Observer Food Critic versus 80 year-old Reader

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Last week in the Observer, food critic Jay Rayner wrote a rather spiky piece about how people who eat slowly infuriate him.

A popbitch reader showed the article to her octogenarian father, as his slow eating-style was a family joke.

The dad decided to write a slightly cranky email on to Rayner, explaining why some people might eat more slowly than the critic would like.  The food critic’s reply suggests the emailer had touched a nerve:

On Wednesday, 16 November 2011, Blunter Edge  wrote:

Dear Mr Rayner
I don’t read Food Mags, but my daughter thought I might find it amusing to see it , as I’m a slow eater.
As you are obviously someone enjoying his second adolescence you will find this difficult to believe. But, I can assure you that you will die soon, or grow older. And as you do, you will find that your body may not function as it used to.
There are any number of reasons why people eat slowly: poor digestion; lack of teeth; gum trouble; apart from any number of ghastly malfunctions. Embarrassment at being the last to finish means that you might find yourself eating smaller and smaller helpings aware that lusty lads like your former self are mindlessly congratulating themselves on being sooo vibrant, young and healthy.
Still I suppose as a magazine journo, a food magazine journo, you’ve got to write crap about something. Have you thought of using your talents to write about something worthwhile?
I hope I may have been of help.
Yours sincerely

B. Edge  (octogenarian)


From: Jay Rayner

Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2011

Subject: Re: slow eating


Have you always been this pompous, patronising, joyless and tiresome or did it just come with time? And dont try claiming it’s a function of old age. My mother dealt with about as many calamities as the passing of the years could throw at her and it would never have ocurred to her to throw out such a self-pitying piece of cobblers. She had no time for it and neither do it. For what it’s worth that one column amounts to less than 1% of my yearly output. I write about food poverty, modern agriculture, the food supply system and a lot of fun stuff too. But you wouldn’t know about that because you never read me. And can I suggest we keep it that way. What i write will never make you happy.



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