A while ago, I saw a couple Twitter conversations about how people would never pay such and such a price for a meal. It got me thinking about the relevance of that price and what people value. I've spent a jaw dropping amount on food, yet, I haven't run a bill over my rent. So I'm somewhere in between the Oh wow that's a lot and the Oh wow that's insane. This is the story of how I went from sloppy joe's to gourmet bbq lamb sliders.
My mother, whom I love dearly, loves her meat well done. God bless her, she put dinner on the table for our family every single night, but growing up, food was more of a utility than an art. From western Pennsylvania, my parents valued meat and potatoes. My dad especially loved those frozen lima beans in the butter sauce. One time, at a friend's house, I was served whole wheat pear pancakes and could barely choke them down because they weren't the white fluffy Bisquik kind that I had grown to love. This is the snapshot of my childhood.
Then I found a roommate on Craigslist who loved food. She had a love affair with not only the food itself but with the cooking and in her line of business, she was was living and breathing the foodie lifestyle. All of the sudden I was introduced to cheese, soy, chocolate, burgers galore, next season's hottest new whatever, etc. I had a marvelous teacher and I was an avid student, making up for lost time. Why hello Goat Cheese, lover of mine, where have you been all my life?! Fava beans, you tasty little lima bean look-a-likes! Lamb chops? Now I know how to broil 'em to perfection.
When I moved to Durham, I found myself in a concentrated microcosm of the emerging New American food movement and microbreweries. You may laugh, but the Triangle is a cradle of of exciting and trendsetting food with a sophisticated population. Once they added in a southern twist I was a believer in grits, slow roasted meats, local veg, trout, and corn bread. I loved them home style, deconstructed, served with fine linens in my lap and a tasty brew in my hand.
New American certainly isn't lacking here in San Francisco, after all Chez Panisse invented the movement, but now I'm taking my obsession across all sorts of borders. Vegan, Vegetarian, Seafood, Chinese, Vietnamese, Afghan, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, French, Moroccan, Turkish . . . the globe of flavors keeps spinning. Oh, and of course, every bite pairs with wine!
I spend money on a meal because it's an experience. It's an evening of entertainment. Of using all of my senses and retruning to a a more primitive version of myself - but still civilized. It's appreciating an art form, just like some people collect art. Wine is a similar experiential art form. It's more than appreciating the flavor, but appreciating the work and the artistry.
Yes, at times expensive. I've spent more money in the past year on food than I would ever like to admit. But I will spend, spend again and spend mightily to continue the sensual experience of food.
This is WEverb11 post that I started in December, but just finished now. WEverb11 is a series of writing prompts focused on reflection and future. Learn more at WEverb11! Prompt 27 was: Where did your money go this year? Where do you want it to go in 2012?
Mediterranean Vegetable Polenta
14 hours ago