When I started writing about food for the Princeton Packet, Pat Tanner had already been at it for several years. She’s now a top New Jersey food journalist, writing for many illustrious publications (see her website for the latest places her articles have appeared).
Her plate is so full (ouch!), in fact, that she recently published her last In The Kitchen column in the Packet, titled “Thanks for the Memories.” As she says in her farewell column, pictured below, she’ll still be found in other publications and, in fact, she has just started writing a monthly column for the Princeton Echo, where she’ll cover the food, drink, and dining scene in and around Princeton.
While I’d written the occasional feature article for the Packet starting in 1998, it wasn’t until the start of 2002 that I was asked to become one of their restaurant reviewers. I was terrified. (But it never occurred to me for a second to say no.) Pat, who by then had been reviewing for several years, was kind enough to spend time showing me the ropes. Go anonymously, get a copy of the menu if possible, and call the restaurant to check details when you’re almost finished writing. Waiting ensures your opinions are really your own (and not something the restaurant has convinced you of), plus that way you can also give them a heads up in case there were any serious issues, so they don’t feel blindsided. I’ve hewed closely to Pat’s advice and it has served me well.
She was welcoming again later that year when I started alternating weeks with her writing the In The Kitchen recipe columns. Between the two of us we’ve explored countless food topics, and were privileged to be invited to some great food events in New York, where we enjoyed (among other things) the release of the 1997 Brunellos at San Domenico (called by many the vintage of the century), the Italian white truffle harvest at Le Cirque (a luncheon I’ll never forget), and even bugs at the American Museum of Natural History (I was a chicken but Pat was brave!).
I’ll miss our interactions regarding our Packet articles, but am thankful that since we’ve become friends over the years, I can still look forward to more food discussions and taste-seeking excursions with Pat going forward. I’ve never had a better professional colleague, and I am proud to say that “she taught me everything I know.” Thank you Pat!