I wish I could say I will be sorry not to have Panchito to kick around anymore, but of course he is off to the magazine to join the human Cute Overload and retrovirus recipes and other crimes against readers. The bar is set pretty low there, so he should be able to retch in peace. And while my first reaction to the choice of his successor was rather harsh — expect reviews pounded out with penis, judging by the self-consciously imitative prose in his past and present — I will say that at least the guy has to know food at this point in his career, which is a big step up from being chosen because you’ve eaten at the pasta place next to the McDonald’s at the Spanish Steps. He did, after all, once quote me approvingly at NYP (could anyone ever have imagined that as a breeding ground for NYT talent?) Which of course makes it all the more mystifying that the new Mimi/Bryan/Ruth cannot just step into the job immediately now that his overlords have gotten the “lift” they wanted by naming him (P.T. Barnum would be so proud). First he has to do some eating on the tab while fill-ins kick restaurateurs to the curb in the interim. Can you imagine if Sonia Sotomayor were confirmed to the Supreme Court and then had to rush off to bone up on the law? WTF? Then again, that points to a more fascinating flaw. Even with food, it’s still a white, white, white man’s world.