Last week’s “Big City” column in the New York Times tells the story of a 12-year-old aspiring food critic who adorably took himself out to dinner one night, alone, and then later wrote up a Zagat’s-style review in a private leather-bound journal. (“As I left,” the Upper West Side boy wrote, “I knew that soon enough this would be one of the most ‘hip’ places in the city.”)
The story reminds me of another aspiring food critic of about the same age: Franklin, a Bronx pre-teen who last year became the official food writer at his middle school, CIS 339. His column, called “Franklin on Food,” ran as part of the school’s online newspaper, the 339 Hardline. He reviewed the cafeteria food, which ran the gamut, from the baguette pizza (loved) to the pollo (not a fan) to the coleslaw:
Shout out to the garbage for eating all the coleslaw.
Franklin never offered ratings. (“Thank you for cooking today, dining staff. If I was going to rate you, you would have gotten a 9 out of 10. But I’m not a rater,” he wrote one day.) But he did occasionally poll his fellow students. (“I know that I have no power, so I’m just writing this to make a point and let the people’s voice be heard. 144 people didn’t like the lunch and only 6 people liked it.”)
Franklin graduated CIS 339 last year and is now in high school. But the school saved his columns, which you can read here.