At the beginning of this special section, we told you about individuals who think they know a thing or two about restaurant and culinary trends, and thus label themselves with the "f" word.
Well, those same people have a terrible habit of talking (or writing) a lot about what they eat. This can be helpful to the dining populous at large, but only if they give you information you can use. If their entire blog or Twitter feed consists of them bragging about their freedom from the tyrannical grip of gluten or the benefits of raw food or how they drove 500 miles to find good foie gras, well, they're not helping anybody.
We write a lot about food here at the Inlander and have learned a few things about how to talk about what you've eaten. Here are some tips.
Own your opinions
If you're going to blog or tweet or Instagram or Yelp about your city's restaurant, you should be doing it with your real name. There was a time — a long time — when food writers for the country's biggest papers and magazines never let their photo match up with their name as to not get special treatment when reviewing. Some even went by pseudonyms. Given that any type of anonymity has gone by the wayside in the selfie age, this practice is largely extinct. But even as an amateur, if you're going to say something, especially something negative, about a restaurant, you should own it. That restaurant owner probably put his or her life savings into opening the place and the least you can do is own your opinions. The owner or manager might even reach out to you for feedback.
If you're getting serious about your documenting your dining experiences, you might take some time to research the history, place of origin and other facts about the cuisine you're talking or writing about. Also consider taking some cooking classes to learn, literally, how the sausage is made. Another idea is to take the time to chat with restaurant industry people and get a feel for how things work in what is an extremely competitive and risky business.
It's your opinion
There's always going to be that one friend who claims that Papa Murphy's makes the best pizza in Spokane. You will not agree with him, of course, but you wouldn't shout him down for it, would you? The same goes when you start contributing Yelp or TripAdvisor reviews. Don't spend your time trying to refute what others have posted about the food or service. Rather, spend your words on your own visits (notice the plural: if you're going to seriously critique a restaurant, you better go more than once) and let your take on the place stand alone.♦