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Saturday, July 19, 2014

How to Write a Food Dish Review

Photo courtesy of Jackson017

A food reviewer is responsible for creating a clear and accurate description of a food dish prepared and consumed in a restaurant. The review should include discussion of the overall appearance of the dish, and an indication of how the food smells, as well as a description of the texture and taste of the food. The food review will help others decide whether or not to visit the restaurant and give that particular dish a try. It shouldn't take you long to compose a review if you took plenty of mental notes during the meal.

Follow the steps below to write your food review:

Step 1:

Order the restaurant's signature dish, or one of the night's specials. Anyone could review your everyday chicken over rice. Readers want to hear about something unique.

Step 2:

Observe the dish as it arrives. Does it look like someone just threw the food on the plate, or are there garnishments that catch your eye and make you want to dive in. Now's the time, also, to take note of such matters as portion size.

Step 3:

Inhale deeply in to get a good whiff of the food before you begin eating it. Is the aroma one that makes you excited about trying the dish, or does it repulse you and make you want to push the plate away? The smell may also just be average, or what you would expect the dish to smell like.

Step 4:

Chew each bite for several seconds and get a good feeling for the texture and taste. You will want to discover if the meat is too dry, or tastes like the chef over used the seasoning. The temperature of the food is also important. Sauteed cabbage won't be as pleasing to the palate if it is served luke-warm.

Step 5:

Pay attention to your surroundings. You may also want to fill your readers in on the restaurant itself. Note if the restaurant gives off a romantic feel, whether the staff was knowledgeable about the food dishes, how long it took for the food to be served and how complaints (if any) were addressed.

Step 6:

Include all of the information you gathered in your review. Share your thoughts and opinions in the review as if you were telling a friend about the food dish, but be careful not to give a bad review unless it is completely warranted.

Tips: Resist the urge to write a negative review because you don't like a particular food. For example, don't write that a stuffed mushroom dish was horrible if the only reason it seemed horrible to you is because you hate the taste of mushrooms. The dish may actually be delicious to those who enjoy mushrooms.

Warnings: Never bring a notebook and pencil in to the restaurant with you, or the staff will know you are a food critic. Instead, you can keep the notebook in your car and jot down a few quick notes before heading to your next destination.


Scholastic; Writing Food Reviews: Food for Thought; Angela Bunyi
Open Rice; How to Write a Good Food Review; Dudi Aureus; May 27, 2011

Friday, July 18, 2014

Writing Opportunities for Kids

Photo courtesy of Weliton Slima

Writing not only gives children an avenue to express their creativity, but it also improves reading and comprehension. In addition, it encourages the expansion of a child's vocabulary. The more opportunities a child has to practice writing, the more he will be able to develop his skills. Fortunately, a wide variety of writing opportunities are available to kids of all ages. Many of these opportunities offer a chance for your child to become a published author, giving your son or daughter the reassurance that he or she needs to continue to thrive.

Create a Book

November is National Novel Writing Month, and the program includes a young writers program that children of all ages can take advantage of. Parents can sign their children up for free and set a word-count goal for each child. The kids then have from November 1 until November 30 to write their own book. Any child that meets the set word-count goal will have his book published and receive five free copies of the book.

Kids can also write their own book any time during the rest of the year and use CreateSpace to get it published. Children must sign for a free account with their parents. The only costs are the books the child orders for himself when he finishes creating them.


Kids love electronics, so use the computer and web to encourage them to write. Blogs are a great way for children to get their feet wet. Blogger and Wordpress are free blogging platforms that even a child can use, and parents can set the blogs to private so that kids can write freely. Encourage your child to select a theme for the blog, which should be something she is passionate about. Then, schedule time for her to add a post every couple of days.

Another option is to use to allow your child to create posts that will earn her a few dollars. The site allows children to join, but when they are ready to cash-out, they must provide a parent's information. Payment can be received in the form of Paypal, a physical check or a gift card.


Plenty of websites accept and publish content written by children. Cyberkids and Cyberteens, for example, accept stories, articles and poems. Stone Soup Magazine accepts stories, poems and art from children between the ages of 8 and 13. Teen Ink accepts submissions from teenagers, while Launch Pad is geared toward kids ages 6 to 14. Launch Pad accepts book reviews in addition to poems and stories. Always read the frequently asked questions section of the website your child wants to submit work to in order to ensure that you follow all of the submission rules.


Most libraries offer writing workshops for kids throughout the year. These workshops take place on site and typically last four to six weeks. If you find travel to be difficult, you can sign your child up for an online writing workshop. Companies like Scholastic offer free writing workshops on topics such as book reviews, news reports, myth writing and descriptive writing. The workshops are available immediately, so there is no need to wait for a specific date to join like you would at a library.


NoodleTools: Online Opportunities for Young Writers
National Writing Project: A Collection of Online Publishing Opportunities for Student Writing
Scholastic: Writing with Writers
Stone Soup Magazine: How to Send Creative Writing and Art to Stone Soup

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Consider Starting Your Own Website

If you don't have a website, then now is the time to get one. Even if you don't need traffic from Google, you want potential customers to be able to look you up. For example, if I need the services of a landscaper then I am going to Google landscapers in my area. You better believe that I am more apt to call one that has his or her own website than one that doesn't. Yes, I can go pick up the Yellow Pages and do a search, but I'm too lazy. I imagine many others are also turning to the Internet instead of the Yellow Pages.

My very good friend Doug Griffin just created a website for his upholstery business. He sells slipcovers, totes, draperies, and much much more. You can check out his website here: H. Douglas Griffin Now that he has a website, I predict it won't be long before he has more orders than he can handle.

Maybe you are like my Aunt Dawn and you just need a way to collect orders. The website then works to handle the orders and create an easy paper trail so that you can easily organize information come tax time. My aunt makes her own products using 100% cotton. You can read more about that here: Love Cotton by Dawn

Now I come to my father. My dad owns his own newspaper. He has a website so that customers can download a virtual copy of his newspaper at any time. There is also a "contact us" button in case any potential advertisers have any questions they'd like to ask. Here is his website: The Bright Side Newspaper

So, in conclusion, you may not think you need a website in order to run your business, but it is a low cost (and sometimes free) resource that certainly won't hurt your business in any way. I highly recommend putting one together!