Perhaps I'm just such a lightweight as it's not a regular habit of mine. It stayed with me in a more constant manner than the inhaling method."
- "The place was filled with people who looked as if they had been scraped out of drains."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
- Dorothy Parker, critiquing a group of young folks who appointed themselves the elite of certain social circles in "Literary Rotarians," The New Yorker (Feb. 11, 1928)
- "Violet K.," reviewing SoHo House, Yelp.com (Sept. 13, 2011)
- Dorothy Parker, in a short story entitled "But the One on the Right," The New Yorker (Oct. 19, 1929)
- Patric Kuh, reviewing Post & Beam, Los Angeles Magazine (April 1, 2012)
- Nick Czap, reviewing Sotto, The New York Times (April 5, 2012)
- S. Irene Virbila, reviewing BierBeisl, The Los Angeles Times (April 21, 2012)
- Dorothy Parker, in an interview with The Paris Review (Summer 1956)
- Dorothy Parker, "But the One on the Right," The New Yorker (Oct. 19, 1929)
- "Joan," reviewing Starry Kitchen and Laurent Quenioux's Chinese herb and marijuana dinner, Potatomato.com (April 6, 2012)
- Dorothy Parker, "Literary Rotarians," The New Yorker (Feb. 11, 1928)