2012年5月13日 星期日


這是由紐時首席食評Pete Wells所寫的"When He Dined, the Stars Came Out"(原文聯結在),講述的是美國餐飲評論鼻祖Craig Claiborne一生的貢獻,這篇文章不僅記述了CG其人的功業,還帶我們回顧了食評以及餐飲業如何在美國由一個難登大雅之堂的技藝,攀登到如今潮流焦點的地位,我覺得還滿能刺激許多想法的。 

When He Dined, the Stars Came Out 

By PETE WELLS, New York Times 

ON May 18, 1962, readers of The New York Times woke up to learn that of all the Chinese restaurants in the city, “there is probably none with a finer kitchen” than Tien Tsin, in Harlem. The same article praised four other places to eat, including Gaston, on East 49th Street, which “may qualify as having one of the most inspired French kitchens in town,” and Marchi’s, on East 31st Street, “one of New York’s most unusual North Italian restaurants.”

1962年5月18日,紐約時報的讀者們一覺醒來攤開報紙便讀到「本市的中國餐館中,大概沒有一家的廚房比得上哈林區的「天心」更高竿」,同一篇文章裡,作者還列舉並讚美了四間食肆,包括東49街上「堪稱本城最有才氣的法式廚房」的Gaston ,以及東31街上的Marchi,是「紐約最秀異的北義料理餐廳」。

The author of these judgments was Craig Claiborne, the newspaper’s food editor. He prefaced his article with a short note: “The following is a listing of New York restaurants that are recommended on the basis of varying merits. Such a listing will be published every Friday in The New York Times.”

這些評論的作者是紐約時報的餐飲編輯Craig Claiborne (譯按:以下簡稱CG)。文章開頭,他還加註了下面這段話:以下(餐廳)推薦名單乃依不同餐飲範疇中各自之優異表現所作。名單於每週五紐約時報刊出。

And that is just what happened, first in what were called the women’s pages (“Food Fashions Family Furnishings”), and then, after 1976, in the Weekend section; by that time, the column was not a listing but a review of one or two restaurants. In 1997, with the invention of the Dining In/Dining Out section, it jumped to Wednesdays, where it still lives.


Some American writers had nibbled at the idea of professional restaurant criticism before this, including Claiborne, who had written one-off reviews of major new restaurants for The Times. But his first “Directory to Dining,” 50 years ago this month, marks the day when the country pulled up a chair and began to chow down. Within a few years, nearly every major newspaper had to have a Craig Claiborne of its own. Reading the critics, eating what they had recommended, and then bragging or complaining about it would become a national pastime.

儘管在此之前,美國已有不少作家"小酌"過專業餐廳評論這樣的概念,包括CG自已也曾為時報寫過幾篇一次性(不會在後來修正評價)的新餐廳評論。但要一直到他在五十年前本月第一次登場的「外食指南」,才真正標誌了這國家為此擺開盛宴的日子。不到幾年,幾乎每家主要報紙都得要有一個自家的Craig Claiborne。閱讀食評,去他們推薦的餐廳用餐,繼而誇耀或抱怨隨之而來的用餐經驗,旋即成為全民休閒活動。

As the current caretaker of the house that Claiborne built, I lack objectivity on this subject. Still, I believe that without professional critics like him and others to point out what was new and delicious, chefs would not be smiling at us from magazine covers, subway ads and billboards. They would not be invited to the White House, except perhaps for job interviews. Claiborne and his successors told Americans that restaurants mattered. That was an eccentric opinion a half-century ago. It’s not anymore.


None of this was obvious in Claiborne’s early directories, which were so compressed that there wasn’t room for much writing. There were typically four or five capsules a week of less than 100 words each, most of which concerned prices, addresses and other data.


Over time, this rather drab creature evolved its characteristic plumage. The capsules got longer, and within a few years Claiborne was writing about two restaurants a week with some depth and verve.


 The column’s most easily recognized field mark, the starred ranking, made its debut on May 24, 1963, with a three-star scale. A fourth star, still the newspaper’s top grade, was placed on the top of the tree a year later. The arguments about what it all means have been going on ever since.


 Most influential of all were the rules Claiborne set for himself, which became the industry ideal. He was independent of advertising, tried to dine anonymously, and before passing judgment would eat at least two meals (later three) that were paid for by The Times, not the restaurants. Claiborne’s guidelines sent a message that he wasn’t an overprivileged and overfed man about town. He was a critic with a job to do.


The guidelines also sent a message within the Times’s newsroom that the food department had high standards, too, even if Claiborne’s restaurant directory ran next to tips on polishing silver and photographs of new place mats for sale on the fifth floor of Altman’s.


“He saw himself as a critic on a par with the paper’s critics of books, art, music and drama, and he was determined to bring to his work a rigor and gravity equal to theirs,” writes Thomas McNamee in “The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat” (Free Press, $27), a biography of Claiborne that is being published this month. "

他將自己視同於紐時其他評論家,例如書評、藝評、樂評以及劇評,那樣的角色"Thomas McNamee說,後者所寫的CG傳記「改變你我吃法的人」在這個月出版。

If the prose in those early reviews is not always incandescent, a few of them send up bright flares of recognition. Here is Isle of Capri, where “guests dine off bare marble tables.” There is the King Cole Bar, “open only for men at lunch.” Other listings set off pangs of regret for places that didn’t last to see this century: Sweets, Bleeck’s, Trader Vic’s, Kleine Konditorei.

哪怕在早期的評論裡,未必篇篇都是光芒四射的優美散文,至少也從字裡行間併射出吸引人注意的火花。諸如「卡布里島餐廳裡的客人得用磨光大理石桌子填飽肚子」,或像是「King Cole酒吧午餐時間只對男客開放」之類的句子,也不時在餐廳名單中穿插對某些餐廳的憾恨,像是Sweets, Bleeck’s, Trader Vic’s(偉客商人), Kleine Konditorei等等餐廳,都沒能撐到這個世紀。(Becco按:這段我翻得超沒信心,有人能指點一下的話,感激不盡)。

What is most striking, though, are the head-snapping juxtapositions of linen and linoleum. In one column, Claiborne recommended both a Neapolitan pizzeria and the Colony, the hive of society where Sirio Maccioni studied the art of seating arrangements. In another, Claiborne praised the kitchen at La Côte Basque but had more to say about the food at Chock Full o’ Nuts: “There are more than 30 of these first-class establishments in New York. They are neat as a whistle and the sandwiches and pastries are of a high order.”

但無論如何,CG的食評最驚天動地之處,莫過於一新眾人耳目地拼貼了亞麻布與亞麻油氈(B按:這翻的很爛,但前者是高級餐廳的桌巾,後者是廉價塑料地板的材質,作者大概是拿兩者的音、義作類比,總之是要說他對不同價格或定位的餐廳一視同仁的意思)。在某一次專欄中CG同時推薦了一家拿坡理披薩以及著名的「殖民地] 餐廳,後者是正是紐約餐飲聞人Sirio Maccioni (B按:紐約傳奇 Le Cirque餐廳老闆,三星大廚 Daniel Boulud 的老東家)精熟其排座絕藝之處(譯註1)。另一篇裡,CG雖說讚美了四星級的巴斯客海岸餐廳(B按:曾為紐約最高級的法國餐廳),卻同時花了更多篇幅談論Chock Full o’ Nuts,宣稱「在紐約有超過30家這樣的一流小店,不僅收拾得乾淨齊整,所提供的三明治與甜點更執全市牛耳。」

Readers who questioned whether Claiborne really put such different genres of dining on an equal footing would learn the answer the day he began handing out stars.


In a basement near Battery Park, Jimmy’s Greek American Restaurant prepared moussaka and braised lamb for lunch customers who served themselves by walking right into the kitchen. Claiborne gave the place two stars.

在Battery Park附近的一間地下室裡,美式希臘餐廳Jimmy's的客人得進到廚房裡自助,才得以享用為他們所準備的Moussaka(希臘式碎牛肉烤茄子)以及燉羊肉。這樣一家餐廳CG給他二星。

A few weeks later, he gave his top rating of three stars to Gil Clark’s, a clam bar on the marina in Bay Shore on Long Island, where the main courses came with French fries and a salad. Parking was available for cars and boats.

隔了幾星期, 他將一家叫作Gil Clark's的海鮮吧列在最高的三星級,這家海鮮吧位在長島海邊的Bay shore,這裡的主菜旁配菜是沙拉和薯條,客人可以把車或船停在陸上或碼頭。

Decades before it became fashionable to ride the No. 7 train in search of the cuisine of recent immigrants, Claiborne was prowling the streets in search of Filipino, Armenian, Lebanese, Mexican, Hungarian and Czech menus. He alerted readers to the rise of Japanese restaurants and praised Chinese food that was relatively un-Americanized. When Shun Lee Dynasty came along in the mid-1960s with its menu of Sichuan specialties, he gave it three out of four stars.


Not that Claiborne was incapable of snobbery. In a review from 1961, he wrinkled his nose at the wardrobe worn by the owner of a new French restaurant. “It is advice of the kindliest sort to say that the patron of Lutèce would do well to wear a dinner jacket to maintain the atmosphere created by the décor,” he wrote. “A business suit seems inappropriate.”

這可不是說Claiborne 不擅長假掰之道或者不知勢利眼為何物。在1961年一篇評論裡,他就對一家新開的法國餐廳老闆的服飾嗤之以鼻,「先聲明這樣講完全出於好心唷,要是Lutece 的老闆能穿上正式的晚宴服待客,那他與此地裝潢陳設所營造出的氣氛將更顯得相稱」他繼續寫道「那種上班族穿的西服在這裡真的是不夠得体啊!」

But such judgments never kept him from sending his readers down to Mott Street for the fried crabs he had just discovered. Claiborne took food seriously no matter who was cooking or eating it. This egalitarianism was a bit of an innovation in American restaurant writing.

但即使會寫這樣的評論,他從未停止鼓勵他的讀者們到中國城的勿街(B按:Mott street,紐約中國城最老的一條街之一,有幾間有趣的百年老店)品嚐他最新發掘到的避風唐炒蟹。Claiborne對待食物的嚴肅認真態度從未因為煮的或吃的是誰而有所不同。這樣的平權主義在美國餐廳評論史上真可算是個不小的突破。

One of the best-known reviewers of the day was Duncan Hines, who, before selling his name to cake mixes, compiled a traveler’s guide to restaurants across the country. While Hines appreciated the virtues of old-fashioned home cooking, he seemed far more interested in a restaurant’s sanitary conditions than in its ability to turn out delicious sesame noodles.

當時有一位非常有名的食評叫作Duncan Hines,這傢伙在把自己的名字賣給蛋糕預拌粉公司之前,曾寫過一本供全美國旅遊用的餐廳指南。但即使Hines先生頗能欣賞古早味的家庭料理,對於一間有本事做出一碗又一碗美味麻醬麵的廚房,他更關注的反倒是其衛生條件。

Mining a richer vein of gastronomy was Lucius Beebe, a dashing figure who doted on his mink-lined coats and doeskin gloves. In Gourmet and The New York Herald Tribune, he celebrated restaurants like the Colony, the Stork Club and “21,” where cafe society gathered to gaze at its own reflection.

另一位走奢華路線的飲食作者是 Lucius Beebe,這位時髦的仁兄鍾愛穿著有貂皮鑲邊領子的外衣,配上他的鹿皮手套。他在Gourmet雜誌以及紐約前峰論壇報上大讚特讚像是Colony、The Stork Club及"21"這類有閒階級們聚會,彼此映照互相吹捧的地方。(B按: Cafe Society一辭就是這位LB發明的)

If the cooking was enjoyable, Beebe certainly enjoyed it. But in his universe, the worth of a restaurant was determined more by the social status of its customers than the skill of its chef.


Claiborne observed everything when he was reviewing, but ultimately he judged restaurants by what came out of the kitchen. As this idea caught on, it became harder to confuse the country’s best restaurants with the ones that were merely favored by the aristocracy. A different hierarchy in dining, ordered by creativity and excellence in cuisine, was slowly taking shape under the guidance of a new aristocracy: an aristocracy of taste. Today, we call members of this aristocracy “foodies.” Claiborne

CG在下筆評論一間餐廳前會鉅細彌遺地審視所有面向,然而其最終評價依然端賴廚房端了什麼樣的食物出來。也由於這樣的概念,那些只受「上流社會」青睞的餐廳便愈來愈難以混入真正的好餐廳之列。一個新的体制於焉成型,在此,位階的高低取決於創意與料理的卓越程度,評判標準出自一個新的、以對食物品嚐能力為尚的菁英階層。如今,我們稱這類的人們為 "foodies",美食愛好者。

“I think he is responsible for the power that reviewers, and even chefs and food TV and food, have in America,” Mitchell Davis, executive vice president of the James Beard Foundation, said in an interview. Mr. Davis wrote his doctoral dissertation on restaurant reviews in New York and found, somewhat to his surprise, that nearly every thread of research he followed led back to Claiborne, who died in 2000. “He created the model of what it meant to be a foodie.”

「我認為今天食評家、廚師、料理節目以及食物這檔事之所以能在美國擁有偌大的影響力,他(Claiborne)絕對是始作甬者」詹姆思.畢爾德基金會執行副總裁Mitchell Davis說道。Davis先生的博士論文題目就是紐約的餐飲評論(B:這是什麼系的phd,我也要去念),而在爬梳整理資料的過程中,他不無意外地發現幾乎所有資料與知識線索最終者匯集於Claiborne一身。Claiborne於2000年過世,而他,按照Davis的說法,「等於創造了今日所謂食家們的典範模型」。

Claiborne’s reviews were just one part of that model. He wrote about changing tastes in the White House kitchen, stood by the stove with home cooks who showed him how to prepare tortillas, and reported on the rise of nouvelle cuisine in France. He traveled, most famously to Paris for a $4,000 dinner that he wrote up on the front page, but to more far-flung locales, too.

但他的食評只是這整個典型的一部份。他還在文章裡倡議改變白宮廚房的口味,站在火爐邊觀看業餘家廚示範做墨西哥捲餅,還報導了遠在法國的新派料理運動(B按:以Paul Bocuse等名廚為首的Nouvelle cuisine,唉,好遙遠了呀 )。他旅行各地,哪怕最為人熟知的可能是其中一餐耗資4,000美元的巴黎之行---而他也的確為此寫就一篇醒目的頭版文章---更多時候則是履及這世界上許多遙遠且名不見經傳的角落。

“I think people were sort of astonished when he did things like he went to Vietnam during the war and sat there within the sound of gunfire, and discovered things like shrimp on a stick,” said Mr. McNamee, Claiborne’s biographer. “He was able to go to Alaska and eat blubber and moose liver and write about it in this strange trance. He seems to take everything in stride. I think this sort of nervelessness helped him bring people around to just trying anything.”

「我想人們在看到他於戰爭期間跑到越南,在砲聲隆隆下發現烤甘蔗蝦這些食物時,多少有點嚇到吧」他的傳記作者 McNamee 說。「他能去阿拉斯加大啖水母或糜鹿肝,不當一回事地下筆為文,什麼題材在他處理起來都顯得舉重若輕。我想就是這樣不拘小節、不擇細流的態度才能幫他輕易地說服週圍的人勇於嚐試任何東西吧 。」

 If every meal could be critiqued, even a doughnut at the counter of Chock Full o’ Nuts, then everybody could be a critic. Followed far enough, this road leads to Yelp. But it also leads to thousands of Americans treating each meal not as mere nourishment, and not as a reinforcement of social status, but as a chance to taste something new and wonderful.

如果對什麼食物都能寫食評,哪怕只是個 Chock Full o’ Nuts 檯前的甜甜圈,那又有什麼人不能當食評呢?這樣一路走來,正是今日你我所見的Yelp。他也帶領成千上萬的美國人不再僅視用餐為必要的營養補給,更不再只是一種社會地位的自我強化,而是一個嚐試新奇美好事物的機會。

Influential as he became, Claiborne seemed not to enjoy his power, or much else about the job. “At times I didn’t give a damn if all the restaurants in Manhattan were shoved into the East River and perished,” he wrote in his memoir. “Toward the end of my days as restaurant critic, I found myself increasingly indulging in drink, the better to endure another evening of dining out.”


His frustration was one reason he quit The Times in the early ’70s. When he returned as food editor in 1974, he and the newspaper agreed that he would not review restaurants. By then, he didn’t need to.

這樣的無力感造成了他在70年度初辭去了紐時的工作。1974年,當他重返報社擔任餐飲總編時,他和報社協議他不會再寫食評。事實上, 到那時他也毋需再寫。

 He had already shown everybody how it was done.


4 則留言:

Reader 提到...

哈哈,在看流星之絆哪!那不聊一下 ハヤシライス 嗎?:p

becco 提到...


scubagolfer 提到...


becco 提到...


我個人還頗欣賞紐約現在這位食評Pete Wells,他的食評能緊扣題旨,不會偏離主軸到讓人覺得似乎有意賣弄,讀來有樂趣又能學到東西。