(images via New York Social Diary)

The ground-breaking, celebrated, sometimes terrifying restaurant critic, author and journalist Mimi Sheraton died on Thursday, April 6th.  I count myself lucky to have had the pleasure of knowing her.  

At the bottom of the New York Times obituary for Mimi, the editors note, “If you made news in life, chances are your death is news, too. There is no formula, scoring system or checklist. We investigate, research and ask around before settling on our subjects.”

Mimi Sheraton is very worthy of the obituary in the New York Times.

Read about her amazing life and important influences and contributions; I’m not going to recite them here, other than to say, she was the first restaurant critic to use disguises, so that she would have the same experience as Mr. and Ms. Everyday Diner.  She made a difference. 

I was very nervous meeting Mimi for the first time. Oldways founder Dun Gifford and I went to visit Mimi and her husband Dick Falcone at their West Village townhouse. I’d read about her, knew that she had a sharp wit and an even sharper pen, but when I met her, she was so totally delightful.  I didn’t want to leave.  

Mimi and Dick traveled with Oldways for some of our overseas Symposiums, which introduced journalists, chefs and food writers to different countries in the Mediterranean. I especially remember Puglia in 1995, because Dick Falcone’s family was from Puglia. Mimi and Dick were excited to be there together.

Mimi traveled with us to Beijing in 2001 for a scientific and media conference about traditional diets, and their role in stopping the obesity epidemic marching around the world. One night we went to Beijing’s Night Market, a street lined with matching carts, brimming with dishes of all kinds.  Naturally, Mimi was the first to try the scorpion.

I considered myself lucky when she called to say she was coming to Boston with Dick and would I meet them for lunch or dinner. I’d let her pick the restaurant (of course!) and be guided by her choices.  

After Dick died in 2014, we’d talk on the phone every once in a while, and today I wish I’d called her more often and more recently.  Despite the fact that the obituary noted she was slow to embrace computers, she was on Twitter in recent years, and her opinions and ideas were no less sharp than they were in her heyday.  

Thank you, Mimi. You are already missed.

Sara Baer-Sinnott
President, Oldways



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