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.