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NY Times Dining In/Out: A Freudian take

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NY Times Dining In/Out: A Freudian take

yvonne johnson | Oct 13, 2000 12:47 PM

I was reading Jim’s comments on ethnic food (review and on other boards), that said Grimes and Asimov are placed in competitive positions, and the next time I read the Times I was struck by the layout of the restaurant review page. I’m reading a lot about Freud at the moment and this is what I thought, silly as it might be.

First, isn’t it funny that humans think in threes? App, mains, dessert. Heaven, earth, hell. Id, ego, superego.The review page is in three sections.

Anyway, on top of the restaurant review page is the posh, more expensive restaurant, with color photo and all. Stars (from heaven?) are assigned to the food at these restaurants. This is the place you want to be seen especially if it has been bestowed 4 stars; you’ll feel you’ve arrived. This is the place you ought to go to. This is "super ego" dining.

Next in the middle of the page is a thin gossip section about restaurants that are closing or opening, chefs coming and going. This covers "ego" matters—everyday consciousness, being up to date with what’s going on.

At the bottom (pun intended) of the page we have Asimov’s review of basic, cheap ("$25 or less") places. No stars are given to the poor souls who run these places. This is "id" dining, that is, restaurants where you satisfy one of your most basic of drives, the need to eat. No photos either, and this gives the impression they are dark, dank shacks.

My simplistic analysis of this coverage leads me to ask a couple of questions. What if Asimov is given the meal of his life? The review up top would still outshine his. Why doesn’t Asimov’s section have the same star rating system? Why don’t Grimes and Asimov change positions from time to time? Finally, am I taking chowhounding a little too seriously?!

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