In life, no matter who you are, you will receive critiquing. For me critiquing isn’t the same as criticism. I value reviews as it helps me to grow, motivates me, and expand an idea. Done properly it can help evaluate and assess a certain idea or project. Can it hurt? Absolutely! Especially if you think you have done everything you can to craft a beautiful or tasty creation. But when you sit back and think about the examples the person gave about how it can be better, sometimes a light bulb goes off and you think, “Wow, what a great idea!”
As much as I value critiquing, the opposite is true of criticism, which in the world of social media is beyond comprehension. Words fly across the screen with no thought of the recipient. No one sees who is writing and that can be very heady. Disparagement can be costly. It is meant to destroy, belittle, and attack without the sense of helping the person who is on the receiving end.
I have been on the receiving end of critiquing on other interests such as my writing and even work. These were given with the intent of helping me to grow. However, if critiquing someone or some place without giving examples of how to make it better and using demeaning language, then it is no help at all.
When we critique are we trying to make ourselves feel better, or the person with whom we are critiquing?
To give a proper critique, an evaluation if you will, a couple of processes help. First, have knowledge of where the person wants to be in their endeavor. Second, tell what you like about the project. Even give a couple of examples. Third, say what could be worked on. No matter how great, a venture can always be worked on and improved. Lastly, follow up with what you liked the best of the whole enterprise. Not only will the person you are critiquing benefit and feel good about their work, you will too because you were a part of helping someone to grow.
So, when it comes to critiquing my many endeavors in food, I appreciate the input. I value what is being said in not only what is working in my creations, but what I can be doing better. I have friends and neighbors who are good at giving me input, so I will give some examples.
“The ranch dressing dry mix makes it so easy for me to whip up dressing for my salads. The mix is a great combination of dry herbs to make it taste authentic. However, it is a bit too salty. I would cut back on the salt a bit. Otherwise, perfection.” The person was right, it was too salty, and I cut back on the salt and now it is perfect.
“The individual beef wellingtons were out of this world. The meat was cooked perfectly and the puff pastry was crispy and flaky. But I thought the chopped green chives on top were an afterthought and had no place on the dish. I would’ve used chopped rosemary or thyme, as that was in your main dish. It would have made it cohesive. My favorite part was the addition of the Gouda. Nice and creamy and it gave the dish another note.” The person who critiqued me was right. I know better than to put something on the plate that has no business of being there. I replaced the chives with thyme and it was much better.
I don’t always agree with these critiques, and that’s okay. It is my dish after all, with my name on the recipe. However, all in all, I love the critiques and learn something new every time I receive one.
Next week, I’m critiquing a restaurant and will follow my own advice. I want to be helpful, not destroy, as that’s how I like to be treated.
Until next time, happy creating.