The fuss leading up to this week’s Democratic National Convention taught me something new about Twitter.
Oh, not how to use it. I jumped on Twitter in 2009 and loved it immediately. As an information provider – aka “reporter” – the benefits were obvious: Lots of incoming information. More sources than I could call in a morning. A constant stream of ideas.
Yes, the downsides were obvious, too: Constant distraction. A time suck of monumental proportions. The risk of one wrong tweet ruining a career.
Still, it’s an even trade. You just have to be disciplined about how much attention you give it.
Since I usually focus on a narrow swath of the world – food and cooking – it’s easy to put together a list of the people who are most likely to be useful.
But the closer we got to the DNC, the more I started to resent that rush of messages.
News tips were coming at a pace impossible to sort through – and were no more reliable than a bald tire on a gravel road. Tweets that claimed “impeccable sources” in the morning fell apart like old lace by nightfall.
It was too easy to feel both herded and hounded.
By midweek, I was starting to regard good ol’ Twitter with the fondness I’d feel toward a drunk lurching toward me on a dark street.
I needed a break from it. I needed something real. That’s when Eric Ripert, the French chef and seafood expert, came to my rescue.
One night, too tired to even think about cooking, I glanced at that constantly changing Twitter screen on my phone and saw this, from @ericripert:
“How to sauté fish correctly in 7tweets Season both side w salt/pepper.. Wondra flour on 1side(optional).”
Grammatically bumpy, yes. A little hard to read. But I couldn’t look away:
“In a clean cast iron pan, add vege oil; just enough to coat the pan. Bring the pan to hot temp (oil almost smoking).”
“Place the filet carefully away from you (to avoid oil splash...and potential burn).”
“When the sides of filet are blond in color,slide the spatula under to avoid fish sticking to the pan...”
“Remove pan from fire. Flip the filet carefully using the other hand on top of the fish to prevent the filet to brake.”
“We love medium rare...so insert metal skewer through the flesh for 10 secs until skewer feels warm on your hand.”
“Remove the filet from the pan. Place it on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Fish is ready: crispy & juicy...!!”
A lifetime of cooking experience, in seven tweets.
Simple, elegant and true.
It reminded me that I’ll get to go back to focusing on food writing soon enough.
Thanks, chef. Consider this a retweet.