Friday, March 26, 2010

Is food for real?

I recently discovered this old interview with one of my favorite writers, Gourmet-turned-Salon contributor Francis Lam. (Read about his pursuit of the perfect omelette here.) He's a CIA grad whose recipes are funny and familiar (addressing would-be burners of onions as homies, spelling umami oooo-Mommy), and here he responds to the question, "How often do you think about food?"

I suppose the cool food kid thing to say would be, “I think about dinner before I wake up,” or something like that. But you know what the real answer is? Too often. I’m serious. I’d rather I’d saved some of my brain cells for, like, how to show my parents that I love them instead of where I’m going to have a taco next.
Am I a cool food kid? Do I want do be? I did recently corn some beef for my grandmother's birthday, and I've doubtless spent more on salad greens in the past year than I have on my wardrobe.

But a stranger realization prompted by Francis's comment is that, although I may think about food too often, and despite the fact that I find many foods positively dreamy – been stopped in my tracks by the sight of romanesco, elated by the name of the elephant heart plum, marveled at the way a raspberry separates from the bush – I'm pretty sure I've never dreamt about food. No delicious meals, edenic gardens, attacking celeriac, or reanimated calves' feet have entered my sleepscape. The waitressing years have cursed me with infrequent restaurant nightmares, but in those dreams I'm circling the dining room in a ball gown or frozen to the floor while customers flood my section – the food never figures into the plot. Maybe I don't want it to.


Lauren Klenow said...

I dream about food quite often but a typical food dream for me is after going through a lavish buffet line at some swank museum after party I loose my plate! When I go through the line again all of my favorite things I was so excited to try are gone. There are usually a few tasty morsels to make it all worth while but I never dream about eating it, it's more about the gratification of a plate filled with fancy cheeses, decadent meats and vegetables I don't know the proper names of.

kale daikon said...

Wow, I have that same buffet anxiety, only it's not a dream. I dream about food often because my favorite thing to do while falling asleep at night is to think about what I'm going to eat when I wake up the next day.

jib said...

I guess dreams are really places where we air our anxieties rather than our pleasures.

And in response to Lam's quote (heart!)- you know you think about food too often when you are sitting overstuffed at the table and are still capable of discussing your next meal in detail and with great relish. That makes some people sick.

Speaking of getting sick, for some reason this made me think of Agent Cooper's hangover cure, and how I thought it sounded really yummy. I'm putting it here for some reason.

"Surefire cure for a hangover, Harry. You take a glass of nearly frozen unstrained tomato juice, you plop a couple of oysters in there and drink it down, Breathe deeply. Next you take a mound, and I mean a mound of sweetbreads. Saute 'em with some chestnuts and Canadian bacon. Finally, biscuits, big biscuits smothered in gravy. Now this is where it gets tricky, you're gonna needs some anchovies..."