I love food to a ludicrous degree. I think this may because I grew up poor and was raised to truly respect it. Sometimes I eat things so delicious that I nearly cry. Last week, I had barbeque that was so tasty, I kept yelling at it in disbelief — “How dare you be so good! How dare you, brisket!?” You can say that perhaps I’m a little obsessed. When food is not delicious, especially meat, I get angry. (“Why has little Oinksforth’s life been taken in vain?” “This egg is so bad it’s as if the chicken was raised on crab juice and Cheetos.” “This burger slaps all of humanity in the face.”)
I also judge people — perhaps unfairly — on what they eat.
If someone, for example, eats nothing but chicken fingers and pizza, I will think that he or she is a close-minded dullard. Because food is so important to me, it’s also a huge factor in my relationships. I don’t think that I could date someone who didn’t have an adventurous palate and didn’t deeply enjoy food. If you won’t eat chicken feet from a street vendor in Asia with me, I’m afraid we’re not a good match. If you consider Lean Cuisine to be a suitable meal, I wish you the best, but I will be one my way now. If you want to take me out to Red Lobster, you are not a suitable gentleman caller.
When I first took my white boyfriend home to meet my family, I was so pleased that he ate everything that he was offered. He will stop at nothing. Cow brains? Sure! Cheese that smells like nasty feet? Of course! Had he not, my mom would’ve probably hated him forever.
Our interracial relationship is also manifested in our meals: a leftover beef roast becomes flautas. A regular chicken soup receives an obscene amount of salsa, becoming another soup entirely. A cottage cheese taco is attempted and then quickly, very quickly, abandoned. Gouda makes a cameo in the refried beans. The food we make is representative of our cultural fusion and sometimes it’s tasty and sometimes it’s really not.
The important thing, however, is the sense of adventure.
I suppose what matters most to me is respect. I needed someone who respected what I loved and loved it with me. A person who didn’t think me a fool for dedicating my life to poetry, for example, and who wouldn’t think me an imbecile if I got up to do the funky chicken because the fried chicken tastes so damn good. I was lucky enough to find that person, someone to produce strange meals with and join me on my culinary adventures — someone who loves me enough to eat cow brains.
[Photo By Scott]