I am normally good with criticism. I actually like it. I welcome any comment about Ottolenghi’s food, my style, the level of execution, clarity of recipes… the more the merrier.
There is only one kind of comment that really gets to me, and it is part of a growing trend that I find both annoying and silly; these are comments about the health attributes of certain dishes.
I particularly refer to a letter to the Guardian’s weekend magazine by a reader from Cardiff complaining about the amount of fat that went into a broccoli pie recipe I published a couple of weeks earlier.
This reader, as many others self-appointed guards of the nation’s welfare, don’t trust that people are smart enough to make the right decisions about their diet. He can’t imagine that someone would be responsible enough to have a small slice of the rich pie, along with a green salad, to create a perfectly healthy and delicious lunch.
I actually suspect that delicious doesn’t come into the equation at all here, that this type of criticism comes from people that don’t really like food.
I wish all this energy would instead go to the enjoyment of great food, whatever it may be.