It’s a chilly 45 degrees in East Texas today. No, it’s not unbearably brisk outside, but I’d assume Californians would be having panic attacks right now. It’s different for Texans, though. Texans survive with warm hearts and even warmer flabs of body fat due to all the Texas Roadhouse visits they make in one month. Not me, though. Indulging in steak that often (okay, maybe I was exaggerating with the “in one month” part) isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, so you wouldn’t find me as the 37th person in line outside that establishment. Give me a Caesar salad pita pizza or rosemary fries any day!
My family revolves around food. Celebrations never lacked large, lavish spreads on banquet tables decked with chafing dishes…and this was just at our house. My dad is an avid cook and his attitude towards food is perhaps akin to those people who live and breathe the hospitality industry: food has to happen. This attitude, coupled with a particular food culture from the old country, formed that need for food at our house, always led by Dad. I never got it, though. Mom also cooks well but with the goal to nourish the empty pits we call stomachs. Very utilitarian and health-conscious, as a medical professional.
However, it has taken some time for me to adopt my own approach to food. I love all sorts of foods like any other American, but I can’t finish my food within the allotted 30 minutes to an hour, or what our society deems standard timing for consumption. I take forever. And ever and ever. Two-hour dinners are my standard. I eat slowly and take it all in, much like the French. Not just the flavors on my palate, but the textures, the smells, the rich colors and vibrant shapes, the table setting, the artisan ambiance or even the rush of the tables and people around me. The mannerisms and words at the table, or lack thereof.
Food is a requirement biologically, yes, and sadly, too much of a want sometimes. It becomes the center of social gatherings and creates reasons to get together, which is great, but may sometimes take too much of a gaudy role at the table. In much the same way that social people become bold by drinking, food emboldens its creators to the point of becoming blinded by its assumed importance. What it took to create that food was nothing short of magnificent, even fast food (think of the operations management systems in place behind the counter at a McDonald’s…fascinating!), and the consumption of that food should reflect such time and talent. Its consumption should speak volumes about that cook rather than cooks raving about their own creations.
Think about the subjectivity in regard to food, and the fact that one plate could be enjoyed by so many but not everyone will take a liking to it. Think of the diversity of tastes and the delicacy of arrangement. Think and eat. Now you’re me. Very scary. So, with as much I enjoy the visual, olfactive, tactile, audible, and tasty details of every meal and snack in-between, I’ll leave you with visual evidence of my latest brunch/lunch.
Have a comfortably warm pre-Christmastime! Hopefully you’re as lazy (or brilliant) as I am and did all your shopping online in the past two weeks to avoid the stress. I’m going to sit back and enjoy listening to this Regina Spektor mix with a mug of peppermint coffee and a shallow plate of crunchy seasoned oyster crackers.